Jeff Pearlman

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Bagwell: II

Why I hate the internet …

Because one can’t have a debate without inevitably getting hit with stupid insults and mindless taunts.

I would love to hear people tell me why I’m wrong about Jeff Bagwell and the steroid era.

Seriously, I would.

But why rely on childish insults and slurs? So juvenile.

I am not saying everyone with muscles is guilty. What I am saying is that baseball gave us the right to be suspicious and skeptical by doing nothing about the problem. When ballplayers had the chance to clear their names and their sport, they took the opposite approach, supporting a union effort to hide the extent of PED usage and, amazingly, making it as easy as possible for ballplayers to use. That’s undeniable. They had the chance. They considered the chance. They blew it.

So now I’m supposed to look at Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and presume innocence? Really? To hell with that. I believe firmly in the American ideal of innocent until proven guilty, but baseball surrendered that right when they put forth all efforts to defending and supporting the guilty.

Barry Bonds has, techically, never been proven as a user. Does he deserve the benefit of the doubt? How about Sammy Sosa? How about Roger Clemens? Do we continue to reward the effort to hide cheating by merely nodding and applauding?

The same people writing this stuff are those who bashed me for suggesting Bonds used back five years ago; the same ones who bashed me for suspecting Roger Clemens.

I have a daughter. She’s in second grade. If she gets an A on a test, but then I find out she cheated, should I reward her? Should I praise her? Is it OK, because everyone in the class also cheated? That’s the best analogy for the steroid era. These sycophant fans lavish praise upon their heroes because they desperately want to believe. But why is cheating OK? Why should I just go along? Just nod? I know … I know—I’m a typical media hater; hitting a baseball is hard; steroids don’t help; blah, blah, blah.

I covered baseball for Sports Illustrated from 1997 through 2002. I loved the experience. Loved it. In hindsight, I feel robbed. It was, largely bullshit. Bonds’ records? Bullshit. Clemens’ records? Bullshit. Fiction. A joke. And yeah, did people use greenies in the past? Did Babe Ruth never play against an African-American? Yes, yes, yes. But those weren’t the eras I covered.

This was my era.

Again, maybe Jeff Bagwell didn’t use. But based on the era—and based on everything we know about baseball during that time period—I have the right to be suspicious and skeptical.

So do you.

  • Gendo

    “The same people writing this stuff are those who bashed me for suggesting Bonds used back five years ago; the same ones who bashed me for suspecting Roger Clemens.”

    That’s a pretty convenient way to dismiss all criticism.

    Considering you are an unabashed Mets fan, who were by all accounts coked and greenied out when they won the title in 86 are you prepared to call that title bullshit as well?

  • Kyle

    Please respond directly to Craig Calcaterra’s post. You can find it here:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/30/how-about-this-no-one-from-the-past-25-years-makes-the-hall-of-fame/

    Until you are able to defend yourself against his rebuttal, you have absolutely no grounds to stand on and any further moralizing or childish “this was my era” garbage will be tolerated. Be a man and respond to the sane and rational amongst you. Taking on commentators who used swears at you and hurt your feelings is the cowards way out.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Kyle, since you took the time to write here, I’ll take the time (quickly) to respond. Read Craig’s take, get what he’s saying. But, actually, yes, I think people do have the right to suspect Jeter, Ichiro, etc. Again, the union’s stance on PED allows writers to suspect whoever the heck they want. This is directly the players’ doing—they had a chance to nip PED in the bud, but they chose the other course. Hide, block, etc.

      Again, why wouldn’t one suspect Bagwell? He became insanely (and unnaturally) ENORMOUS, played for a team that majored in PED usage, put up monster stats when monster stats were being compiled by the game’s big cheats. How can one not be suspicious? You’d be silly not to be.

      So the debate becomes: Should that suspicion lead you not to vote for someone? I don’t know. Depends on the voter.

  • Gendo

    To expand on this further I have a few problems with what you’re laying out here.

    1. What you are exhibiting here is not skepticism, it’s cynicism which is entirely different. In the absence of any credible evidence or even substantive rumors about Bagwell to assume he broke the rules and hold that against him is, frankly, irresponsible. That’s not how skepticism works.

    2. You have a very science fiction view of what steroids, HGH and the like can do for an athlete that seems to be based largely on anecdote and conjecture. Keep in mind the same people who report these dramatic effects also think corking their bat adds power when it actually reduces power since it reduces the natural frequency of the bat.

