More on the Scott Feldman signing coming later today, plus a new BN Podcast episode. Also the latest thoughts on the roster … until then, Bullets.

  • The Cubs might still be waiting on the city of Chicago before starting a full-scale renovation of Wrigley Field, but they’ve already taken care of one $400,000 project: completely remaking the playing surface. After the 2012 season ended, says Dave Kaplan, the Cubs studied the way other ballparks are used, and how the non-baseball activities there impact the playing surface (obviously Wrigley is used for a wide range of concerts, other athletic events, and corporate stuff). From there, they made two determinations: (1) Wrigley Field should be used for fewer non-baseball activities in order to maintain the playing surface; and (2) the playing surface should be completely removed and replaced with new dirt and new sod, which has now been done. The playing surface update comes four years after the last major playing surface facelift, which included the installation of a new drainage system (which apparently was not quite enough, because players still felt the surface was tough). It’ll be interesting to see if we actually notice a reduction in non-baseball activities, as I highly doubt the Cubs are going to cancel any of the most lucrative “extra” events at Wrigley, and, indeed, we’ve heard about additional summer concerts for 2013 within the last couple months. Perhaps the reductions will come in things that haven’t really been visible to fans.
  • Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer says that criticisms of the Rob Deer hiring – to be the assistant hitting coach– because of his high strikeout totals and low batting average as a player are ridiculous. “I always think that mentioning a coach’s stats as a player is one of the least useful things I can imagine,” Hoyer said, per CSN. “No one ever mentions Jim Leyland’s numbers or Tony La Russa’s numbers or any of those guys’ professional stats. Coaching and playing are two very separate things. And just because a guy happened to strike out a lot, or didn’t have a high batting average, it doesn’t effect how well he teaches at all.”
  • Hoyer also added some thoughts on the assistant hitting coach position, generally, and how Deer fills that position well: “That’s a position a lot of teams are adding. I think baseball teams in general are starting to realize the pitching coach has 12 guys and he has help from the bullpen coach, and the hitting coach has 13 guys and no help at all. Teams are starting to add a second hitting coach. Candidly, I’m sort of upset, looking back on the years in Boston and San Diego, I feel it’s a position we should’ve added long ago. Dale [Sveum] has a long relationship with Rob, and speaks incredibly highly of him. Our interactions with him are real positive. We’re excited to add him. He can really assist James [Rowson, hitting coach] well and add a nice element to our clubhouse.”
  • Carrie Muskat offers a few Winter League updates, including the latest four-inning outing from Alberto Cabrera. Like Michael Bowden, who also comes in for a mention, it’s fair to say that we’re starting to see the implementation of the Cubs’ stated plans to stretch Cabrera out.
  • Local Chicago schools can win a stop from the 2013 Cubs Caravan.
  • The MLBullets at BCB today discuss, among other things, the Hall of Fame ballots going out today. From those Bullets: “[T]he list of newly-eligible players is as impressive as it is (likely) contentious: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, and Craig Biggio, among others. You can expect a couple months of debate about the steroid era, about what the Hall of Fame is supposed to represent, and about those players’ careers relative to their counterparts. The results will be announced on January 9, 2013, so get your thoughts in now. Does Bonds belong in the Hall? Sosa? What about Biggio, whose numbers may not be as impressive, but who has never been attached to PED allegations? And what about holdover guys like Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Jack Morris?” So, yeah, what do you guys think? Obviously we are closest to Sosa … is he a Hall of Famer? Would he be without the steroid cloud?
  • Seth

    I think it’ll be interesting to see how this hall of fame thing plays out for these steriod era players.

  • BD

    When can we add a “Steroid Era” wing to Cooperstown, so that the best of the juicers are still honored? Because a lot of them were some really good players, with or without the juice. (While some reached career highs despite being average players. I’m looking at you, Bret Boone.)

  • EQ76

    from a numbers standpoint Sosa is a no-brainer for the HOF… but I doubt he gets in. It was pretty obvious he was juicing.. even if he didn’t, he’s guilty in the public eye.

