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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Comments

Amen.

Good post.

And when he was in the minors (including a big chunk of last year) he was subject to more frequent testing than the major leauge union will agree to.

Terrific piece. Agreed 200%. Howard is the last guy in the world whow would need or consider steroids. There's no need whatsoever to have to exhibit "skepticism" here just because others in the past have been exposed as frauds. Greatness is possible from natural ability as well. Can people handle that?

I don't want to hear the argument that "baseball has no one to blame but itself." This is not Brady Anderson or Barry Bonds, not a mere entity who represents the corrupted institution of major league baseball. This is Ryan Howard, a completely separate individual who does not deserve to suffer from associations with the big-number cheaters who preceded him. If you can't get behind him, don't blame baseball - blame your own cynicism.

They nay-sayers aren't ruining my fun. This kid is the real deal. And the smaller park in Phila is no different than the short RF that both Maris and Mantle enjoyed pulling the ball to in the 60's. He's been a lot of fun to watch.

Good stuff Jason. I couldn't agree with you more, and I have the same impetus you have to write something about it. I've been seeing the Google searches for "did ryan howard take steroids" too, and like you, I feel I have to stand up for the guy.

just imagine what his homer total might have been now had the fences not been moved back...

Great post, Jason. One aspect of Howard's meteoric rise that often gets overlooked by people outside the region is that he is a very bright kid brought up in a very supportive home of accomplished people who have worked hard to achieve. He doesn't need to supplement those innate qualities with anything. I am dismayed to read speculation by people who find it easier to assume the worst without bothering to look at Howard's personal history and that includes even the casual perusal of the many images of him available online.

My only quibble with your characterization of Howard is the "doughy" part. His stomach looks pretty flat to this observer and he manages to chug around the bases pretty damn well for such a big guy.

Good post.
If he hits 62, not only will I forever acknowledge that record until i'm dead and gone, or until a reputable doughboy of a hitter comes along and puts up a 63, but i think that baseball should put an asterisk by it, noting that it was done in the post steroid era. Let an asterisk denote fairness, braun, and god-given talent in an era of the exact opposite.

I saw them interview Ryan at the Home Run Derby and he seemed like such a genuine nice man of good character. I'm glad for him. I hope he hits 73!

I'm with you all that Howard doesn't look like a steroids user (not that any of us are experts when it comes to these things). But you can't really blame out-of-towners for at least suspecting he is one. After all, the common explanations for why hitters, even without steroids, are hitting for more power these days, are that they just don't make pitchers and ballparks like they used to, and that hitters in general engage in better, more scientific and simply more training than the old-timers did.

The quality-of-pitchers thing obviously is not Howard's doing. But like JW said, Howard doesn't look a bit like he's going through state-of-the-art weight lifting regimens every day; he just looks like a natural born monster. And while playing at CBP certainly has had a role in his numbers, look at what he did at RFK last week.

So what we're looking at is simply an amazing specimen of physical strength, with the perfect swing to back it up, who at this early stage in his career looks like he could slug with the greatest players of all time. When faced with the choice between accepting the truth of something that incredible and chalking it up to steroids, the latter is obviously going to be easier to swallow for most people. This is of course the main hangover from the steroid era; now it's that much harder to acknowledge real greatness when it's right in front of you.

This blog entry is so strong it makes you wonder if the Beer Leaguer himself is taking 'roids.

I agree that he's certainly clean, but on the other hand, I don't think we can say that Bonds et al. were definitely juiced. His ex-mistress says so, but then she would say that.

The one thing you can't hide about steroids is the sudden change in physique, including parts that shouldn't grow, like your head. Lenny Dykstra is the classic example. Howard's physique has been unchanged.

Good post, Clout. No one can disagree with you here. I also heard that some parts of one's physique actually get smaller, too! That's probably why she's Bonds' ex-mistress!

>I don't think we can say that Bonds et al.
>were definitely juiced.

