PED arguments I despise

The Ryan Braun suspension—and looming potential suspensions for another 20 or so players—has brought discussions regarding performance-enhancing drugs to the forefront once again. There’s been plenty of good conversation, but there’s also been lots of bloviating.

At the risk of coming across as just another of those bloviating morons, here are some arguments I’ve read about PEDs that I’m simply tired of reading.

PEDs don’t really enhance performance

Look, I don’t know exactly how much PEDs improve a baseball player’s ability to perform his assigned task on the field, whether that’s hitting, pitching, running or taking a 3-0 pitch right down the middle. And neither do you. There’s been no detailed study—nor do I think there ever will or even could be—to determine precisely what steroids, HGH, amphetamines, etc. do to a baseball player. However, I feel confident in assuming they do something.

To simplify things greatly, PEDs are designed to improve a person’s physical abilities by adding muscle and/or speeding up recovery. If a hitter is stronger, the ball will leave his bat faster and travel farther or he’ll be able to run faster. A pitcher who can recover more quickly from the brutal task of throwing a ball 90-plus mph will be able to throw more pitches and/or pitch more often.

Certainly, the magnitude of these effects will vary from person to person and be influenced by the specific program a user is on. But even if they turn one or two warning-track shots into homers, allow an extra ball a month to squeak through the infield, help a player sneak in safely on a stolen base attempt once in a while or enable a hurler to dial up one additional mid-90s heater a game, there’s a benefit to that.

And even if we were to determine the real physical benefit was nothing, there would be some sort of placebo effect with at least some players. Simply believing a PED provides a benefit could instill a heartier approach in a ballplayer, leading to increased confidence and greater success.

Do I think PEDs are a magic serum that turns an ordinary Joe into Captain America? Of course not (more on that below), but I simply refuse to accept the stance that PEDs do nothing to enhance performance.

We don’t know the effects, so we must assume it’s nothing

This is a corollary to my first point. As objective analysts, many sabermetricians are programmed to look for concrete ties between A and B. In the absence of a proven relationship, the default is to conclude there is none. If we can’t determine how much PEDs help players, we have to conclude the answer is “not at all.” This is ridiculous.

We don’t know how much chemistry impacts a clubhouse, but there’s a strong chance it does. What do you think the Brewers clubhouse will be like next spring and summer when Braun comes back? How have the Yankees been mentally and emotionally impacted by Alex Rodriguez‘s numerous screw-ups and the questions they have to answer about him?

I know, they’re professionals, but that doesn’t make them immune to this stuff. How much is your productivity impacted by your relationships with your co-workers? Your boss?

In a related vein, how much benefit, or detriment, can coaches—hitting, pitching, bullpen, bench, etc—make? Beats me, and I’ve never seen this quantified. But should we default to the notion that there’s no effect? Sounds silly to me.

Just as assuming PEDs don’t make a difference because we can’t measure it is silly. We may not be able to firmly quantify this stuff, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

Why don’t PEDs turn journeymen into Hall of Famers?

This may be the stupidest argument of the bunch,and I’ve read it in numerous places: if PEDs were some sort of panacea, why don’t they turn minor league scrubs into Hall of Famers?

First of all, who ever contended that they did? People often throw out this argument as if it’s a rebuttal, but I’ve never read or heard anyone claim that PEDs are like Popeye’s spinach, transmogrifying the 98-pound weakling into Mr. Universe.

It’s inarguable that a player has to have innate talent, a strong work ethic, and the correct mental makeup to succeed as a big league ballplayer. You won’t find any 5-foot-3, 220-pound ballplayers in the majors. There’s not going to be a pitcher in the bigs who cries every time he gives up a hit. There’s a natural baseline that must exist for a person to be a professional athlete.

The gap between Triple-A player and All-Star is massive. The former sit on the upper tail of the bell curve of baseball talent, and the latter make that upper tail look like Mt. Fuji. Given equal effort, you can’t get from A to B.

But given artificial assistance, maybe that Triple-A player becomes the last man on a major league bench—the third catcher, fifth outfielder or last reliever who rarely pitches in anything other than blowouts. That player would go from making 30-40 grand a year to nearly half a million bucks. Sure sounds like a tempting proposition, doesn’t it?

PEDs can’t make a mediocre player great. Trying to argue against their effectiveness this way is a straw man argument worth burning into oblivion.