    • terencemann

      I think Bonds, Sosa and Clemens will get in eventually. You can’t just ignore their numbers forever. I think Clemens will get in first since he was actually acquitted at his trial, even if the taint is still there.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, the trial verdict might not help at all. The sportswriters have now whole-heartedly bought into the “these guys all would have been AAA players without steroids and we know they did it.” Brett might be able to better comment (having been a lawyer), but the summaries of Clemens case that I read (and that were written by the same people who write on other court rulings, not baseball people) is that the Clemens trial returned a verdict of “guilty” on the Mitchell Report on the charge of “not credible evidence.”

        However, as the sportswriters seem to have bought it, they probably will respond in the same way that they do when the statisticians tell them that RBI are a team stat or when physicists tell them there is no such thing as a rising fastball: fingers in ears and humming loudly!

        • WGNstatic

          Hmmm… I am not sure I am as willing to damn the sportswriters as you are Doc.

          To me, the question as to whether juicers belong in the Hall of Fame comes down to a question of “do cheaters belong in the HoF?”

          The “how good was he before/without steroids?” is a fun parlor game but should simply not be included in any discussions of Hall worthiness.

          In my mind, there is a perfectly justifiable reason to keep these guys out of the Hall, so long as Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson are excluded (which I do not have a problem with). One need not believe:

          “these guys all would have been AAA players without steroids and we know they did it.”

          In order to believe that these guys don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. In fact I have rarely if ever heard that argument against some juicers, especially Clemens and Bonds. A perfectly sound argument can be made that these guys are a dark spot on the game, in my opinion a far darker and deeper spot than Pete Rose or the 1919 WS, and for that reason alone should be kept out of the Hall.

          I have a real hard time getting into the game of estimating when guys started the juice and how good they would have been without it. If Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall, why doesn’t Sosa? What about McGwire? etc. etc.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            This is more of a human nature issue than a sports one per se. The sportswriters (rightly or wrongly) have been accused of willfully ignoring the PED issue in the 1990’s and beyond: after all, amphetamines go back to the 1950’s at least.

            Having perceived a huge backlash in public opinion (which might or might not exist: it’s not like baseball attendance suffered hugely for it!), sportswriters seem to be embracing this with a “born again” fervor. Guys that they already didn’t like (both Bonds and Clemens had bumps with the media over their careers) were especially easy targets for them.

            They now have been told that the primary evidence against Clemens was dismissed in a court of law. Well, once you’ve accepted that there are witches and that you are going to help burn them, you really do not want to hear that the “witches float” test is spurious, now do you!

            • WGNstatic

              I am still not sure I put that much weight on the outcome of a criminal trial.

              Not to get all political philosopher, but our criminal justice system is designed so that a “shadow of doubt” is all it takes to acquit someone. This is, in my opinion, an excellent way to construct a criminal justice system to protect the innocent even if that means the occasional guilty party goes free. This is of course bastardized by highly paid criminal defense attorneys vs. public defenders, but that is another discussion.

              My point is this, I don’t look at Clemens not guilty verdict as a vindication, nor do most people. It is rather evidence that the governments case was not air tight and that the jury did not feel comfortable (as they shouldn’t) convicting someone in a game of he said-he said between two unsavory characters.

              So, I wouldn’t say the evidence was dismissed. He wasn’t found “innocent” but rather “not guilty.”

              • DocPeterWimsey

                So, I wouldn’t say the evidence was dismissed.

                I think that I was unclear. This is not about what the jury thought, or whether they thought “innocent” vs. “not-guilty.” This was the opinion of the courtroom reporters. Moreover, these were not sportswriters: these are the same guys who report on the deliberations and outcomes of cases like the healthcare laws, immigration laws, civil rights laws, etc. It was those people who felt that the prosecution’s evidence (much of which rehashed the Mitchell report) to be so unreliable that they were very skeptical of the whole thing.

                This does not say that the courtroom reporters thought Clemens wasn’t a user. (Keep in mind that some of them probably had only a general idea who he was: at least a couple of articles I read were prefaced by the reporter noting that he/she was not a baseball fan and thus not that familiar with Clemens.) It is to say that they suspected that the purported evidence against Clemens was false. They didn’t think he got off on a techincality: they thought that the case against him was a crock.

