Monday, October 21, 2013

2 comments Because It's Only 17 Years in the Past, Murray Chass Wonders if Brady Anderson Used PED's

Murray Chass is not one to leave things in the past. For a person who often lives in the past, it is very important to constantly bring up the past in order to make yourself feel more modern. Murray likes discussing whether Mike Piazza used PED's based on the scientific evidence of Piazza's bacne. If that's the case, then thousands of teenage boys are using PED's despite not playing a sport. Murray sees that Chris Davis has broken Brady Anderson's Baltimore Orioles home run record and it makes him wonder why Brady Anderson stopped using PED's. It's a question that comes 17 years too late and it is perhaps unfair to just assume Anderson used PED's, but Murray isn't interested in being fair. He wants answers, but the only answer he will accept is the one that matches the conclusion he has already drawn.

The confluence of a series of home runs and other related events the past week stirred memories and thoughts of past home runs and other related events.

And when Murray starts stirring memories of past home runs then you better watch out, because someone is getting accused of using PED's.

Featured in these developments were Chris Davis, Brady Anderson, Barry Bonds and Wladimir Balentien.

I guess we should just be thankful Murray wasn't having stirred memories and thoughts about these players in the form of a sexual dream.

By slugging his 50th and 51st home runs, Davis tied and broke Anderson’s head-scratching Baltimore Orioles’ franchise record and rekindled the long-dormant debate over how Anderson hit all of those home runs in 1996.

It was 17 years ago and Brady Anderson isn't making the Hall of Fame anytime soon. Let's just assume it was hard work and perseverance, mostly because it doesn't matter anymore.

By hitting his own pair of home runs, Balentien raised his total to 57, breaking Sadaharu Oh’s legendary Japanese record of 55 and prompting another kind of question: Why hasn’t anyone raised the steroids question?

Because it's Japanese baseball and American sportswriters have enough issues when talking about MLB players and steroids to worry about which Japanese league baseball players may be using PED's.

Maybe it’s because baseball people and fans learned that it’s not the players who are juiced but the balls. In June, the Associated Press reported, Japanese baseball officials said they had the balls made to be livelier without telling the players. The balls, the AP said, resulted in a dramatic increase in home runs.

There you go. It's been explained. I like how Murray is talking in circles though, asking questions and then answering his own questions. It's like he's having a conversation with himself by answering his own questions.

OK, but Balentien becomes the chief beneficiary of the livelier balls?

Dear Murray Chass,

Before you start writing about a topic, please do some research on that topic. I know doing research isn't anything you had to do in the pre-Internet age, but readers today just don't absentmindedly believe what a sportswriter is saying and require some sense of proof or research done on a topic prior to writing a column on said topic.


I did some research and Balentien is NOT the chief beneficiary of the livelier balls. Put on your glasses and check out this article. Here is the pertinent section of the article:

There were 939 home runs in 2011 and 881 in 2012. This season's tally stood at 512 as of Tuesday, on pace for a season total of 1,297.

So it turns out Balentien is not the chief beneficiary of the livelier ball and home runs have risen by almost 50% from the 2012 season through the Japanese league.

There was a time when Japanese pitchers didn’t allow foreign players to break Oh’s record, which he set in 1964. They deliberately walked Oh’s challengers rather than give them a chance to hit home runs.

Imagine if American pitchers started walking a Japanese batter so he wouldn't break a record set by an American. Can you imagine the shit-storm that would erupt if this happened? I can't fathom how American sportswriters would react if pitchers started walking Ichiro so he didn't get a chance to hit .400 (this hypothetical would take place in the early 2000's of course).

Randy Bass hit 54 homers in 1985 and Tuffy Rhodes (2001) and Alex Cabrera (2002) clouted 55 each. The walks ensued.

I bet Murray believes all three of these players used PED's. How else can their home runs be explained? By the way, I am writing this post while drinking coffee, so I guess I'm using a PED because otherwise I would not write with such vigor and charm.

It’s not likely that anyone will break Oh’s career record of 868, but then it was unlikely that anyone would break Henry Aaron’s career major league record of 755. But along came Barry Bonds, who bulked up on flaxseed oil and whacked 258 homers in a five-year period at ages 36-40, including a single-season record 73 at baseball’s senior-citizen age of 37.

And naturally, Bonds hitting 258 home runs over a five-year period is equivalent to Wladimir Balentien breaking the Japanese home run record. They are the same thing.

At the time Anderson hit 50 home runs, in 1996, no one was talking about steroids or suspecting players of using them, though as it developed, some clearly were. 

I very, very clearly remember my friends and I talking about whether Anderson was using PED's or not in 1996. Now maybe the media wasn't talking about steroids or suspecting players of using steroids due to the fact the sports media preferred to keep their head in the sand back then, but I remember very clearly that I was having discussions about the use of steroids in regard to Brady Anderson. I'm not special or overly-smart, so I couldn't have been the only one. I've since ceased to care because it was 17 years ago and there was never evidence Anderson did use steroids.

Was Anderson among them? He has always denied it, and the circumstantial evidence isn’t as voluminous as it is in Bonds’ case.

I like how the circumstantial evidence isn't voluminous or even existent, outside of the fact Anderson hit 50 home runs in a season and never hit that many again, but this isn't enough for Murray to back off wondering whether Anderson used steroids. In fact, there is no evidence or circumstantial evidence that Brady Anderson used steroids other than the fact he hit 50 home runs in a season and never approached this total again. That's it. So while Murray is saying the circumstantial evidence isn't voluminous, he means it's virtually non-existent. Maybe Brady Anderson did use steroids, but there's no evidence and the only circumstantial evidence is that he hit 50 home runs in a season.

