Atypical Week

Friday, December 14, 2007

What A Week!?

Well, that wasn’t a normal December week in the baseball industry.

First, we all dealt with the disappointment of Fukudome signing with the Cubs.  We were told that while we were not outbid in terms of the contract offer, Fukudome’s decision came down to non-financial factors such as playing RF (vs. CF for us) and being the first Japanese native to play for a franchise (obviously, we have had Shingo and Tadahito in Sox uniforms).

Then, Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants, reportedly for five years and $60 million dollars.  I am happy for Aaron, his wife and his family, but … (you know)

We held our annual front office Christmas party Wednesday night at the Stadium Club and many of us had a hard time feeling overly festive given the week’s events.

But I have also learned over the years that you never get too high and never too low and sometimes, the moves that don’t get made end up being more impactful than the ones you do.  No one can be sure in December.

KW spoke to Scott Merkin of whitesox.com about his reaction to the week and plans moving forward.

To read that article, click here.

Mitchell Report

Yesterday, the Mitchell Report dominated the day and the news. 

For me (I know others said they got bored), it was interesting to watch all three press conferences, Senator Mitchell, then Commissioner Selig and finally Don Fehr of the Players Association, one after another.

I was very impressed by Senator Mitchell’s presentation and his ESPN interview afterward.

Two things he said resonated with me.  First, that the "principal victims" (I believe that was the term he used) were the majority of players who did not cheat.  They were put in a position where they had to make a decision to either join players using performance-enhancing drugs, or knowlingly, and ethically, decide to compete for jobs, livelihoods and on-field victories on an unlevel playing field.

Secondly, Senator Mitchell pointed out that we (collectively) need to press to stay up with the latest trends in designer-drugs.  Judging by test results, the drug testing policy related to steroids is working.  But as an industry, we need to find a joint solution that will allow us to keep pace with the designers, who may now feature HgH and five years from now likely will be featuring something even newer.  The game needs to keep pace.

As someone outside baseball said to me the other day,

"My guess is that as long as you have chemists, millions of dollars and competition, you are going to have cheating … not just in baseball but in any sport."

Sadly true.

Maybe I am naive, but I was struck by doctors who were allegedly willing to write fake prescriptions for side income.  My personal experience has certainly been that doctors are among the most ethical and privacy/legally conscious professionals I know.  I was amazed at what I read yesterday and last evening related to false scripts and people allegedly buying drugs in pharmacy parking lots.

I certainly was not surprised by Frank Thomas’ commitment and willingness to speak out.  As we learn more and more about abuses of the 1990s and early 2000s, Frank’s clean performances should stand out and be recognized.  He deserved to win a third MVP (which, if there is any question of whether he belongs in the HOF would have ended that debate) and his career numbers take on even larger scale.

Finally, since I do point out issues I have with media from time to time, it’s only right to point out how great it was yesterday to sit and watch all of those press conferences live and to be able to pull down, print out and read the report.  It’s not that long ago that news and information would have been disseminated much differently (and taken much longer) to reach the fan.  That’s good for everyone and credit to the media outlets who made it possible.

Also, I thought the Tribune’s sports page today did an excellent job of covering the story thoroughly and fairly. 

Question

This morning on Mike & Mike, they were talking to Bob Costas about the steroids issue and whether it mattered to baseball fans (or was it just a media concern).

I’d love to hear what readers of this blog think about the topic.  Do you care?  Does it matter to you in terms of how you feel about players who allegedly used?  Does it make you any less of a fan of a player, team or the game?  What do you think about the game’s records and statistics?

I know that’s a lot of questions to throw at you at once, but I would like to hear your thoughts …

Have a nice weekend

46 Comments

So, the “you know” part after your Aaron Rowand statement means either:
-…but, you know he wasn’t worth that much.

or

-…but you know we weren’t going to pay that much.

Either way, the White Sox do not currently have a proven CF.

