Sunday, December 16, 2007

Okay...... Time for my take on steroids/h-g-h and Pettitte

I've sat around for a couple of days on all of this and then I saw Michael Giltz's blog on Huffington today and felt compelled to respond.

For me, this all starts with a basic question. Why do we or in this case I watch sports?? I view sports as entertainment. I view sports the same way I would watching a Russell Crowe movie. I go to be entertained. Athletes should not be put up as role models for children. Former NBA great Charles Barkley said this best years ago when he said "I am not a role model."

It's been said throughout much of this steroids investigation that its important to rid the sports world of steroids because of the message it sends to our Nations youth. I agree with this. But the messages our children get shouldn't be from Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. The messages our children get need to be from the home or from the school. If you rely on pro athletes to be the message of whats right or wrong in the world, then you get what you deserve.

For those that believe this is the worst scandal of all-time in baseball(such as my dear friend Michael Giltz), I would suggest they need to do a little more research. The "Black Sox Scandal" of the early 1900's was far worse. Players from the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinatti Reds is slightly worse than an era where multiple people were using performance enhancing drugs. Why??Eight players were banned for life and the game was rocked to its core. While this current scandal is big, it doesn't rise to the level of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Some players used and some players didn't. But who won and lost wasn't ultimately determined by who used H-G-H or steroids. If you can factually determine that World Series were won and lost based on who was using (especially when you don't know everyone that was using and when they were using) then we can have a conversation about it. But until then, stop calling this the worst scandal to ever rock baseball.

Sports is entertainment. I go to games when I want to be entertained. Sometimes I get to see good games and I am entertained and sometimes I go and see a game that is boring and filled with a lack of hitting and lots of errors and I leave feeling unfulfilled. The same way I feel if I go to see a bad movie or Broadway show. It's entertainment. You choose to go or not go. Nobody twists your arm and says you have to go and see a baseball game from your seat in a luxury box or your seat in the bleachers. If you feel so strongly that what has happened in baseball is so terrible, then you won't go to the game. Otherwise, your giving the same lip service that Commissioner Bud Selig has been giving for years on the steroid matter. Your going to continue going to the game but bitch and moan all the way through it?? That seems to contradict your feelings on the game. Why would you spend the money to support a franchise that knowingly employs cheats and destroys the integrity of the game??

I'm disappointed in whats happened to the game of baseball. It's not the game I grew up watching and chances are, it never will be again. This is the new era of baseball and you need to choose to except it for what it is or find some other way to spend the 3 or 4 hours you spend 60 to 80 days per year. In fact, to someone like Michael Giltz who feels so jilted and betrayed by whats happened, I would suggest going to watch high school sports. If you truly just want to watch athletes playing for the love of the game and nothing more, you can do it for next to nothing at nearly every high school in America. Otherwise, start understanding that professional sports is just that. It's a profession, where people make money, but also make mistakes. A profession where bosses are looking at the bottom line and in the process, do things that go against the morals we were brought up with. Guess what Michael?? It happens everyday in every line of work. It doesn't make it right and I am not justifying it.

You didn't like the way Andy Pettitte apologized?? I agree that it was half-assed but the only way to really send a message is to NOT GO TO THE GAMES!! You punish the ownership by not giving them your hard-earned money and you send a message to the players that you have had enough. Then again, you doing that is about as realistic as the chances of Andy Pettitte giving the sort of apology you are expecting.


Michael in New York said...

Lots to respond to. Good, cynical post. First, today's NYTimes describes the steroid problem in high schools, estimating that well over 500,000 high school students have abused steroids (their actual guess is 700,000 or more so half a million is extremely conservative). Athletes are not role models as such. Kids should not be looking to basketball players or football players about how to live their lives. But it's perfectly reasonable to expect kids to look to professional athletes when wondering HOW TO PLAY SPORTS. Tiger Woods takes 200 swings a day? Hmm, maybe I should. Another player eats all natural foods and eliminates meat? Huh. Someone else uses yoga? Maybe that'll work for me. And when it comes to playing the sport of baseball, that's the one thing I DO expect of players -- they play the game the way it's meant to be played. Fairly. Without cheating. And without breaking federal laws and abusing their bodies to do so. I'm gonna have to leave multiple posts.

Michael in New York said...

