Tom Verducci, respected baseball writer and talking head, wrote an article earlier this week about why he won’t vote for any known steroid users for the Hall of Fame. That’s a fine premise, really, and even though I clearly disagree, I can’t rail against the mind-set too vigorously. It’s fair, I guess.
What I can rail against are the specifics of Verducci’s article because, you know, I have both the time and awareness for nuance. Without going full FJM-style, here are a few things to chew on:
At one point, Verducci compares Fred McGriff to Barry Bonds, wondering what would have happened if McGriff went to BALCO and Bonds did not, going so far as to jerry-rig a virtual final stat line for each player. Okay, fine. The kicker is that Bonds would have still out-homered the Crime Dog, 599 to 564, and that’s without mentioning the obvious: that Bonds was a world-class outfielder and base runner and that McGriff, despite his full endorsement of Tom Emanski’s fielding videos, was a sub-par defensive first baseman with 72 career stolen bases.
The Padres’ offense is bad. This much we know. Well, we know the Padres offense is performing poorly. Some, perhaps most, of the Padres offense might also be bad. That statement is less concrete because baseball is complicated.
When things don’t go the way we expect, we tend to look for answers. That’s life. What is also life, is accepting answers that may we may not completely understand, because having an answer–any answer–helps us feel better.
Yasmani Grandal and Everth Cabrera were punished last season for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. This season, they’re not hitting as well as we hoped they would. Once answer to why that may be is that our hopes for them were false. Because the two were caught using PEDs, their actual level of talent may be lower than we thought, due to false expectations set by the drugs.
This got an old friend of ours thinking out loud on Twitter, in his usual voice of brutal honesty:
It got me thinking too. Rather than just sort of guessing I decided to take a look at some things I think could indicate a drop in power, which seems like something that would happen if that player’s previous seasons were fueled by steroids.
The Hall of Fame faces a credibility problem. Despite an abundance of worthy candidates, voters failed to induct anyone in 2012. After welcoming players with questionable credentials (e.g., Jim Rice over several similar players; Bruce Sutter, who wasn’t that much better than John Wetteland) in recent years, they denied entry to the game’s brightest superstars, thus diminishing the impact and relevance of an institution that serves to celebrate baseball’s rich history.
Steroids played a role. Or, the writers’ response to steroids played a role. Either way, their failure to act created a backlog of players who deserve to be honored in Cooperstown. With many more added to the ballot in 2013 and a limit of 10 selections per voter, some will be denied again. Others, who merit a longer look, risk failing to reach the minimum number of votes required to stay on future ballots.
There is an irony in writers who covered baseball during the so-called Steroid Era now denying entry to stars of that era. It’s as though the cloud of suspicion that hangs over those stars never existed while they were playing. As though nobody (aside from the occasional Steve Wilstein) thought to inquire into steroid usage until well after the chemically enhanced home-run delirium that helped baseball recover from a costly mid-’90s work stoppage had subsided. Read More…
After some computer issues delayed things last week on my end and Mike “no work computer good”, Melvin stepped up and edited the podcast like a boss.
In this episode we discuss the many nicknames of Chris Denorfia, our expectations of the Padres going forward, steroid talk and discuss our Ben Higgins interview (that will be posted this week, as I plan on getting a new computer today).
If you have any questions or comments, go ahead and leave them down below or e-mail us.