Oh, christ.... just like there's no proof that Brett Myer's beat his wife.

the one year to next transformation of bonds, mcquire and sosa was so astounding, that it *only* could have been steroids.

everything that i hear about howard is that he is a clean, genuine, good guy and great teammate. (the polar opposite of pat burrell, if you will...)

I do blame out-of-towners for suspecting it, because you can't suspect it without ANY type of proof. At least with Sosa, Bonds, Giambi, et al. there were the tell-tale physical signs if not positive tests. With no evidence, you can't suspect anything, you can list it as a possibility, but not logically suspect it. If that's what you meant, zach, then I'm sorry for mincing words.

I also don't believe Howard could be dumb enough to use steroids at this point in his career. In the blame-free coddle basin that is California (namely SF) Bonds is able to continue to play. I believe any legit allegation or positive test would cause Philadelphia to rise up against Howard worse than anything Palmeiro got in Baltimore due to Howard's breaking of Mike Schmidt's records. At that point no team would take him and he couldn't stay here. I don't believe that Howard is that stupid, not for a second.

Lake Fred, LOL!

About a month ago on BBTN on one team's all-time highlights, Barry Bonds was out at 2nd on a DP. Kruk remarked "Hey, who's that skinny guy at 2nd?"

The change in BB's physique since his Pirate days is astounding.

I agree Will.

I watched Floyd Landis ride back into contention in the mountains. It was perhaps the greatest feat of physical endurance I've ever seen. After the positive test results were released, I felt like the kid who finds out Santa is not real.

Now I hate Floyd Landis.

Ryan Howard is becoming a legend in Philadelphia, I'd hate to see the same thing happen to him.

look at it this way: it had to come up at some point. its just a fact of life that it will be, perhaps forever, part of the national baseball conversation. it has nothing to do with ryan howard, really. i don't see it lasting as an ongoing discussion however.

VOR, I laughed, too. I always liked the Krukster. Skinny guy! LOL.

Bud Selig should be asking himself "What would Judge Landis Do?" The Union has mgmt. so befuddled that they have let this poisonous steroid cloud float all over baseball.

not to go too off on a rant, but this is one major reason why i wish the union would have agreed to go harder against the actual users. if they were pushing mlb for tougher penalties, instead of the other way around, maybe these lame allegations against howard would not be able to be taken as seriously as they are. i don't believe for one second that howard (or thome for that matter) is a user. he is just a big strong man.

I agree Howard is smarter than that.

This is purely a question of pedantics, since we're obviously all in agreement... but you can't just dismiss suspicion of something on the basis that it hasn't already been proven. Otherwise there would be no motivation to get that proof, since you never suspected anything in the first place! Evidence exists that at least raises the question, that is, Howard's numbers. The thing is that's the only evidence and is not by itself convincing either way, in contrast to the situations of Bonds, McGwire and the rest.

Speculation is just part of being a good skeptic. I haven't seen anyone important going out and saying definitively "Howard is a steroids user", so I don't think there's anything to get upset about (yet). It's the players who used steroids originally who are to blame for this mess, not Howard or the people who now have to rightfully question what they see.

On a lighter note ...
A simple question:
Would you rather have a 3 home run game or hit for the cycle? ...

Great stuff, as always. I'm a bit surprised at all the national media jumping the steroid gun so fast on this one.

thanks for a nice defence of scepticism there, zach. I certainly DON'T believe that howard is a user of any kind of performance enhancer, but I neither would I be surprised tomorrow if it turned out that he was. That's the world of competitive sport these days.

One thing I would like to dispute is the notion that a player's character guarantees them immunity from suspicion. the automatic assumption that a good character from a supportive background and good family guarantees a player won't cheat is to my mind a foolish assumption. Tyler Hamilton was by all accounts an exceedingly nice guy, but it didn't stop him from doping with oxygen-rich blood to get a medal.

and, as I've stressed over as swing and a miss - the motivations for using performance enhancers vary. What if you're the nicest guy on earth, and you see a city that's had fierce little enjoyment out of sport hang on every swing? what if you'd been touted from the get go and the pressure not to let that community of fans down got to you? what if you felt that it wasn't really cheating them because it made everyone feel better?