    3. When you say that all these player’s careers are fictional as a result of their alleged use of these substances, which I hesitate to call PEDs because that’s such a weasel-word, you’re implying that none of them would have been HOF quality players without them. Bonds was the finest hitter of his generation not because of raw strength but because of strike zone judgment, quick hands and a tireless work ethic. Not because he may or may not have injected some magical juice into his ass.

  • michael

    the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ that exists in mainstream thought always annoys me. sure, i believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but the concept as enshrined in law applies to the legal system, not private citizens.

    one hardy has to think about oj simpson as anything but a cold blooded murderer because 12 people said the state of california didn’t prove their case all those years ago.

  • Gendo

    Define unnaturally enormous.

  • will

    You’re just lucky FJM isn’t around anymore.

  • Adam

    Spending the first five paragraphs of an article ascribing the entire phenomenon of “childish insults and taunts” to the medium of the Internet–which you’re currently using to publish your opinions–and acting as if you’re above it all is at least as juvenile as the insults, which you apparently went out of your way to pay attention to rather than actually trying to engage the many, many people who made mature and well-reasoned points against your article.

    As for the actual content of this post, pretty much all of your metaphors are deeply flawed. I’d like to see a single shred of evidence that you, Jeff Pearlman, personally fingered Bonds or Clemens before there were already major investigations and mountains of evidence against them. You have not provided any valid reasons for suspecting Jeff Bagwell -any more than you suspect the next player-. You make a frankly bizarre implication that Bagwell had a greater responsibility to “speak up” because a greater volume of his teammates were (according to you) using. What? Baseball teams are hardly insular cultures; when steroids were epidemic in the game, it’s extremely hard for me to believe that Jeff Bagwell knew but, say, Greg Maddux or Tony Gwynn didn’t. Your outrage at Bagwell’s silence comes off as a flimsy excuse to convict him even if your accusations are false.

    I’m ignoring your tired, hammy moral indignation about “cheating.” I’m ignoring your corny comparison between falsifying a school test and using a training supplement to enhance your ability to play a game. Because, yes–you are absolutely entitled to those views. The problem is that even when I completely ignore what you so adamantly shriek that you are “entitled” to, your article is so riddled with illogical nonsense that it borders on unreadable. Either you have a personal, subjective vendetta against Jeff Bagwell, or you have totally failed at communicating your actual point, whatever it may be.

  • Gendo

    Michael:

    It’s a given that we don’t have the same standards a criminal court has but shouldn’t we have something substantive on Bagwell before we lower the boom on him? I mean anything?

    This isn’t even hearsay this is just total conjecture.

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  • AV

    Jeff, I certainly hope that when Greg Maddux, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones, et al come up for voting that you write similar articles and hold them in the same regard that you hold Bagwell. The only difference between Bags and any of them, based on the evidence that you have presented, are that he was stupendously muscular and they weren’t. They are no less absolved of steroid suspicion, again, based on the very evidence you have presented (which is decidedly sparse).

    If you are willing to cast the same doubt when their time comes then I at least can say you’re being consistent, if nothing else.

  • Arnold

    You do have a right to be suspicious and skeptical, but is that enough to decide that players from the steroid era should not be in the Hall of Fame? Should all such players be permanently banned from enshrinement? That is essentially what you are saying when you say Bagwell should have spoken out. The fact is, nobody spoke out.

    You dismiss the comparison to cheating in prior eras because those weren’t your era. But the fact remains that there is solid evidence that Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and many other Hall of Famers used greenies. Jim Bouton wrote about the “leaded” and “unleaded” coffee pots in the clubhouse while he was still playing. Most baseball writers, including those now enshrined in the Hall of Fame themselves, were well aware of the use of greenies, but never said anything.

    Given this history, you can either decide that nobody belongs in the Hall of Fame because virtually everybody cheated at some point or that baseball is a game that provides us with a lot of enjoyment and you will not let the incessant cheating deprive you of that enjoyment. If the latter, you make your Hall of Fame vote based on what you know, not what you merely suspect.

    Perhaps I am being naive with this view. I am not a baseball writer and do not see these players up close. Despite what I know of Willie Mays and greenies, he remains my all-time favorite baseball player. I prefer to be able to enjoy the game of baseball rather than let the scandals take that away from me.