2. Is this the worst scandal of all time? Obviously, Jason knew perfectly well I'm familiar with the Black Sox Scandal (if nothing else, he can be certain I'd seen Eight Men Out). That is in fact the gold standard for baseball scandals. Is this worse? I think so. It's hard to top throwing the World Series. But they tarnished one World Series, one year, and paid a huge price for it and rightly so -- doesn't matter if they "tried" (and I mean you, Shoeless joe, you in the cornfield), accepting the bribe was an unforgivable sin as far as getting into the Hall of Fame or playing the game ever again is concerned. I can forgive you on a personal level but don't think you belong in the Hall. But this scandal has tarnished untold numbers of games and World Series competitions for more than a decade. It has trashed the record books, turning accomplishments like single season home run records et al into jokes. It involves many hundreds of people, and without exaggeration it looks like AT LEAST 20% of the players in this era cheated in one form or another. The entire Yankee dynasty of the 90s is tainted, unless you want to joke that the playing field was level because EVERYONE cheated. it's certainly a debatable point, but Jason you are the only public figure who doesn't at least think the two are comparable. Just like you were alone when I was aghast over A-Rod's opting out during the World Series, you mocked my indignation and then say EVERYONE else agree with me and take him to task. At least admit you are in a distinct minority of thinking this scandal doesn't come close. it doesn't mean you're wrong and I agree absolutely it's a valid debate. But you act as if I'm CRAZY to suggest it. Nope, I'm not.

Michael in New York said...

Sports is entertainment -- Absolutely, but it's entertainment based on watching people demonstrate their skill on a level playing field under the same set of rules. Yeah, if you bowled against me, you might spot me 100 points (God knows I'd need 'em). But in professional sports, the fun is knowing that the winner is based on creating as fair an environment as possible. This ain't pro wrestling where it's all a joke and everyone knows it. The Olympics understands this. Don't you? It's no FUN if teams or players have an unfair advantage, it's no FUN if one tennis player throws the match for $50,000 from the Russian mob, it's not FUN if some injured players cheat and use HGH to get back onto the field quicker, it's no FUN if some players feel obliged to risk their health and break the law just to stay on a major league roster because they suspect the other guys on the bubble are doing the same. I don't like watching porn because of the violent ugly world those 'actors" live in (they almost always were abused as kids, kicked out of their homes, beaten, homeless, poor, drug addicted and so on -- you just don't get healthy, unabused well-balanced people diving into the porn industry, at least not the vast majority of them) and for the same reason I wouldn't enjoy sports if people in it felt pressured to break the law and risk their health to do so. Don't you feel guilty still enjoying pro wrestling knowing the grotesque body count of dead and dying wrestlers who croak in their 40s and 50s after being discarded by the machine? I do.

Sports is fun and entertaining if and only if everyone plays by the same basic rules. Hell, I wish they'd dump the DH too but as long as everyone agrees on the rules and abides by them, the rules can change.

Michael in New York said...

If I don't quit going to baseball games, I'm a hypocrite -- OK, this is a good broadside. Believe me, I've thought about this very seriously. If Derek Jeter and Jorge and Mo had been caught up in this scandal, I would think very, very strongly about not going to the game for a number of years, just like Jason suggests. The ONLY way things will change is if fans demand it. But there are a lot of ways to demand it -- writing letters, calling, blogging, editorializing, refusing to cheer for players who cheat, signs at the stadium and on and on. Boycotting the game for good would be very drastic. Why don't I leave the Catholic Church? Because it's my Church too and I want to force them to change their idiotic, misguided ways (about gays, priests marrying, women priests etc). If everyone walked away, the Catholic Church would still be supporting slavery and no one would keep an eye on them. Why should I leave baseball? The bums who cheat should leave. But here's a great idea: organizing a boycott of Opening Day. I would gladly skip Opening Day as a symbolic protest and leave my seat empty. That's a good firt step. If you could actually leave a significant number of seats empty at Yankee Stadium and around the country (say 10-20% would be huge, I think), that would be a great way of showing fan unhappiness.

Michael in New York said...

But really, shouldn't you stop going to games? -- Hey, it's not as crazy as you think. If you beleve fans would never walk away from a corrupt, rigged sport filled with fixes, may I introduce you to boxing. It once DOMINATED America the way football and baseball have, it was a major staple in primetime TV until rigging and cheating and fractured championships and deaths in the ring and older players finding out they had slurred speech and couldn't think straight took th e fun out of it. The same could absolutely happen to baseball. Nothing lasts forever.

Turn my game into a joke and eventually I will walk away.

Michael in New York said...

I need to just accept things as they are -- Uh, no I don't. Cheating is wrong. Little kids no it. Adults used to know it. It's not that complicated and it should stop. It's against the law, they're risking their long-term health and it's no fun. 20 years from now, when ballplayers start getting all sorts of weird illnesses and dying early because of abusing their bodies with illegal steroids and HGH (which is only legally prescribed for dwarfism and people with AIDS who are wasting away for God's sake, which lets you know what a powerful dangerous drug it is), at least I'll know I tried.