Ban all the users from baseball

No, not all of the points I’m making are one-sided. Well, at least they’re not all same-sided, and now it’s time to jump across the aisle.

An argument that seems to have picked up steam recently is the proposition of simply throwing all PED users out of the game right away, a one-and-done lifetime banishment. Ummm, what?

First of all, accidents do happen, and it’s possible that a player past or future has or will be busted for a false positive. Yes, they all say they’re innocent, but the many who cry wolf shouldn’t prevent the rare player who actually is clean from getting a second chance. Yes, the odds are small, but they’re not zero.

Secondly, there are rules in place to dictate what punishment will be meted out for what offense. The first time a player is busted for PED use, he gets a 50-game suspension, the second offense earns a 100-game unpaid vacation, and the third violation puts you in the company of Pete Rose and the Black Sox.

Unless Major League Baseball and the Players Association agree to different discipline, this is what ought to happen. If someone is arguing that those rules should be changed, that’s one thing. But saying the rules should be ignored is nonsensical. A mindset that violating the rules is permissible is how we got into this messy discussion in the first place.

This is actually something about the Braun suspension I’m not sure I like. Technically, he’s never tested positive before, so a 50-game ban is the spelled-out punishment. However, given the background, these more recent developments and the murky “other” category found in the CBA, the 65-game discipline for his transgression is understandable.

The calls for a lifetime ban for A-Rod, though? I’m not seeing the reasoning behind them.

Restoring the game’s purity

People who want to take the game back to “the way it was” need to spell out exactly what they’re talking about, because I don’t have any idea what exactly they’re talking about.

Before the so-called “Steroids Era” of the ’90s and 2000s, there were the cocaine years of the ’80s. Go back a decade or two, and you had greenies, amphetamines that even Hank Aaron has admitted taking. Before that, Hall of Famers were showing up to games drunk, and many probably were experimenting with the crude precursors to the PEDs of today.

Head back to the 1930s and ’40s, and you still had a significant portion of the population that was unwelcome in the majors because of skin color. Earlier than that, Babe Ruth was creating the guidebook upon which future carousers would model their behavior. And in the early 1900s and late 1800s, some players were more than willing to give something less than their best if it meant a healthy payout from gamblers.

There is no truly pure era in professional baseball. When you put a price tag on success, you can’t help but open things up to all sorts of shady behavior. Money drives many people to do immoral, unethical things, and baseball has been paying its players for 150 years. And if it’s not monetary motivation, well, vanity leads to similar actions, and people have been vain as long as there have been people.

Simply put, a “pure era” of professional baseball is a false target that cannot be hit.

Strip ‘em of their awards and records

Matt Kemp isn’t alone in thinking Braun’s 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award should be taken away from him, though given his second-place finish in the voting, Kemp is anything but unbiased. The problem is, what do you do with the award? Give it to the second-place finisher? Well, what if Kemp’s name shows up some day in a PED investigation? Re-vote? Not at all practical. Vacate the award? Maybe …

The same thought process applies to records such as Bonds’ single-season and career home run tallies. Chris Davis said a few weeks ago that he considers Roger Maris‘ 61 as the single-single longball mark to beat. Sure, as the American League record, he’s correct. But the major league mark? Sorry, that’s 73.

The numbers are concrete. Context, as touched up earlier, is crucial. The various influences of each era—and expansion is one I’ve not mentioned until now—will change what is and isn’t an impressive performance. We’re all free to view each accomplishment as we see fit, but the numbers themselves are incorrigible.

***

That’s my list of issues—for now. I’m sure there will be others that bug you, so share them in the comments. Maybe there will be enough for a follow-up column.

And I’m sure some of you disagree with my stance on some of these issues. Fire away. I enjoy the discourse. My one request is to keep it civil. It’s good to know our readers maintain a level of discourse that often isn’t present at some other sites.

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Comments

  1. Professor Longnose said...

    This doesn’t sound like bloviating moronitude to me, but that may be because I have similar opinions.

