By Kleinz 57
Hey Buckaroos. I know everyone’s probably got playoff football on their collective mind. After all, it is literally any day in America ever. But in true-to-form buzz kill fashion, I’m here to bum the nation out for a few minutes with its soon-to-be-third-favorite pastime, BEISBOL.
Earlier this afternoon, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released its voting results for inducting the 2013 Hall of Fame class. And this year was a DOOZY, with the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, a returning Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Tim Raines, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza. Really, just Google a cover from a 989 Sports baseball game from the late 90’s. Chances are one of those dudes was eligible this year. This year’s class was stacked with guys who broke home run records, put up massive OBP rates and strikeout totals, and won multiple Cy Young and MVP awards.
And nobody was voted in.
Now wait just a second there, you assy windbag. Bonds? Clemens? MCGWIRE? These guys were cheaters — a bunch of ‘roid ragers. These guys ‘roided all over the 90’s! ‘Roidin’ up and down the block, and ‘roidin’ across the plate, and ‘roidin’ all around the concessions stand. I don’t even know what a ‘roid’ is. Just like sayin’ it! HEEHAWW!
Now that’s a slight reduction of many of the BBWAA voters from this year. But only slightly. ESPN’s Howard Bryant was among at least eight other writers who turned in blank ballots. They didn’t vote for anyone, because it’s… like poetic and symbolicalizing and stuff. In other words, sportswriters in an organization that entrusts itself with the duty of recognizing contributions to the sport of baseball made this whole election about themselves.
And if you think that’s cause for revoking their votes, it’s actually been worse. TJ Quinn, another member of the World Wide Leader’s battle fleet, admitted he still has a vote in the Hall of Fame, despite not having covered the sport since 2002.
Clearly this is an operation with a few holes in its rules and structure. But instead of pontificating on locker room gossip or Mike Piazza’s bacne, let’s look at the facts surrounding steroids:
First and foremost, we don’t actually know what steroids can and can’t do, specifically to the great sport of baseball. Do anabolic supplements improve hand-eye coordination? Do they make you swing the bat more quickly or run the bases faster?
To save you the trouble, the short answer is: nobody fucking knows anything.
Seriously. Do a Google search for “Androstenedione’s effects on athletic performance” That awkward long jumble of letters isn’t a Dr. Seuss character by the way – it’s the actual name of what people mean when they say Mark McGwire admitted to using “tha roids” ya’ll. I spent over an hour looking for scientific studies, but since UW’s Library system won’t respond to my emails about access to women’s medical journals, I have no way of getting at important evidence for my little stump speech here. Nevertheless, I did find two studies from 1999.
Still, 13 year old research seems a bit out of touch, even in arguing against sports writers who still talk about “pitching to the score” or a starter’s W-L record like they actually mean something. So here’s some info pulled directly from the Mayo Clinic’s web page on the medical effects of THUH ROIDZ:
“Scientific studies that refute these claims show that supplemental androstenedione doesn’t increase testosterone and that your muscles don’t get stronger with andro use. In fact, almost all of the andro is rapidly converted to estrogen, the primary hormone in females.”
In other words, Mark McGwire probably had a SWEET rack underneath that jersey. There’s even a bit about steroid use in general and its effects on athletic performance:
“Why are these drugs so appealing to athletes? Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session. This enables athletes to work out harder and more frequently without overtraining. In addition, some athletes may like the aggressive feelings they get when they take the drugs.”
In other words, Mark McGwire probably had a SWEET rack underneath that jersey.
Yes, McGwire actually admitted to using andro during his career, as did Rafael Palmeiro and Joe Canseco. But why do those other guys get singled out? There’s such shaky evidence supporting most of these arguments that it really doesn’t make sense. More importantly why does it matter? WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT STEROIDS DO.
Barry Bonds garnered a measly 36.2% of the vote (you need 75% to be inducted). These writers are at best, very confused and at worst, gigantic idiots. We know Barry Bonds is a gigantic douche nozzle. We also know he holds the single season and all-time records for home run totals, 7 MVP awards, a 34 stolen base average over his first 13 seasons and a wicked .298/.444/.607 career slash line. He’s inarguably one of greatest baseball players of all time.
Who gives a shit right? The BBWAA is an archaic fossil record anyway, and once their more regressive voters stop contributing or end the crusading or simply die out, I have optimism that some of these guys will get the recognition they deserve. The Hall of Fame is voted on by members of the sports media outside of Major League Baseball i.e. those same people who deal out Cy Young awards and MVPs every year. To be deemed a “Hall of Famer” has about as much clout behind it as a Gold Glove. But the issue here is that the BBWAA doesn’t want to recognize Bonds’ contributions at all — and make no mistake that’s exactly what they’re doing through abstention — because he allegedly shot himself up with a foreign substance. A substance against which MLB had no policy at the time, mind you. And this makes him a cheater?
As it turns out, Bonds would already have company if were miraculously inducted this afternoon. John McGraw, Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, HANK FUCKING AARON are all technically “cheaters” in baseball. There’s even a current inductee who’s allegedly mixed a few “Jose Canseco milkshakes” in his day. Now ‘allegedly” is far from rock solid evidence, but — nope. That’s it right there. A flimsy argument deserves a flimsy rebuttal. Plus, a “Jose Canseco milkshake” is horrifying either way you interpret it.