Michael in New York said...

It happens every day in every line of work - Actually, no it doesn't. Most people aren't low down dirty cheats who break federal laws and risk their health. When was the last time you broke a serious law Jason? Have you carted out computer equipment from Sirius because hey, everyone's doing it? Do you take kickbacks from people in order to agree to interview them on the air? Do you exchange lines of coke for adding a song to the Top 40? No, I didn't think so. The vast majority of people are not sleazy or desperate cheaters and crooks. The vast majority of people would NOT risk their lives and their health and going to jail to "gain an edge" at work. Yes, everyone "cheats" sometimes; we're not saints. Everyone has to live by their own moral code (I see absolutely nothing wrong with smoking pot any more than people thought twice about drinking alcohol during Prohibition -- though I tend to buy pot only from people who grow it themselves and aren't involved in meth or crack or cocaine and so on because it is an industry soaked in blood).

Michael in New York said...

I do enjoy high school sports, but what with all the court orders it's hard to keep straight where I'm allowed to go. In fact, I think a big reason I'm not into football or basketball or hockey (too much punk ass fighting) is for exactly the rigged, grotesque where's the love of the game aspects Jason talks about. Pro football just isn't fun knowing these monsters are doping up and crushing each other. I don't even enjoy college football because it's NOT college football -- it's not kids going to college and getting a degree who also play sports. It's a minor league system funneling players to the NFL and otherwise chewing up and spitting out people who rarely get a chance to even get a degree. (Personal choice, yeah, but when they start passing you in classes you should fail at 12 years old because you're a heck of a running back, it's hard to develop that personal responsibility). Maybe that's why I love tennis (which is so old fashioned, it's just starting it's own Black Sox scandal with games being tossed, albeit minor early round games). Maybe that's why I like NASCAR where teams are aggressively monitored. Maybe that's why I like "minor" sports like collegiate wrestling (where it really is about the love of the game since even thre greatest wrestlers of all time don't get to cash in) and OLympic sports like ice skating and gymnastics and swimming, where there is money to be made but I know the rules are more stringent than anywhere else. Maybe that's why I love bullriding, where people can makes hundreds of thousands of dollars but still it seems somehow more innocent and they've got strong guidelines and medical oversight and where steroids wouldn't help a ton (but HGH sure would). These "minor" sports seem purer to me, just like minor league baseball is a ton of fun.

Michael in New York said...

It comes down to this, Jason. -- But when I play Jason in tennis, I KNOW he's not going to call balls out that he believes are good just to "gain and edge." I KNOW Jason isn't going to sneak over the baseline when serving because he knows I can't call foot faults from where I'm standing. Jason knows he can trust me to play fair as well. The game wouldn't be fun if we did anything else. And I wouldn't respect him if he cheated and he wouldn't respect me. How hard is that to understand?

Jason Page said...

Okay, lets take this one post at a time..... Yikes...... This could take a while.

It certainly is NOT worse than the Black Sox scandal and I don't believe the majority feel the way you do. You can factually tell what happened in the Black Sox scandal. There really is no way to gauge how this impacted games. Because for all the players that have used performance enhancing drugs and played well, there are even more who used them and went out of the game with little or no impact. Do I think it's a big scandal?? Yes. Is it as big as the Black Sox scandal. I still say absolutely not. People can read up on both and come to their own conclusions.

It's not a joke to note that it was a level playing field because everyone cheated. It's a variable that you have to take into consideration when you look at the total equation.

For instance, you make this rediculous blanket statement that the Yankees entire dynasty is tainted. Where do you get this stuff?? Give me one player on the 1996 roster who has been accused or found of doing anything wrong dating back to 1996. The fact of the matter is YOU CAN'T!!!

Lets go to 1998. Another Yankees World Series. Again, not a player on this roster is known to have done anything wrong. Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and Andy Pettitte didn't use anything until after the year 2000.

Now in 1999, Roger Clemens joins the Bombers. He goes 14-10 and pitches to a 4.60 ERA. First, if you read the Mitchell Report there is nothing that says Clemens used anything illegal in 1999. And frankly, if you believe the Mitchell report in its entirety, he certainly pitched to a pretty average tune. But if you want to use the argument(and I figure you would) that Clemens was still using in 1999, well you can say Juan Gonzalez was using as well. One for the Rangers and one for the Yankees.

You have a better argument about the 2000 World Series team, except that players on the Yankees are mentioned as are players from the Mets.