Yes, I do care. I care about the integrity of the game, it’s history, and it’s records. I hate that so much of this has been tainted by the selfish actions of these players. Yes, it matters to me about the players who used, I have lost respect for them and would not want any on the team I root for. I am thankful no current Sox players are listed, or no former prominent players from the Sox, and I am still a big fan of my team, and of the game.

I think Scott’s “you know” meant he was happy for Aaron, BUT he would be happier for him to be on the Sox. Anyway, that’s the way I feel, and that’s all I got to say about that.

As a huge baseball fan, this has not swayed my opinion of the sport and or the players.

Hitting a baseball, is by far, the hardest thing to do in sports. Steroids do not help with hand/eye coordination; therefore, you still have to make solid contact with the ball. Granted, it doesn’t have to be as solid, with the increased muscle mass, but you still have to make contact.

In regards to pitchers, HGH allows them to not wear down as much late in the season. Just like a batter, a pitcher still has to make his pitches. MLB players are too good–if a pitcher makes a mistake (a pitch down the middle), the batter will make them pay! In addition, HGH doesn’t make the pitcher throw the ball harder, it just allows them to last longer, later in the season.

All in all, do steroids REALLY help players?!?!? I think it gives the advantage to the batters, because they don’t have to hit the ball as hard, but they still have to make contact and they still have to put it in play……

what a question! here is one fans perspective. The steroids fiasco makes me so angry i have to laugh because there is no other way to cope. let’s take barry as the poster boy example; as the past 10-15 years have progressed and the rumor of “indescretions” escallated it made me laugh to look at a guy like bonds who went from something like 185 lbs. with pittsburg and ballooned into a 240 lb. behemoth overnight with san francisco. we all knew something was way way wrong, but we had no way to prove any inproprieties, so we just sat back and watched the games and cheered or booed as he came up to bat depending on our like or dislike of the giants, and not of him perse. the frustration i have is that for all too long cheaters have been allowed to play and have been coddled. look at steve howe for crying out loud. this guy was given seven chances to clean up his act. that’s 7 chances to get off his coccaine habit. that’s simply wrong. we give drug users an empathetical ear and response, but we excoriate another guy who played his heart out and while misguided and wrong to have been gambling on the game i’d take Pete Rose any day on my team, because he wanted to win. did he cheat to win games. maybe he did, and he is certainly being punished because of his transgression. but by the same token, anyone who cheats should be banned from the game and their records stricken from the ledger in my opinion. if rose is guilty then so is bonds, sosa, mcgwire, canseco, tajeda, clemmons et al.

i will follow the game and i’m grateful that there doesn’t seem to be any high profile players implicated for the Sox: if anything, i’m more a fan of Franks than before.so, let’s clean up baseball once and for all and get it back to the days when guys played because they loved it and wanted to be identified with their team because they loved their city and the fans of that team.

i know we’re not going back to the “good old days” of the 60’s or 50’s or earlier,bacause of all the technological changes over the years,and the fact that this sport is a business, but baseball has an opportunity now to do the right thing in the eyes of the fans AND to make a statement for the kids that says cheating is wrong. here’s to this grand old organization doing the RIGHT thing.

thanks for listening to my rant…. j.k.

For me when an agency puts pressure on individuals to rat out players or go longer to jail the result is tainted, badly. That is the wrong approach , yet it is used every day in the criminal justice or unjustice system. The bureaucrat running the show wants to get people and pad their career ,it *****. Rather an unbiased , more on the scientific method should be the standard with no particular result wanted. too much ego involved. I will not judge these guys by a media show, each case is different.

The thing that bothers me most about steroid use is the fact that Barry Bonds is now the homerun leader. I can’t put into words how much I dislike him. Hank Aaron was a natural athlete and a great man. Bonds is a cheater and a jerk. The good thing about the report is it makes the Big Hurt look like the best power hitter of the era. Yesterday I read some of the Cubs message board and many people were claiming that Sosa is “clean” because he wasn’t on the list. I thought that was comical.

