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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Clemens' stats from his last 4 years at Boston (1993-1996):

11-14 4.46
9-7 2.85
10-5 4.18
10-13 3.63

At that time, he was 35 years old. He left to Toronto, where he suddenly went 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA. The more strident these guys are in protesting their innocence, the more they look like liars.

We are all one step removed from being tribal animals.

As in Oedipus, mankind wants to place men as leaders up on pedestals, only to revel when we tear them down.

It is an ugly human characteristic.

What ever is the truth, it is sad, and no individuals should be singled out for scorn be it Barry Bonds, or Roger Clemens.

The real evil lies in the owners, who like Caesars of Rome profited from their gladiators. A ticket to a baseball game 10 years later is 400% higher.

I believe Roger, no way he took performance enhancing substances into his body knowingly...said the 5 year old who believes anything.

I'm not ready to crucify Clemens, but c'mon, it's hard to believe he DIDN't take 'roids.

Hey, Alden, how about the GMs, like Pat Gillick? Where do they (does he) fit in to the grand imperial schema?

Personally, I don't really care. He probably did steroids, but then again, so did everyone else. That's the thing about steroids- players of all talent levels were using them. Did they extend some people's careers? Yeah, but what's so bad about that? Do people really complain about getting to see great baseball players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et al play for longer? As baseball fans, that's a good thing.

I get that it messes with the "tradition" of the game, and that now I'm not supposed to be able to compare stats over time, but honestly, I don't think that's true. In the 60's, when Koufax and Gibson were in their prime, the mound was raised. Does anyone put an asterisk next to that?

Look, today's players are all bigger and stronger than they were 50 years ago- Americans in general are bigger, and we have more scientific info on nutrition and weight training. So a lot of players took some medicines which helped them get stronger, possibly at the expense of their long-term health. Does anyone care that football players on average live 10 years less than normal people? No. They are playing football at the expense of their long-term health, and yet no one is concerned that kids are getting the wrong message from them. I just honestly don't think its that big of a deal, and the idea of a witch hunt is just ridiculous to me. Who cares?

Finally, the idea that Congress is leading an investigation into what players took steroids is despicable. Of all the problems in the world, our elected leaders are using their time and our tax money to ask Roger Clemens if he ever did steroids? Can anyone realistically defend this?

My thoughts on steroids. Thank you

SirAlden: Let's take a stab at not "singling out" Bonds & Clemens for their steroid use.

Did anybody see that Glenallen Hill was named in the Mitchell Report? My God! You can scratch him off my Hall of Fame list. And did you see that Jerry Hairston, Jr. was on there too? Looks like we've got to put an asterisk by those 8 homeruns that he hit in 2001. Adam Piatt was on the list too. And here I thought all of his accomplishments were legitimate.

There. Let no one accuse me of singling out any particular player.

Alden, all parties share "blame".

No one forced the players to take steroids. No one forced the owners and GMs and managers and trainers look the other way. No one forced the fans to continue to go to games and watch TV and buy memorabelia and jerseys and....

No one was forced to do anything.

They are all personally responsible t some level.

Off topic: Zagurski interview for KU blog. Says he is at 95 % now.

Off topic: Check out pics of the 2007 Phillies rookie class in their hazing gear.

url for pictures of 2007 Phils rookies in hazing outfits got cut off.

Try this.

HOF is in.......

Goose Gossage with 86% of the vote is the only player elected.

What's good for the Goose wasn't good for Jim Rice. I still like him in RBI baseball, however.

How does someone who only pitched 1800 innings belong in the Hall-of-Fame. I love Goose, but c'mon.

Billy Mac:
I bet if the Real Deal wore his baby suit to pitch, he'd have an ERA under 2. (The opposing batters would be laughing so hard they wouldn't see anything he threw.)

How did Coste get off so easily? Superman? Durbin the Baby, Roberson the Beauty Queen and Wonder Bourn definitely suffered the most humiliation.

Carson, just took another look at Gossage's stats. Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. During the decade from 1975 - 1985, he was phenomenal. Look at his stats from 75 and 77. He was consistently at a level of ERA+ over 150.

You quote innings, but he pitched 1000+ games. (Not too many guys doing that any more.) As the game has become such that relief pitchers become more and more important, he was one of those who made the closer into an integral part of baseball. He needs to be in the Hall.