                • fromthemitten

                  I just want to say if I get charged with murder I want the prosecutors from the Bonds/Clemens/John Edwards trials. DNA ON THE NEEDLE and he’s acquitted SMH

            • DeJesus to Trillo to Buckner

              I think the only long term solution to the steroid era/hall of fame thing will come when they take sportswriters out of the mix to some degree. Posnanski wrote a great blog piece last winter pointing out that left to their own devices in the 40s, the sportswriters didn’t want to put Lefty Grove in the HOF. They’ve always drifted to tighter and tighter standards. Eventually baseball will figure out a way around them or the HOF will become a joke.

  • MacPete

    Off topic I know, but my dad works for UPS and delivered a package to Bowden’s home the other day!

  • Fishin Phil

    I am very much in favor of a reduction in Non-Baseball events at Wrigley. I love a good concert as much as the next puppet, but I really think a lot of those events are hard on the field and could be better held at another venue.

    • MichiganGoat

      Maybe we can charge the events a 20M surcharge so we can start to sign some players 😉

      • wilbur

        Skip the surcharge and just offer Wrigley to the Mayor’s Office as a free venue for the Mayor’s re-election campaign and get the Wrigley renovations financed and approved the “Chicago Way!”

  • MightyBear

    Bonds, Sosa, Biggio and Raines deserve to be in the hall of fame. Bagwell and Morris do not.

    • David

      Why a “yes” for Sosa, but a “no” for Bagwell. Any steroid allegations aside, I’d take Bagwell before Sosa.

      • EQ76

        Bagwell over Sosa? Based on what?

        • Norm

          Because he was better.

  • Fastball

    I agree with Jed on the coach thing. I think hiring Deer was a pretty smart thing to do. Hitting Instruction is a tall order for a Cubs team that doesn’t show much in the way of hitting or patience or hitting with 2 strikes or any of the key principles to being successful at the plate. Hopefully he can teach situation hitting. We pull the ball with runners on 1st and 2nd more than anybody I swear. That’s the runners left on base is so damned high all the time.

    I hope Theo and Jed keep their foot on the gas pedal with regard to signing pitching. If I am those guys I sign every damned pitcher that fits my model or models. Long and Short Term.
    This is an opportunity to turn a weakness into a stronger position. If you can keep adding better pedigree guys at $5 or $6M and build a ton of depth you have to do it. Stockpile the assets anyway you can. I just hope that if these two guys work out well early in the year we don’t just earmark them as guys to be flipped at the trade deadline. I’m not so sure I want Theo and Jed having to scour the FA market every year for these types when it’s filling a roster spot out of desperation. So if these two do well extend them even if for only another year or two. Each off season you can then find the Feldman and Baker’s to add and force competition and let the players performance determine who gets to stay and who doesn’t.

  • ichabod

    how do you not love and respect the hell out of craig biggio. cub killa and all

  • md8232

    Dave Kaplan spoke about the Dodger TV contract last night. Revenue sharing on a very minor amount of the money. Made it sound like the Dodgers could buy the All Star team each year for the next 20 years.

  • TonyP

    That Jim Rome AD at BCB is freaking hilarious. What an asshat!

  • Fastball

    I personally always liked Sosa. Personality aside. I blame the Cubs as much for his personality / ego as Sosa himself. They built him up to be what he was. They catered to his persona and then when it was convenient they abandoned him. I agree he had ownership of who he was. He changed the game and he made baseball big again after the strike. So to completely throw him under the bus probably wasn’t right. Having played at a high level I know every team has the Sosa’s of the world. You almost kinda need them to an extent. He carried the Cubs on his back for a long time. Also, MLB never really caught him except for a corked bat that he used in batting practice. It was part of the show.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Big egos have been part of sports since Ancient Greece.

  • GoCubsGo14

    I don’t post much but, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, and Curt Schilling should be first ballot hall of famers.

    • MightyBear

      I agree.

    • ottoCub

      I agree completely. This is also the best way that baseball can move past the “steroid era” — by focusing on baseball and electing the best and most dominant players in the game to the hall of fame, regardless of the “era” they played in. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Schilling, Piazza were some of the most dominant players of their era (and it could be argued that a couple of them are amongst the most dominant in any era). They are first ballot hall of famers. I would also vote for Biggio, if I had a vote, based on his longevity and contributions to a team.