If your that cynical about the era in which the Yankees won their World Series, in addition to the World Series that have followed and the records that have fallen during this "dark cloud" of baseball is simple:

**They took place during the performance enhancing drugs era of baseball.**

Just like the era of baseball where nobody hit more than a few home runs in baseball is noted as the dead ball era and so on.

Is what happened serious?? Absolutely. Am I upset that it happened?? Absolutely. But its hard to put a value on whose cheating impacted what games when you don't know who is using and who isn't. You have 80-something names and thats it. If at least 20% were using "the juice" in some way, then it makes it even harder to know what exactly has been impacted. In the case of the Black Sox, we know everything about what happened and how it impacted the game.

Michael, you can rationalize it all you want, but SPORTS IS ENTERTAINMENT. It's not entertainment based on A,B and C as you try to argue. And from the entertainment perspective, its often about much less than winning and losing. At the end of the night, you might be disappointed that the Yankees lost a game to the Red Sox, but in reality, if you saw a great game that night with fantastic defense and some great hits and base-running, then you're probably more likely to remember that in the long run than the fact that the Yankees lost.

For you to say that it's no fun if players and teams have an unfair advantage is absurd. Even without talking about steroids, you can make the argument that the Yankees have an ufair advantage over other teams. Hmmmm.... Lets count the advantages. Playing in the largest market, with the largest fan-base, with their own TV network, more money at their disposal and so-on. Guess what, many of those advantages I just mentioned are just as unfair but aren't addressed by baseball. Everyone doesn't play by the basic same rules. You still seem to enjoy the games just fine from what I remember when the Yankees can spend over $200 million dollars to field a team while the Royals can't.

As for your argument on pro wrestling, I don't feel bad for adults who make a achoice to abuse their bodies and the ramifications that come with that. It's called accountability and you have to live with the consequences of those choices, both good and bad.

As I keep readin, my laughing grows expedentially. So only because Pettitte used steroids, you'll continue going to Yankee games. So some cheating is acceptable to you. For all you know the other players you mentioned as having not cheated, DID CHEAT. You just may not know it. They could be part of the 20% that we don't know about. You say fans need to demand it. Guess what Michael?? They won't in large enough numbers to change anything. Baseball attendance is still as high as ever and thats because fans are being entertained when they go to games. But again, if you feel the way you do, then you should be giving up your season tickets to someone who doesn't feel as strongly as you. Symbolic protests are laughable. All it means is someone from the left-field bleachers will be stealing your seat. ;-) And seeing as you think this could be or is the worst scandal in baseball history, I don't believe its too "drastic" to stop going to games altogether.

Your point on boxing is a little off the mark. While it has something to do with what you have said, things like the U-F-C and a lack of marketable personalities in the sport have much more to do with the decline of boxing. The recent De La Hoya vs. Mayweather and Mayweather vs. Hatton fights prove why your theory is wrong. Those two fighst drew huge crowds both in person and on pay-per-view because you had great fights with great personalities. There are few of those combinations for boxing these days.

Cheating is cheating. Its not complicated..... Well yes and no. Thats a pretty narrow way of looking at things. For example, lets say your on staff full-time writing for a weekly magazine. For the sake of argument we'll use Sports Illustrated. You make a healthy salary but there are several guys at this competitive magazine "cheating" to get ahead. Even though they are cheating, they are doing so in a way where they are unlikely to get caught as its really hard to prove. So they keep on "cheating" and soon you could be out of a job if you don't start to employ the same tactics they are. Are you not going to at least consider employing those same tactics if not even using those same methods to get ahead?? If you can honestly say NO to that question then you are in the vast minority and I would commend you.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news Michael, but cheating does take place everywhere. Like you say, cheating is cheating, whether its breaking a federal law(which by the way, the guys who take the H-G-H are usually never arrested while the dealers are, which just goes to show how serious a crime it is to use it) or not going to court for a speeding ticket, cheating is cheating. Whether its doctoring a baseball or taking H-G-H, cheating is cheating. Have I ever grabbed a few extra blank CD's on my way out the door at Sirius for use at home?? Absolutely. Guess I am a cheat as well.

Smoking pot is a crime which you acknowledge using with your own reasoning as to why. Well why can't someone else employ their own logic or reasoning as to why they use an illegal substance?? Maybe I am crazy.

Anyways Michael, some food for thought. And let me know when your ready to give up those season tickets in the bleachers. I wouldn't mind taking them off your hands.


priv8pete said...

"I don't even enjoy college football because it's NOT college football -- it's not kids going to college and getting a degree who also play sports. It's a minor league system funneling players to the NFL and otherwise chewing up and spitting out people who rarely get a chance to even get a degree."