(Plus, and you of all people should appreciate this: he was one of those who formalized the need for bizarre facial hair on late game relievers.)

Jason -
What makes me wonder, in the pictures most of them seem pretty good natured about the whole thing. But Coste definitely does not look amused. I'm guessing since he was older than most of them (the guys doing the hazing), they didn't want to press the envelope too much.

Heard portions of the tape between Clemens and McNamee this AM. What I did not hear on the tape and would have thought I would hear if the Rocket was as crystal clean as he says, would have been some kind of outrage. I.E. "You were with me. You absolutely know beyond a doubt that you NEVER injected me with steroids. So what the *&#? were you saying? I treated you like family and you flat out lied when you knew it would totally *#!& up my life." Obviously I don't know him personally, but from everything I've read about him over the last 20+ years, he hardly seems like the shrinking violet type who would shy away from a confrontation on the phone or in person. He gave Schilling a Dutch uncle talk years ago just because. I find it hard to believe he would not be right in someone's face who had betrayed him and made a totally baseless accusation against him.

Hate to say it, but at this point, AWH has come up with the most compelling analysis I've seen thus far.

Actually the taped phone conversation is truly interesting because Clemens is having it taped without McNamee's knowledge. He wants McNamee to say something acquitting him, but without "leading the witness" so to speak. He doesn't want to say: "We both know you didn't give me steroids," because then McNamee can say, "I said that on the phone cause it's what Clemens told me to say; and we're such good friends." McNamee acts like he's totally onto him and doesn't admit anything - in fact, he seems to be trying to get Clemens to tell him to lie about it.

Truly, truly amazing. I do not understand why Clemens' lawyers think it's a good thing to publicize this tape.

The funniest thing about the whole Clemens in regards to GMs is that basically what happened to Dan Duquette (who was the Sox GM back in '96).

Duquette was ridiculed in Boston for making his infamous comment about Clemens being in the "twilight of his career" when the Sox didn't resign him. The funny thing is that Duquette was probably right and didn't know the Clemens amazing rebound performance in Toronto would be due to performance-enhancing substances.

Funny how the passage of time can chance perception of an event.

It's sad that the giants (Bonds) of our recent game appear tainted. Clemens is acting guilty. I'm starting to wonder about Nolan Ryan's longevity, too.

I was pulling for Jim Rice for the HOF, but I'm glad that Gossage got in. I also think Andre Dawson should make the HOF.

I'm a Hall-of-Fame snob, and I'm personally happy that we don't let every Tom, Dick, and Harry into this elite club. I actually believe there should be fewer players in the Hall, because some just don't belong in my opinion- Rizuto, Sutter, now Gossage, and others. That's just my opinion. I like that baseball seems to hold a higher standard when it comes to passing judgment for their hall of fame unlike the other sports. I know my opinion doesn't mean sh*t, but I'm giving it anyway.

JW: Davthom73 probably threatened the veterans that if Coste looked bad that a la Sonny Corleone "it's all out war we go to the mattresses."

The tape is meaningless because even if McNamee were to say something Exonerating Clemens, it wouldn't be admissable in court, as he didn't have a warrant to record the conversation without McNamee's consent.

It might have exonerated him in the court of public opinion, but certainly not in a court of law.

"How does someone who only pitched 1800 innings belong in the Hall-of-Fame."

I didn't realize anyone had set IP standards for the Hall. For what it's worth, the two lowest IP totals for non-pitchers are Dizzy Dean, 1967 IP, and Sandy Koufax, 2324 IP, both careers shortened by injury.

If IP floats your boat, you must be in Bert Blyleven's corner -- his 4970 rank #13 all-time.

Oops. I meant non-relievers, not non-pitchers.

Alby, don't forget about Addie Joss (2,327 innings), who actually had to get a special waiver from the Hall to get in in 1978. he played only 9 years; the minimum service time is 10 years. (Joss died at 31 of meningitis.)

mm: Actually, it is admissable in court. In Texas you need only one consenting participant to present it in court. Heard it on ESPN a few times.

Addie Joss was the bee's knees. he could flat out pitch.

But it kinda shows the difference in the game. Those 2327 innings came in just 286 games. Those 286 games came over just 9 years. No one pitches that much per game, nor per year any more. (And really, when you compare him to some of the turn of the century pitchers, Joss's numbers aren't that great. Ed Walsh threw 886.3 over two years.)