  • William Satterwhite

    “played for a team that majored in PED usage,”

    What evidence is there of this? Over on your other post, an informed Astros fan accurately points out that most of the known/strongly suspected PED users with Astros ties were not linked to the team during the time period (1994-2003) that you are using to judge Bagwell.

    Please note that I have not been rude here nor have I sworn at you, I’m just very interested in seeing what evidence you are using for one of your main points against Bagwell.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      William, in the course of researching my biography of Roger Clemens I spent a lot of time on the Astros. A lot of time. The two Texas ballclubs were major starting points for PED, based first and foremost on their proximity to Mexico. Some has actually been written on this elsewhere—primarily on the amount of PED coming from south of the border. Etc … etc. Not sure if that’s the answer you’re looking for.

  • Norm

    Hey if you’re voting for nobody in the ‘steroid era’, that’s fine with me. If you are picking and choosing, that’s another story.
    If you’re picking Morris and not Blyleven, well, I hope you twist your ankle or somethin…

  • will

    oh no not the mexican steroid lords!

  • Renaldo

    I think the problem is that once people cast stones at you, you whine. Yet, you have no problem casting stones at others.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Renaldo, of course I whine. Who likes to be hit? But I know it comes with the turf, and I’ve never said it’s not fair. I just don’t like the “you’re a fucking idiot!” approach. that’s all.

  • William Satterwhite

    It is actually and I appreciate your response. I can certainly understand that you have had access to information that isn’t necessarily readily available to the general public and of course the mid-90′s Rangers are certainly known to be a team at the center of the PED epidemic in baseball.

    With that said though, I hope you can appreciate that to fans and readers who might not be privy to the information that you have been privy to, the accusations against a player like Bagwell might seem suspect.

    Again, I appreciate the response and it certainly does give more credence to the original post.

  • Frank D.

    Wow. I love these “No, really, what evidence is there?” arguments. Those arguments are the reason that doper Kornelia Ender has 6 gold medals and Shirley Babashoff has zero. It’s amazing that the “What’s your EVIDENCE? They all grow muscles!” apologia haven’t changed one iota since 1976.

  • Matt Keller

    Hey, Jeff: You’re a fucking moron!

    Here is my evidence: Everything you’ve ever written.

    I am now a better journalist than you.

    Sincerely,

    Matt

  • Mark

    Jeff, one question, building on the discussion here between you and William. If you spent a lot of time with the Astros in the course of your research, shouldn’t you have come across *some* kind of evidence to connect one of the franchise’s greatest players to PED use? Beyond the layperson analysis of “well he gained muscle, so what else could it be?”

    If you do have something you know and aren’t sharing it for confidentiality/professional reasons that’s fine, but then that also sort of undermines your argument that this is based completely on mistrust resulting from the behavior of the player’s union etc.

    Otherwise, I know absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, but if this is your era and a team you know a lot about, and you still haven’t encountered any substantive evidence to the contrary, isn’t it reasonable to say Bagwell probably *didn’t* use steroids?

  • http://www.theastrosdugout.com lisa gray

    you state that the astros baseball club was, to quote you, a major starting point for PEDs (meaning, i suppose, both illegal steroids as well as other chemicals which were at the time not designated as steroids nor illegal to possess or use) in the “steroid era.”

    please provide evidence, or links to evidence, that steroid distribution was occurring in the astros baseball club or even name the users and or distributors, something ken caminiti, somehow, neither mentioned or was aware of before he left for San Diego in 1995, a year before he started using steroids. Who, exactly, were these anabolic using astros baseball players prior to 1995? Or even after?

    it seems you are eager to smear bagwell without a shred of actual proof, merely a judgement based on the fact that a young male who put on muscle weight could not have done so had he not augmented his training by using anabolic substances. which, by the way, apparently has absolutely no basis in fact. If it does, please provide links to scientific papers which proved conclusively that it is a physical impossibility for young males to add 20-30 lbs of muscle mass to their upper bodies ONLY by lifting weights.

    i understand that you consider that the fact that a very substantial number of major league baseball players used substances which offend your sensibilities (unlike amphetamines) to have fouled the very game itself between approximately 1991 and 2004.