I think the major point is that all of the non-steroid using holders of past records were great players. The new (steroid using) holders of the records were great because of steroids. Is it ridiculous to believe that a dynamic player can be born in this era. Why is it absurd to think that Howard may just be the next great player. I don't think Howard is on steroids. I do think he will be if he is not already the best player in baseball, and may become one of the greatest of al time. Born to greatness, that is how I like to think of Ryno.


The Tuesday, September 5th game versus the Houston Astros has been postponed
due to inclement weather. The game will be made up on September 25th at 7:05
pm.

Damn.... no game tonight... what w\ill we bicker over...

I know, which trade was worse: Bagwell, Ruth, or Abreu?

I guess this means Mazone loses his start tomorrow.

Diehard Mets fan here (classy one, as opposed to some of the choice individuals that represent us on here sometimes).
First off, I just wanted to say that I'm a fan of your blog. I enjoy reading the posts leading up to and during the series. Just came on to say that if Ryan Howards hits 62 home runs, I will always look at him as the one that broke Maris' record. Enjoy the season.

At first glance, and before reading the entire post, I thought the picture of Howard was from this year's Home Run derby.

Did anyone else just see Abreau try to lead off the 6th inning by trying a drag bunt?

I live in NYC and have been seeing Abreau play nightly since the trade. He is a different player now.

Joe, thanks for offering evidence that not all Mets fans have a pile of sawdust in their head. For one thing, we can assume you're not the one who made the threat against Howard for beating Wright in the HR derby.

It's refreshing to read this. All I've been reading lately is about Ryan Howard & the speculation of steroids. I was thinking the same thing about his physique. it hasn't changed. Hell if he hits 62 HR's, I'll always think of him as the HR King.

The greatest damage done to baseball by the steroids users is just now coming into focus. Unfortunately, it could likely be permanent.
Baseball has always been a game built around statistics and records. In fact, records have always held a higher place in the culture of baseball than in any other major sport. But that golden age has now passed. Records will no longer have the mystique or the hold on the baseball fan that they once did. And for that we can thank the McGwire’s, Palmiero’s, Canseco’s, Giambi’s, Bonds’, and others of their ilk.
Ryan Howard is just the first victim. Nothing he does will ever be held in awe without some questioning of the legitimacy of his deeds. Any records he sets will be always looked at in some new frame of skeptical reference.
In 1920 Babe Ruth hit 54 HRs. The closest other player in baseball hit 19. If that happened today, it would only mark the Babe for media accusation and suspicion. His dominance of that era would never be permitted today in baseball. It would be immediately considered possible only through cheating. This is the mindset that has been planted among today's baseball fans by these players and the media. Great deeds can no longer be performed by baseball heroes. They can now only be performed by those with an 'edge'.

I can never forgive those who destroyed that part of baseball for me.

I'm pretty shocked about the universal support for "a legit 62", from Roger Maris's son to fans of all generations and team loyalties.

It would not surprise me in the least to hear Bonds speak out if the Howitzer gets close. Because it's all about Barry... sigh.

I think my favorite Howard moment came Sunday, as he hit the second of his three homers. With the crowd already buzzed from his first bomb, chanting 'MVP', he pokes a 460-foot tracer to dead center and he breaks out into this terrific kid-like smile before the camera angle can even shift to follow the flight of the ball. Like, man, this is so easy and it's so fun. You can read his mind, you know it had to feel so damn good to be able to do that, and to know it made everyone else feel good - and to his credit, Howard couldn't help but share the awareness of that joy with everyone else.

You know, I don't even see what's wrong with steroids.