Allow me to introduce you to DIII sports! Division III football is the highest level of purely amateur football in the world as there are no athletic scholarships in D3. Plus, D3 has the largest football tournament in the world as well (American football that is. The FA Cup is probably the largest real football tourney).

Anyway, if you're looking for a team, I present to you the Alfred University Saxons! There's room for you in the AU Pep Band and we get free admission to all games and $5 worth of consessions at home games. On Saxon Warriors!

dasnootz said...

If you want to see sports at the most pure level, I suggest you travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After you leave the airport, ask the cab driver to take you to the Club Gallistico.

Club Gallistico is Puerto Rico's premiere cock fighting ring. No HGH, no andro and most importantly... no excuses.

Michael in New York said...

Jason --- Buy my bleacher tickets? I gave you an opportunity two years ago and you got bored halfway through the season and didn't pony up, you cheap bastard! You can buy bleacher tickets, too, dude.

I respect your belief that the Black Sox scandal is worse. But it's certainly a valid argument that this one is. You say we can't know who did what (anyone pretending to parse out how many Clemens victories are tainted is an idiot). But that's exactly what's so horrible about this scandal. It affects every game for 15 to 20 years and we'll never know in what ways. At least with the Black Sox scandal we know exactly which games were affected. The Yankee Dynasty of the 90s is tainted because EVERY team in the 90s is tainted. The Mitchell Report named 80+ people based on only two basic sources. That means TONS more players were involved. I don't know why this doesn't bother the players who don't cheat more -- all their accomplishments (including Derek Jeter's) are suspect because we just don't know if they were cheating like so many people around them or how they benefited from that cheating. True, you'll never know that about anyone in any sport but when you KNOW cheating was rampant in an era, it colors everything. Until there's a cheating scandal in bull riding, I feel safe in considering the game pretty legit.

There is no comparison between the dead ball era and the steroids era because not everyone was playing by the same rules. Everyone had to deal with the same dead balls but not everyone was willing to cheat and risk their health.

I don't get your "sports is entertainment" argument so it doesn't matter if people cheat. the joy of professional sports is seeing people push their bodies and talents to the limit and accomplishing remarkable feats. If they cheat by using a corked bat or steroids or whatever, they're NOT accomplishing remarkable feats because those feats wouldn't be possible without cheating. A friend of mine took his son to see Mark McGwire hit a home run in that magical season and promised the kid they'd go to the Hall of Fame when McGwire was inducted. Now, they both feel like schmucks for having cheered on a fraud. Is that so hard to understand? McGwire claimed to be breaking a remarkable record thanks to his skill and determination. But in fact he could only do it by cheating.

Then you say there are lots of unfair advantages, like the Yankee payroll. That's rich, since I am virtually alone in our group complaining about the Yankees payroll and saying it cheapens their accomplishments. Usually I get mocked by you and others for suggesting our bloated payroll is an embarrassment. I am deeply concerned about large market teams dominating small ones, about the seeming inferiority of the National League, too much expansion and everything else that contributes to imbalance. I'm glad there's the salary cap and repeatedly argue for lowering our salary cap. When I used our payroll as a reason for not signing A-Rod and/or Santana, you basically laughed. NONETHELESS, baseball is constantly tweaking the rules to try and correct these imbalances, the Yankees are following the rules and everyone knows exactly how much they are spending on payroll. If the Yankees somehow kept their payroll lower y secretl funneling money to A-Rod via some backdoor scheme, I would be furious and they would deserve massive penalties. The rules can always be improved but in the case of payroll, the Yankees ain't breaking any.

I suggested guilt over pro wrestling not because you're responsible for their decisions but because of knowingly supporting an industry where that type of health risk and personal abuse is rampant, a la the porn industry. Obviously, we can't check the salaries of every fruit picker but people do buy fair trade coffee and sometimes makes efforts to make sure they're not supporting viciously bad industries. The pro wrestling of the 90s and early 2000s as bodies piled up and the industry ignored it was worthy of contempt.

Re: Pettitte. NO some cheating is not acceptable to me. I can find it in my heart to forgive Pettitte someday if in fact I decide to believe he only cheated briefly once (and if he makes a real apology). But that has forever besmirched my admiration for him. I never liked Roger Clemens. But I have a core of Yankee players I loved, mainly Pettitte, Jeter, Mo, Posada, Tino, Paulie and so on. I'll NEVER know how many of them cheated which I wish bothered them as much as it bothered me. If Jeter and Mo and Posada had been named in the report, that would have devastated me and I sincerely think I might have walked away from the game for a few years out of disgust. I don't know that they're innocent but there's nothing in their numbers to make me suspect. I don't give them a pass; I can't. But it's pretty easy to see the difference between knowing one beloved player cheated and knowing five or six on the dynasty cheated. That would be a much bigger blow. The fact that most of the players I cared about weren't in the report doesn't exonerate them but obviously it's not as upsetting.

