Monday, July 13, 2009

Triple Play

Time for another first on Within Reason: a three way conversation. Well, sort of. Today I spoke separately with our friends "Smack" and Randy; identical questions, unique responses. As always, feel free to weigh in by posting a comment, and enjoy.

Within Reason: Okay, here are the players who have hit 30 or more home runs prior to the All-Star break since 1998 (the year it got out of control):
1998 - Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire

1999 - Jose Canseco, Sosa

2000 - McGwire

2001- Luis Gonzalez, Barry Bonds

2003 - Bonds

2006 - Jim Thome, David Ortiz

2007 - Alex Rodriguez

2009 - Albert Pujols

In light of the names on this list, I think this feat can now be described as almost a 'dubious' accomplishment. Yet today,'s lead story is "Albert Pujols: The Perfect Player?"

Of course, this piece was written by Tim "I would have no problem with cyborg outfielders" Kurkjian. Can it be agreed upon, though, that the sports media has turned a corner, and is now just setting these players up for falls? Prior to this spring's "bombshell" about A-Rod, he was 'the great hope.' He (A-Rod) was bestowed this honor after the shaming of McGwire and Sosa (the 'saviors of the game') and the downfall of Ken Griffey Jr, who put on 25 pounds and blew out every ligament in his body beginning around 2001 (hmmm...).

So, how many months until Pujols is A) named as one of the remaining 103 "names on the list" B) is linked to the physician who prescribed Manny Ramirez his PEDs, or C) both?

Smack: Everyone is just scrambling to find one player to cling to in the aftermath of all the PED outings. Your notion that it’s only a matter of time before Pujols’ name gets dropped is one that is likely shared by a lot of fans, and it’s a sad commentary on the state of MLB. This notion won’t go away until the rest of the list gets out. (I’m not necessarily arguing for its release but I think that’s the way it is.)

Randy: So while I am a Griffey apologist (I think his body changed with age more "normally" than most), I totally agree with the premise.

I don't get how for the past few years I have heard that we were all guilty for glorifying Bonds, Mac, Sosa, A-rod, etc...and now it is even worse for Pujols! If it's too good to be true, it usually is!!!

Some Doctor (or more likely a "best" friend) will hold Pujols hostage for millions...

WR: Do you think that, like NASCAR with wrecks (and, to a lesser extent, women's sports with sex appeal), MLB is playing up the 'you can't look away/disaster waiting to happen' side of their sport in order to compete with an NFL that gets more and more popular every year?

R: not sure...

I think it's funny that people believe him (Pujols) because he speaks out on steroids! hahahaha
Can you say Rafi (Palmeiro)?

They are in a tough position in that they need to market players and God only knows who is clean or dirty. I mean...I would not suspect Pedroia or Lincecum given their body sizes, and yet I would not be shocked if I heard some link to PEDs.

S: I hope not. The optimist in me thinks this is a legitimate attempt at finding a hero among cheaters.

WR: It does make one wonder why the Pedroias, Lincecums and Brauns of the world are not taken up by MLB as "The New Faces of Clean Baseball." Could it be, that in the world of Mammoth Sluggers and Raging Texan Hurlers, that these more diminutive, "everyman" players should be under at least as much suspicion?

S: Wouldn’t you agree that no one is above suspicion?

R: I ran into (Peter) Gammons at Best Buy once, and if I were to see him again, I would ask why the lovefest of Pujols given how the story ended for Arod, Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, Mac, etc.

WR: I think we just have to acknowledge that "The Steroid Era" has given way to the "Age of Suspicion."

R: Well said. See Raul Ibanez...

I would rather be JD Drew. Predictable stats, nothing crazy. $14 M a year! Nice gig if you can get it!

S: At the same time, though, we should be careful not to veer into “everyone is guilty” territory.

WR: Well maybe I'm just jaded, but I think that everyone - the fast, the slow, the injured, the healthy, the singles hitter, the slugger - everyone - is under suspicion, and will remain so until MLB institutes a thorough, plausible and transparent testing and punishment policy.

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