      • hansman1982

        You have to look at the Era though. Hitting 10 home runs in 1910 was a giant accomplishment. Today it is a drop in the bucket.

        If I had to guess what will probably happen is that the “Juicers” will not get voted in until their last time on the ballot or by the Veterans committee.

  • Big Daddy

    Biggio had 3000 hits and was an all star at 3 different positions. He should be a lock. There are convicted felons in the hall (Fergie Jenkins). If they want to involve character then it should apply to everyone. Pete was a p.o.s, but he should be in the hall. MLB is so hypocritical about the whole steroid issue. Where was all this outrage when Mcgwire and Sosa brought fans back after the strike. I hate steroids, but I am sick of Selig and all the owners acting like they didn’t know what was going on. It is almost arbitrary who the voters hold in contempt for character and cheating issues. What about spitball pitchers, amphetamines users, or alcoholics? Keep them all out or let them all in. Sorry about the soap box, but I am sick of the double standard.

    • kranzman54

      I am not sure if people are upset with character though or “hurting the game” by cheating (steroid era) or tarnishing reputation (Pete Rose gambling on games). Those problems at least tied directly into the game as opposed to being a bad person.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        or “hurting the game” by cheating (steroid era)

        And, again, it begs the question: how did it hurt the game? How did it hurt the NFL or NBA? The shifts in attendance correspond to general economic issues and general successes of teams.

        • kranzman54

          That is exactly why “hurting the game” is in quotes. By all accounts steroids helped baseball stay alive, but the voters/commissioners cannot publicly condone steroid use even if it really helps. That is why they won’t be in.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            I think that the other issue is that people reduce it to guys “just playing for his own stats.” However, teams with good net stats win while teams with bad net stats lose. The users (and it seems probable that they were copious) were helping their team’s win with those big stats. Sosa’s huge HR totals got the Cubs to post-season in 1998, and kept them in contention in 2001. A lot of the other suspected users were important for winning teams. (The MItchell report obviously has some tarnish, but a huge chunk of the late 1990’s Yankee team was mentioned on it.)

            And that’s the key. Athletes are supposed to want to win above everything else, and the way that even the Yankees respond to winning a championship shows how true that is. We tell athletes to do everything that they can to win. (Oh, but don’t cheat.) Telling them to not use PEDs is a bit of a contradiction, really.

    • MichiganGoat

      I agree with Biggio, there are certain milestones that should be lock: 3000 hits, 300 wins, 600 HR but Sosa and Bonds will be tough because of the writers and the steroid question. This vote should be interesting because Clemens, Biggio, Sosa, and Bonds should be automatic but I see this to be complicated.

  • kranzman54

    No way Sosa gets in. If they have kept Rose out this long (all time hit leader) then I think they will keep Bonds out (all time HR leader) for something that “hurt” the game a lot more than Rose’s gambling. Granted steroids helped this sport get back on track, steroid users will be punished. If Bonds isn’t in then no way Sosa is and the corked bat isn’t helping his cause either.

    My vote would be YES to Rose, Bonds, Sosa.

    Schilling (the story is incredible) & Piazza should be in.

    • MichiganGoat

      The issue with Rose is that he agreed to a lifetime ban so he can’t even make it to the ballot.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I didn’t think the HOF had any affiliation with MLB. I always viewed it as the HOF just went along with the ban but that nothing was official.

      • kranzman54

        Sorry, I wasn’t saying for this ballot I was saying in the first place. He did go up in the nominations didn’t he?

        • MichiganGoat

          Nope I don’t think he ever made a ballot

          • kranzman54

            okay then, dumb comment retracted, thanks.

    • skidrow

      If Bonds, Sosa, or any other “Juicers” get in then Rose should. At least Pete wasn’t doing it when he he was playing. His record should get him in.

      • MichiganGoat

        Rose did admit to doing it while he was a manager, that why he received the ban.