Did anyone else hear Aaron Rowand this morning on the radio? He mentioned that the White Sox didn’t change their original offer at all from a few months ago.

Sounds to me that they didn’t even try to negotiate with him. I guess Kenny has confidence in what he has. Hmmmm?

I think that the white sox should trade for juan pierre

as far as steroids go..it doesnt take anything away from the players i liked a la canseco and tejada. sure i would rather not have bonds be the home run king-but i never really cared much for him when he was a 170 lb leadoff man. If it came out frank thomas was a steroid guy i wouldnt care. he still was a star. if ron kittle tested positive for HGH he still would be my all time favorite player and if harold baines tested positive he still is a hall of famer in my book. If they want to harm themselves than that is their problem. I love baseball and this steroid garbage doesnt have any effect on my feeling for the game. Roger Clemens used steroids? i still would have taken him over jaime navarro back in 96 wouldnt you?

on to rowand- he sounded like he was a steroid user on that interview this morning. his big thing about blood testing is “they do it before games so its not a good idea to test because they would be tired”. like they couldnt come in and do it on a day off.

now get alex rios and/or erik bedard and make me look forward to this 2008 season for god sakes because i have to be honest this is going to be the least anticipated opening day in my life time if they don’t do something good here.

Although steroids help, I have never gotten the impression they can do miracles. Sosa, McGwire, Pujols, ARod, and others would probably still be among the best if they didn’t use, however that doesn’t make it ok.

On a different subject (I’m tired of roids and Rowand). Did anyone else notice that 2 ex-Sox minor leaguers were included in the Dan Haren trade (Carter and Cunningham) What did we get for those 2? Carlos Quinten (anyone excited? isn’t he just Brian Anderson pt. 2?) Why give up a guy like Carter for someone we basically have in-house?

Sorry, we did trade Cunningham, but I forget who we got…any help? Aaron Cunningham traded to the D’backs last August for who?

For an organization lacking good position prospects, that makes me wonder. A career .304 hitter and an A-league All-Star who hit .291 with 25hr’s for an MLB .230 hitter and someone else I can’t even recall.

we got danny richar for cunningham

Oh yeah! Now I feel like a dumb fan. Shame on me. Guess I’ll give KW a little more time on those trades. Hopefully Richar will keep the improvement going. This offseason really is testing me though. Hopefully we’ll see a little more action before the season starts, or our rookies step up to their potential. I liked Owens on his 2nd trip up, wish he had a better arm in the OF though. Still would like to see B.A. given an extended 2nd shot, but I understand the reasoning.

Happy holidays gang! I’ll throw in this female sox fans perspective. The ‘roid issue doesn’t make me any less of a fan. The issue to me is the way baseball is choosing to or not choosing to deal with it. Draw a line in the sand and punish those who cross it. What’s done is done, but set the tone now if you believe this is an issue. Either you are going to tolerate it or not. Forget these little slaps, The high schools have a no tolerance rule, why can’t the big boys? I’m sick of hearing about it quite honestly because I think the league is too wishy washy on it. The commish needs to step up on this if they truly are taking a stance on it. As far as the records, how do you know that those in the past weren’t somehow “cheating?” You don’t. Maybe it was nothing like today, but how do you know? I agree with what some others have said, HGH, roids, or not, it still takes a heck of alot of talent to have the coordinations necessary for MLB. In my ideal world we wouldn’t even be talking about any of this because people would do things honestly and fairly, but no matter what profession you are in, you have your corner cutters and “cheaters.” Unfortunately it is a part of the world we live in. I just don’t have people reporting it in my profession on a regular basis!