It's a different game, and great relief pitchers are part of it. The best need to be recognized. Go Goose.

Sportscenter just compared Gossage vs Rivera.
IP:Gossage 1,809 1/3 vs Rivera 953
100 IP seasons: Gossage 5 vs Rivera 1
Saves: Gossage 310 vs Rivera 453
2 + IP saves Gossage 125 vs rivera 11.
(I think think this stat says it all)
Rivera has always been considered a 1rst ballot Hall Of Famer, but it took Goggage 9 votes? .
I love this quote
"I think that if you did do performance-enhancing drugs, you need to come clean and put an end to this," Gossage said. "Just fess up."

Carson, we agree. I also think there are players in the HOF who are marginal or don't belong there. It should be reserved for the truly great players.

I also like the fact that players become ineligible after a certain # of ballots. If the writers who saw you play don't vote you in, then IMO, you don't deserve to be there. You can also discern from that last sentence how I feel abot the veteran's committee. They have inducted far too many players who, IMO, don't belong.

Echo on Rizzuto (product of playing in NY - had he played in, say, Cleveland he wouldn't be in), and Red Schoendienst is another. Good players, but not HOF material.

Lake Fred, IMO, Nolan Ryan was a freak of nature. They come along every once in a while. Warren Spahn was also effective into his 40's. They are rare, but it does happen.

"Lake Fred, IMO, Nolan Ryan was a freak of nature. They come along every once in a while. Warren Spahn was also effective into his 40's. They are rare, but it does happen."

Effective into their 40's- Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Tom Glavine, Jose Mesa...oops, strike the last one.

kells, four reasons why Rivera is an absolute no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer and Gossage is not:

Rivera 194 ERA+ / Gossage 126 ERA+
Rivera 1.05 WHIP / Gossage 1.23 WHIP
Rivera 443/502 SV, 88% / Gossage 310/422 SV, 73%
Rivera 117.1 postseason IP, 0.77 ERA, 17-9, 34 SV / Gossage 31.3 postseason IP, 2.87 ERA, 5-3, 8 SV

Carson, Mesa was effective in his 40's. He saved 46 for the Tribe in '95.

Oh, one last comment on Clemens.

The lawsuit filed against McNamee, a man who clearly is on the ropes financially, and for whom mounting a good defense would cost him lots of money he doesn't have, is probably one of the most blatant attempts at legalized witness intimidation I've ever seen.

AWH: Wonder if there's any chance some superlawyer type will step in for McNamee because it is a high profile case?

kells: I could do the same comparison between Robin Roberts and John Smoltz. Does that mean Smoltz shouldn't go to the HOF? Because he didn't pitch 330 IP a year and routinely go 8 or 9 innings per start?

The game is radically different now and starters aren't used that way. Just as relievers aren't used the way they were when Goose and Mike Marshall were pitching in the 1970s. To use that a reason why Gossage is suposedly better than Rivera is just plain silly. If Rivera were pitching in the 1970s would he only be able to go 1 IP? And if Goose were pitching today would he go 3? Of course not.

Marshall, by the way, pitched 208 IP one season. All out of the bullpen.

Alby: Do you think a pitcher should be rewarded because he spent his entire career with winning teams or penalized if he spent his career with losing teams?

(Now for smething completely different.)

I just noticed that Marcus Giles has signed with Colorado as the best possibility for everyday 2B. I'm wondering if anyone can remember the name of that genius pundit who declared that Colorado would be heading back to the World Series every year into the foreseeable future.

After the changes that they've made in the off-season, and those made by their division competitors, I am hoping that their fans are wise enough to stock up on Broncos' tickets.

Goose was a little ahead of my time, but I recall Lee Smith vividly. Clout compared the two in an earlier thread. Just about everyone agrees Goose was the better pitcher, which says a lot. Smith was as scary as they come for many seasons. I painfully recall the lean years in Philadelphia when a call to Smith basically meant game over.

Stu the Reading Eagle security guard and resident Pirates fan says Goose's season in Pittsburgh was his best. He met Goose at a function once and he agreed it was his best season.

Interesting trivia: Marshall was signed by the Phillies originally. They sold him for an undisclosed sum of money.

