Andrew Alden (alden) Wed 27 Jul 05 17:25
Great story about Ichiro.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Wed 27 Jul 05 17:45
<alden>! Nice to see your pseud.
Andrew Alden (alden) Thu 28 Jul 05 10:07
Likewise, ohmy. I'm having myself a great season as an A's fan.
Stephanie Vardavas (vard) Thu 28 Jul 05 13:31
OK, that is one of the greatest baseball stories I have ever heard, and entirely consistent with what I've heard about Ichiro from the people who know him. One question perhaps a little bit out of left field, Howard: As you may have been reading, Mark Cuban has recently expressed an interest in someday buying an MLB franchise, specifically the Pittsburgh Pirates. What do you think are the odds he would win the vote to be accepted as a baseball owner? And if he were, what kind of carnage would ensue?
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 28 Jul 05 14:04
I know you're wrapping up, and vard righfully gets the last question, but as a Barry Bonds fan (my god! that swing!) I wanted to ask if you have any thoughts about the long rehab. My pals and I speculate that he decided he needed the whole season off and decided that a while ago. That could be due to whatever psychological demons were eating at him, since the announced injury is normally nearly trivial surgery. Was it bad luck and infection? A coverup of a steriod-related knee deterioration? A metal breakdown compounded by the brain changes from steroids? I'm worried. I know nobody knows, and with the Giants (and their whole division, interestingly) in the toilet it may not matter this year, but do you have a take on what's going on? Only if you feel like speculating, since vard has a real question!
Stephanie Vardavas (vard) Thu 28 Jul 05 15:25
(Also, why hasn't Eddie Murray caught on somewhere as a hitting instructor?)
Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Thu 28 Jul 05 20:16
I don't have a question, but I would like to comment that I was watching some baseball highlights the other day from the 1988 World Series, and of course the famous Kirk Gibson home run was shown. I remember thinking of Kirk Gibson as being absolutely massive at the time -- a football player among baseball players. When I watched that highlight, he looked like a twig. And then they showed Ray Knight scoring the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 WS, and he looked to me like a super skinny guy like Astros' short stop Adam Everett. I was a bit stunned.
Chip Bayers (hotwired) Thu 28 Jul 05 22:03
Of course, there was very little weightlifting period at that point in baseball, supplemented or not.
Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Fri 29 Jul 05 06:09
No dispute there.
Stephanie Vardavas (vard) Fri 29 Jul 05 08:19
Howard! Sports Business Daily is reporting that our mutual pal Mike Port is going to MLB (with Joe Garagiola) to succeed Sandy Alderson. What do you think this means?
Hal Royaltey (hal) Fri 29 Jul 05 11:38
Our next interview has moved from on-deck to at-bat, so I'd like to take this opportunity thank Howard and Vard for a great two weeks. Even a non-baseball fan like me really enjoyed it. (Baseball: 20 minutes of action jam-packed into a 3 hour game!) This doesn't mark the end of the discussion here, however. Please feel free to continue. Comments from the outside world are always welcome too. Thanks much to both of you!!
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Fri 29 Jul 05 17:03
Hey everyone! Thanks for making this the usual, spirited Well talk I've enjoyed for more than a decade. Great stuff. <vard>, you broke news to me. I'm at Fenway right now watching Torii Hunter get taken away on a stretcher (torn ligaments in the ankle after leaping against the wall in the triangle after a David Ortiz drive), hearing the latest blockbuster involving Manny Ramirez (Ramirez to the Mets, Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff to the Red Sox, prospects to the Devil Rays. The deal has fallen through because Sox owner John Henry will not pay any of Ramirez's salary and Theo Epstein will not part with Hanley Ramirez), and indeed, <vard> strikes again. Details to come. I gotta make deadline on this.
Stephanie Vardavas (vard) Wed 3 Aug 05 09:09
I'm hoping that Howard will rejoin us in a day or two to talk a little bit about the heartbreaking events of the past couple of days (for an Orioles fan like me, anyway), involving the positive test of Rafael Palmeiro. Sorry, Raffy. If you took that stuff, and it sure looks like you did, then you're done. No Hall of Fame talk around YOUR hot stove anymore. DAMMIT. DAMMIT. DAMMIT.