In his first eight seasons in the majors Anderson hit a total of 72 home runs. In his six seasons after his 50 year he hit 88 homers. In 1996 he drove in 110 runs and had a .637 slugging percentage. Before and after, his best single-season numbers were 80 r.b.i. and 81 r.b.i., and his next best slugging percentage was .477.

Yeah, it's crazy isn't it? Roger Maris hit 97 home runs in the four seasons before he hit 61 home runs and hit 117 home runs in the seven seasons after he hit 61 home runs. 1961 accounted for 22% of his home runs for his MLB career while his at-bats in 1961 accounted for 11.5% of his at-bats for his MLB career. RBI's are irrelevant to me for this discussion since they rely on teammates getting on-base. My point is that Roger Maris was a good hitter, but he never came close to hitting 61 home runs in a season again. But of course, there's no chance he was using any type of PED, because Murray chooses to ignore any evidence baseball players prior to the mid-1980's ever used PED's. It simply didn't happen, despite evidence given by Hall of Famers like Mike Schmidt it did happen.

As weird as the 1996 performance seemed to be as produced by Anderson, equally weird was his reversion to his previous levels of hitting.

Roger Maris never reverted to quite the low level of hitting that Brady Anderson reverted to, but Anderson isn't the first hitter to have an outstanding season and never reach that level of hitting again. Maybe he did use steroids, but it's 17 years later and it really doesn't matter anymore.

Did he decide to use steroids, then decide after a year of use that he didn’t like the threat they posed to one’s health?

I don't know. Quick, someone check to see if he has bacne!

Did he decide he didn’t like cheating? Did someone close to him who knew he was using prevail upon him to stop?

Notice the one option that Murray leaves out completely. Maybe, perhaps, Brady Anderson wasn't using cheating and using PED's. Of course there's no way this is correct and Murray Chass wants to make sure to annoy Anderson 17 years later to get to the bottom of this important story.

I think I can play devil's advocate and turn these questions around. Why would Brady Anderson just stop cheating once he's seen how it can help him play better? What's the point of cheating for one year and then just quitting? Anderson wasn't playing for a new contract at that point, so why would he cheat for one year and then just quit using steroids? 

Efforts to reach Anderson by telephone to ask him these questions and others were unsuccessful.

I can't believe Anderson doesn't want to talk about something that happened 17 years ago and has no bearing on the 2013 Baltimore Orioles team. Murray thinks Anderson would want to comment and clear his name. After all, once Anderson denied using steroids Murray Chass would surely drop the issue wouldn't he?

Haha, who am I kidding? We all know Murray would simply say that Brady Anderson is lying and can't justify his increase in power during the 1996 season. So there's really no reason for Anderson to comment on the speculation that Murray is trying to toss around, because no matter what Anderson says (outside of a confession of steroid use during the 1996 season) Murray isn't going to believe him regardless.

However, he is the Orioles’ vice president of baseball operations and was at the game in Boston when Davis hit his record-breaking 51st home run.

The Orioles hired Anderson? The entire organization is obviously complicit in Anderson's steroid use.

“I love it,” Anderson told the Baltimore Sun. “Chris and I have been really close since he came here. 

Brady Anderson and Chris Davis are close. Because Brady Anderson indisputably used steroids, this is more proof that Chris Davis is using steroids as well.

“I know I was obviously having my best year, but I wasn’t thinking, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ I never thought that. It seemed pretty normal. I found out in subsequent years that it wasn’t normal. But watching Chris do it, you think about the consistency of which you need to hit home runs to get 50. Seeing him do that kind of reminded me of how consistent you need to be.”

By "how consistent" Murray knows that Brady Anderson clearly means "how you need to find the best steroid supplier and then hope he doesn't get busted and snitch on you."

Their careers, Anderson added, have somewhat paralleled each other: both were top prospects and both flourished after trade-deadline deals to the Orioles.

Again, further proof that because Brady Anderson used steroids Chris Davis is most definitely using steroids also.

There is, however, a difference in the prelude to their hitting 50 home runs. Davis established himself as something of a home run hitter in the minor leagues and hit 33 last year in his first full season in the majors.

Of course, even knowing these numbers I have no doubt that Murray thinks Chris Davis is using PED's to increase his home run totals.

Given the way he has started, Davis isn’t likely to fall to low double-digit homers as Anderson did, plunging from 50 to 18 the next season.

So if Davis hits 45 home runs next year does that mean he is less likely to have used steroids to increase his power or does this make it more likely? I am wondering because while Murray is using Brady Anderson's one year increase as proof (the only proof) he used steroids, Chris Davis could certainly be using steroids and just not stop using them after one season.

My point is that if Davis continues to hit home runs at a high rate this doesn't mean he is clean, just like Brady Anderson's one year outlier doesn't mean he took steroids for one year and then quit. Besides, who cares? It was 17 years ago. There are plenty of other exciting baseball-related issues to discuss without going back 17 years and trying to dredge up proof that Brady Anderson used steroids for a season. It really doesn't matter anymore. 


Anonymous said...

Murray Chase cracks me up. This quote is from latest rant about he stat geeks/zealots and the MVP voing....

"Several years ago, the stats zealots went berserk when the writers voted the A.L. award to Justin Morneau. The awards are based on statistics, but not the way the stats guys want them to be based. They are based on what the players were able to do with their statistics."

So now even if we use "new-age" statistics, it's all about all players "use" those staticitics...

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I know. I have no idea how a player is supposed to use statistics. Whatever that means.