Tray: Until recently your view was shared by baseball owners and the commissioner. Steroids revived interest in baseball after the 1994 strike. That's why they looked the other way. It's a disgrace.

Phillies roster moves/injury status on Lieberthal in this morning's Philadelphia Dail News notes: "Catcher Mike Lieberthal, sidelined since Sunday with recurrent back spasms, might be done for the season. The Phillies, who had outrighted minor league outfielder Josh Kroeger, 24, to S/WB to make room on the 40-man roster for Brian Mazone, instead will purchase the contract of Double A catcher Tim Gradoville, 26... Lefthander Aaron Fultz, unavailable since Thursday because of left shoulder weakness and soreness that hindered him in his last three outings, all poor ones, said yesterday he was again available... Infielder Danny Sandoval was recalled from Double A yesterday."

Also of note; Mathieson has a torn tendon, still waiting for a second opinion...

blech. the fickle finger of fate, indeed.

Clout, great insight into baseball's blind eye to steroids. I remember those years (not aware of the drug stuff) thinking that this is the golden age of baseball in my lifetime with great sluggers.

McGwire fooled us because he had a high HR year early in his career, so his power seemed legit. Sosa came out of nowhere, but we always though Wrigley Field aided power hitters. Bonds was a great player, so a little better greatness could be expected.

Now with hindsight, we see McGwire crying and refusing to testify. We see Sosa, get off the dope and his numbers plummet. We see Bonds' big head and realize something is not right here. Lesser players get caught (Palmeiro) or 'fess up to their dope use after retirement.

Now with Selig still wearing blinders, a legit power hitter, like Ryan Howard, gets tainted. He should not have to bear Bonds' stink.

Typo above. Should be: "but we always thought Wrigley Field aided power hitters."

Howard could really blow it open by volunteering to be drug tested after every game. That would flush out the drughead enablers.

The players' union would never allow him to do it.

Jason, you answered the $100 million question of why this mess hasn't been cleaned up. The players union doesn't want it cleaned up.

Ryan Howard is no longer the Reaper or the Howitzer...HE IS ..... THE NATURAL

its not that the players union doesnt want it cleaned up, its that the players union is out to protect the players.

if you think, for one minute, that the owners didnt encourage performance enhancing drugs, you're crazy. they wanted to fill the seats, and found a way with all the long balls and homerun chases.

why should the players have to bear the brunt of the fallout from this?

it is a black spot on the sport of baseball, and I dont know if we're ever going to recover.

It isn't that the players union does not want the game cleaned up. The vast majority of players are hurt by steriods because the people not taking them are being put at a disadvantage, but if players were allowed to volunteer a drug test after every game it would set a precedent for every player. If Ryan Howard starts getting tested after every game, then maybe everytime a player hits a homerun they have to finish their trot and run back into the dugout and get tested by a league official. The union has to protect the rights of all players and the fact that they have been as supportive of testing as they have been should be commended.

I'm a bit confused and I admit I am not all knowing in the mgmt. vs. union stuff about steroids, but I find it hard to buy Joe's belief that the owners encouraged the use of performance enhancing drugs, in order to fill the seats with all the long balls and homerun chases. Likewise I don't get the true vibes that Chris asserts that it is a fact that unions have been supportive of testing and that they should be commended.

I'm more willing to believe that owners had their heads in the sand and didn't see this drug problem coming until after the fact; and when they attempted to have comprehensive testing to clean up the sport I believe that the union objected and offered minimal testing to placate negative publicity. I don't think the union's hands are clean in this issue. I don't believe that baseball owners encouraged cheating.

sorry to channel dick pound of WADA here, but I don't think anyone should be commended at the moment. The current punishments and testing are well short of a zero tolerance mark for performance enhancers. random testing in and out of season and lifetime bans, with a banned substance list which keeps up to speed with organisations like FINA, IOC and the UCI is the only sensible way forward. Oh, and joint funding on R+D with aforementioned organisations.