The whole steroids issue is a big deal to me as a fan and as a human being. It breaks down the integrity of the game and of the players. I have always had questions about the likes of Clemens, Bonds, and both Giambi boys; the rest listed really don’t surprise me. The feats they were able to accomplish would be impossible without the help of steroids and HGH. I think it is so sad that these players were willing to risk their health and lives for a few more millions. The effects of what they took are not fully known by the anyone, even the medical community, which I am part of. Due to that, who knows how long they will be around–meaning how long do they have left to live. We know that the drugs they took cause damage throughout the body, which some can’t be fixed. Will they players be around to see their children grow up, see their grandchildren, and those that don’t have kids, will they be able to have kids? Looking back at what they did, was it worth it? I don’t think so. How can they look at themselves in mirror and face their own family? How can they expect fans to treat them?–I can tell you I won’t be showing them any respect. All of their records should have marks by them denoting that the player used steriods/HGH. Some may say it was legal in baseball, but it was illegal in the real world and that’s what should matter–the real world. The world where players now have to answer to the kids that looked up to them as well as those childrens’ parents who are now going to have to explain to them what “The Rocket” did and why it was wrong. I am glad that names were named and these players can be shown for what they truley are–CHEATERS!!! I hope that baseball follows what Sen. Mitchell suggested to clean up the game and restore it to its former glory where home runs were hit with the help of hot dogs and beer a la The Babe!

for those who are questioning what steroids do to an athletes body after years of use, look up Lyle Alzado. real scary stuff. j.k.

I kinda wish Kenny Williams was on roids. At least then he would probably make an attempt to make this team better. Its utterly depressing and disgusting how far he has let this team fall since July 2006.

if there was some magic pill/potion/clear/cream i could take right now to get me ONE AT BAT in the pro’s id do it and deal with the consequences later.

As far as I am concerned there will always be cheats. As long as these players are payed ridiculous amounts of money they will always find a way to try and get an edge. In the next few years there will be a test for HGH, but by that time there will be some new designer steroid that can not be detected. It is just a vicious circle that will never truly come to an end as long as there is money to be made.

I am all for asteriks in the record books for guys that either tested positive or were linked to some kind of performance enhancer, but 50 years from now there may be more players names with asteriks next to them than without. I think as far as the records go it will always be up to the individual looking at the the numbers. To me Hank Aaron is still the man to beat, but others will view me as wrong.

Klein is right. Lyle Alzado is the perfect example of steroids gone bad. I won’t be shocked to see some of these players just shrivel up and die like he did.

Personally I think there is a better chance that MLB just says go ahead and dope up and go crazy before they ever get the game completely clean.

Kenwo,
I would like to have Bedard or Alex Rios too, but I think looking at some of these trades so far it is a pipe dream.

Neither Baltimore nor Toronto has any shot to compete if we send them back any major league talent. So they like the Marlins and the A’s (today’s Dan Haren trade) are looking for prospects and lots of them. We don’t have enough to even get them to answer KW’s call. We could call and offer all of Charlotte and they would probably laugh at us.

It would be nice to be able to grab one of those two, but with what has gone on so far I would not expect KW to even make an offer unless they call him. I think he is pretty embarrassed amongst his peers right now. He will never admit it because God forbid someone should admit they failed at something, but he has to be pretty disappointed in his progress.

Since you asked how we feel about steroids, here’s my take on it. I’ve never liked cheaters, in any field, and looking for a chemical advantage is a form of cheating. So, I do care. As for how I feel about the players, and my team, I’m even more proud of the players, like Frank Thomas and the whole 2005 White Sox team that achieved so much without cheating. I think all the players who play the right way can walk a little taller and take a special pride in their achievements. If parents are concerned about role models for their kids, they can point out all the great players who did not, and do not cheat.

I think the steroids issue goes beyond players to owners and league management. I am not naive enough to believe that management was simply unaware of this problem. Because player performance on steroids resulted in increased fan interest and put money in their pockets, they chose not to deal with it.

That said, I do not understand the laser focus on baseball, as if it were the only sport where cheating via steroids, and otherwise, is done. NFL, anyone?