  2. Kenn Frye said...

    I am also tired of the babble of PEDs as a magic elixir.  The increased offense of the mid-90’s is more appropriately attributed to a juiced ball (see 1987 batting stat, e.g. Wade Boggs), smaller ballparks, smaller strike zone, and expansion.  Jose Canseco, poster child for PED use, claimed he was a scrub until the miracle of PEDs made him a superstar.  Unfortunately, Jose has an identical twin, Ozzie, who also took these PEDS. Scientifically, the same drugs acting on the exact same DNA should produce roughly similar results.  If PEDs actually do enhance performance significantly, Ozzie should have had a career at least along the lines of Eric Karros or Reggie Sanders.

  3. bucdaddy said...

    I know, they’re professionals, but that doesn’t make them immune to this stuff. How much is your productivity impacted by your relationships with your co-workers? Your boss?
    —-
    Apples and oranges. These guys are nothing like you and me. Their powers of focus and concentration are extraordinary. If they didn’t have such powers, if they were so easily distracted, they’d get weeded out in A ball.

    Give you an example: Here’s perhaps the stupidest question (and that’s saying something) I’ve ever heard a sportswriter ask.

    When Patriots camp opened the other day, somebody asked Tom Brady how much of a distraction the Aaron Hernandez thing was.

    Now think about Tom Brady’s life and what he does for a living. He stands in a tornado of hand-to-hand combat among a dozen people 50 percent bigger than he is, half of whom are trying to decapitate him, while 60,000 people scream for his blood, and throws 50-yard spiral TD passes and wins Super Bowls. He sleeps with a supermodel, has a bajillion dollars to play with and is the focus of attention and photographers everywhere he goes.

    And somebody asked THIS guy if the case involving a teammate he probably never sees or consorts with outside of a huddle or locker room (there are, what, 53 guys on an active NFL roster?) is a distraction?

    Brady’s answer was, “Zero,” and I absolutely believe him.

    Sports scribes just love that distraction angle because, led the effects of PED use, you can work that angle all the time and no one can say you’re wrong. If a guy we think ought to be distracted by something that would bother a normal human being goes in a 3-for-40 slump, well obviously, he MUST be distracted by X, Y or Z. If he goes on a 21-for-40 hot streak, “Isn’t it amazing he can even get out of bed in the morning with distractions X, Y and Z!” The beer and chicken wing fiasco with the Red Sox is a perfect example. If you’re winning, it’s camaraderie! If you start losing, it’s a distraction!

    I know it’s an eternal fantasy for ordinary fans to think that, if they had been blessed with juuuuust a little more talent, they could play or pitch in the pros. But really, that’s only part of what separates us from them, and it may not even been the most important part. Ordinary people are seldom called upon to exhibit the focus and concentration at work that it takes to stand in the box and try to hit a 100 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman, or throw a fastball past Miggy Cabrera.

    PEDs or not, these guys are already nothing like the rest of us, except for the two arms, two legs and a head.

  4. Mat Kovach said...

    I’m actually not convinced that any ban has a large effect on stopping players. For many players, when doing a cost benefits analysis of using PEDs, the risk of getting caught against the benefits of cheating will fall on the side of using.

    Granted, I don’t mean all of those players would ultimately use, but it certainly isn’t going to be based on the punishment for getting caught.

    Face it, if you use just long enough to sign your first free agent contract, a 50 game ban and the lost of a small portion of your contract money really isn’t enough to say don’t use.

    I think the best way is to investigate way make the decision fall into the “don’t use” area. In the end, that is going to be done changing the culture a bit and improving baseball, club houses, and front office a bit.

    BUT, punitive punishments to individuals are something the public likes to see (we are such a happy bunch of casualty vampires) that in the end, MLB has little choice to work with bans for a quick turn around to help insure people continue to give them green pieces of paper.

  5. Greg Simons said...

    Shane – It will be very interesting to see how the case against A-Rod develops.  The “best interests of baseball” argument seems specious to me.  MLB was just as interested in getting its grubby paws on the Biogenesis documents as A-Rod (reportedly) was.  They’d have to prove he intended to buy and destroy them.  Good luck with that.

    And as you said, they didn’t go after Melky Cabrera for more than 50 games despite him creating a fake website to help cover his tracks.  That set a bit of a precedent, though maybe not a really strong one.

    Kenn – While Jose Canseco has been proven correct regarding his allegations that many players used PEDs, I wouldn’t trust anything he says about science.

    I had though about Jose and Ozzie.  However, though their DNA is very similar, we don’t know the differences in their diet, workouts, specific PED usage, etc.  These things could have significant impact on their abilities.