    FINE

    but in that case, you should either state that you consider the career of ANY baseball player who played the majority of his career between 1991 and 2004 suspect, as you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever by which you can declare almost any player guilty or innocent, unless, in your estimation, it was a physical impossibility for that player to have gained any muscle weight or endured for 20 years without the use of exogenous anabolic substances.

    i am not flinging epithets about, but i AM asking for some accountability for your accusations of a PARTICULAR baseball player, not merely an “era.” and, by the way, you are not merely accusing this person of “cheating”, you are also accusing him of committing numerous felonies as well, especially if you are accusing him of distribution of Schedule 3 substances, not merely possession of them.

    one more thing,

    now WHO are all these hall of fame players/eligible hall of fame players/major league players who played in the “steroid era” who, prior to, say, 2002, went public with their demands for steroid testing? or even who addressed union meetings, demanding steroid testing? You are happy to flog bagwell for his silence, so do explain why it is that you are neither flogging other silent players by name nor praising all those hundreds who bravely flouted convention by airing their grievances to reporters or union leaders?

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  • Jeff

    Wow! Doesn’t anyone get it! Seriously, every era is flawed, but the one in particular is seriously tainted. All Mr. Pearlman is saying is that we have a right to suspect PED use, just like we have a right to suspect that college football players are on the take, or suspect that every NBA player smokes copious amounts of weed. Doesn’t make it right, its just a fact. We as a fan base always, always will look to tear someone down, to simply build them up again. Personally, I think Bagwell is clean, but to say you don’t suspect it is simply incorrect.

  • Dan

    Jeff:

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of your work, but I do take some issue when you attack the union for not doing more.

    The union exists to provide the best possible working conditions for its members. I don’t know about you, but having a guy watch me piss into a cup is an incredible invasion of my privacy. Why would the union volunteer this when management didn’t even seem to give a damn? Aside from the privacy issues, there is also the issue of false positives. If you have a test that is even 99% accurate, in any given year you can expect some false positives out of the thouands of players tested. We’ve seen what happens when players test positive and continue to deny usage. They’re turned into a laughingstock. So even if it’s rare, it’s likely to happen to at least a few people.

    To hold all players hostage for not opening their bloodstreams for public inspection seems a little harsh.

    So that’s why I don’t blame the union for not doing more. If I had a vote, I would evaluate players according to their production within their eras.

  • gary

    Mr. Pearlman,

    Please provide a link to an article in which Roberto Alomar called for steroids testing.

  • steve

    i was going to ask the same questions Lisa raises and can’t improve on her comment. how can you eliminate Bagwell based on this lame argument?

  • StringerBell

    A lot of the previous commenters have said what I wanted to say a lot more eloquently without the use of profanity or personal insults. I just want to point out a few passages you wrote Jeff:

    “I believe firmly in the American ideal of innocent until proven guilty.”

    No you don’t. Because if you did, you wouldn’t assume Bagwell is a steroid user despite there not being one shred of evidence he used, besides him not passing whatever judgmental eye test you have given him.

    “baseball surrendered that right when they put forth all efforts to defending and supporting the guilty”

    Why should Bagwell get the blame for this? He wasn’t the commissioner. He didn’t own a team. He wasn’t a journalist (like you). I don’t remember you offering any exposes about the era, despite you being around the culture for a number of years.

    I enjoy a lot of your work and I’ve read a number of your books. I also comment on this blog when I see fit. That being said, I’m really glad you do not have a Hall of Fame vote, because your logic doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  • Kyle