The players association, like the owners is doing the bare minimum that they can manage with political pressure. And they can do this because attendence so far this season sits at a healthy average of 31, 492 in september, over 1,400 more than last year's average for the whole year. Granted, San Francisco's average has dropped by about 1000 (36,459 last year, 35,477), but there hasn't been a significant loss in attendence because of the steroid scandals over the last two seasons. Business as usual, folks.

sorry, that last post should have read a healthy average attendence of 31, 492 to date

Good post, Oisin.

The Ryan Howard going through a drug test after every game suggestion is pure overkill. I'm no expert on the subject, but I find it hard to believe that steroids (the ones they can detect in the first place, anyway) become undetectable to a blood test after any less than a month or two. Someone more knowledgeable about the subject may want to clarify, but it's just a waste of time, money and effort to test any player after every single game.

But the MLBPA has good reason to oppose voluntary drug tests in the first place. Anything "voluntary" in sports doesn't stay that way for long... look at "voluntary" workouts in the NFL. Ultimately all you'll have is legions of players scrambling to show the world that they're clean through tests that can't detect what could be the main culprit anyway, HGH. Reliable, random tests with strict penalties for failure are the way to go.

On a separate, albeit familiar topic:

There is an interesting post from a commentor on the PhilliesPhans message board. It summarizes what Marcus Hayes had to say last night on Daily News Live:

"Marcus very clearly stated that the energy level in the clubhouse is not any different than it has been all year and that the hype about a new "tone" that has been set is hooey; the effort level has been there all year.

"Furthermore, he said losing Abreu did not help the team nor was Abreu a cancer in the clubhouse or holding back the young "leaders" from asserting themselves...he said Abreu has had a dramatic impact on the Yanks and has been doing the same things there he did here albeit in a better lineup.

"His take was the pitching is what has fueled the Phillies turnaround, especially that of Hamels and Lieber. He said pitching has been the main problem all year and, despite the bullpen struggling a bit without Gordon, mostly they have been on during this recent run...that leads to wins especially with Howard doing such amazing things and winning is what makes a clubhouse appear more relaxed, loose and confident...

"His other point is that the Phillies still had their best run earlier this year with Abreu, Lidle, Bell, Cormier et al. on the team."

On the whole drug testing debate... I have a friend who plays on the Norway women's World Cup soccer squad. The rules were simple: take two players and randomly test them after the game. Karin was injured when they played in Philly, yet she still had to submit a urine sample. It's fair and equitable and keeps athletes on their toes -- hopefully.

It's a real shame that this tremendous second-year player now has to answer dumb questions that have no merit. I love him most because he pointed to his gut when asked about the 'roids.

He's the real deal. Finally the Phillies have a real deal.

And lets hope that the phils can hold onto the real deal. maybe thats his nickname.

i am *so* sick of the damn abreu trade debates... the phils are playing better since then, and i'm loving it. good for bobby that the yanks are playing well, too.

but how about that ryan howard, aint he something?

I don't think Abreu was blocking Utley and Howard in an active sense, rather, while he was there Utley had no reason to step up. When Abreu left there was a hole and Utley stepped up to fill, somebody had to. It just so happened that he fills it better than Abreu did.

Starting pitching obviously has improved this ball club tremendously. Also I doubt the tone in the clubhouse has changed very much, since Abreu added nothing to the tone, since that's the way he was. On the field however, to say that the effort level in right field is the same as it was with Abreu there is ridiculous. Abreu was not a great fielder for the phillies. With the short right field in NY, I'm sure that's not coming through as much.

Abreu has been swinging the bat more in NY as well. In the pitching heavy AL, he has more hits and less walks per at bat, while his strike out ratio has remained semi-constant. Frankly the Abreu at the plate in NY is a more dynamic and dangerous hitter than the one that left Philadelphia. It the Abreu we wanted here, but for whatever reason, never decided to come out and play this year.

i think that Abreu lost the will to play in Philly. Thanks to our sports-talk-radio overlords, the phans booed him at every turn.

would you want to bust your ass for a populace that doesnt appreciate you? hell, no.

in sober reflection, the phans drove bobby away.