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 3 Aug 05 10:28
I asked a few WELLbeings and others at a Giants game last night if they were surprised that Bonds isn't coming back this season, a bit of news that was eclipsed by Raffy's unfolding tragedy. Before reading "Juicing the Game" I doubted he'd be back simply because I couldn't imagine the scene at Fresno rehabbing with the AAA Grizzleys. Bonds? Working out with minor leaguers? But once I read it I became worried whether he'll ever be back. Depression. Joint deterioration. Even with performance-enhancing substances that are not technically steroids, even setting aside issues of what's cheating, I now worry about Barry coming back anywhere.
Low and popular (rik) Wed 3 Aug 05 10:57
Since I believe he's been using and probably feels his career depends on it, I doubt if he'll be back. The sweetness of being on top has got to have been ruined by the suspicions and revelations.
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Thu 4 Aug 05 17:00
As are the revelations that he was using stanozolol, which is virtually impossible to take by accident. That stuff doesn't land in a protein powder by mistake. Once again, the lies are worse than the crime. The finger-wagging, the denials, the whole deal. One of the points of the book was to attempt to discuss steroids and where they fit in this era of offense, and a lot of non-believers concerning their potency. If you consider that a steroid cycle lasts roughly 75 to 90 days, consider that Rafael Palmeiro was hitting .246 on May 29. Since then, with the steroids still in his system, he went on a tear. People use them, because they help. A lot. I personally think Bonds will be back and he will play at least two more seasons. Maybe I don't understand the severity of his injury but he's too close to the record. If he has to hit 5 homers a year for the next 10 and half years, I believe that's what he'll do to get it. He also is too proud a man to leave under these circumstances.
Low and popular (rik) Thu 4 Aug 05 17:14
"Maybe I don't understand the severity of his injury but he's too close to the record." The record is over. The closer he got to it, the more you'd be hearing about the asterisk in the press. Like I said, the sweetness has drained out of all this. He doesn't need the money, the sniping isn't going away, and he'd have to play on the natch. What's in it for him?
Chip Bayers (hotwired) Thu 4 Aug 05 17:16
"Since then, with the steroids still in his system, he went on a tear. People use them, because they help. A lot. " So what was he taking through May 29?
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Thu 4 Aug 05 21:46
I don't think I follow that one. Maybe he wasn't taking anything, and realized he was a .245 hitter with no power. Or maybe he was in a cycle that began to produce an effect when he tested positive. It doesn't seem plausible that he would begin a cycle too early into the spring because it wouldn't do him any good (since spring stats don't count). I think we really need to hear from Palmeiro. What we can honestly say, right now, is that his steroid use was no accident. You don't take winstrol by accident. What we need to know is the why. The more I think about it, the less sorry I feel for Palmeiro, for he exibited the same flippant attitude about this as Bonds, without the prolonged aggression. When the invitations to appear March 17 were first announced by Congress, it was Palmeiro who was the most cavalier, as if he were above the law. "March 17 is my wife's birthday, so you know where I'll be," was his first response to this. A rep from Henry Waxman's office told me that Palmeiro's sarcasm was one of the reasons the Committee chose to subpoena, to get MLB to "get the message." Then, after treating it like a joke, he sticks his finger at congress to make his point, either a) knowing full well he had used steroids, or b) weeks away from deciding to. He's in a box, and other than telling the truth and taking his lumps, I don't see much of a way out.
Chip Bayers (hotwired) Fri 5 Aug 05 08:34
" I don't think I follow that one. Maybe he wasn't taking anything, and realized he was a .245 hitter with no power. Or maybe he was in a cycle that began to produce an effect when he tested positive. It doesn't seem plausible that he would begin a cycle too early into the spring because it wouldn't do him any good (since spring stats don't count). " What seems even less plausible is that a guy who is a supposed career steroid user would throw away 1/3 of his season by not timing his cycles properly. But since early season slumps followed by sudden upticks in production are now supposed to be read as a sign of new steroid cycles starting, I guess we have to finger Jason Giambi, Eric Chavez, Tino Martinez, and numerous other players. (And whatever Martinez was on during his brief flurry of HR production in May sure didn't work for very long). And remind me again what the period was when Ryan Franklin started mowing down the opposition thanks to his newfound steroid-fueled vigor?
