Thursday, May 15, 2014

2 comments Scott Miller Is Thrilled Albert Pujols Makes the 500 Homer-Club Credible Again

Haven't we read things like this before? Haven't we read a "Thank God, Player A is clean and breaking records because it makes up for records during the Steroid Era" column before? Some writers just either (a) don't learn or (b) won't let the Steroid Era drop. It's over. It's been over. What is worse in this column by Scott Miller is that he does the whole "Albert Pujols hasn't been affiliated in any way with steroids so it's not fair to lump him in with them" dance (which I agree with by the way...agree 100%), but this isn't the position he takes when it comes to voting for Hall of Fame inductees. Weird how that works isn't it? Rumors of PED use are partly what keeps Scott Miller from voting Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza into the Hall of Fame, but he chooses to believe Albert Pujols when he says he hasn't used PED's during his playing career. After all, Albert Pujols sued Jack Clark for suggesting he used PED's. Who would actually take the time to sue a person accusing them of using PED's if that person wasn't truly innocent of these charges (ahem, Lance Armstrong)?

Anyway, I think Pujols is clean too. That's not what this is about. It's about Scott Miller not giving the benefit of the doubt to other players who haven't tested positive for PED's and his insistence the 500-homer club means something once again. 

By far, the most toxic part of the steroid era was the way it grotesquely distorted Major League Baseball's record book.

It's incredibly toxic! The records are a mess and there's no way to simply ignore the records set during the Steroid Era. We need Congressional input on how to resolve this perilous situation immediately!

Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, some of the game's most revered numbers were twisted and turned as if standing in front of a fun-house mirror operated by the worst kind of skanky carnies and shyster gypsies imaginable.

But hey, at least Scott Miller isn't being dramatic about the record book being tainted by PED users.

Now comes Albert Pujols blasting his way into the 500 Home Run Club, and do you believe?

I never stopped believing. Though if Fred McGriff had just hit seven more home runs then Jon Heyman would totally believe in the 500-homer club again. 

Do you believe in the credibility of 500 again?

I never stopped believing. Barry Bonds didn't 263 more home runs simply because he used PED's. That's not how it works. Bonds would have surpassed 500 home runs whether he obeyed Nancy Reagan and said "no" to drugs or not. 

Do you believe in the purity of Pujols?

I'm not sure I believe or don't believe in the purity of any baseball player. I just watch the sport and try to enjoy it as much as I can. One thing I certainly don't believe in is the teeth-gnashing over the loss of innocence when it comes to baseball's records. Those records lost their innocence many years ago. You know, back when blacks weren't allowed to play baseball so pre-1947 baseball players didn't set their records against the best baseball players in the United States. These records could have also lost their innocence since everyone and their brother was using greenies during the 1960's and 1970's. Or it could be that baseball and it's records never lost it's innocence because this innocence never actually existed.

Once upon a time, the 500 Club meant something. And I'd like to think, a decade into the toughest performance-enhancing drug testing program in any sport, that it again means something.

Thank you so much for saving baseball, Albert Pujols.

In fact, strike part of that last sentence. I know it means something. 

In fact, strike part of that last sentence. Thank you so much for saving the world as a whole. 

Say what you will about the Los Angeles Angels' franchise player, but Pujols has been tested, tested and tested again—just like everyone else—since the program began in 2004. So far, so clean. Furthermore, his name did not turn up in BALCO records, and it wasn't lurking in the Biogenesis files.

Oh okay, well that's an interesting point of view coming from a Hall of Fame voter who refuses to vote for Jeff Bagwell or Mike Piazza. Here is a good summary of Scott Miller's Hall of Fame ballots.

As the site I linked said,

Miller’s HOF columns put him firmly in the “no suspected PED users in the Hall” camp. Read his 2013 column for the full details on his position.

Great idea! Let's read the full details on his position while attempting to reconcile his "Albert Pujols must be clean because he's never tested positive" position with this "Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza have suspicion around them so who cares if they have never tested positive" position.

Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza: Did they do steroids? Loads of speculation, no proof. I want to vote for both, but I'm just not going to rush into it.

I don't know entirely what this means. Bagwell and Piazza are either Hall of Famers or they aren't Hall of Famers. Their numbers aren't going to get any better or worse in the next year or so. It certainly sounds like Scott Miller isn't going to vote for them because there is speculation, no proof, that they used PED's. Interesting how he's so quick to defend Pujols but he isn't willing to vote for Bagwell or Piazza to be in the Hall of Fame when there is nothing but speculation surrounding their PED use.