        • Chris

          Rose received what he got because of the smug attitude he displayed throughout the process, never wanting to admit to any wrongdoing the entire time they were presenting him with evidence. Years later, he admitted to betting on his team while he was a manager, but that was mostly just to sell a book and get a little publicity. Had he immediately admitted to his guilt, showed remorse, and asked for forgiveness, he’d be in the HOF right now. It’s a sad case because he really should be in the Hall, more than any of these steroid users.

      • Byron Browne

        I think the opposite. It could be argued that the juicers had the effect of improving their teams. Pete Rose’s actions did nothing for his team, but it was all for himself. And as a confrimed liar, who can say he didn’t bet against his own team when a player or a coach?

        • DarthHater

          Yea, nothing shows that competitive spirit like cheating.

      • MichiganGoat

        All this is moot point because Rose agreed to the ban and I doubt if any commish will lift the bid in Rose’s lifetime.

  • ColoCubFan

    I’d vote for Biggio before any of the ‘roid boys.

  • Spriggs

    The criteria for HOF voting specifically mentions integrity, sportsmanship and character.

    I don’t care who else was doing what – or when. You have to pretty much ignore integrity, sportsmanship, and character issues if you vote in known users. So Palmeiro, Bonds, and McGwire would not get my vote unless or until they changed the criteria. I’d have to learn a little more about Clemens (I just stopped paying attention to that).

    • Norm

      What did McGwire take?
      Andro? That was legal when he took it.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    You have to pretty much ignore integrity, sportsmanship, and character issues if you vote in known users.

    They ignored these criteria with the opening class. Moreover, you can spin the character issue either way: if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’, right?

    • Norm

      That’s what I don’t get.
      Cobb was the worst character, wasn’t he?
      Yet he received the most votes!!!

      • DocPeterWimsey

        True, although he looks worse now that he did then: in 1936 being a virulent racist was not considered quite the character flaw that it now is. However, Cobb was despised by his teammates and opponents, alike, and he was widely considered to be a dirty player who cared only about his own stats.

        Ruth basically lived like one of the Rolling Stones, for good and for ill. And remember, his drinking was just as illegal during his playing days as heroin use is now! Womanizing was considered more of a character flaw then than today.

        • Norm

          And Ruth punched an ump and chased a fan in the stands.
          Cobb beat up a crippled person.

          But rubbing cream on your body is a bigger character flaw.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Supposedly, in his early baseball days, Cobb actually bragged about having killed a black man. Fortunately, Cobb was a liar, too! (Supposedly Cobb also helped a homeless black man in Detroit get a job as the team mascot, too: so, maybe he evolved a little.)

            I remember back in 1985, somebody asked Pete Rose if he thought that Ty Cobb was looking down on him and rooting him (Rose) on. Rose grinned and said that given everything he’d heard about Ty Cobb, Cobb probably was looking up! Cobb’s grandkids were horribly upset by this and demanded an apology: but that of course brought about a lot of media coverage about just who Ty Cobb was, which didn’t really help their case much. (I don’t recall any theologians chipping in on the topic…)

      • gutshot5820

        Those might be deciding factors in a close decision. You can make a case that Santo made the Hall with those considerations.

    • Spriggs

      If you think they ignored it in 1936, do you think that makes it ok to ignore it now? One of the worst arguments for inducting is: “if so and so is in, then so and so should be in”. That puts the Hall in a constant state of dilution.

      • Norm

        Yes, I am. The precedent was set. Character clause was created by those voters. If Ty Cobb’s character was good enough for them, Barry Bonds character is good enough for me.
        It’s not the same as saying “If Andre Dawson is in, then so should Jim Rice”.

        • Spriggs

          I disagree. What sportswriters thought about Ty Cobb in 1936 is a completely different image of what Ty Cobb has right now. Discussions on Cobb today start and end with allegations of him being a racist. That was not at all the widely held or discussed view back then. You cannot force it to be so just because you think it should have been different.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            I already noted that racism was not as big of an issue in 1936, although Cobb’s views were considered backwards even then, at least in the north. What should have been issues was that Cobb was despised by his peers and his teammates, that he was a dirty player who deliberately injured opponents, and that it already was suspected that he bet on baseball games.

            As those were not, then clearly the “character clause” has a minimum bar of that level.