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Fri 5 Aug 05 10:07
Well, if you're going to diminish the discussion with that post, i guess I can't respond. Those guys didn't test positive for using a steroid, Palmeiro did. I cannot say I understand your opposition to this entire topic or, if your opposition is so strong, your continued participation in it. I never said, either on these posts or in my book, that steroids were the reason why good hitters hit well. What I said was that we need to hear from Palmeiro as to why he did what he did. These are merely my thoughts as to a potential motivation. Your posts give the impression that I've chosen to single out Palmeiro and explain why he went from cold to hot. Had he not been using winstrol, we wouldn't be having this conversation. He would have been allowed, like Tino and the rest, to spike as they did. But he created question by his own actions. He took a substance, one that is proven to improve performance, and while that substance was in his system, went on a tear. Why is that reason to ridicule this discussion? I cannot answer why Palmeiro did what he did. All I can say is that he used steroids and that throws into question his performance. If these drugs don't help, why take them? You seem to be coming at this discussion from an odd angle, that players use these drugs _ which is a fact _ but yet dubious as to why, since you don't seem to think they affect the outcome of performance. Why then, do you think players use steroids? And maybe steroids don't help Ryan Franklin because nothing will. Maybe he's not that good.
Stephanie Vardavas (vard) Fri 5 Aug 05 15:25
I think that for a lot of us there is a tendency to view steroids in sports, and/or other performance related substances, as a proxy for our larger views on the War On (Some) Drugs, and I am not certain that they truly are a suitable proxy for that. Is that part of what's animating you, (hotwired)?
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Fri 5 Aug 05 18:49
Well, this just in: A source tells me that MLB is sitting on a dozen positive tests, which explains when I was in the dugout at Fenway Park yesterday, my old guy Matt Stairs comes over to me and says, "I'm sick of looking at your fucking shiny dome every time I turn on the TV....you hear somebody else big tested positive?" My question is: if these things are supposed to be so confidential, how does everyone know this stuff? Also, how political is this whole thing if MLB is actually staggering the announcements of tests? Talk about opening themselves up to corruption charges. And get this: Juan Rincon, who was suspended more than two months ago is having his appeal heard *now.* He was told if his appeal was upheld, he would have his service time restored. but what about his name?
Howard Bryant (ohmy) Fri 5 Aug 05 18:53
And another thing: Jose Canseco is writing *another* book, this one called "Vindicated." Here is the transcript of an interview he gave ESPN, which will run sometime next week on ESPN's new station (ugh) ESPN Hollywood, no ifs ands or buts about it: JOSE CANSECO ESPN HOLLYWOOD (love that bug) INTERVIEW 21 HR 3840 Q: So Jose whats your take on the Rafael Palmeiro suspension? 3848 Canseco: I feel really bad for him because I know that hes been completely set up by major league baseball. When a player goes before Congress and starts saying, I did not take steroids, when obviously he knows I injected him, I taught him how to use the steroids. Ive got to figure out theres something else going on. (3910) To me, major league baseball probably told Palmeiro listen, We need to discredit Jose Canseco as much as possible. We need someone preferably another Latino, whos got superstar credentials, to dismiss his allegations of what hes saying. So, who better than Rafael Palmeiro? (3929) What Rafael doesnt realize, he was a pawn. He was a puppet. He was used by major league baseball and the players association. 3935 Q: So you do believe theres possible truth to the fact that major league baseball and the players association was involved in some sort of conspiracy? 3944 Canseco: No ifs and buts about it. And eventually it will all come out. Now Palmeiro um, all of a sudden, how strange, he drug-tested about three or four months ago. (Right.) All of a sudden, lets look at the time-table here 3957 Q: (interrupting) Because it was May, correct, he drug-tested around May? 4000 Canseco: So now, he does his 500 home runs, he has 3,000 base hits, and all of a sudden, Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. Gee, do you really believe thats a coincidence? No. Bottom line is, Rafael Palmeiro was, at the point in time it seems to me, when he testified before Congress, using some type of steroid. (4026) Major league baseball knew it. Players association knew it. But they told him, were going to cover your back. Were going to watch out for you. Were not going to let this information