Sunday, May 14, 2006

Bonds and Gagging

Each Sunday the Globe poses a question to its sports department. More often than not, it provides yet more evidence for the maxim that The CHB should be seen and not heard. Today's query: Do you care about Barry Bonds's pursuit of Ruth?

"No," says the lead Globe sports columnist. This despite having previously said "I root for the story," and having in multiple previous columns raved about Bonds, as he did on on Oct. 18, 2002 ("Why does America hate Barry Bonds so much? Is it because he's too good?"). So either The CHB has a short memory, or he's lying.

He adds that "The best opinions on this would be those from the likes of Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, and Hank Aaron -- the guys who did it on the level."

Well, that we have. On Costas Now (May 5, 2006), Costas asked Mays about Bonds' alleged steroid use. Mays replied (attention, Danny Boy):
What you're saying, until it's proven that this is what happened, you got to give the benefit of the doubt. I never asked him [meaning Barry Bonds], I don't think I will. I may not get the right answer.
He added that
When Mark McGwire was hittin' home runs out of every ballpark, when Sammy was hittin' home runs out of every ballpark, I didn't hear this.
It's called the Internet, Dan. Try using it.

Ironically, while Dan claims "It's obvious that Bonds used performance enhancers," in the same piece senior assistant sports editor Gregory Lee points out it's likely that Robinson, Mays, Aaron et al did too:
Yes, amphetamines are a stimulant, but they got many players through the season and helped them pad their stats. If it were not for the stimulants, a player would perhaps play 135 games instead of 150 games.
Note to Dan: Read Ball Four and The Long Season. Both recount rampant use of "greenies." I expect the book reports by noon Friday.

Even better, read this piece on the use of amphetamines in baseball from Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, which notes that some claim as one source none other than Shaughnessy idol Ted Williams:
Pilots and other servicemen were given the drugs to keep them alert during marathon sessions, and they brought the usage back to the game after the war ended. Some have pointed to Ted Williams as one of the initial sources, though there is no hard evidence that this is true. Williams was but one of several pilots returning from the war.
(More irony: in his column today Bob Ryan writes on a new book from the authors of Baseball Prospectus.)

In another article, Carroll notes that "There is no evidence that anyone can identify a steroid user by sight. It would certainly save time and money if this were the case. Some pictures of suspected steroid users have been taken at times when the players were said to be out of condition. Again, the only way to prove use of a banned substance is a positive test." [itals mine] So while more than 80 baseball players have tested positive, Bonds hasn't, and in the absence of such proof it would seem libelous for The CHB to declare his guilt.

I don't typically discuss other journalists in this space, but I couldn't let this pass. In response to the Bonds question, Alan Miller, the Globe's producer for new media, issued this response:
Many feel he has cheated to get where he is. But until last year, baseball did not have any rules banning steroid use. If there are no rules against it, you cannot call it cheating. So while some may feel Bonds's accomplishments may be tainted, Major League Baseball only has itself to blame for where we are today.
Excuse me, Alan, but which drugs are you on? There is a rule against it: Use or possession of steroids without a prescription is a federal offense. Per the article: "The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 places steroids in the same legal class – Schedule III -- as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine. Simple possession of any Schedule III substance is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000." It is irrelevant, Alan, whether MLB had previously outlawed the drug.


X said...

I don't have much to add on the steroid subject. Truth is, we will never all agree, have hard evidence and/or come up with a proper resolution for things that transpired in the past.

I am more concerned that CHB has not followed up last Wednesday's piece of the rain out in response to yesterday's game being called off 6 hours early. Surely he will decry that the $ox owners were irresponsible to their Shareholders (disclaimer: The NYT, parent of Daddy Globe own 17 percent of the Red Sox) for not opening the gates and selling beer.

Let along allowing Friday's game to start/be played. There were a number of empty seats and the concession stands were only open for 6 innings. That is very irresponsible of them.

Of course he could go the other route and claim it his influence that had them do the right thing yesterday.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Those cows from Groton that the Sox bought to sit in the outfield wearing the Ben & Jerry's cardboard signs on thier backs are doing the trick.