How can you base a relief pitcher on IP? Gossage is definitely one of the greatest relief pitchers ever. Relief specialists are a part of baseball and need to be judged separately from starters.

Jason: I think Smith was every bit as good as Gossage and the stats back me up.

Andy: Looking at their careers (and not just one year), do you think Matsui is better than Giles?

"Half-truth with no supporting facts behind it."

"Less than witty comment."

"Vic Darensbourg, Vic Darensbourg, Vic Darensbourg."

Clearly I've offended you. Sorry. I'll try to be less offensive. (If you let me know who you are I'll even apologize personally.)

clout - I do not believe that Giles will ever replicate his best years. In light of much of the discussion over hte past few days, they seem highly suspect to me. That much, however, is conjecture. I was basing, however, my statement on a totality of moves.

We remember that Colorado ran off a buncha games in a row just to make a one game play-off for a wild card position in a very strong division. The other three leading teams in that division have made major acquisitions. LAD: Jones, Kuroda, Tsao; SDP: Iguchi, Wolf, (both of whom will do very well in Petco), and Prior (who may prove to be recovered and quite excellent); ARI: Haren (added to Webb and a developing Owings, with one of the strongest bullpen in baseball - which, yes, downgraded from Valverde to Qualls, but is still a pretty incredible collection of relievers). Colorado, in the meantime, is looking at Redman and Wells as possible rotation fillers (at Coors), and has lost one of it's most reliable relievers (Hawkins) and may lose more of that bullpen.

I simply do not believe that Colorado is the shoo-in they were portrayed as and they have not made the kind of progress their division rivals have made. That's all.

Sorry I cannot support my statements. I retract them all.

I also forgot - Josh Towers. Who will probably not improve his numbers moving from Toronto to Denver.

In getting Towers, the Rockies have confirmed their belief that having a third-rate pitching staff is enough to get them back to the post-season. Their luck will run out.

I don't know if SD's moves would qualify as "major"-Iguchi is a nice player, Wolf is iffy, but in a pitcher's park could bounce back and Prior is a mystery, at this point, but the pitcher's park comment works for him, as well. Looks like value village there.

AWH and Carson: Nolan Ryan used drugs during his later years. He was so blatant about that fact that he became and advertizing pitchman for the drug company. He claimed that the drug ADVIL caused him to extend his career and to be able to pitch effectively through muscle aches and pain. I even remember seeing his ADVIL commercials on TV!

clout, I agree on Lee Smith. If Goose makes it, than Smith should. Lee Smith was the terminator out of the pen. When Schmitty batted against him, I would just pray he'd put the ball in play.

Lee Arthur baby!

I remember the ADVIL ads too, good job with that bit of info Lake Fred.

That's another problem I have will Goose now in the Hall. This opens the door for a bunch of other relievers- namely Lee Smith right now. Then down the road we'll be looking at all these guys with 300+ saves and thinking- Do they belong? Well, Goosage made it...

You can count me among the Rockies skeptics as well. Like the Phillies, the Rockies needed an end-of-the-season miracle to get themselves into the playoffs. To achieve that miracle, they needed a bunch of their young pitchers to out-perform their minor league track records -- which they did. Guys like Morales, Jimenez, and Corpas will drop off this year. Plus, the Padres, Dodgers & D-backs have all improved themselves this off-season. I'd be surprised to see the Rockies back in the playoffs next year.

Lake Fred - nice job!

Makes you wonder why Clemens didn't follow Ryan's example and take Advil for his aches and pains, instead of having "Mac" inject him with lidocaine?

All I needed to know about the Rockies was answered before any offseason moves were made by any team:

"When a team improves sharply one season they will almost always decline in the next."

Primer # 14, Bill James 1988 Abstract

I believe I predicted in November that the Rocks won't make the playoffs in '08.

We'll see if Mr. James and I are right.

I don't see how Gossage makes it any easier for Smith to get in. guys like Gossage, Sutter, etc. aren't in for their career totals so much as for their reputation and for single season dominance. Gossage has his 0.77 ERA in 1981 and the 133 innings of 1.62 ERA in 1977. Eck had the 0.61 ERA in 1990 and the MVP in 1992. Sutter had the 107 inning, 1.34 ERA 1977 season and a 1979 Cy Young. Fingers had the 1981 Cy and MVP.

