Disagreeing with James

Blog Critics has the most reasoned anti-James response I’ve read—by “anti-James,” I mean a response that disagrees with James’ recent article about steroids and the Hall of Fame. This well-written riposte is a stark contrast to the mad spewing we’ve seen from some in the mainstream media.

There is no easy answer to this dilemma, which is why the dialogue will seemingly never end. At the least, we should expect our commentators to be coherent, logical and consistent. Both James and Blog Critics passed the test from all angles.

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  1. Michael said...

    Well-written, yes. Reasoned, no.

    It’s basically the same argument as Bill Madden’s but using more words.

    The assumption is that everybody hates “cheaters.” This has been proven wrong over and over again (the love for Manny in LA and Bonds in SF, sportswriters knowingly electing “cheaters” to the Hall in the past). Sportswriters are people, and people change as times change.

    Will they all make it? I do think, as James does, that it’s a slippery slope. The guys the sportswriters had good relationships with will get in first, and after that, Bonds and Clemens will have to be considered as well.

    What’s amazing is that neither writer disagrees with the really bad science James makes the centerpiece of his argument: steroids are the direct cause of prolonged careers.

    In fact, players do a number of things to remain youthful longer, first and foremost being training and nutrition. With access to the best trainers, equipment and nutrition money can buy, I would EXPECT today’s players to extend their productive years well beyond those of the players who would get plastered after a nightly steak dinner and whose idea of “working out” was the calisthenics at Spring Training.

    When you spend too much time looking at the needles, you might forget there’s a whole forest of pine trees there.

  2. David said...

    I agree with the above post on one issue: the article was not well reasoned. 

    I’ll first admit that I read only their counter-argument to James’s initial point, that “steroids” (or continued enhancements in biotech and pharmacology) keep you young.  And because people want to stay young, steroids (in one variety or another) are the wave of the future.

    A good point James made there, one emphatically reinforced with any glance at America’s health industry or simply relying on that old aphorism, “The tide of technology stops for no man”.  There’s no doubt: human beings naturally grasp for enhanced life and vitality.  Spiders, skunks, and willow trees except nature’s status quo, but man has always pushed beyond his limits.

    In 2004 and 2005, I was involved in a project where I heavily researched future health trends, and was utterly blown away by the pills and enhancements that scientists and chemists already secretly use pre-FDA approval.*  In the Eastern countries (who are now the carriers of America’s previous title as the forward-looking, pro-technology cultures), they don’t look up to America.  Nor do they regard America’s posturing of being “natural” as quaint.  They don’t regard us as hypocrites or luddites.  No, in China, India, Israel, as well as many of the smaller Asian countries (Indonesia, Thailand, etc.), they don’t regard us at all.  With the exception of countries where our murderous empire has traversed across their borders, they simply don’t care about us anymore: they’re too busy building, innovating, and creating. 

    This neo-Eastern behavior of pushing technology relentlessly outward and letting the chips fall where they may (which used to be America’s approach) has long been my default mindset, too. 

    So, it was exhilarating to see that Bill James was making that same point (albeit in a different form).

    Then, I rushed to see the “most well-reasoned anti-James response”.  James’s point was so logical and, well, airtight, that I was excited to see what they came up with in response! 

    But instead….

    Nothing.  Literally, the article made no points at all.  A bunch of sneering quotes of Bill James (they think that their readers will automatically find Bill James stupid if they put half sentences of his in quotes) and nebulous cultural quasi-moralizing silliness. 

    No arguments.  No ideas.  Just worthless moralizing idiocy.  That was frustrating.

    But go ahead, Americans.  Wag your fingers.  Put your hands on your hips.  Cry “Oh no you didn’t!” to Ramirez and A-Rod. 

    But you’re still buying Viagra.  You’re still buying Rogaine.  You’re still popping Adderall and Prozac.  You’re still drinking Monster Energy Drinks.  You’re still going to buy whatever the pharmaceutical industry puts out to make you feel younger.  The next time your doctor tells you he’s got a drug that’ll boost your metabolism or give you energy, you’re going to buy and use it. 

    But while the useless idiots at BlogCritics.org are trying to drum up faux moralization, remember this: the Easterners don’t care about your wagging finger.  They don’t care that you fear science and technology until after you can buy it at Wal-Mart.  They’re still building and creating and pushing outward, and you can’t stop ‘em.  We’re trying – and failing miserably – to destroy life and to stifle innovation.  The scribes had right: the tide of technology stops for no man, and certainly not for some effeminate sports fans.

    That’s why the Easterners are both the present and the future, and America is the past.

    About one thing Bill James was wrong: the “steroids” users aren’t pioneers.  Actually, they’re just normal men, and normal men seek to push boundaries and expand outward.  Ironically, it’s the anti-steroid hysterics at BlogCritics.org and all over America who are truly the ones who are “un-natural”.


    *Note that, if anybody is interested, I’ll be willing to dig through my old files and refer you to a whole host of books, articles, and scientists who will re-affirm this point.  Furthermore, I can name some drugs which do absolutely mind-blowing things which are sold to the elites on the black-market and are used regularly by the scientists and businessmen with access to them.

    I encourage everybody to watch this 7-minute argument in a steroids debate moderated by Bob Costas.

  3. hermitfool said...

    I wish someone who knows about these things, someone with contacts in the world of designer PEDs, would write an article. What does the cutting edge look like these days? Are the chemists so far ahead of the testers MLBs drug testing policy is a farce? If it is a farce then why are all these minor leaguers still getting busted? Not wealthy enough to buy the really cool stuff? Sic ‘em, Dave.

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