out. (4037) But you know what? He just got set up like all the other players are being set up. (4039) 4040 Q: And why do you think thats the case? 4041 Canseco: Um, from the very beginning he probably tested positive (loud sniff) but they needed someone to discredit me. Someone with number one, being another Latino 4052 Q: (interrupting) And you keep mentioning that, do you find it just a coincidence that the first six out of the seven players that have tested positive for steroids have been Latino? Whats your take on it? 4102 Canseco: Well I, I dont really know about that. But I do, I can only talk about what I know to be a fact that Rafael Palmeiro was set up strategically against me to dismiss my allegations towards major league baseball, no ifs, ands, buts about it. (4118) Now Palmeiro says, Wait to hear my side of the story. Wait to hear the truth. Palmeiro, if smart, will take my side and go against major league baseball now because they left him out there in the wind to dry. (4131) 4132 Q: Really. 4133 Canseco: No ifs, ands, buts about it. The truth will come out eventually. 4136 Q: So, going back to the first six out of seven being Latino you dont believe in the theory that the language barrier could have been a significant factor or is that in fact still a possibility? 4147 Canseco: What I believe more is that these individuals are from, lets say, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, theyre not regulated, meaning there are certain substances or more or less steroids over there that are legal in their country. (4200) That they can use when they go back off the baseball season that theres no problem. But once they come back to United States, (it) stays in their system, so there could be a language barrier. Theyre saying, y/k, I live in Dominican Republic. Steroids are just chemicals, theyre legal, theres no restrictions. I can use them there. Then I stop using them. I go to spring training. I test positive. (Hmm.) Thats how it really works. People dont understand. (4226) 4227 Q: In the book Jose you say you shot Rafael personally, (Correct) and you also mention other people of course. But is there anything else in the book that we should know, that maybe people dont? 4238 Canseco: There are a lot of other things that will come out in my second book called Vindicated, about major league baseball, how mafia-oriented they really are, how they really run their business, how they ruin athletes lives, how they manipulate the system. (4253) Um, how they set up athletes to make themselves look better or to cover up for their own mistakes. And I will dissect and internalize exactly what has happened the last 10-15 years in major league baseball. (4307) 4308 Q: Going back to the first book, you also mentioned in the book Juiced that President Bush being a former owner of the Texas Rangers of course had to have known that his players were on steroids. And yet recently he still publicly supports Palmeiro. Whats your take on that? 4323 Canseco: (chuckling) Its a laugher. I, I gotta laugh at it and I think the public has to laugh at it when, from the very beginning, a newspaper columnist wrote an article saying that Bush obviously knew that I was a steroid-user and that I uh, started the steroid revolution in baseball. And they still traded for me. (4347) Nonetheless, again, Palmeiro tests positive for steroid a steroid called Winstra with is stanozolol, which theres no way this steroid can be digested (Accidentally?) accidentally by any other way shape or form instead of y/k steroid way. (Right.) No supplements carry that stanozolol in it, and President Bush says, I believe Rafael Palmeiro hes a friend of mine. (shakes head) I gotta laugh. I dont understand it. Its ridiculous. Explain it to me if you can, please. (4422) 4423 Q: Ridiculous and political to the highest form? 4425 Canseco: Well, we know that this world is basically run on strictly politics and its y/k, who you know, no ifs and buts about it. (4435) 4436 Q: So, whos still taking steroids in baseball today? 4438 Canseco: I really dont believe players are using steroids right now. (4442) What I do believe, and I stated this before, theres a major problem with a thing called a metabolite in the system. There are no investigations, especially long-term use of steroids, especially in a human being, that says, okay, after 10, 15, 20 years, a metabolite of this steroid disappears. (4503) Metabolite of a steroid basically is an imprint, a fingerprint of what used to be there. And what major league baseballs going to run into more often than not, is a metabolite of a steroid sometimes is strong enough to mimic a steroid, and thats where theyre going to come into major problems. (4519) And its not fair for these players who are abiding by the rules, and, and, y/k, dont want to use a steroid or have stopped using steroids, and all of a sudden theyre being penalized for something. Its