Baseball Musings:

SI’s Luft on Grimsley

David Pinto goes to the place I think all discussion about PEDs has to go, but in a comment far down the page Keith Levenberg takes it one step further. Well worth reading down the page if you have set ideas about drugs and the games.
I was going to link to Deadspin’s sober speculation of the contents of the redacted information in the Grimsley affadavit (about him, not by him), but the link from the affidavit to Albert Pujols’ trainer, Chris Mihfield, is too tenuous. Anyone who has hung around with professional athletes in the last 20 some odd years (and probably longer) knows that all follow the supplements, vitamins, and enhancement products to some extent. Mihfield recommending a guy to Grimsley who had bennies is a far cry from a smoking gun pointing at Pujols.

But then I think we need a lot less hysteria.

5 thoughts on “Baseball Musings:

  1. Nice read. How anyone who enjoys sport can wormhole an excuse to justify PED’s is beyond me.

    My biggest problem with these drugs is not that the athlete may be doing long term harm to him/herself. Sheesh! Let’s not get all ivory-tower idealistic here. If we were so concerned about an athlete’s well being there are a lot of substances, abuses, activities we can ban.

    The problem with PED’s is what they do to the integrity of the game. And what other sport has tried to maintain it’s integrity and romanticism like baseball? These numbers and records are blessed.

    Now, do PED’s actually enhance? The same percentage for every taker? Pitchers and hitters alike? Do they prolong careers?
    It’s this uncertainty that taints the game. Even if PED’s did NOTHING, the perception is that they do everything. So, short of a Tuskegee-like study, every plate appearance or pitch thrown comes into question.

    And that in and of itself is reason to ban PED’s.

  2. Using the recently touted BallBug, I ran across this:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=whitlock/060608&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

    I thought it was well worded. In an environment where much of the public takes medications, consumes caffeinated products, or pops uppers to stay awake… and in an environment where we pay the players so much money to play up to seven days a week (with practices, stretch outs, travels, etc…), it’s no wonder it’s so competitive. The social environment outside of baseball is equally competitive, so what are the distinctions? In an social environment of pills and performance, how much different is baseball from corporate antics? Some may not find it a useful comparison, but I (and the author) seem to think they should.

  3. I know we’ve batted this around before, Megary, and I just don’t see the “integrity” in baseball’s numbers. The greatness of Ruth’s achievement is the difference between what he was doing in 1920 and 21 and what the rest of baseball was doing. But whenever you talk about records they have to be qualified by the Dead Ball Era, WWII, Expansion, etc.

    The integrity is a remnant of a misty-eyed time before we really started thinking and talking about what baseball performance is, and what the numbers measure.

    I’ve said before, I think the controversy here calls into question the very nature of competitive athletics. If the goal is performance there should be no question that the drugs are fair. If the goal is “clean” performance, the challenge is coming up with a way to measure clean.

    So far, as this lid comes off the big vat of HGH, we’re not even close.

  4. Peter, I understand all the changes that have taken place in this game. That’s *a* point we can settle at a bar sometime, but it’s not *the* point as I see it as records to PED’s. We assume, rightly or wrongly, that the numbers put up by Ruth et. al. were done cleanly. I have no problem with someone breaking “misty eyed” records, heck it should be a new years eve party when someone passes Aaron.

    How’s that working out so far? And why?

    I don’t think fans are interested in a mutant version of sport. I’m certainly not.

    But you’re right that testing is the key and it’s unfortunate, but the future of sports has to be measured by what you pass into that cup you’re holding.

  5. I’m doubtful that cup will ever truly be the confidence builder we would like it to be. But I’m all for hoping that it does. There does seem to be some promise in holding the test samples for a number of years afterwards, so that it will remain uncertain whether there is an effective test for a substance or not. The privacy issues are significant, especially when grand jury testimony and “blind” test results are being regularly leaked, but an agreement along those lines might restore confidence.

    On the other hand, loss of confidence doesn’t seem to be undermining the enthusiasm of the fan base. Maybe it’s too soon, or maybe people really don’t care as long as the players are trying to get better.

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