A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Friday, February 23, 2007

From the basement Feb 23 07

MLB.com is a shill for the owners. Yesterday there was a fluff piece on the George Mitchell investigation, his stormtroopers are touring Spring Training. The last paragraph of the story is I think indicative of what we're going to be seeing from MLB in their efforts to manage the "issue".

"In the meantime, documented steroid use at the big-league level has become almost infinitesimal, down from the 5-to-7 percent of players who tested positive in 2003. Last season, no player on the 25-man roster of the 30 teams tested positive. It was announced after the postseason that Mets reliever Guillermo Mota had tested positive and he will be suspended the requisite 50 games to open the 2007 season."

So MLB is going to be pounding home two messages on the steroid front. 1. George Mitchell will tell us as definitively as anyone can, what happened. 2. Testing is working, positive tests are on the decline ( see paragraph above ).

As I said before, the results of the 03 "anonymous" testing that revealed 5 - 7 % of players positive seems absurdly low.

For MLB.com to describe present day steroid use at the big league level as "infinitesimal" is ridiculous. Well at least I did learn how to spell infinitesimal" from this PR piece.

Any baseball fan who claims that they didn't know that steroid use was commonplace in MLB over the last 15 - 20 years is either naive or lying.

Steroids and amphetamines will remain in the game, it's the perception of what's happening that is being controlled, not drug use.

The question that I want answered is why so much talk about it the last few years? We all knew Big Mac & Sammy were juiced, nobody said anything. What has changed? Has the zeitgeist done a 180 in America? Or is the zeitgeist unchanged, is Barry Bonds symbolic of something that a lot of Americans dislike? Maybe I don't need Buster Olney, maybe I need Lewis Lapham. ( and my bong ).

Pete Laforest update. According to ESPN, Laforest missed all of 06 ( it's Clintonian to point out that this isn't 100% accurate ) with a "lower abdominal strain". Laforest has moved up to 4 from 5 on the depth chart at Catcher because Todd Greene, who entered camp as the #3, just dislocated his throwing shoulder. Another hoser Catcher is involved here. George Kottaras, who in all likelihood will open the season as the #1 in Pawtucket, is a Canuck. Kottaras was obtained from the Red Sox for David Wells late last season.

Evidently, Grady Little has decided to hit Furcal leadoff and Pierre second. I think he's got it wrong, it should be reversed. Pierre will run less hitting second and if he's not running he isn't as valuable. Speed is also Furcal's game, but he has more sock than Pierre and would benefit from seeing more fastballs with Pierre on. What we folks outside of the game, Gammons calls us "people between walls" or something akin, don't know though, are the egos and psyches involved.

Is winning your arbitration case always a good thing? Todd Walker won his arbitration case against the Padres, submitting a figure of $3.95 million. The Padres can walk away from $3.3 million of that commitment if they release him before March 15. Remember Walker is expected to be a backup. He won't make up that $3.3 million this year if he is released.

Brandon League is hurting. Very bad news for the Jays. Are you ready for Jason Frasor & Jeremy Accardo as the set up guys?

Early reports from Arizona are that Bonds looks very healthy, moving very well, which indicates his knee is doing well. I predict a big year, 35 homers.

I may become a Curt Schilling fan. He's taking some heat this spring over the size of his gut. That's endearing, well, if you're me.

Buster Olney has link to an article in the AJC re. Liberty Media & The Braves. Amongst Liberty's holdings are a 51% stake in a "sports betting-information Web site". We all know that owners are to stay far away from gambling however Mr. Selig has been lenient in enforcing the rules recently. Marian Ilitch owns a casino and Steve Swindal ( yes, Mr. Steinbrenner's drunk son in law ) is in the horse track / slot machine business. Also in this article, speculation that Liberty's ownership of the Braves will be short term. It will be interesting to see where John Schuerholz is in a year.

From bizofbaseball.com, the Nationals have a 1 year agreement with a Mexican League team to "share" scouting information and "information". According to this same article they have recently become very agressive in their International signings. Jim Bowden knows he needs a lot of players, the system is bare from the years of MLB ownership neglect.

My February 18 post links to an interview on Baseball Prospectus between David Laurila from BP and an academic / sabermetrician named Andy Andres. My post that day mistakenly identifies Mr. Laurila as the academic / sabermetrician, not Mr. Andres.


LynxFan said...

With respect to MLB.com being a shill for the owners, here's a link to an article I found interesting, but haven't posted on the blog (for obvious reasons):


LynxFan said...

The follow-up article is here:

In short, the writers feel that they're being punished by MLB for the opinion they expressed in the first article.

Pete Toms said...

Thanks lynxfan, I read both articles, very interesting.

Good site as well

A Baseball Geek

LynxFan said...

Money quote from the first:

"MiLB.com is not going to do a hard-hitting piece on drug usage in baseball. They're hard pressed to say much about bad boys like Delmon Young who heave bats at umpires. They're just downright tongue-tied when it comes to anything involving the changes in MiLB on the web, and they go positively apoplectic when you question anything MLB, even nicely."

The title nails it - it's all vanilla, and what they don't capture is the local "feel".

sager said...

Ready for Accardo?

Let's see, I have a suicide hotline on speed-dial and I've stocked up padded walls for my apartment. So yes.

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Brian said...

Thank you for linking, not posting. Glad y'all liked the articles over at MAJOR BLOGS. I stumbled on this while looking for another comment on the article.

As for your steroids thoughts, consider this: Since intiating the steroids policy for the minors, Bud Light has routinely netted a small handful of guys who don't make enough to buy a cheeseburger at Ron's Golden Arches but somehow they test positive for designer steroids that are beaucoup jack. Meanwhile Delmon Young is a holy terror in 2006 on a batting tear. You get him to the majors, where they change the tox screens in the pee tests, and suddenly he has a quiet year. You could say it's the shift to the majors, but is it just that, or is he on a juice holiday? It can't be proven, but his tossed-bat tantrum and sparkling day-to-day personality suggest roid rage. Yet he remained untouched. Elijah Dukes went under big scrutiny after being caught with grass in his car in Tampa over the winter. His batting average plummeted to .160 and change. Coincidence? I think not.