Boxing -- individual match-ups can still generate coin and excitement. But boxing is a shadow of what it was in the 50s. Even in the 80s boxing wasn't nearly as dominant as it used to be. Today it is nothing. The sport is dead and young people watch ultimate fighting. A boxer might spark some interest but the sport is probably irevocably over and it will NEVER dominate the landscape the way it did in the first half of the 20h century. Surely you know that. So any sport can fall out of favor if the product is cheapened enough. People in entertainment know that.

Michael in New York said...

Pete and Dasnootz -- excellent suggestions. Now if only their games were carried on TV. Plus, our neighbor in South Florida worked in construction or something but made most of his income by playing poker (old school, in person w other people) and gambling on cock fights. I think his Spanish was really good by the time he retired.

Michael in New York said...

Jason -- Cheating is rampant. Few people are saints who go through life and never do something they regret or would like to do over. But cheating is not rampant. Smoking pot is not "cheating" in the moral sense. It's breaking a law but it's not cheating. I used it as an example of the fact that everyone lives by their own moral code.

Answer this one question: do you cheat when you compete in bowling? Would you use a speciallly rigged ball that could go straighter and was undetectable but against the rules? Would you wax down your lane in advance to make it easier for you or harder for your opponents? Would you pay the manager to turn on magnets installed under the alley so your metallic ball could be guided towards a strike? Just answer me if you would do any of these things while competing in your bowling tournaments? And how would you feel if you discovered your competitors were?

Jason Page said...

As far as bowling is concerned, your argument is completely invalid. None of those things can be done. Not to mention that in tournaments, every ball is tested before bowlers compete. By the way, it's oil........ Not wax.

Jason Page said...

Cheap bastard?? I was barely able to afford my rent. Its called priorities. And yes, when you cover sports for a living, you do tend to get bored by it at times. I wouldn't expect you to understand that. And frankly, given your comments and distain for the steroids scandal, according to you the worst scandal ever, you should give up your tickets. Your willingness to still give your money to a game where cheating will remain rampant(no test for H-G-H) is hypocritical, whether you'd like to face that reality or not.

Again, I can simply look at the 90's and beyond as the "performance enhancing drugs era of baseball." Frankly, that era is continuing as long as there is no test for H-G-H. I take it for what it is and move on. But I'm not gonna cry and moan and whine and say "Boo Hoo, all these guys cheated and the game is ruined forever!!" while at the same time going to the games and putting money in the pockets of owners and General Managers who looked the other way all these years.

When Matt Holiday gets picked off at first base in game 3 or 4 of the World Series by Jonathan Paplebon, it has nothing to do with performance enhancing drugs. I can still appreciate those aspects of the game without letting the steroids era diminish my love for the game. I'm not going to lose sleep over who used and who didn't. Do I wonder a bit?? Sure I do. But I am still going to enjoy the game for what it is. It's entertainment for me and most of the people that watch it. Like I said to you before, people will still flock to stadiums in large numbers to watch games. Thats probably more of an indictment on our society than anything else. But it is what it is. These guys are knowingly putting these things into their bodies and one day they will suffer the consequences(perhaps not though) from doing so.

I have NEVER said that "sports is entertainment" so it doesn't matter if people cheat If you can find that statement in any of my musings then present it. Otherwise, stop writing something that has never been itimated by yours truly. I am not happy with the owners, players or the Magoo like Commish, but the games are still entertaining. And you sir are in the minority of people who won't still find it entertaining in light of the current scandal. People will still go to games and they will still be leaving happy with the product.

If I were you and I were so consumed by this scandal and felt so angry and disappointed, I would stop going to games. If every time a player came up I would be wondering whether or not he used and the impact that it would have on the game, then I guess it wouldn't be entertaining and I would stay home and play solitaire.

By the way, stop putting statistics up as the barometer for knowing who was using and who wasn't. Thats the most short-sighted way of looking at this thing. Did F.P. Santangelo's numbers soar?? How bout Larry Bigbie?? And what about Glenallen Hill?? I could go all night Michael. Stats aren't the only way of knowing who has been using and who has. To say your favorite players haven't been using by looking at their stats is rediculous.

