Friday, December 14, 2007

I Wonder How Mike Piazza Feels...

No, this isn't going to be a cry of vindication. I'll leave that to Jose Canseco.

And this isn't going to be a campaign to reverse the outcome of the 2000 World Series. Because then people in Houston will want '86 back. And people in Phoenix will want '99 back. And somebody who struck out against Josias Manzanillo and watched him run off the mound jumping and cavorting like a school girl will want that back. Those are memories I refuse to believe are tainted.

And no, I'm not starting the "Ban Roger Clemens From The Hall" movement. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Performance enhancers are not a Barry Bonds problem, and they're not a Roger Clemens problem. They are a baseball problem. Asterisks and banishment from baseball's Hall of Fame shift the blame on to the individual players, and it minimizes baseball's role in the so-called "steroids-era". The sport should be culpable most of all.

But I wonder: At this hour...at this very moment...with all of the history that Piazza has had with Clemens, the beaning in July of 2000, and the infamous bat throwing incident in that season's World Series...I wonder just what Mike Piazza is thinking at this hour. I wonder if he's thinking that he might have gotten out of the way of that pitch if it was just a little bit slower...which it might have been if Clemens was clean. Or is Piazza thinking that Clemens might not have thrown that bat if he wasn't on whatever he was on?

Those are some thoughts I'd pay a penny for.

***

In terms of the Mets that were involved, considering that it was a Mets clubbie that provided a lot of the information, the wreckage really isn't too bad in terms of the star quality of the players tagged in the report. The biggest one was probably Lenny Dykstra. The Mitchell Report talks of Dykstra's involvement in the early nineties. But anybody who was around in 1988 and saw the instant 20 pounds of muscle he had put on that winter because he wanted to be a power hitter had to have been thinking something wasn't quite natural there.

Todd Hundley? Nobody was going to say it and smear his name without any provocation. But the circumstancial evidence was all over the place. Forget the fact that he hit 41 home runs in '96 after hitting 15 the season before. But all of a sudden, he plays 153 games? He was a pinch hitter in 10 of those games, but continued as a catcher in seven of those. So there were 150 games when he put on the catcher's gear in 1996. Who does this?

And about this theory that the Mets stonewalled Lo Duca because of advance knowledge of this report? I don't buy it. There was knowledge of Lo Duca's use for years. Just check the report. The Dodgers knew:
"Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest. Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives. Can get comparable value back would consider trading. If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05."
If the Dodgers knew, I'd bet money that other teams knew ... way back when. And if I were to bet money, I sure as hell wouldn't write a check! So no, I think this was common knowledge among the baseball community years ago, before the Mets even traded for him.

Mo Vaughn? With the injury problems he's had with his knee, we shouldn't be surprised either. I was surprised, because I myself thought the only thing he was injecting was jelly doughnuts, but that's just me.

But honestly, nobody should be surprised. Because as flimsy as you might want to say this Mitchell report is, he got the bottom line absolutely 100% right: Baseball and its union were slow on the upkeep on this. Everybody was. Athletes will always find a way to get a competitive edge, and always will. The governing bodies have to be the ones to restore order ... you can't trust 100% of a group that includes 750 major leaguers and many more minor leaguers to police themselves and be on the up and up. They're everybody's heroes, but they're athletes who not only want to win, but also represent a cross-section of life. Many different personality types will react to life's questions in many different ways. These decisions must be made for them by the high priests of America's pastime. In the past, those decisions were just to let performance enhancing happen, and look where we are.

(Metstradamus packs up his soapbox and walks away. And...scene.)

15 comments:

JeterBoy said...

Well said. The focus shouldn't be on the past. Many major leaguers were involved with stuff before there were penalties and the commish has very limited power in that regard. Mitchell has passed the blame to all parties (which is fair), especially the players union. Its time to find a way to detect HGH, stiffen testing rules and punishments, and to be progressive enough to have testing that keeps up with advancements that help cheats avoid detection. No team or individual has the higher ground in this situation (its not a Mets-Yankees thing). It boils down to the example we set for our youth, money, and the need to win and succeed at all costs. The Mitchell report is very well thought out and seems truly independent (I've read about 100 pages so far). Some info seems irrefutable such as the canceled checks and money orders...others...he said she said by felons and those who have something to gain by testifying. You'll see knee jerk polls in the coming days about this one and that one...Hall of Fame yes or no. Many of these players have had their name thrown out there in the court of public opinion with no trial or recourse....people whose names will be tarnished forever. I just hope George got them all right because one false accusation is one too many. As a society, we're pretty quick to play judge and jury so long as it doesn't happen to us or the people we care about.

A couple of quick hits - no Sammy Sosa?
* The Yankees will need to restaff the YES studio after Girardi took the managerial job and Justice is now implicated.
* ESPN is even in the mix with their boy Fernando Vina
* How come many of the active players in the report have either signed new deals or been traded within the last week?

MetFanMac said...

I was surprised Brady Anderson wasn't on the list. His 50-HR season was even more shocking than Hundley's "explosion".

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.... I generally don't trust the government in most matters, do you?

Why start now?

Unser said...

Yes - all you say is true . . . but, if I had a HOF vote, I would not vote for Clemens or Bonds. Clemens would never have won 300 games without the juice, and Bonds would never have hit 700 homers. Plus, can you really separate the before and after? Especially with those two guys, whose use appears to have been rampant and over several years?

Notice that Clemens went back on the roids in 2000, pretty much right after the Mets (especially Piazza) cleaned his clock in a blow-out at Yankee Stadium?

