Friday, December 14, 2007

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

Performance Enhancing Drugs Edition

When People Try to Seem Clever By Reluctantly Agreeing that their Favorite Player Probably Did Use Steroids or HGH But Then Say That There's No Evidence That Steroids Help You Do Better at Baseball, So It Really Doesn't Matter Anyway.

Are you people serious? Are you that naive and helplessly devoted to the heroes of your youth that you can't admit that some of them are flawed, tax-evading, adulterous cheating-at-baseball jerks? Is your grip on reality so tenuous that to admit such a thing would crush your consciousness like an egg shell?

People who do steroids do them because STEROIDS MAKE YOU BETTER. They can't make you good but they can make you better. If you were naturally slated for a career with the Toledo Mud Hens then steroids will get you a few years with the Chicago White Sox. If you were naturally slated for a few years with the Kansas City Royals then steroids might make you a journeyman who bumps around the Majors for a decade. If you were naturally slated for a solid career with a few All-Star appearances then steroids will make you a perennial All-Star who will garner a few MVP votes in your most productive seasons. If you were naturally slated to be a perennial All-Star who would garner a few MVP votes in your most productive seasons then steroids will make you a two-time MVP with a decent shot at the Hall of Fame. If you were naturally slated to be a two-time MVP with a decent shot at the Hall of Fame then steroids will make you Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. You will break copious amounts of records and win awards with more regularity than most people have bowel movements.

For those that say that steroids don't really affect baseball performance and just affect size, let's look at Barry Bonds' career numbers. From 1986 through the end of the 1999 season Mr. Bonds hit 445 home runs. That's an average of 31.7 home runs per year over fourteen years. Looking at the numbers you would say that Bonds peaked in 1992, 1993 and 1994 when he was in his late twenties. With a few more seasons under his belt Barry could have cracked the 500 home run club even if his power numbers continued to decrease as they had been doing for the last four seasons. That sure sounds like a hall of fame career to me. Doesn't it?

Yet that's when the things skew wildly, culminating in the 73 home run season in 2001. He was 36 at the start of that season. 36 is old in baseball. Really old. AARP old. Bad knees, being traded and finishing your career in a uniform that doesn't make sense old. What Bonds did is literally unbelievable. He had never had a 50 home run season before 2001. He had never had a 60 home run season. He only broke 45 home runs one time. This was more than twice the number of home runs he hit on average per season during the first fourteen years of his career. These numbers have been crunched everywhere so I won't keep going, but you get the message. Right?

So, you should know that I can see through your clever rouse of trying to placate me by conceding that Player X took steroids while remaining defiant about the significance of that fact. I appreciate your willingness to agree with everyone else. That's great, we're all thrilled that you'll concede that point to REALITY. However, you really start grinding my gears when you start talking about how hand-eye coordination and timing and focus and concentration are separate faculties from power and speed and therefore Todd Hundley would have jumped from 15 home runs to 41 in one season whether he was shooting up with steroids or not.

Oh, wait the defensive strategies that you use to protect Clemens and Tejada and McGuire don't apply to a guy like Hundley or Guillermo Mota or Brian Roberts?

Oh, you know why? Because the things you say don't make any sense at all because your overly emotional attachment to the bulky fellow featured in the Costacos Brothers poster on your bedroom wall prevents you from dealing in reason or logic on this issue. And, your unreasonable assertions really grind my gears.

Around the Internets in Eight Minutes

Vintage NBA Video Edition

1) The S.W.A.T. Team

2) The NBA: Where Amazing Happens

3) 3:43 of the Best Dunks Ever

4) The Jovial Enforcer Slaps Pippen in the Face

5) Shawn Kemp Dunking Basketballs

Friday's Starting Five

1) Mario Williams. He is number one in the Starting Five. He was number one on draft day. And apparently he deserves it. He was dominant last night as his Texans beat the Donkeys on NFL network. Williams has 3.5 sacks last night and looks like he is on his way to the Pro Bowl. Meanwhile, the sky is falling on Reggie Bush and it feels like Vince Young has thrown one and a half touchdown passes since Halloween.

2) Frank Thomas. Apparently Thomas was one of the only players who voluntarily cooperated with Mitchell during his investigation. Thomas willingly cooperated and came out smelling like a daisy. If you throw out a few injury plagued seasons, a seemingly clean Frank Thomas might emerge as the best power hitter of his generation. I'm OK with that. Maybe it'll make those rookie cards that I was hording go up a few bucks.

3) Tony Taylor. Who? The first gent to plead guilty in the Vick dogfighting case. He was sentenced to just two months in prison for his role. The other two, non NFL, guys charged received 18 and 21 months respectively.

4) Kobe Bryant. The Lakers beat the Spurs last night. Kobe put up 30 and he is allegedly happy in Los Angeles. All I take that to mean is that he'll still be there when they come to NYC next Sunday.

5) TJ Ford. Thankfully the Raptors guard is OK after getting knocked down very, very hard by Al Horford of the Hawks. After being released from the hospital and flying home to Toronto I hope that someone is having a long talk with him about his future. Not as a ballplayer but as an upright, walking around guy. Ford was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the openings of the vertebra the spinal cord runs through, in 2001. That sounds pretty serious. I'm just saying.