How exactly did Utley "Step up"...he went into his worst funk of the year after the trade...also, the idea that Abreu didn't want to play here or that he is "trying" more now is a joke...if his walk nimbers are down it is probably because he has Giambi and A-Rod hitting behind him whereas in Philly he had PtB and a second year player in Howard.

I hate to say it, but I think Hayes is exactly right. No one has yet been able to explain to me how Abreu's departure helped Lieber pull his act together, Hamels mature, the bullpen improve and Chris Coste turn into Mike Piazza!

I guess I can counter Hayes' take to some degree with something I just read in Todd Zolecki's forum: "Nobody has said Abreu was a disruptive force in the clubhouse. They have said that once Abreu left, it made Utley and Howard (and others like Dellucci and Rollins) a little more comfortable to express themselves. Teams sometimes take on the personality of their biggest star or best player. Abreu...was that player."

Now. Does that suddenly make them a winning team? No - improved play and pitching has. But does that give them a little different identity, does that affect the overall energy and the way they've been playing the game? I think it has. Does that revitalized brand of play translate into maybe a little more success? I think it has. To what degree is impossible to gauge; I *don't* wish to overstate the impact and claim it is disproportionately responsible for the Phillies' record since August, but to my mind it *has* been a factor working in concordance with several others.

I disagree that the fans drove Abreu away. He played the same way every year and this was the first season in which he really experienced sustained disapproval. I highly doubt that the fans' reaction alone caused the Phillies to want to trade Abreu - on the contrary, I think the disapproval was borne of a certain perception, and to my mind a correct one, that this guy was the number one reason why this team felt stale and staid. In the end, this analysis corresponded with Gillick's own.

Typical Marcus Hayes suff. Does he want to tell us that Jimmy hasn't been on fire, Howard hasn't been other-worldly, and Victorino hasn't been a distinct improvement over Rowand at the plate as well as in the field? Yes, the starters have been better, but the fire is coming from the three mentioned above and the continued grit of Utley, even when he has been struggling. Remember, Utley's hustle is part of his game and while it was always there (even when Abreu was present) he didn't turned it off just because Abreu et al left! That is why the term new leadership keeps coming up.

Hayes never had his finger on the pulse when Abreu was here so why would he be expected to have it when he is gone? As pompous as Hayes is, I can imagine the players don't exactly bear all to him.

Abreu's average in NY is MUCH higher than here in Philadelphia which can be attributed in part to having better hitters behind him in general, but don't tell me Giambi or A-Rod represent a more feared hitter than Howard. I will agree that the combination of the two is superior to the combination in Philadelphia, but man for man the guy who followed Abreu in Philadelphia is incomparable.

No one ever said Abreu was a cancer, but he himself said he was upset by the trade rumors prior to the start of the season. And, if Hayes really had his finger on the pulse, he would know that Abreu had pubicly expressed his disappointment with the way the Philies shopped him in the off-season.

The starting pitching has been better, especially Hamels and Lieber, but if you look at the Phils wins over this period (since the trade), they are coming largely because the team is the highest scoring team in the NL.

Hayes' statement that "the clubhouse appear more relaxed, loose and confident..." directly contradicts his earlier assertions.

Finally, his claim that their "best run" happened while Abreu, Lidle et al was here doesn't change the fact that it petered out long ago and all seemed lost. Their current run, on the other hand, is as much about showing the world the players haven't given up even if the GM appeared to and, in the final analysis, is the one that will or will not count.

I never understood the fervor over steroids. Long term damage to health and, thus, performance far outweighs the short term benefits, a definite opportunity cost.