And the guys on YES just sounded ridiculous yesterday - Kay thinks that it was unfair to release players' names unless the list was all-inclusive such that any player who ever used steroids should have been named, or none at all . . .doesn't work like that Mike. Also, anyone who takes Clemens BS denial seriously needs some serious help.

Not surprised about any of the Mets named, except Lo Duca and maybe Matt Franco. Notice also that many of the users' careers came to a swift and crashing conclusion almost immediately after their career years (Hundley, Vaughn, Tejada, Dykstra)?

katherine said...

Metstradamus - you are so right about those historic moments - if we now understand the sharp-bat-throwing incident differently we also have to take a second look at Lenny's ninth inning homer in the the 86 pennant game. Which is awful to do. What unbelievable joy that was.

I really really really wanted to stay home from work today and immerse myself in all this, reread the report, peruse all the papers and the blogs and watch interviews. But my conscience didn't let me.

Has Pettite said anything yet? I wonder if he will boldly lie, too. I'd be a little surprised if he did.

Demitri said...

Pettite - on advice of his agent isn't saying anything until he confers with the union.

I think Lenny was clean in 86 - he was such a skinny kid. He bulked up between 88-89 and even more so after the trade to the Phillies.

Its sad to think back to those times and wonder - was he clean then, or when X happened.

I was at a wedding during Game 4 of the 99 NLDS. A bunch of fans went out to our cars periodically to get updates on the game. I was fortunate to be the one to relay the news of Pratt's walkoff HR to our table. This is really depressing, because I won't think about that moment in the same way again.

I did a search on the PDF and was relieved when it came up empty for Leiter, Piazza, Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile. (Zeile is in there denouncing performance enhancing drugs).

I have a feeling that this is going to snowball. As was said before, how many more Radomski's and BALCOs are out there? I refuse to believe that some Mets clubhouse guy was the nexus for 85% of all the steroids in baseball.

krup said...

metstradamus for commissioner...

Mr. Met said...

Where does the asterisk go in the following statement?

26* World Championships

or

26 World Championships*

gbaked said...

while Clemens and Bonds do deserve to be in the HOF...

it wouldn't bother me one bit if it took them a few tries to get in. just like it is for Big Mac.

Metstradamus said...

Commissioner?

I'm flattered but I think one of the criteria of being commissioner is that one has to be able to perform simple tasks like keeping their apartment clean. I can't even do that right. How am I supposed to make decisions that affect millions of people?

katherine said...

You, Metstradamus, would have the COURAGE to say, "I messed up too, I was way too slow to act, and I am partially responsible for what happened."

Which Selig absolutely did not do yesterday.

JAMMQ said...

And about this theory that the Mets stonewalled Lo Duca because of advance knowledge of this report? I don't buy it. There was knowledge of Lo Duca's use for years.

There's a difference between insiders knowing about suspected use, and having a full section of the steroid report devoted to your use, complete with exhibits, wouldn't you agree?

The Mets certainly would not have been enthusiastic about having to deal with the issue.

Especially, for a catcher they didn't really like in the first place.

Metstradamus said...

Jammq,

I get you. But there's too much evidence the other way...namely, their willingness to sign Guillermo Mota after being caught.

I have to think that somehow, the Mets either: did their due dilligence before they signed Lo Duca, or: didn't care one way or the other when they signed Lo Duca. In either case, I can't think that it would have been a big deal to them this time. The other factors were front and center.

Let's put it this way: If you're right, Jammq, then the Mets come off as hypocrites of the highest order. Don't tell us that you let Lo Duca go quietly primarily because of the Mitchell report after you signed Mota to a two year deal after he got caught, and then tell us that the number one reason that you let Lo Duca go was this report.

Metstradamus said...

Oh, and by the way: I put my poll question up mere minutes before I found out that ESPN was running the exact same question. I'm not a plagarist.

Just in case you all were wondering. Ha.

katherine said...

The steroid taking baseball players have their names on a list - only fair that the medical doctors should have theirs, too.

MITCHELL REPORT MEDICAL HALL OF SHAME - exclusive to Metstradamus

Dr. Robert Millman, former medical director for Major League Baseball. When Lewis Maharam, a prominent sports medicine practitioner was very critical publicly in 1988 about McGwire's androstenedione use, he received a call from Millman who told him that "everyone in Major League Baseball is irritated with you" and that "if you don't shut up, they are going to sue you." A short time later, Dr Millman gave a presentation to baseball physicians and executives which reportedly focused "on the benefits that could be obtained from testosterone."

Dr. Joel Solomon, the medical director for the Players Association. Co-speaker along with Dr Millman at the pro-testosterone presentation


Dr Ana Maria Santi: a former physician whose license had been suspended in 1999. So, in order to write steroid prescriptions, she forged the signature of an elderly doctor living in a retirement home. Nice.

Dr. Victor Mariani, Santi's med school classmate wrote scrips in exchange for $25 per scrip.

Dr. Robert Carlson, Sarasota, Florida signed 3,100 scrips within a 60-day period. If you consider that you probably would need a minimum of thirty minutes to interview, examine a new patient, make a diagnosis, communicate it, and write a scrip, then he would need to work 24 hours/day without sleeping or eating for 64 days to see all 3100 patients. MUCH easier to just write the scrip and never see the patient. Considering only 2minutes per scrip, then you'd need only 1 hour 40 minutes per day. And if someone else wrote the scrip for you and you just signed your name - even better!

Dr. Claire Godfrey, an Orlando obstetrician, wrote approximately $1.3 million worth of scrips and earned $200,000.

Dr. William Gogan, wrote Rick Ankiel's scrips from Signature Pharmacy.

Dr. Ramon Scruggs, (love that name) wrote Glaus' and I believe Schoenweis' scrips, too.