For me, each is in sort of a holding pattern. I want to give it a few more years, and see if any more of the Steroid Era vagaries clear. 

Well of course. It makes sense. Give it another year, which Miller did, and then see if any of the speculation they used steroids clear up.

Spoiler alert: Nothing changed in regard to the "Steroid Era vagaries" and Scott Miller still didn't vote for either player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In lieu of additional information that Piazza or Bagwell didn't use PED's Miller is working under the assumption the speculation is correct and they did use PED's. Not voting for either player because of speculation surrounding their PED use and defending Albert Pujols' 500-homer record as "clean" because there is no proof he used PED's is quite simply an inconsistent position. Either Miller believes the speculation or he doesn't. Yet he feels the need to pick and choose which speculation he believes rather than stick to his "tested and far, so clean" reason for stating Albert Pujols has saved the 500-homer record for all of mankind.

Okay, so back to Albert Pujols and how he saved the 500-homer club from not being credible. 

And when former St. Louis Cardinal Jack Clark, on The King and the Ripper Show—which he co-presents—irresponsibly said last summer that he knew for a fact that Pujols juiced, Pujols not only angrily denied it, but said he would sue. And then he followed through with that threat, filing suit in a St. Louis court last October.

Lance Armstrong sued anybody and everybody who suggested he used PED's to win the Tour de France. He ruined the lives of quite a few people when suing them as well. The ability to hire an attorney and file paperwork doesn't mean Albert Pujols is an innocent guy. Again, I don't have any reason to believe Albert Pujols has used PED's, but Scott Miller is using circumstantial evidence to point out why Albert Pujols CLEARLY never used PED's while withholding his vote from potential Hall of Fame inductees due to their suspected ties to PED use. Maybe Piazza or Bagwell should have sued someone for suggesting they used PED's and Scott Miller would then decide to vote for them to enter the baseball Hall of Fame.

Sadly, in our cynical world today, even all of that is not proof positive. 

Yes, sadly there are baseball writers who have a Hall of Fame vote that withhold that vote based upon speculation and rumors. It's sad to hear about. Scott Miller must never go around mirrors if he thinks he isn't one of these cynical people.

The dirty, chronic liar Ryan Braun, among his many acts of treachery, did some serious damage to the game's clean players as well. Because after listening to Braun's righteous indignation that was pure, unadulterated horseradish, we're now inclined to believe in a guy's outer shell of honesty even less than we were before.

Yes, "we" are less inclined to believe in a guy's honesty than before. Thanks for speaking for me. I, and the rest of the public, are unable to speak for ourselves because we are mouth-breathing morons who are unable to understand our own opinions and feelings.

It says something—to me, at least—that Pujols not only followed through with his threat to sue Clark, but also pressed forward until Clark finally waved the white flag and apologized in February.

You are ignoring my straw man argument though! What about those eligible for the Hall of Fame that have only been suspected of PED use and it's never been proven? How can Miller reconcile these two positions? He crusades for the ABSOLUTE INNOCENCE of Albert Pujols and holds him up as a champion for the 500-homer club and a person who gave credibility back to the MLB record book, but won't let Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame despite the lack of solid evidence he used PED's?

That we even need to cover this ground before talking about Pujols' swing, his career and his healthy legs in 2014 is too bad, but that's where we are thanks to his recent predecessors.

Well, that and writers like Scott Miller have already set the precedent that a player with even a whisper of PED use won't be elected into the Hall of Fame. We can thank these people as well for any suspicion surrounding Albert Pujols. Miller fails to see the irony of this.

Of those 11 players to crack 500 since '99, seven were blatant cheats: Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and, yes, Gary Sheffield. (He admitted using Bonds' BALCO supply once before he knew what it was, so believe what you will there.)

And of course after using Bonds' BALCO supply one time it immediately turned Gary Sheffield into a superhero hitter who had superpowers to hit a baseball. One use of steroids is like turning a baseball player into a living version of The Hulk.

That leaves Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Frank Thomas (who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this summer)...and Pujols.

Thank God they can make the 500-homer club credible again. I was deeply worried my overly-moralistic soul would never be right again concerning the baseball record books being clean and clear of cheats. You know, because the only cheats in the baseball record books are PED users.