  6. Greg Simons said...

    bucdaddy – Maybe these are better, more concrete examples of how chemistry could impact a team.

    What if you’re a middle infielder and you don’t like your double-play partner.  Would you ever toss a ball so that he’s more likely to get taken out by the runner?

    Or what if you’re a pitcher and you catcher is a major jerk (say his name rhymes with A.J. Beerzynski.)  Would you ever consider that he might call for the wrong pitch in a given situation?  Say it’s the 8th inning of a 12-1 blowout, and it really doesn’t matter what the next batter does.  Perhaps he calls for a pitch the batter likes so that maybe he’ll launch one against you, making you look worse in the eyes of the manager and front office.

    Far-fetched?  Maybe, but my point is that I don’t think players are so locked in that relationships and emotions can’t ever affect them.

  7. Drew said...

    When people say Brady Anderson / Luis Gonzalez / Jay Bell / Barry Bonds “juiced” and point to certain individual outlier seasons, I ask – what happened? Did they just juice a little bit and then stop? Is juice on some sort of time release that lasts only for a season? Did they juice a while, then go “oops my stats look too obvious, id better start hitting less homers again”?

    I would assume you would despise my arguments. Am I right?

  8. Greg Simons said...

    Drew – Anderson, Gonzalez, Bell, and Bonds (among many others) have something in common with Roger Maris – a big single-season spike in homers compared to the rest of their careers.

    Maris was 26, whereas everyone else was in their early-to-mid 30s, but lots of things could explain that discrepancy.

    No despising here.

  9. Paul G. said...

    Jacob Beck in The Atlantic argues that all arguments for banning PEDs in sports fail under scrutiny except the “arms race” argument, which results in success/failure being based on finding the newest and best pharmaceuticals regardless of financial and/or health cost.  Here’s the link:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/06/the-only-good-reason-to-ban-steroids-in-baseball-to-prevent-an-arms-race/276932/

    (I don’t agree with all his arguments.)

    Personally, I think the best argument for banning PEDs is the health issue, but more for baseball as a whole rather than any particular individual.  Football is currently dealing with a crisis of safety as more and more former players display serious, probably football related health issues later in life.  The sport’s popularity has not waned much yet, but there is a reason why they keep advertising all the efforts to make the game safer while simultaneously talking about lawsuits as little as possible.  While baseball is not nearly as violent, if, say, the A-Rod cohort starts suffering from horrific diseases and dying young en masse and this is attributed to steroid use, baseball takes a serious reputation hit.  While the initial impact can be minimal, over time it can turn the “national pastime” into “the death sentence sport.”  The latter does not work well in marketing campaigns.

  10. Professor Longnose said...

    2001 did see a big spike in Bonds’ HR/AB ratio that came down in 2002, but it didn’t come down to his previous levels. From 2000 until the end of his career his HR/AB ratio was considerably higher than it had been before.

  11. Johnston said...

    Two quotes:

    “The guys who have cheated have created an uneven playing field, and I don’t have any sympathy for them.” -  Brooks Robinson

    ““Fans aren’t stupid. Fans know that Hank Aaron is the all-time leading home run hitter.” – Bert Blyleven

  12. Beerment said...

    A distinction I don’t hear much in PED discussions is that between *cheating* vs. *gamesmanship*.

    For example, a little doctoring of the baseball here and there is gamesmanship; artificially increasing your strength with illegal substances is cheating.

    Sliding hard at a SS to break up a double play is gamesmanship; patronizing legally dubious hack clinics and parading as taking ‘anti-aging’ medication is cheating.

    Charging homeplate and dropping a shoulder on a plate-blocking catcher is gamesmanship; pumping chemicals into your buttcheeks because you’re too weak to put the ball in the stands is cheating and pathetic.

    Don’t be a cheat. Be a f***ing man and achieve what you can by your own natural abilities. And then be damn proud of it.

  13. Drew said...

    So…

    No team trainers, cortisone, LASIK surgery?

    No nutritionists? No weight room?

    No tapes? No computer generated stats?

    Ban it all, right?

  14. Beerment said...

    I assume, Drew, you’re being facetious.

    You do realize that all the things you have listed are legal and encouraged for professional athletes with millions of dollars invested in their physical well being.

    PEDs on the other hand are illegal.