    Jeff, we no doubt fundamentally disagree on this issue so I doubt this discussion will get us anywhere, but I guess my main question in response to your stance would be: would you vote Derek Jeter into the Hall of Fame? I believe that you would. He’s an extreme and convenient example, but I feel he serves our purposes nonetheless. Similar to Bagwell, he put up some of his peak offensive performances in the late 1990′s. And like Bagwell, he was teammates with an extremely large number of both admitted and suspected PED users (Pettite, Giambi, Canseco, Knoblauch, and the other 16 Yankees mentioned in the Mitchell Report, respectively). So I ask you, where is the suspicion of Jeter? Where is the outrage over his silence? He no doubt shares the same responsibility that you’re placing on Bagwell. Similarly to the sentiments expressed by Calcaterra, “…as the game was being ruined in his very clubhouse, where was [Jeter’s] voice of protest? Where was [Derek Jeter], one of the best players in baseball, when someone inside the game needed to speak out and demand accountability? Answer: Like nearly all of his peers, he was nowhere. He never uttered a word, never lifted a finger…” I could take this argument further. I could jump to the conclusion that, just like Bagwell, Jeter was no doubt juicing himself, and his silence over the epidemic infiltrating his very clubhouse is an admission that he has something to hide. I could pick and choose various Google images of a young Derek Jeter and an older, more mature ballplayer, and I could make accusations about why he gained muscle, why he gained bulk, and then connect these images to some of his most successful offensive seasons and I could speculate wildly. Sure, Jeter didn’t get as big as Bagwell, but he didn’t hit as well either. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a dishonest cheater undeserving of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with all the spit ballers, racists, greeny poppers, cocaine sniffers and bat corkers. Of course, this is all nonsense and a waste of time, and of course, I believe Derek Jeter to be a Hall of Famer, clean of PED’s, the same as I do Bagwell. Simply because, outside of hearsay and innuendo and speculation perpetrated by ignorance and some misplaced indignation over MY favorite sport being RUINED for ME, there is no concrete evidence to believe otherwise. To condemn Bagwell would be an injustice, and an insult to rational and fair thinking.

  • Dan

    Jeter, Ichiro, etc.

    And yet, when the time comes, unless evidence emerges, do you think Jeter or Ichiro will be subjected to anywhere near the scrutiny of a guy like Bagwell?

    If you had a vote, would you withold your vote from Jeter because he stayed silent and got bigger (play the picture game with him too) over the course of his career?

    I just can’t see how this is fair to these players….

  • gary

    Mr.Pearlman,

    I strongly suspect you are a child molester. This is the era we live in.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Whoa, Gary, who told you? Damn.

      You seem to be a wee-bit obsessed with me. Did we used to date?

  • Mark

    @Jeff (25): Mr. Pearlman is not saying just that “there’s always a possibility.” There’s a semantic difference between ‘considering’ and ‘suspecting.’ You can’t think Bagwell is clean *and* suspect PED use. You can, however, think he’s clean, but *allow for the possibility* that he used PEDs. There’s an implication that you believe something is true when you suspect it.

    Mr. Pearlman has been indicating he believes Bagwell to be a PED user, not just that it’s possible, and this exactly is what I (at least) have been questioning here in the comments.

  • gary

    Jeff Pearlman

    January 8, 2010
    *****************

    And yet, after spending so many of my years itching to earn that elusive BBWAA Gold Card status, I can honestly say that I would rather work as Bieber’s “swagger coach” (frighteningly, he has one) than cast a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Why? Because the whole process is a crock.

    To be blunt, sportswriters have no business deciding which men do and do not belong in Cooperstown. It’s a farce. A joke…

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/web/COM1164668/index.htm#ixzz19dKuLasK

  • gary

    More Pearlman
    ******************

    In other words, while most baseball writers attend 100 or so games per year, they are no more qualified to determine a ballplayer’s Hall worthiness than, well, you are. They watch, they take notes, they even inquire. But do they know what it is to hit a Randy Johnson fastball? To dive into the stands and catch a pop fly? To play 162 games per year as your body crumbles; as your mind wanders; as your confidence comes and goes like the Bethesda rain?

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/web/COM1164668/2/index.htm#ixzz19dLejqM3

  • gary

    I’m far less obsessed with you than you are with Bagwell. Did Baggy steal your lunch money?

  • Latch-Key Kid

    Interestingly Mr. Pearlman, the first person I saw offer say anything nearly as ad hominem or simplistic as the “you’re a fucking idiot!” argument you say you dislike was yourself. What I saw over the course of these 2 threads was instead a large number of people calling you out for logical inconsistency, or laying out cogent arguments against your position. It seems as though much like your argument against Bagwell, you are basing things based on what you want to see rather than what is actually there.

    I will add my opinion to those who have the impression that for a sports writer, you don’t seem to actually like sports at all. Or maybe I’ve just managed to only catch you on your most surly days. Either way, thank God for people like Joe Posnanski, who has avoided becoming as cynical and jaded as so many of his colleagues. The next time ANYTHING of his sounds as though he despises the things he is paid to cover.

  • DRL

    I think it’s interesting that Jeff says he is a proponent for debate and then only replies to a small selection of the responses that he sees.