I'm not going to talk about sabermetrics here but I think Ryan's column is more proof of how blind the folks at Morrissey Blvd must be. How does CHB continue to be the star of the sports page? What must Ryan and Jackie be thinking as they sit on the bench while CHB gets all the playing time?

jenny said...

Chief, I've tried making your last argument to people before, and for some reason, some of them just don't buy it. I don't get what's so hard to understand about it. Possession of anabolic steroids, a Schedule III controlled substance, has been illegal in the US since 1991. Why does it matter if baseball didn't specifically ban it? I don't think it bans a runner stabbing the second baseman in the throat to keep from being tagged out, but you can't do that, either.

The Chief said...

jenny, exactly. The CBA covers what MLB can test for, but that's a wholly different subject than what is legal and what is not.

objectivebruce said...

According to the Boston Sports Media Watch poll:

Shaughnessy Watch:
Best local sports Web site: 34
Worst local sports Web site: 112

I am not alone!! The public recognizes pablum for what it is!

The Chief said...

hehehe, OBruce, you ignorant slut. That same poll overwhelmingly determined The CHB to be the Worst Sportswriter (687 out of 1439 people who voted, or 48%), while only 4% said he was the best.

And insofar as the best/worst local sports Web site, what I figure is that 1. Those who voted this the worst blog probably had never visited and from the name thought it was actually written by The CHB, or 2. you are a polygamist and have 112 or so wives and offspring.

Mother's Day must be quite an event in your family, Brucey.

Anonymous said...

"According to the Boston Sports Media Watch poll:

Shaughnessy Watch:
Best local sports Web site: 34
Worst local sports Web site: 112"

All this proves is that you and Dan Shaughnessy(and maybe Dan's wife and kids) voted a combined total of 112 times.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Best regularly appearing non-host on radio:
CHB with 10 votes out of 1471. Only beats out Nick Cafardo, Hector Longo, and Butch Stearns.

Worst regularly appearing non-host on radio:
CHB with 121 votes out of 1472. Only Borges, Meter, Sheppard, and Smerlas did worse.

OB, this is from the same poll you used to knock this site. Nice try but you got shot down once again.

Anonymous said...

Chief - I have cringed at the sight of Dan Shaughnessy for a few years now but just found your website this past weekend after the Bonds statements surfaced on ESPN. Keep up the good work and if you see Dan tell him to quit pretending like he watches West Coast sports anyway. Out here we all know that he and Peter Gammons are spooning by the time the 2nd inning comes around in San Francisco.


The Couch Potato said...

I was just thinking that that non-sequitur comment of OB's was almost Shaughnessian in concept and execution.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing the amount of energy objectivebruce devotes to blogs for someone who pretends to hold them in such contempt.

dbvader said...

I haven't been here for a while, but I just have to say that OB blows.
The irony of you citing a website to make your point after attacking online commentators is stunning.
You are a moron. Keep it up. You make it easy for the rest of us to prove how stupid you are.
I am still writing my manifesto against your stupidity.

jenny said...

Where has CHB been lately? There's so much material for him! He could crap on Papi's slump, he could crap on Clement's pitching (I wouldn't really condemn him for this, BTW), he could crap on Manny being a poser, he could crap on Theo getting engaged (if it's anything other than "Congratulations," Dan, such as snarky remarks about contracts, stuff a sock in it), he could crap on Barry Bonds again, he could crap on many cliched topics for him to wax about! Maybe he got fired.

fadedredsoxhat said...

A vacation for CHB is like a vacation for all of us. I would love to think that The Glob realized how much the public has had enough of CHB but I don't think they have the guts to can him.

dbvader said...

Couch Potato,
Do you have any dogs like your avatar?

The Couch Potato said...

DB - That's my dog in the picture. He is an occasional contributor to my blog. I housebroke him by tearing out Shaughnessy columns from the paper and putting them on the floor.

(I didn't really, but I'm filing that away for my next puppy.)