ridiculous. (4530) The, I mean, the system is just, its got too many loopholes on it. (4534) 4535 Q: Okay, two more quick questions on the subject. With all this thats been said and done now about Rafael Palmeiro, how do you feel about him possibly still going or not going to the Hall of Fame? 4548 Canseco: I think he should. I think he is an incredible player, has incredible numbers. I think its sad that um, that these players when I mention them in my book my attack was never towards the players. My attack was against major league baseball and the players association. (4604) What I needed was one of these players to be by my side and say, You know, what Jose Canseco is saying is the absolute truth. (4610) Everything about this book is the truth. We do have a problem. Young kids are being damaged because of steroid use, and if we hide from it, we continue it, somebody could eventually die because of it a young child which I think a few have already. And they just hide from it like nothing. (4627) Perfect example of how dominating, how much of a juggernaut, and how militant and how powerful major league baseball can be? They talked to these players and said, Listen, they probably said, they know what would happen to them same thing that would happen to me they ruined my career, they blackballed me, they got me completely out of baseball 38 home runs short of 500 because of this issue. (4655) These players knew that if they stood against major league baseball, especially Palmeiro, who is the closest to, only eight players in history, 3,000 base hits, 500 home runs. (4705) Now imagine if Palmeiro would have come out in Congress and said, What Jose is saying is right. He wont have a job. (4710) Nobody would take him. 4711 Q: (interrupting) He wouldnt get the 3,000 hits? 4714 Canseco: No way, he wouldnt get 3,000 hits, 500 home runs. But look how funny he testified on behalf of major league baseball. They allowed him to get 3000 base hits, 500 home runs. They what do they do? They left him to dry in the wind. (4727) Okay Palmeiro, we gave you what you wanted. Now were going to get rid of you. (4731) 4732 Q: So with that said Jose, how do you feel this latest suspension affects your own credibility now? 4738 Canseco: I dont think its about my credibility. I think its just, its about telling a story about my life in general. (4746) People touch upon the steroid issue. Its only like one or two chapters of my book and theres like 23 chapters. And its just ah, a baseball players life growing up, being a minority, coming from Cuba, my parents struggling it there, making it here in the United States, and being able to change baseball twice, and its fascinating. (4810)
Chip Bayers (hotwired) Fri 5 Aug 05 22:29
Howard, I don't know why you're getting angry with my posts when you're the one who strongly implied that Palmeiro's improvement at the plate after May 29 was directly attributable to his steroid use. "Since then, with the steroids still in his system, he went on a tear. People use them, because they help. A lot." To answer <vard>'s question, I have never been particularly exercised about the WOSD. In general, though, I'm a pretty strong civil libertarian, which is only reinforced, I supposed, by my experiences as a journalist. And as a journalist who is not reporting on this subject everyday but who is trying to understand it, I have been incredibly frustrated by the utter lack of reliable information when it comes to understanding exactly what steroids do for baseball players, or why I should care. I mean, take the Canseco comments about metabolites: I take it the Crusader crowd has already dismissed his remarks, although in very Ron Ziegler-esque language. "Rhetorical nonsense," is Gary Wadler's response, according to ESPN tonight. But can Gary Wadler or anyone point me to the study that shows what the testing results are for long-time steroid users years after they've cycled off the drugs? As Howard himself said tonight to Bob Ley, "this whole thing is a wreck right now." The confidentiality of the testing process has been utterly violated, both openly and through the rumor mill Howard describes in his Matt Stair's anecdote. The witch hunt impulse of the media, already at a fever pitch, has gone off the charts. Congress pursuing a perjury charge just cements the odor of McCarthyism in the whole thing. I love a good illustrative anecdote, both as a writer and as a reader. The problem is that, as the cliche has it, the plural of anecdote is not data. I know from reading Howard's book, and from his comments again tonight on ESPN, that he believes that the "steroid era" is really about a host of other factors. The conversation should really be about that, and about whether the past ten years of Selig baseball is really that different, culturally or ethically, from the previous 120 years of MLB play. But it's not right now.
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