Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Least surprising news ever

So, Sammy Sosa tested positive back in 2003 along with Alex Rodriguez. The news of this comes out only a few short weeks after Sosa went public, lobbying for his place in the Hall of Fame.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes at the beginning of June, Sosa said,

"Everything I achieved, I did it thanks to my perseverance, which is why I never had any long, difficult moments [as a baseball player]. If you have a bad day in baseball, and start thinking about it, you will have 10 more," Sosa said in his first public comments in months.

"I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don't I have the numbers to be inducted?"


"I always played with love and responsibility, and I assure you that I will not answer nor listen to rumors," Sosa said. "If anything ugly comes up in the future, we will confront it immediately, but with all our strength, because I will not allow anybody to tarnish what I did in the field."

Coincidence that his name gets leaked three weeks after he begins to lobby for the Hall? I think not.

The only two places this could be coming from are either the Union, or the Justice Department which forced baseball to turn over the list. My guess is that it's being leaked by someone in Justice.

At this point he can pretty much kiss the Hall goodbye as he definitively has joined the ranks of McGwire, Palmeiro, Clemens, and A-Rod as players whose artificially inflated numbers are being viewed with either increased or overwhelming skepticism.

Typically, I'm not big on comparing players from different eras in baseball, but this is different. Everything is skewed from about 1990ish on. Some players used PEDs, some didn't. But it should change how players are viewed, and this most recent era almost demands we consider how these players would have done in earlier eras. And I don't think they would hold up well.

We have lived through an era that should make anyone who knows the history of the game appreciate those who came before much more. Appreciate Roger Maris and Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth all the more for knowing they did it not only without things like steroids and HGh, but without the diluted pitching that sluggers have faced for the last two decades.

Does anyone really believe that without steroids and facing the likes of Sandy Koufax, or Tom Seaver, or Don Drysdale in their primes that Jason Giambi would have anywhere near the same number of career homers? Barry Bonds? Alex Rodriguez?

We live in an era where pitchers average only about six innings per outing, in spite of the fact that they get an extra day of rest from the five man rotation as opposed to the four man rotation that was popular 40 and 50 years ago. As recently as the 1970's and early 80's a horse was a pitcher who threw 250 to 300 innings in a season. Now if a pitcher hits 200 innings he's the horse of a rotation.

At one point the Orioles had four 20 game winners in one season. There were four in all of baseball last season. That staff (1971 Orioles) also accounted for 70 complete games. Last season it took 21 pitchers to combine for that many complete games.

On a lighter note -

David Ortiz is actually hitting over .300 for the month of June and has raised his batting average by 22 points. I'm still a little skeptical given the fact that he has always hit the Yankees well for his career and he's currently facing the Marlins after facing the Tigers and Rangers. The only one of those teams with decent pitching is Detroit. Otherwise, the Yankees are 26th, the Marlins 22nd, and the Rangers are 17th in team ERA.

I'm not saying that I'm not happy about this streak, I'm just saying that I'm hoping it's not just a streak. I will feel a whole lot better if Ortiz can get that batting average up to around .240, particularly given the fact that I sincerely believe that Varitek will go into his usual cool down mode as summer heats up.

It is possible that facing the weak pitching is exactly what Big Papi needs to break him out of his funk, but give it to the All-Star Break before you get too excited. In other words, be happy for now, but if he takes a hard left turn back to where he was, don't be surprised. I'm hoping he doesn't - call it cautious optimism.

As for the potential of the Sox going to a 6 man rotation - it's something I think might help Daisuke Matsuzaka given that he pitched in a 6 man rotation in Japan. Otherwise, I don't know how beneficial this will be to the rest of the staff given the fact that it looks like everyone else has begun to hit a rhythm.

Final note - The Australian football team on which I play, the Baltimore/Washington Eagles kicked off their season with a 105-15 win over the Columbus (OH) Jackaroos. This upcoming weekend is an off-week before we head on up to New York to play the Magpies in Yonkers.


Teresa said...

Could they just tell me which baseball players aren't on the juice? It would be a shorter list. Another reason why I love little league!

Chris Stone said...

I agree with Teresa. Who isn't on the juice would be more newsworthy.

Its ridiculous that the sports don't do a rigorous testing policy. They are hurting the players on the juice, those that aren't on the juice (as it does seem to help!), and perceptions of sport.