            • Spriggs

              These are all disputed “facts” about his peers and teammates. If his teammates despised him so much, why did they all walk off in his support when he was suspended? He was cleared of the gambling allegations but Hal Chase (IIRC) was not cleared.

              Cobb gets “meaner and nastier” by the year. Every allegation becomes a fact. It is politically correct to bash Cobb. Who is going to defend him without being labeled a racist? His history gets more distorted all the time. My point is that using a guy such as Cobb (with the distorted information about him) as a standard today would not be wise. Sportwriters today have no clear image of him other than he was a mean racist.

          • Norm

            I’m not talking about racism. I’m talking about beating up a crippled guy

            Are you saying this is a disputed “fact”?

  • DocPeterWimsey

    If you think they ignored it in 1936, do you think that makes it ok to ignore it now?

    Let me restate that. They set the standard for what that phrase meant in 1936.

    Moreover, the fact that player X is in the Hall not only should be important, but (in a big way) it is the criterion. Now, obviously they cannot use it blankly: if we use (say) George Kell as a yardstick, then we probably need to triple the size of the HoF. Still, Cobb should set the “low” for character issues. And the ‘roid users are way, way above Cobb. (Cobb also is thought to have bet on the game, so welcome the gamblers, too.)

    • Spriggs

      Well, IMHO this is exactly what the HOF should not be. If he’s in, then he’s in. Using the mistakes of the past to justify who gets in today – should not be the criteria or standard that is used. That’s how you wind up with Travis Jackson, Ray Schalk, Rabbit Maranville, and Rizzuto/Reese.

  • Byron Browne

    In 1938, Jake Powell, a player for the Yankees was suspended for 10 games after using the “N-word” on a radio interview. Maybe not enough, but racism was at least found to be in poor taste even back then.

  • RockyMtnCubzFan

    I Love it Max and I loved weekend at bernies(both) and if we know anybody who has an ego big enough to order people to do it, It’s Selig

  • kb

    What Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose did is a whole other animal compared to what the Bonds-Clemens-Sosa crowd did. You’re comparing armed robbery to shoplifting. There has to be a sliding scale of punishments…that’s only the fair way to punish crimes, correct?

    I think a fair analogy is to compare what the steroids players did, to what other HOFers did (in order to improve their performances, or to continue to excel). How is Sammy Sosa using a muscle-builder any different from Gaylord Perry using a spitball, or Willie Mays gobbling amphetamines like Skittles?

    • Bill

      The difference is the amphetamines weren’t hidden, from my understanding. The teams would keep them in a big jar in the locker room. They looked at them as drinking a few cups of coffee. So, if MLB and the team ownership knew they were doing this and didn’t complain, then how can you blame the players? On the contrary, the players using steroids were doing this behind closed doors. Players weren’t given steroids by team ownership. If players didn’t think it was a big deal why didn’t they take the steroids in broad daylight, in the locker room in front of reporters and everyone else? It’s because they knew they were cheating. Steroids had been banned in other sports and the main reason it wasn’t in baseball was because of the players union. Quite different than amphetamines.

      • Internet Random

        You’re arguing that, if one commits a crime in front of witnesses, then he should be granted lenience?

        • MaxM1908

          I think he’s arguing that if the league tacitly consents to an activity, even if it is against the rules, it doesn’t rise to the level of a “crime” for purposes of this discussion. An analogy in law would be a law on the books that the government no longer enforces. This wouldn’t apply to steroids where everyone knew the use of it carried significant consequences.

          • Internet Random

            This wouldn’t apply to steroids where everyone knew the use of it carried significant consequences.

            If this were true, then why did MLB feel the need to change the rules after many, many years of not testing?

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Not so thinly veiled threats from Congress, if I recall!

              • Internet Random

                To be clear, that’s another way of saying that Congress thought that the use of steroids in MLB did not carry significant consequences.

                • MaxM1908

                  Wasn’t the roadblock to testing a Players Association issue? I thought that MLB had tried for years to implement testing but was blocked by the union. The absence of testing also doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences or that the activity was any less prohibited.

                  • Internet Random

                    The absence of testing also doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences or that the activity was any less prohibited.