    Unfair advantage. I presume you’d like to invest against thousands of inside traders?

  15. Johnston said...

    Can you imagine how different things would be if we had a strong and moral commissioner like Bart Gianmati in charge of the game today instead of Bud Lite?

  16. Drew said...

    Beerment:

    I get what you mean but I don’t think professional athletes have any claim on being real men anymore.

    If all you want is raw talent and skill, then just go out and play. No weights, no doctors, no nutrition.

  17. Shane Tourtellotte said...

    The rumored punishment for Alex Rodriguez may deal with more than PED use.  There have been stories floated that A-Rod tried to buy up Biogenesis’ records in order to destroy them and obliterate the documentary evidence against him.  If this story is corroborated, he’s committed an act (or tried to commit one) for which there’s no set penalty.  Selig can go as far as he wants, or as far as he thinks he can against A-Rod’s lawyers and the possible intervention of the players’ union.

    Selig might have a better case along those lines if he had decreed some additional punishment of Melky Cabrera for ginning up that fake website meant to exonerate him of his own PED use.  That said, there’s a real difference between faking evidence and the permanent destruction of evidence.  A big enough difference to justify a lifetime ban?  It depends on your personal bounds of propriety, the actual scope of the offense, and the precedent Selig is trying to set, but maybe.

  18. obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

    While I agree with much of what was written here – well done article overall – what I’m tired of hearing is that there are no strong evidence.

    Eric Walker has collected a vast amount of evidence supporting the supposition that steroid and PEDS were not responsible for the so-called Steroid Era of heightened offense, and that it was a juiced ball:

    http://steroids-and-baseball.com/
    http://highboskage.com/juiced-ball.shtml

    In addition, the Baseball Economist has posted a long while ago that when he spoke with fellow professors at his college, who worked in their Physical Education or Physiology department (can’t remember which), the professors stated unequivocally that HGH does not help a baseball player perform better, and meanwhile has such horrible side effects (like internal organs expanding so much that they spill out into a giant gut, like Andre the Giant) that continual usage can be life threatening.

    Now, some would argue then that performance is not the point, quicker healing is, and to that, then I would point out that amphetamines had been in use for probably 50-60 years, most probably after the US military fed them like candy to all the military personnel to keep them alert and functional in WWII, and usage was widely exposed by the book Ball Four, and while not quick healing, allowed players to play at peak performance later in the season, which to me is a form of healing.  In addition, caffeine has a similar effect as well yet is legal.  Overdosing on either can be dangerous, I know of people who drank so much caffeine that their hearts had severe problems that resulted in the Dr telling them to stop drinking any caffeine, yet the main difference is that one can be bought by a child in a store and the other must be prescribed.  I think speed and caffeine have left a more lasting mark on the record books than steroids have.

    And Eric makes strong arguments as to why the offensive era is the result of a juiced ball, the quick rise of that era does not jibe with what should have been a gradual rise in usage before leveling off.  The only way that era could result from expanded steroids usage is if everyone started using it in the 1993-4 timeframe.  I find that very hard to accept.

    Also, another argument I’ve seen people use is that they heard from users about how they felt improved from using steroids.  To that, I would point out the Dumbo feather placebo effect, where someone tells the user that it works and then, Frank Viola, they suddenly can.  I would prefer a much more scientific assessment of that improvement than “yeah, I feel better now”. 

    Lastly, I would point out Malcolm Gladwell’s article for the New Yorker a long time ago discussing the problems with trying to keep any sport “clean”, that drug testing is futile:  http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_08_10_a_drug.htm

    Doesn’t mean you don’t try, but the job is very Sisyphean and the situation very complex and not clean cut relative to society.

  19. Mac said...

    Thank you.

    This article is that cold dose of reality that is often missing in the media.

    I will be linking to this often and appreciate the themes of describing what it is we really know (not that much regarding this issue), acknowledging that effects can vary from person to person, and that those fringe MLB players have just as much, if not more incentive to take PEDs to help their careers.

    That last point is one I’m especially ashamed of for baseball watching society. The cheaters are potentially taking roster spots from the clean players, possibly risking their health to do it. Yet what fans are really outraged about are the much-hallowed record numbers and breakout performances. We care more about numbers than people.

  20. bucdaddy said...