I’m glad that Frank isnt on the report.

That report is a joke.

One of the most frustrating things about the report was the “leaks” beforehand. How many players did they falsely accuse?

I totally agree with Mr. Mitchell’s assessment: The worst things about this are all of the kids who have looked up to these players who cheated as role models and the honest, talented players who remained in the background because they didn’t cheat.

In regards to the report people need to keep in mind that these names came from only 4 sources; Balco, Kirk Radomski, an internet source and one other small source. That is just a sampling of the sources for steroids out there. If that is a sampling, I would guess that this 86 players is a sampling too, and I am sure the total of players who have juiced since the steroid era (circa mid-80’s) begun is over 1000. You can not believe any team was completely clean.

I do believe Frank was clean. If he did cheat it was before college because I remember seeing him play football and how big he was then.

For those who believe the report is a joke, did you look at it? Did you see all the dumb players who wrote checks?!?! There were copies of the checks within the report. Those checks are not a joke. Those FedEx/UPS slips are not a joke. They wrote checks, that is CONCRETE evidence that they paid someone to give them roids/HGH. There may be some mistakes in the report, but most are caught red handed.

Do you know what Bud is going to do to punish the active players who are on the list?
NOT A **** THING!!! NOT AS LONG AS DON FEHR AND GENE ORZA ARE CALLING THE SHOTS!!!

Those bozos, and Marvin Miller as well, make me absolutely sick to my stomach to be a baseball fan as long as I have been…and may I also include Peter Seitz in my agita?…For those of you who don’t know the history behind free agency, Mr Seitz was the arbitrator who ruled that Andy Messersmith and Dave Mc Nally could offer their services to anyone…which opened this whole can of worms…

My question about the idiots who participated in this is thus, very simply:

WHY?,WHY?,WHY?

Is their ego about being a big league ballplayer so huge that they have to eventually ruin their health and their lives to gain a few more muscles and a few more years?

Most of these jamokes fall into the category of “has beens before they became almosts”… Ruining their health to pick up an overblown pay check is just plain

S-T-U-P-I-D, DUMB!!!

Thank goodness that most of the former Chicago players named were former Flubs…

I know that Canseco was named, and that he had a cup of Cuban coffee with the boys, but I consider him in the same category as Steve Carlton and George Foster…Sox players at the *** end of their careers…

And to those current players who refused to talk to Sen.Mitchell…

YOU HAVE ADMITTED YOUR GUILT, YOU BIG BUNCH OF RUMMIES!!!

By calling it a joke I didn’t mean the guys who they listed are innocent or the cases are not well evidenced, I just mean its a joke that they only got a couples of guys in a sport where near half of professional baseball players are or were using, where teams pay off Major League Baseball to keep from revealing players who are testing positive for steroids, and where the attitude toward performance enhancing drugs is so far gone that there’s no reason to even bother any more.

Well, you’ve got to start somewhere. And since the players did not cooperate, then this is the result.

If a guy really was NOT taking performance enhancers, then why not cooperate with Mitchell. Like TQ already said, not participating makes you look guilty.

good luck to Tadahito in san diego…… at least i can follow him and Aaron closer in the NL west this way….. Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New year!. j.k. from you know where.

Why haven’t we traded for Bedard yet? i hear cincy might get him for a package around homer bailey? COME ON KENNY YOU JERK STEP TO THE PLATE AND DO SOMETHING YOU COULDNT DO AS A PLAYER AND KNOCK ONE OUT OF THE PARK! my goodness. still plenty of deals out there to make and your sitting on your hands! its almost christmas time….even more so it is almost soxfest and if you dont land someone by then it will make for an interesting town meeting friday night! do your job you lazy *******! THINK RIOS BEDARD AND BRIAN ROBERTS. make it happen

lol

The reason Kenny hasn’t made a trade is because he doesn’t really have anything to trade. This organization has greatly overvalued the players they have in the minors. Heck, they have even overestimated some players on the big league club. Kenny even proved my point when he referred to both Danks and Floyd as top of the line pitchers that any team would want.