  • Andrew

    Why you’re retarded…

    You completely miss the point of why people call you names. It’s not because you’re “skeptical.” It’s because you want Bagwell out of the Hall because he had muscles. Right to skepticism? What about the right of innocent until proven guilty? Or at least the right of innocent until you have more circumstantial evidence than DONT YOU SEE HOW MUSCULAR HE IS?? If he’s not linked to anything then it’s not your job to play guessing games. Get over yourself.

  • Andrew

    Also, media man who overvalues his self-worth:

    Posnanski’s main point “I’d rather let in 100 cheaters then keep out one non-user.”

    This guy actually gets it. He understands the Hall is for great players. Not for some stuck up “integrity of the HOF” that voters like you get caught up in.

    Nice equivocation with your analogy too. How about you try this one. What if my daughter usually gets bad grades and comes from an era where children cheat a lot, and she brings home an A. Should you choose to ignore her result because you are “skeptical?”

  • Drew

    Jeff, if you had/have a HoF vote, would it be blank?

  • Chad

    Pearlman-

    If your daughter got mostly B’s and C’s, and then started getting A’s on tests, I would automatically assume that she was cheating. There’s no way possible that she could have started working a little harder or studying a little more, right?

    My experience is that most good players experience a clear-cut uptick in homerun rate in the majors versus the minors as they get better instruction, nutrition, bats, and accomodations, not to mention as their bodies mature and they naturally get stronger.

    I don’t buy your opinion.

  • yt

    What about the media’s responsibility?

    Sure, the league, the players, the union – but what about your own role in this?

    As a kid, I remember thinking that the “bash brothers” were juicing, and sure enough – Canseco wrote a book telling us just that.

    I was 8 years old and I could tell that he was, younger and MUCH larger than my father who worked out each day.

    So when the story of the season is that 3 players are on the road to smash a record that was over 30 years old what did we get? “Oh, it’s creatine” and every kid in gym class slurping that crap down (both the print and the supplement).

    The reason this stance doesn’t cut muster is not that it is wrong to suspect any and all players for their role, but that it comes from someone who foists more blame on everyone else when it is their culpability they ignore.

    I’m sorry – you were there in those locker rooms. You had the access to ask the tough questions, to be the unpopular guy. You didn’t do that. Now you have a career because of the choices you made back then. Take that on board instead of trying to (again) further your career.

    You’re in the media, it is supposed to be the job of the media to report the news, not to sugar coat everything… Unless of course you see your job to get paid a king’s ransom to be a fan of a sports team day in and day out.

    That’s a wicked job if it actually exists, but in todya’s world there are plenty of people who can do that for free – real fans that don’t want to be lied to and who need reporters that actually ask hard questions and dig for hard answers rather than cheerleading for the whole thing so that every gets paid and no REAL questions are asked until it is convenient.

  • Justin R

    So Jeff, by your logic, nobody who has even been suspected of taking steroids should be in the Hall of Fame. Your general conceit is that they played in an era that magnifies their stats and is, thus, unfair.

    So why is there not a call to remove those from the Hall of Fame who played when baseball was segregated? Babe Ruth and Ted Williams would never have had to face Johan Santana, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Pedro Martinez etc. Weren’t there stats someone inflated by facing less elite pitchers? Why is there not a push to remove them from the Hall?

    What you’re displaying is the worst kind of ignorance. You’re promoting an opinion and defaming someone based on absolutely no factual evidence. I’m sorry if this promotes your stance of hating the internet but it absolutely disgusts me that somebody would casually belittle Jeff Bagwell based not on fact, reason or logic but on a personal and misguided opinion. It really is sickening and pathetic.

  • Steve

    Isn’t your “daughter cheating on a test” analogy a bit disingenous? You posit that she’s been caught cheating and surmise that she does not deserve an A simply because the entire class did the same. But the proper analogy seems to be something more like “my daughter is suspected of cheating because she got a higher grade than expected based on her previous grades, and we know some other students in class cheated.” Would you really be willing to conclude that your daughter cheated because she got a good grade and other students cheated? To take this analogy a step further, would you be willing to have her forfeit her A for not trying to stop others from cheating when the teacher (read: the public and media) and principal (the owners) were at either complacent or complicit in the cheating? Perhaps you would. But I’d be surprised if most parents would be willing to accept the same.