Your right, smoking pot is not cheating, but you like to throw in the fact that players are breaking the law with their steroid use. Well guess what?? Smoking pot is breaking the law too. Are they cheating and getting an edge?? Sure they are. But when arguing that what they are doing is so bad, stop throwing in the "law-breaking" aspect of it when you have no problem with your own drug use.(even if it is just a dance with Mary-Jane)

As for my laughing at the arguments you've made in the past over the yankees payroll, thats for an entirely different reason. Its an imbalance thats not going to be fixed. There will never be a hard cap like we see in the NHL, NBA and NFL. So I've given up on it. But to pretend it doesn't create an unfair advantage is silly. Like I said, you still manage to enjoy the game knowing the Royals will never be able to compete with the Yankees.

So when will you be giving up those tickets again?? ;-)

Michael in New York said...

Jason, forget the tactics. Choose any sport you want. Would you cheat while playing it? Would you cheat me in tennis if you knew you could get away with it? You know I'm not gonna know if a ball close to the baseline was out or good. No one else is around. Would you cheat? Come up with any basic scenario you like. Would you cheat? The answer is no, I'll bet.

Michael in New York said...

I was teasing about the cheap bastard stuff of course. And yes I can understand how you could get bored with covering sports 24/7. Believe me, I see enough movies a year to know how sick you can get of covering something.

You wrote several times "sports is entertainment" in the context of an argument about the importance of this scandal. I read that to mean cheating isn't such a big deal when all we want is to be entertained. If we like seeing home runs, who cares if it's because of a corked bat or a lively ball or steroids or stealing signs. Home runs are fun! how else are we supposed to interpret your repeated statement that "sports is entertainment" in a post about cheating where you repeatedly say it's bad but not THAT big a deal and mock people like me by saying we run around going "boo hoo."

Statistics are not THE baromoter for knowing who is cheating. It's just one of many things you can look at and not a terribl reliable one. You once argued vociferously that Clemens did NOT drop in quality starts and I was wrong to suggest he had and therefore was a likely cheat. I assumed I had my figures wrong. But I didn't. Clemens suffered the same decline that almost every major league pitcher does as they get older. Then, after four years of winning, 11, 10, 8 and 8 games not in that order) he miraculously jumped back up into the elite tier, then he lost the services of his personal trainer and pusher and dropped right back down again and then he finally was allowed to bring him to the Yankees and BOOM! his stats jumped right back up and Clemens won more games than any other pitcher in baseball over the next two years. In that rare case, the statistics coupld with his ability to work hand in hand with his personal trainer did in fact go against the trend of virtually EVERY major league pitcher in history in their late thirties and 40s and did in fact indicate very strongly that Clemens was a cheat. It's almost never that clear, but denying the evidence there is almost as bad as ignoring the mountain of legal evidence against Bonds and pretending he's still innocent too. No, you can't look at jeter's stats (or A-Rod's stats and KNOW that they're not cheating). But at least there are no red flags, which provides a tiny bit of comfort. (Or it could just mean they've ALWAYS cheated.)

As for the payroll imbalance, I've never pretended it's an unfair advantage, I've encouraged any and all experimentation to limit it and keep the game as much as possible in striking distance for as many teams as possible, such as the tax. I also think there should be a payroll minimum so teams don't field Triple AAA clubs but get funds from big market teams to give them a profit. The more teams that are competitive the better and yes big market teams will always have an advantage but we can minimize that with taxes and minimum payrolls and cutting the number of teams and so on. To suggest I ever turned a blind eye to the Yankee salary is absurd.

Michael in New York said...

Finally, you say repeatedly and aggressively that if I'm really upset than my only recourse is to quit going to games for good. That's ridiculous. I love baseball and I want the game rid of cheating as much as possible so I should just stop going to games? I love my country. Should I have fought to end slavery or was I being a hypocrite for living in the North when slavery was still around. Other people love the US today. Are they hypocrites for getting married legally when many Americans can't? It's silly -the world isn't perfect but the answer is not to walk away. The answer is to fight for what you believe in and make things better. I never said once that this scandal would ruin forever any and every aspect of the game I love. The scandal did not begin today. It began in the 90s and has been obvious for years. I've argued against Giambi and Sheffield and refused to applaud them during the roll call and I've written letters to the Yankees decrying their knowingly keeping cheats on the payroll and done everything else I can to push to make the game I love better. That means I'm a hypocrite if I go to the Stadium and have fun? No, that means the people who pretend to be fans but don't know the first thing about the team and don't care about cheating are the hypocrites. They're the ones who don't appreciate the nuances. They're the ones who come to two games a year and shout out curses at other teams and act offended when everyone in the bleachers doesn't immediately echo every dumb chant they've heard while watching the game on TV. They're the morons who think home runs are the most exciting thing ever and cheer a solo shot home run when we're down by six in the eighth instead of knowing that a double would probably have been better. They're the problem. Not me.