Most of the good minor leaguers are now on other teams. They’ve all been shipped out in trades. Now, when Kenny needs to make a deal, he doesn’t have any trading pieces.

Stoney and Farmer and Singleton every Friday home game. At lest something good will happen next season.

Welcome News with Steve. I know it’s only 13 games but it is a start!

Mark Liptak

While I understand that things haven’t exactly gone the Sox’ way this offseason, Kenny’s still made some nice acquisitions that will make the Sox much better in 2008.

One thing that won’t make Sox fans understand is if Kenny just gives up looking because of a few setbacks and goes to spring with the team we have now.

We all knew how bad the bullpen was last year by the middle of May, and it seemed plugging in incapable minor leaguers was the only plan. That plan failed miserably, and it won’t work this year either.

If Kenny and the Sox scouting staff keep searching for ways to fill holes, most especially the obvious one in CF, we’ll be OK for 2008.

THE SOX JUST MADE THEIR BIGGEST MOVE OF THE OFFSEASON!!!!!!!!! they made steve stone an analyst for 13 games. woohooo. jagbags

Not a whole lot of news. Clemens and Gagne in that report? I’m shocked…… right…..

Cubs had a conference on Fukudome. Still amazes me, ole Daley was sporting a Cubs cap and did that Cubs rally this past year. Seriously….

Rowand went to SF for five years? LOL. I just can’t see the money or length of contract playing for a team like the Giants. You figure you’d want to be like Torii Hunter and go to the team with the most parts already in place. Whatever…..

Hmmmmm, just no news coming from the Sox, that stinks.

For What This May Be Worth:

Sean McAdam on WEEI radio in Boston this morning says the Red Sox and White Sox have a deal in place that would bring Coco Crisp to 35th St but it all depends on what happens in the next few days.

Santana to Boston is on the front burner again and reports out of St Paul indicate it may happen shortly. If Ellsbury is included then Coco stays in Boston. If not he goes to the White Sox.

Boston would send Coco and one minor league pitcher to Chicago ( believed to be Michael Bowden who is from Illinois )

Chicago would send three prospects one of which would be John Shelby who Theo Epstein is high on.

I personally saw Shelby play in Great Falls with Roland Hemond in 2006 and think he is going to be a solid major league player.

Mark Liptak

If Shelby really is going to be a good player, then you better believe he’ll be traded. However, I would really like Coco on the Sox. He’ll do much better than Owens/BA tandem.

Have any of you checked out the Tribune’s articles on the SOX? They always have a comments section at the bottom, and those things explode when they’re about the Sox or the Cubs. I would say the best word for the feedback left there is ‘caustic’. The hilarity is great, and as far as tags, people write in as Kenny Williams, Ed Farmer, and etc. It just leaves me rolling, America’s number one export should be sarcasm, goodbye trade deficits….

I would much rather see the Sox give Jerry Owens a shot at the starting role in CF than trade for Coco Crisp. I’m sure we overvalue Crisp because he plays so well against us. Overall I would say he is average if not below average. With Owens natural speed he has a chance to be special. BA had a chance to be successful, but the Sox messed with his head. Hopefully they learned from that and will treat Owens differently and stick with him on an everyday basis.

Coco Crisp does not make this team any more of a contender than Jerry Owens. Let’s face the fact that we are worse of than at the start of 2007 because of how strong our division has become. If we can’t make the moves to bring in the guys to be able to contend then we need to let some of these guys like Owens, Sweeney and Fields prove they can play and help us contend beyond 2008.

I think the sox got a steal when they signed this ramirez player from Cuba, I hope it is the guy that I saw in the world baseball classic, not sure. Does anyone know if this ramirez played in the world baseball series?

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