                    You can say the same about amphetamines.

                    • MaxM1908

                      But, the argument above is that there was no need for testing of amphetamines because it was common knowledge that everyone was using them. It was so common, in fact, that it was done openly in front of coaches, the media, and the league officials. No action in the face of such blatant evidence results in tacit consent.

                      Steroids is a different story. It was not done openly. It was denied publicly by players. While I’m sure the use was pretty commonplace, there was not the same level of tacit consent on a league level. If there was evidence that it was done in the open, that owners and league officials knew about and did not nothing (I’m talking actual knowledge, not constructive), then I may change my stance.

                    • Internet Random

                      You’re either still arguing that if one commits a crime in front of witnesses, then he should be granted lenience, or two wrongs make a right (“But everyone else was doing it, Mom!”).

                      Either way, we’re just going to have to disagree about that.

                      Just because the legal climate on drug use got harsher during and following the Nixon administration (forcing those who want to stay out of jail to keep illegal use on the down low) is not a good enough reason to treat players born later differently for doing the same thing earlier players did, i.e., taking drugs illegally.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m absolutely arguing that social norms trump the letter of the law.

                    • hansman1982

                      I believe that there is actually a legal term (and precedent) regarding something being illegal but due to lack of enforcement it becoming effectively legal. That term may be tacit consent.

                      Take speeding for example. At 1 MPH over you are breaking the law; however, most jurisdictions don’t start enforecment until 5 over. Those extra 4 MPH effectively become legal. From what I understand about law.

                    • DarthHater

                      I don’t think that is legally correct, hans. If a law is generally not enforced and then is enforced against particular individuals who are singled out for enforcement on the basis of arbitrary or invidious criteria, then the person singled out may have a valid defense on grounds of unconstitutionally discriminatory enforcement. But the mere fact that a law is not enforced against some people generally does not preclude enforcing it against others.

                      For example, if MLB had a practice of enforcing the PED rules only against foreign or minority players or if enforcement was used as a way of retaliating against players for lawful union activity, then the situation might be analogous to a claim of discriminatory criminal enforcement. But, to my knowledge, the law generally does not overlook violations of a law just because lots of other people have gotten away with breaking it.

                    • hansman1982

                      you are right, it’s illegal to only enforce a law against a certain group of people. Kinda big deal was made about that about 50 years ago.

                      Upon further thought, the extra 4 MPH in my scenario would become legal during the period of non-enforcement. Meaning we could not go back and give someone a ticket for going 58 in a 55 years ago when the law wasn’t enforced that way then.

                      The fact that they took speed, everyone knew about it and noone did anything makes it, in effect, a legal substance.

                    • hansman1982

                      and I may have misread your comment but my general point stands:

                      If a lot of people get away with breaking the law because those charged with enforcing the law didn’t do so then their actions are not illegal.

                    • TSB

                      Selective enforcement is only illegal if it is based on discrimination against persons based on their race, ethicity, sex, etc. If Bud Selig declared that “only players named Roger would get punished for PED use, it would be a civil matter with the union and gyya named Roger, but not a constitutional matter

                    • DarthHater

                      No, I am saying the exact opposite. Selective enforcement of a law based on impermissible criteria is unconstitutional, not because the law is a nullity, but because the criteria were impermissible. But mere non-enforcement of a law, without more, does not render the law a nullity.

                      If you think about it, this is probably sound public policy. Suppose a county elects a DA who thinks that it’s a waste of resources to prosecute minor speeding violations and accordingly does not prosecute anyone for speeding less than 5 mph over the limit. Then suppose that people in the community decide they do not like that policy and they elect a new DA who promises that he will enforce the speeding laws against everyone. Neither the voters nor the new DA should be precluded from implementing a change of enforcement policy just because a prior DA had a different policy.

                      I am not suggesting that renewed enforcement of a long-disregarded law is always appropriate. I’m saying that it is legally permissible, unless the new enforcement is unlawfully discriminatory. But just because it might be legally permissible does not mean it’s a good idea. There are undoubtedly many circumstances–such as minor speeding violations–where continued acquiescence is the best policy. Whether PED use is such a circumstance may be a debatable question.