A primary argument against steroid use is that underperforming "clean" players are pressured into steroid use in order to compete, which is true in part. However, given a chance to shake out, owners would quickly prefer "clean" players once 23 out of the 25 man roster were on the DL.

Some players like Bonds seemed to have waited until his career's twilight to juice up, but younger players doom themselves. Canseco's an anomaly; it's rare for an athlete to spend an entire successful career juiced. And that's only if you take him for his word.

Personally, I don't care one way or the other, but the playing field should be level.

And, if Hayes really had his finger on the pulse, he would know that Abreu had pubicly expressed his disappointment with the way the Philies shopped him in the off-season.

Heh.

I didn't want to forget to chime in with Dude's label of "The Natural' For Howard. It may seem like a theme more than a nickname, but in light of this entire discussion, it fits *perfectly*.

Whelkman, I think you may be overstating the harmful effects of steroids a bit. If they were quite as bad as you suggest it would be obvious to a smart player that they're a bad idea, even without them being formally banned. However the reality is that if you're talking millions vs. tens of millions over what's a relatively short career anyway, juicing really does make sense from a strictly utilitarian point of view. The main justification in my mind for not allowing them isn't the health of the athletes, but just the problems they cause when comparing the innate skills of the athletes, past and present, which after all is a big part of what sports are about.

First, steroids are not the only substance to be considerred, generally, we're talking about "performance enhancing drugs".

Anabolic steroids are one class, and these give you the stereotypical physique and physical problems.

You could also take a substance like GHB in order to recover quicker.

Have you had a tough night out with Burrell? Take some Go-pills, or have a line of this white powdery stuff.

If you can gain a 3% edge, you move your average up 30 points!

I've had friends in NCAA sports that were tested, and they needed to worry about not having too much Caffeine in their system.

Its a game. Pro athletes /almost always/ try to squeeze a little more performance out of their bodies by any means necessary. Is creatine cheating? Was Blue Nitro (ghb) cheating when it was sold over the counter at GNC?

Is having a cup of coffee before the game, cheating, like it is in the NCAA? What about getting a shoulder full of cortisone (a steroid, non-anabolic)?

Plus, most of these drugs arent detectable by reasonable procedures. GHB is gone within 8 hours, so you take it right before you go to bed, cocaine and amphetamines, about 12-24, 48 if you're chronic.

Which brings me to Ricky Williams, who had the bad fortune of choosing a drug that does hang around a while in your body. This is a guy who smoked dope, and he's being banned under the perofrmance enhancing drugs policy? You're telling me that Ricky was a better running back because he was stoned? What did that make Brett Favre when he was hooked on Percocet? And, can you imagine the NBA banning players who smoke?

Can you honestly say that most of the NFL players arent routinely breaking substance abuse policies? I wont believe you if you tell me that anyone except kickers dont juice.

Its tough, its arbitrary... and it totally takes away from the sport.

I may be wrong, but I think the NFL banned Wicky not under the performance enhancing drugs policy but simply under a general substance abuse policy. Why what he does with his free time (besides cheating) is of concern to the NFL, I'm not sure, but hey, think of the children.

RSB writes, re: Abreu, "I *don't* wish to overstate the impact and claim it is disproportionately responsible for the Phillies' record since August."

That is completely opposite of what you were writing during the winning streak. Glad you finally saw the light.

Will: You write, "On the field however, to say that the effort level in right field is the same as it was with Abreu there is ridiculous."

Are you saying David Dellucci is a better rightfielder than Abreu?

Clout, does this mean that you and RSB are buddies now?

Hell clout, A Citizens Blog says that Dellucci's fielding numbers are so good, that he should be starting in CF.

(not that I agree)

Tom Goodman: I thought all 162 games count the same. The bottom line, I suppose, is whether the current team is a better baseball team without Abreu. RSB says it is, that it's a .575 team (or whatever the number is since July 26). We'll find out. But really that's how you have to judge: Not whether it has a softer schedule or these guys who were cold suddenly got hot. Is the personnel better?

