1) Concerning Hall of Fame voting, my buddy Strom sent me this piece from the typically reasonable Bruce Jenkins, longtime SF baseball writer. Jenkins argues that Craig Biggio was a “sterling” player, but not a Hall of Famer. I don’t agree, but the part of the article I wanted to highlight, as Strom did in his email to me, was this:
My time as a traveling beat writer ran from the late ’70s through the late ’80s, and when it came to night games on the road, things got pretty lively. Like rock musicians, players wrapped up their work late – and for a great number of them, including superstars, it was party time. They weren’t about to sleep so soon after playing under pressure before a big crowd. Women flocked to their side. There was alcohol, marijuana and, in many cases, cocaine. They didn’t have to hit the streets; hotel rooms would suffice just fine.
Arriving at the ballpark the next day, the party guys were beat. They’d slept in, but “fresh” wouldn’t be an appropriate description. So they popped an amphetamine, just as big-leaguers had been doing for years, and everything changed. For the next several hours they were supernaturally wired, ready to throw a 3-1 slider to a .350 hitter or step confidently into the box against Goose Gossage. Those little “greenies” made all the difference. They were as vital as oxygen. And you’re telling me that era was “clean”?
When it comes to PED use, there’s just not nearly the clear line that many so fervently wish there were. By all accounts, amphetamines were widespread in baseball for decades, that they are very dangerous when used unsupervised and that they can significantly enhance performance. None of this exonerates known users of the more recently fashionable substances that athletes put in their bodies. But there was likely never a golden age before cheating became prevalent. In that regard, it’d be nice if people dialed back the sanctimony about the so-called steroids era.
2) Joe Posnanski has a good write-up today about 60 Minutes’ piece last night on Bosch and Arod. One part of the piece that I neglected to mention (but did consider *ridiculous* while watching) receives warranted emphasis from Posnanski – the segment cherry-picked to try to show the connection between Bosch’s ministrations and Arod’s successes on the field.
Pelley and 60 Minutes point out that on one date that corresponds with text messages, Rodriguez took these at least one of these gummies. The date was April 6, 2012. Opening Day. Pelley says that Rodriguez had a “great game.” He went two-for-three with two walks, two runs scored and hit a “412-foot double.” The stuff works! “
The combination,” Bosch said, “makes playing playing the game of baseball a lot easier.”
Yeah, well: The report doesn’t really mention that Rodriguez went one for his next 16, hit one home run in his first 13 games and hit just .272 with 18 home runs the whole season, probably the worst of his career up to that point.
In fact, the report doesn’t mention that since working with Bosch — based on Bosch’s own recollection — Rodriguez has hit .269/.356/.441 with 41 home runs in three seasons. His body has fallen apart. He has played in three playoff series and in those hit .111 and .125 and .111 again.
“I’m good at what I do,” Bosch said when asked why Rodriguez trusted him.
Not that good, it would appear.
Posnanski also highlighted reporter Scott Pelley’s interview with MLB’s COO, Rob Manfred:
Pelley had questions. How could they know Bosch was telling the truth when MLB was paying so much to get him to testify? Manfred had two answers for this. For one thing, Bosch brought along lot of corroborating evidence, which is a reasonable answer.
But listen to the other one:
“Mr. Bosch’s credibility on this issue, whatever his motivations, whatever we did for him, was established by his willingness to come in, raise his right hand and testify,” Manfred said. Yes. He actually said that. Tony Bosch’s credibility — already set by 60 Minutes at whatever level you put lying, drunken drug dealers — is established because he raised his right hand.
But wait. There’s more.
“The credibility of any witness,” Manfred continues, “is determined by … looking the individual in the eye, listening to the story he tells and lining it up with other evidence.”
Oh. They looked into his eyes.
As I said last night, Manfred really embarrassed himself with that one.
Posnanski also had a hard time stomaching 60 Minutes’ portrayal of Selig:
Scott Pelley ends the report like so: “And Bud Selig has announced his retirement from the game. Part of his legacy is the establishment of the toughest anti-doping rules in all of American pro sports.”
There it is. Bud Selig, who has been commissioner over the worst drug scandal to ever hit American sports, who presided over a game that ten years ago DID NOT TEST for drugs, got 60 Minutes to put that line at the end. Part of his legacy is this glorious chapter of buying papers from Bobby, threatening and paying off Boesch and nailing Alex Rodriguez.
Finally, a nice little parting shot:
The report ended and only then, if you watch the Internet videos, do you get the biggest lesson of all. You get to see who sponsored the report.