Jason Page said...

Comparing the fight to end slavery and the fight to rid baseball of steroids really shows how out of touch with reality you are on this issue.

I also have some more news for you Michael. Performance enhancing drugs have been used going a lot further back than the 90's. Amphetamines and things of the like were being used when Willie Mays was playing ball. This isn't a new problem. Its just done with different drugs now. Players have been seeking that "edge" for a long time and they always will.

This idea that I condone cheating for the sake of sports being entertainment is beneath me. I just know what I have the power to change and what I don't. I'm not gonna whine and pout about it forever while still going to the games because whether you believe it or not, that is hypocritical. If I felt as strongly as you, I wouldn't go to another game. It's all rigged and fake anyways. So why bother going?? As I said and will say again, you will be in the vast minority in your outrage from the "fan" perspective. Will there be consequences in terms of HOF voters?? Thats a different story and one thats interesting to discuss.

Keep thinking you have the moral high ground on this. Meanwhile the rest of us are getting altitude sickness.......

Michael in New York said...

Again, you said, repeatedly, that "sports is entertainment." I'm sorry if I misunderstood what you meant by that. What did you mean by that? It did seem to say, yeah, cheating is bad, but it's not like we're talking about politics or war or something. As for making the comparison to gay marriage and slavery, obviously those are extreme examples to make a point. But to suggest that because I care, because I actually love the game and understand the nuances and know that a double or a walk can be just as exciting -- heck more exciting than - a home run, because I loe it so much I have to walk away? Snd the yahoos who don't really care and will turn to ultimate fighting next week, the people who go twice a year and don't give a fuck if teenagers are destroying their bodies in high school or minor leaguers feel pressured to risk their careers and go to jail just to make the cut, they get to stay and enjoy the game? I don't get that.

Michael in New York said...

Finally, you still haven't answered my question. We're no better or worse than any major leaguer. Would you cheat in tennis or bowling or any other sport in which we were playing each other? Would you? If you thought I was cheating would you just start cheating too or would you decide I was a jerk and not want to play with me anymore? Answer me that. Of COURSE you wouldn't. Why is it so crazy for me to think people who get to play sports for a living and make millions behave the same way? It's not fun for you and me to play tennis is you think I'm lying when I call your ball out. In fact, I played a kid growing up and he used to cheat and I refused to play with him anymore. I wasn't a saint but I sure as hell didn't start doing the same thing. I just thought he was a schmuck and no fun to play with. It's not fun to watch, either. So answer me once and for, WOULD YOU CHEAT ME IN TENNIS IF YOU COULD? EVER?

dasnootz said...

I think you'll find that a lot of people would 'cheat' if they thought they wouldn't/couldn't get caught. It’s largely human nature.

How many people have ever looked at somebody else's answer sheet when taking a test, or used a cheat-sheet? Was there ever a night in school where you didn't read your required reading and asked a friend to help you out? If so you gained an unfair advantage. I can think of scores of people that programmed formulas or definitions into graphic calculators in college and high school.

The legality of the offense isn’t necessarily a valid argument in my opinion. How many waitresses, bartenders, cab drivers etc, chose not to declare all of their tips on their taxes? How many cash sales never get recorded? I’m willing to bet that the majority of small businesses at one time or another have hidden income from the IRS. It’s an illegal action that’s done to get a leg up, but does it make the offender a bad person?... I guess that depends on the eyes of the observer.

I like to think that I'm generally a good person, but I'm on above taking advantage of some situations... it's just a matter of how high or low you're willing to set the bar.

From a personal observance, I've found that people that preach about morals and ethics tend to have the deepest closets.

dasnootz said...

The second to last paragraph of the above post should read "I'm not above---"

Jason Page said...

Well said Dasnootz on the people who set the high moral bar having the deepest closets.

Michael, you're talking apples and oranges in terms of would I cheat in a friendly game of tennis with you or cheating at bowling versus guys playing for seven-figure contracts. Thats what you don't get. You or I can't possibly relate to the pressures that come with playing for those amounts of dollars. You can say it's all relative, but thats just a cliche. You and I couldn't grasp what its like. So would I cheat playing tennis against you?? NO. But in the end it has little to do with this discussion.

Then there is this:

"because I actually love the game and understand the nuances and know that a double or a walk can be just as exciting -- heck more exciting than - a home run"


Thats your opinion. As is your right to think that this scandal is worse than the Black Sox scandal and so on. But in the end, I think we actually only disagree on the what all this means for the game and how to interpret not only whats happened over the past 10 years but what will continue to happen without proper testing for H-G-H. I will still enjoy the game just the same. You won't.

It's really as simple as that.

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