Nobody had ever hit Nos. 499 and 500 in the same game until Pujols, rejuvenated at 34, belted a Taylor Jordan changeup over the fence in the first inning and deposited another meaty Jordan offering over the fence in the fifth.
Boy, if this were 2021 and Pujols failed a drug test in 2016 then I think we would look back at this "rejuvenated" comment and laugh at the obviousness of Pujols' PED use, much like the home run chase in 1998 is laughed at now.

Again, I believe Pujols has not used PED's, but one decade's "rejuvenated" slugger is another decade's "clearly cheating" slugger. The language doesn't change, the knowledge that player had help in being rejuvenated changes though.

The Angels spilled out of their dugout en masse and flocked to greet Pujols at the plate.

More evidence Pujols is clean. Zero of their teammates ever flocked out to greet and congratulated PED users on their accomplishments as they happened.

He is the third-youngest player to hit his 500th, behind only A-Rod* (32 years, eight days)

See the asterisk beside A-Rod's name? HOW FUCKING CUTESY IS THAT?

and Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 337 days).

Where is the asterisk noting that Foxx set this record while not playing against the Negro League players?

It is totally different this year. It would be too much, at this stage, to ever expect to see the MVP Pujols of 2008-09 re-emerge. But what he's showing right now is what he's shown us since his debut for Tony La Russa in 2001:

Oh, Pujols played for Tony La Russa. Hmmm...interesting. I bet if Jeff Bagwell played for Tony La Russa that would be more evidence that he did use PED's, given La Russa's history of managing players who were revealed to have used PED's.

No other sport does numbers like baseball. From 714 to 755 to .400, from 31 and 56 to 500, and beyond.

And no other sport is more contradictorily (is that a word?) sanctimonious about the numbers in their sport. No other sport's writers think the more they talk about the past the better chances the past will simply be erased, as opposed to just dealing with the past and moving on.

Do you believe?

I believed before. They are just numbers. I consider a lot of old-time records to not be credible since they were set while MLB was consciously preventing Negro Leagues players from competing in the majors. That's just how I feel. I don't go around saying those old-time records are totally not credible and act like a pompous ass about it. Albert Pujols hasn't saved the 500-homer club and Scott Miller needs to apply his "Innocent until proof of guilt" to Jeff Bagwell at the very least or else he is coming off as a hypocrite.

Pujols has given us no reason not to, and because of that, it was a night of celebration, unlike so many 500s over the past decade.

Well, they were nights of celebration until it was found out a few years later they should not have been. Lack of evidence is lack of evidence unless it comes to Hall of Fame voting apparently.


rich said...

Do you believe in the credibility of 500 again?

That leaves Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Frank Thomas (who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this summer)...and Pujols.

Griffey actually has 630 HRs and Thome is over 600. If I'm writing an article on the sanctity of some arbitrary club in baseball, its on how insane KG, Jr and Jim Thome were.

I don't understand how we can look at a list of guys no one argues against as having used PEDs (Sosa, McGwire, Bonds) as having blemished this "club," but how does Pujols save the 500 HR club, when we've had two, allegedly, clean players get to 600 during the same era?

then he followed through with that threat, filing suit in a St. Louis court last October.

This is like point to Roger Clemens and saying "He won in court!"

Pujols has given us no reason not to, and because of that, it was a night of celebration, unlike so many 500s over the past decade

Yes, except for those other three guys who've done the same thing in the past decade.

And I get 500 is a nice round number, but what about Fred McGriff (493), Carlos Delgado (473), Chipper Jones (468) or Adam Dunn (445)?

F**k you Fred, if only you had hit 7 more HRs.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, really good point. I think Thome and Griffey Jr. were clean players too. So if I were to concede the club isn't legitimate then wouldn't it mean Pujols didn't make the club legit, but Griffey Jr and Thome did? I didn't think about that.

Clemens did win in court and the only reason MLB got A-Rod this last time is because they used stolen documents, cut a deal with the dealer and then violated the CBA to suspend A-Rod without a positive test. But hey, at least MLB is going after these guys rather than turning a blind eye to the issue like some other sports seem to be.

If only Fred had stuck around he could have legitimized the 500 homer club. Of course he achieved the milestone in a similar time as Thome/Griffey Jr. did so maybe would not have legitimized the club after all.