    Greg Simons,

    I have no trouble believing there are big enough assholes in MLB to think of doing things like that. That they actually would do things like that … Hell, I don’t know. Was Crash Davis’ “Here comes the deuce, and when you speak of me, speak of me well” fact or fiction? Are there players who would sabotage a teammate they didn’t like? We’re speaking of treason here.

    I just think that when they get out on the field, all of that goes away, and instincts to WIN take over.

  21. Brad Johnson said...

    On point #1, PEDs are assumed to improve on-field performance by massively improving off-field performance. The gains from being able to practice/workout better and more often could be substantial.

  22. Hank G. said...

    “Personally, I think the best argument for banning PEDs is the health issue, but more for baseball as a whole rather than any particular individual.” 

    There would have to be some actual proof that steroids have an adverse long-term effect on human health first.

    “Football is currently dealing with a crisis of safety as more and more former players display serious, probably football related health issues later in life.  The sport’s popularity has not waned much yet, but there is a reason why they keep advertising all the efforts to make the game safer while simultaneously talking about lawsuits as little as possible.  While baseball is not nearly as violent, if, say, the A-Rod cohort starts suffering from horrific diseases and dying young en masse and this is attributed to steroid use, baseball takes a serious reputation hit.”

    Football involves violent collisions on every play. Many players retire as virtual cripples, with a history of multiple broken bones and other severe injuries. This is aside from the newer information about the cumulative effects of concussions on mental acuity. This predates the use of steroids, although the increased speed, bulk, and strength that steroids bestow on users probably exacerbates the problem.

    Despite all that, football seems to be more popular than ever. I don’t know what that says about our culture as a whole, but baseball would have to go a long way to get anywhere near the point that football already is as far as the physical damage done to the participants.

  23. Paul G. said...

    Two points on Elster:

    1. Elster could never stay healthy.  He probably would have had a pretty good career if not for that.  (So would a lot of other players.)

    2. The 1996 season is not as impressive as it looks.  He was playing in Texas in a very good hitters park.  It was a good offensive season for a shortstop, but his OPS+ was only 90 and he earned only 1.5 bWAR.

    I suppose he could have been taking something to help him heal, whether it PEDs or something else, but my suspicion is if he has been blessed with normal health that this season would have been fairly normal for him.

  24. Drew said...

    Yeah, Elster was a pretty big guy for a SS, and from what I remember he had decent power numbers in limited at-bats with the Mets in the “dead-ball” era of 88-92, then slightly bigger numbers (but not w/r/t the league) in the “juiced BALL” post-1993 era.

  25. Paul E said...

    Steroids work-plain and simple. That’s why athletes take them and 1) the elite break records, 2) the average excel, and 3) the mediocre compete.

    Por ejemplo:

    1) Bonds, McGwire, A-Rod
    2) Brett Boone, Jose Canseco, Juan Gonzalez
    3) the anonymous ones here who put everyone under suspicion by failing to hit 50 HR’s or slug .550+

  26. Rigsby said...

    Regarding why journeymen weren’t changed into hall-of-famers: I’d argue that a player still needs special hand-eye coordination in order to make full use of the advantages that PEDs provide.  It a hitter tends to get fooled on off-speed pitches or hits a lot of pop-ups, what does it matter whether he’s juicing or not?  Also, PEDs by themselves don’t do much; you still have to put in the time in the off-season to workout and gain strength.  There aren’t too many players who have the focus to dedicate their time to strength training every single off-season.  One off-season, sure.  Then the desire wears off—which is why, I believe many hitters have that one big season during their contract year and can’t replicate it later—they don’t have the energy to do the off-season work.  Anyway: I present to you Kevin Elster, who in 1996 hit 24 HRs and drove in 99, and was a guy who had essentilaly been out of baseball since ‘91.  His career totals over 13 seasons were 88 and 376.  Was he taking something that offseason?  Who knows, but that is certainly one case of a journeyman looking like an All-Star, although temoporarily.

  27. Paul E said...

    ‘tooth:
      “The pitchers weren’t enhanced?”

    Yeah, Clemens, Pettite, etc….however, it sure seems there are a lot more “names” named from the batters box side than the pitcher’s mound. Hindsight is 20-20, but is it possible that angry horse’s ass Albert Belle was just a sweet loveable guy w/o the juice and the subsequent ‘roid rage? Mysteries of the ‘90’s …..

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