Lee Smith doesn't have a signature season like any of those. in his best year (1982), he lost 10 games. he finished second in Cy Young voting in 1991, but his numbers (2.34 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) don't come close to what those other guys put up.

since Hoffman has now demolished Smith's save record, and Rivera will most likely pass it in 2009, the only real plus he had to a voter is now pretty pedestrian. if the Veterans Committee was still letting anyone half-decent in, he'd probably get the nod, but their recent stinginess makes that extremely unlikely, IMO.

AWH: Very true. Unless it's brought about by a rash of off-season acivity (i.e., the 2007 Cubs), a sudden, sharp improvement is usually followed by about a 6 to 8 game dropoff the following year. We've seen several recent examples of this. The 2005 WhiteSox came out of nowhere to win 99 games & a WS; the next year, they won 90 and missed the playoffs. The 2006/2007 Tigers are another example (95 wins & an ALCS in 06; 88 wins & no playoffs in 07) and, for that matter, so are the 2006/2007 Mets (97 wins in 06; 88 wins in 07).

By that logic, I would expect big drop-offs from the Rockies & D-backs this year (notwithstanding the Dan Haren acquisition).

the evolution of the closer's role paved the way for the Eckersleys, Hoffmans, Riveras. The closer that originally defined the post-Goose closer was Lee Smith. Hoffman & Rivera may have the #'s that justify their future Hall status, but they should thank Lee Smith in their acceptance speeches.

I don't have a problem with Gossage getting elected to the HOF. His numbers are comparable to other notable relievers of his era such as Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter (some are marginally better, some are marginally worse).
I don't have a problem with Smith either, except that he doesn't compare as favorably with similar 1-inning HOF-caliber relievers such as Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. It's difficult for me to compare Smith to Gossage and Fingers because they were used differently.
Perhaps the best comparison for Smith would be Sutter. ERA+ and WHIP are similar for both, Sutter has a better ERA but Smith's SV numbers make up for that difference. However, when you look at the Baseball Reference 162-game average stats for Sutter and Smith, Sutter looks like a lock HOFer while Smith looks more like a lock Hall of Very Gooder.

Andy: It sounds like we agree. I just wouldn't pin the Matsui to Giles change as the cause of the decline.

BAP: Let the record show that Holliday STILL hasn't touched home plate. At the home opener, they should have him do that before the ceremonial first pitch.

Quick legal hits: the only people who need warrants to tape are the government. The 4th Amendement applies to government, not private citizen, action. That said, in many states (PA included) the tape would not be admissible -- even if it was a private citizen offering it as evidence -- because it is illegal to tape without consent. Texas is different. You don't need consent. So a private citizen could offer the tape in a civil case, or, arguably the government in a criminal case could use the tape if the tape was made by a private citizen. Bear that in mind when the talk about perjury indictments starts.(By the way, every time you leave a message on someone's answering machine, you are implicitly consenting to be taped.)

As to the content, Clemens never once says "why are you lying" or "you know I didn't take that sh--." Why? It has nothing to do with a concern over "leading the witness." Indeed, you are supposed to lead when cross examining. It has everything to do with not breaking a cardinal rule of lawyering: don't ask a question that you don't know or can't predict the answer to. Here, they can't control MacNamee. He easily could respond "FU, you took the stuff and you know it." So instead, Clemens does no more than fish in shallow water.

Good post on the lawsuit as witness intimidation, but it's more likely that Clemens knows MacNamee won't/can't defend, that Clemens will get a default civil judgment, and then use that judgment as part of a p.r. campaign: "A court found that this guy defamed me."

The most telling evidence is that in which this site specializes/obsesses: statistics.

ae: That's the first time anywhere I ever read that players get into the HOF because they had one great season. Every other place I've read it's because of career and post-season performance relative to their peers.

clout, I'm sure you're trying to snarkily make me look like an ass, but I fail to see your point.

I'm not saying that this is my criteria for the Hall of Fame, I'm saying that the BBWAA's voting history makes it clear that it's their criteria for the Hall of Fame. and their voting history on relievers makes it, I think, patently obvious that high-peak relievers are considered much more viable candidates than long-career relievers.

(I don't think Hoyt Wilhelm is an exception to that rule, partly because he has the benefit of revolutionizing the position of closer and partly because his peak was comparable to Sutter, Eck, et al.)

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