    I don’t know whether Bagwell used steroids or not. In the interest of full disclosure, I personally don’t mind if everyone used steroids or not. I’m a big baseball enthusiast, and enjoy the sport and it’s history. I simply can’t summon the indignation over something that is entertainment – particularly given the sport with such an imperfect past. That said, I recognize others may feel differently. What bothers me, and seemingly those pushing back, is the conflation of suspicion/skepticism with actual proof.

  • G

    So you hold all of the players accountable for not speaking up against PE use during the past 25 years…do you also hold yourself accountable? Because, since you covered baseball professionally from 1997 through 2002, I would assume you wrote articles addressing the issue. I’ve been searching for some of your articles that you wrote during that time discussing the steroid problem but can’t find any…please supply some links when you get a chance. Thanks.

  • http://www.caltrops.com Ice Cream Jonsey

    Pearlman, hopefully enough people have told you that you’re a ass-dripping mongoloid, but I want you to be aware of something – JoePos is simply *too polite* to ever tell you how rippingly moronic your Bagwell posts have been. But he, like everyone else in the world (save for most of your BBWAA mouthbreathers) read what you wrote and understood it to be the most childish and moronic thing anyone wrote in all of 2010. Way to slip it in before the end of the year, you disturbing manchild.

  • Brent

    “I have a daughter. She’s in second grade. If she gets an A on a test, but then I find out she cheated, should I reward her? Should I praise her? Is it OK, because everyone in the class also cheated? That’s the best analogy for the steroid era.”

    If you find out your daughter cheated then you have proven evidence. There is no evidence that Jeff Bagwell did steroids!

    You are inadvertently saying here that if you found out that a majority of the students in your daughter’s second-grade class cheated on a test, you would refuse to reward your daughter for getting an A because her classmates were guilty, which I find hilariously irresponsible.

  • http://baseballpastandpresent.com/ Graham Womack

    Dude, your readers are some psychos.

  • JLC

    WOW…. The posts here are a little bit ridiculous. Since when did writing your opinion become an attack on all of you who disagree? If you disagree, you can certainly voice that, but there really is no need for the attacking comments and less than cordial debate. This is a great topic with lots of different opinions. Everyone is entitled to them. I LOVE the game of baseball. I hate the fact that steroids became a part of it. BUT, my opinion is just that, my opinion. In no way is it my right to attack others with it. We can all have a conversation about this without attacking the writer. Seems awfully odd when you take things this personally. Mr. Pearlman is a columnist, sharing opinion. Anyone who chooses to respond is also totally allowed to share opinion. Attacking the writer is not the debate. That is never the right thing, agree or not. Just thought I would throw out my opinion…And again, it’s only my opinion.

  • sgtgaffers

    JLC, great way of focusing on maybe 3 out of 50 comments. Most people are saying Jeff’s argument is stupid. That’s not an attack on Jeff, that’s an attack on his argument. If you and Jeff can’t handle a few negative comments, don’t go on the internet.

  • Carl

    JLC: this is the Internet; unfortunately there will always be a few namecallers out there. But most of the comments have actually been pretty well reasoned, if sometimes less than polite, and have undermined Pearlman’s argument civilly, in a variety of ways. The reason they’re heated in nature is because Pearlman’s stance is woefully ill-advised and an affront to serious baseball enthusiasts. It’s hard to stay completely polite when addressing an opinion as aggravating as this one. And I have yet to see Pearlman respond to a cogent comment that disproves his logic.

  • Tonus

    “Yes, yes, yes. But those weren’t the eras I covered.

    This was my era.”

    I am genuinely curious– did you suspect steroid use at the time, or was there evidence or even rumors of use? That is one part of the steroid era that I feel will never get the coverage that it may deserve, because it means that the ‘gatekeepers’ would have to admit that they were either complicit or easily fooled.

    There are some writers out there (not counting you in that group, Jeff) who are obnoxiously sanctimonious about steroids and steroid use, and I wonder if they’re simply covering their own backsides. That after years of ignoring PED use in baseball, they reacted to the public discovery of it by jumping to the forefront of outrage. And I wonder if they’re really upset over something that managed to get past their keen senses, or simply the worst kind of hypocrite, stirring up public anger at something that they didn’t think was worth reporting for so many years.

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life