                    • Internet Random

                      I’m absolutely arguing that social norms trump the letter of the law.

                      Really? Then you’re arguing that slavery in the South trumped the emancipation proclamation. I’m okay disagreeing about that too.

                      But in any event, I don’t think that steroid use was at all “abnormal” in the MLB at that time.

                    • Internet Random

                      The fact that they took speed, everyone knew about it and noone did anything makes it, in effect, a legal substance.

                      Even if this were true, you can say the same thing about steroids:

                      The fact that they took steroids, everyone knew about it and noone did anything makes it, in effect, a legal substance.


                    • MaxM1908

                      @Internet Random — I think the argument is that if the act is done in front of the police or regulators (or in baseball context, league officials) and no action is taken, it is hard to call that actiivity a prohibited act. To borrow from the law, there’s the concept of notice, i.e. one has to be put on notice that their activity is prohibited (for reasons I won’t get into here, this isn’t entirely true in the criminal context of law). Enforcement is one way to create notice. I think in the amphetamine context, there was little notice to the players that the activity was prohibited given the acceptance of the behavior by the regulators. I do not think the same can be said for steroid use. I think the players knew that if they got caught, there would be consequences. Therefore, for them to say “the league didn’t test for it” is not a sufficient excuse.

                    • Internet Random

                      [O]ne has to be put on notice that their activity is prohibited (for reasons I won’t get into here, this isn’t entirely true in the criminal context of law).

                      I’m sorry, but this could scarcely be less true. Ignorantia juris non excusat.

                • MaxM1908

                  @Internet Random — Actually, the emancipation proclamation really had no legal effect. Slavery was still technically legal in the U.S. until the passage of the 13th Amendment. The proclamation was more to encourage uprisings by the slaves in the South. You should also note that the Emancipation Proclamation was only targeted at states at war with the Union. States like Kentucky and Maryland were able to keep their slaves because they weren’t actively at war with the Union.

                  • Internet Random

                    Really? Then he’s arguing that slavery in the South trumped the 13th Amendment. I’m okay disagreeing about that too.

                    And I still don’t think that steroid use was at all “abnormal” in the MLB at that time.

    • http://bleachernation ferris

      Rose an Jackson should both be in the h.o.f. first of all, Rose gambled as a manager and has paid the price ; he was one of the greats and its b.s., Jackson was guilty of not snitching……. he never tanked, and he should be in as well. Fact roids make players better, and they knew it was lleagal. Bonds was a shoe in for the hall he just got jelous of all the attention sosa, and mcgwire were getting, his ego got the best of him, clemens didnt wanna quit the game etc.they all have reasons fact is they knew it was wrong, make them face a ten year ban from the hall before consideration,then take a vote on them, there are too many good players that dont get enough consideration because they didnt use roids…..ex..grace, who had more hits in the ninties than anyone and this was during the roid era, what happen to playing the game the right way?

      • bob

        I think baseball specifically worded Rose’s punishment as a “lifetime ban” for a reason. After his lifetime is over, they’ll let him in the hall. so he doesn’t get to reap the rewards of it himself, with the HOF being able to profit from merchandising, etc. after he’s gone. Of course, his family would make a lot of noise about it…

      • Boogens

        You’re not suggesting that Grace deserves any real HOF consideration just because he had the most hits in the 90s, are you?

  • Norm

    From Joe Posnanski’s latest article on ped’s:

    “I’ve cheated, or someone on my team has cheated, in almost every game I’ve been in.”
    — Rogers Hornsby, Hall of Famer

    “I didn’t begin cheating until late in my career, when I needed something to help me survive … I didn’t cheat in 1963 when I won 24 games. Well, maybe a little.”
    — Whitey Ford, Hall of Famer

    “If you know how to cheat, start now.”
    — Earl Weaver, Hall of Famer

    “No, we don’t cheat. And even if we did, I’d never tell you.”
    — Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Famer

    “Anything short of murder is OK.”
    — Dick Williams, Hall of Famer

    “[A player holding the base runner down] … I don’t call that cheating. I call that heads-up baseball. Win any way you can as long as you can get away with it.”
    — Leo Durocher, Hall of Famer