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comment by flagamuffin
flagamuffin  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The misremembering of the McGwire-Sosa Home Run Race

    After the Mitchell Report, after Bonds fatigue, this brand of skepticism and anger was the mainstream position when it came to performance-enhancing drugs. If it isn’t the current default stance of the typical baseball fan, it’s mighty close.

i spend an hour or two a week browsing r/baseball and this is completely, dead, 180-degree wrong, at least when describing that demographic.

i don't know what the 'average' baseball fan thinks, i don't even know who that is anymore. as far as i can tell from going to games, the average baseball fan is a fat family of four who like the loud music all the stadiums play and don't actually know what's going on down on the field. my best approximation of what that "baseball fan" believes is: i'm a brewers fan, so i forgive ryan braun, but i hate david ortiz for taking steroids. etc

    It’s not natural for a human being to ingest substantially more calories than they need for the purposes of bulking up. Forcing 8,000 calories into your system every day to build muscle mass isn’t good for you.

that's interesting, because when lance armstrong was doing this at his peak (and yes, of course, he was also on steroids), he was perhaps the fittest man on the planet.

and on top of all that brisbee throws in some hilarious alarmism about creatine. great.

ultimately at least this article isn't complete apologetics and makes the correct and obvious point that all baseball records for the rest of time are cheapened. steroids didn't save baseball, they did their best to ruin it for those of us who love baseball and numbers equally.

    Just know that it’s far, far too reductive to look back at McGwire and Sosa with disgust. At the time, they were the absolute best.

no. here's wins above replacement, 1998:

1. Kevin Brown 9.1

2. Alex Rodriguez 8.5

3. Roger Clemens 8.1

4. Barry Bonds 8.1

5. John Olerud 7.6

steroids, steroids, steroids, steroids, olerud. be honest, what do you know about john olerud? maybe you'd know more if it weren't for bonds, rodriguez, clemens, mcgwire...

pretending sammy sosa doesn't exist is exactly the right move and brisbee should too

tacocat  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I know John Olerud was pretty good and always wore a silly looking helmet, even in the field, even in baseball card pictures, because I believe he got dinged in the head. I'm a little older than you and galen so I remember peak Olerud

galen  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·  
flagamuffin  ·  702 days ago  ·  link  ·  
b_b  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Probably Olerud too. My whole high school football team was on steroids in 1998. A dude in my class has a seizure during drafting class because of all the shit he was using to bulk up. My buddy who went on to pitch independent league ball in early 2000s was on steroids. Lance Armstrong was on steroids, as you note. Steroids were so common and so cheap and so easy to obtain in the 90s that usage was probably far higher than anyone imagines. I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 90% in some sports. It's one of those things that we need to just forget about, because it was a product of the era and not specific to individuals, even if certain guys were more conspicuous than others (I remember sitting in row 1 being the dugout and being shocked to see Raphael Palmiero's neck and traps up close).

flagamuffin  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·  

this is dumb. john olerud hit 255 career home runs and had a marked decline after his age 33 season, just like every player ever who was not on steroids

and for a player like olerud, "forgetting" isn't sufficient...

    All that adds up, according to Baseball Reference, to 53.7 career wins above replacement and 27.4 wins above average. Those are borderline Hall of Fame numbers, and probably slightly on the wrong side of the border. But keep in mind, WAR is an adjusted-for-league-average stat. And Olerud was playing in a league full of cheaters, like McGwire and Palmeiro and Sosa and Bonds. They make his adjusted numbers, which are already on the borderline for Hall consideration, look worse than they should be. And he was playing in a league full of cheaters like Roger Clemens, who he faced 107 times, more than any other pitcher, and against whom he hit just .205/.335/.373. So, first, Olerud's numbers are worsened because a good chunk of the pitchers he faced were cheating, and second his numbers get worsened again in the adjustment process because he gets compared to other hitters who were cheating. What that means, I think, is that if you want to try to pretend the steroid thing never happened, i.e. to imagine that all the cheating players just hadn't been there, John Olerud has a pretty strong Hall of Fame case.
b_b  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What's dumb is someone who was a toddler when steroids were big thinking that they have any insight whatever into what steroid culture was like on the 90s.