Joe, if that's what the numbers say, the numbers are worth less than a Confederate States of America dollar bill. Looch is a useful player, but he's a butcher in right field, never mind center. And that's before he uncorks the throws.
On the Abreu question, I think blaming the static attitude on him alone is unfair. I don't think Gillick thought he was the biggest problem in that regard, either. That honor goes to Pat the Bat. The difference is that Abreu was a more desirable player than Burrell. That said, it's pretty clear Abreu's season before the trade was not up the level he established in previous years. Maybe he's rejuvenated in New York. Maybe Gillick should have taken the best offer over the winter, instead of holding out for a better pitcher. For some of us the mistake wasn't in trading Abreu, it was trading him for so little talent in the haste to unload the salary. Let's put it this way -- we got a decent return in talent for Thome, who is not the player Abreu is, because Gillick agreed to pick up a hefty chunk of future salary. For whatever reason, the front office chose not to go in that direction with Abreu, so we got a sack of beans for him.

Alby: Well said.

It looks like the thread is back to Abreu-I've already voiced my opinion on that one elsewhere.

On steroids-nobody has proven that using steroids has actually HELPED anyone. Maybe Marion Jones, but baseball is more complicated. Simple muscle mass additions don't necessarily translate into extra dingers. And if steroids really have the negative health implications they're supposed to, any aid is temporary.

And if Ryan Howard can hit 60 HR's, Barry Bonds at his peak could hit 73, with or without steroids. The game has changed in innumerable ways that help hitters.

I think it's a shame that Howard has to endure the steroid speculation. He is huge, he should be hitting homeruns! His huge is musclebound huge either, it's more good ol' boy from the South huge. The media has a knack for taking a great story and spinning a negative light on it.

I love baseball, it's my passion. I'm not dumb enough to think steroids aren't still in the game. Though I am confident that steroids are used by less players presently than a season or so ago.

You want to talk about punishment and testing for performance enhancers...well what about the NFL, NBA, and NHL? I believe MLB is taking the proper steps to "clean up" the game, when will the others follow suit?

"Barry Bonds at his peak could his 73, with or without steroids"

Huh? The testimony in San Francisco is that he started juicing in '98, well before he hit 73. And his juice of choice wasn't steroids, it was human growth hormone (HGH), hence the amazing bat speed he maintained long after anyone before him in baseball history. As for "proof," you'll never get it on HGH unless Barry himself decides to come clean. I'm not holding my breath. So yeah, he's the HR champ, unless and until Ryan Howard tops him. But when I visit
Cooperstown I'll have to hold back the urge to hock up a huge loogie on his plaque.

He is on steroids. There is no doubt about it. How else could he hit a home run everyday for the past week. The true MVP is Pujols.

Gaining 20-30 pounds along with his AB to HR ratio going from and HR every 26 AB's to a HR every 11 AB's tells the story. He's definately juicing. I wanted to believe in McGwire when he was in St. Louis, but McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds all did the exact same thing...dramatic weight gain along with dramatic HR increase...along with evidence linking them to deceit.

btw: Lack of definition is no indicator that Howard is NOT taking steroids. Steroids do not all provide increased muscular definition. Anyway, keep telling yourselves he's clean...just believe what you WANT to believe...the truth just doesn't matter...especially when he's playing for your team.

Here's why you're clueless.

If you're referring to the weight at which Howard was drafted, then yeah. He's bigger. I'm about 20 pounds bigger than I was in college, too.

Not listed are his twin brother Corey, who's equally huge, along with his older brother, who's even bigger.

Sorry your dreams were shattered when Big Red was exposed. Now beat it.

If you wanted to recover quicker, there is always kfc, why, because it contains ghb. Perfect excuse!

Hi all!

I've find new pharmacy web store - http://authenticsteroids.com
they are totaly legit, I've purchased from this guys some trenabol and jintropin
What do you think?

bb

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EST. 2005

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