Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sorry, But It's Baseball Season Again.....

Ah, baseball....

The sounds, the smells, the green grass under the clear blue skies. The boys of summer are back, so sit back with a cold one and a dog and enjoy the greatest game there is.

And start talking about cheating all over again.

It is shocking - SHOCKING! - that baseball players would cheat, right? But apparently, they do. What I have been struggling with is what makes A.J. Piernyskslksdfykjsdfski (yes, he is not worthy of correct spelling - or perhaps I am too lazy. You choose.), the veteran catcher for the Chicago White Sox, NOT worthy of lots of public scorn and from-the-author's-high-horse pieces about the fabric of the game being torn apart.

The Squid Bandit is no friend of Barry Bonds. It needs to be said (by me anyways), however, that there is more direct evidence that cheating helped increase A.J. Pierzynski's on base percentage than cheating increased Barry Bonds' on base percentage. Can my readers help me with reconciling the disparate treatment of the two players?

By all accounts both guys are grade A jerks. Both cheated. For one we can measure exactly how it helped, yet the other is more vilified. I can even make a reasonable argument that lying about being hit is the greater evil over taking steroids. So again, why less outcry over one and not the other?

Baseball is great. The sights, the sounds, the smells. The cheating, the hypocrisy, the media ridiculosity (yes, I just made up that word). The American Pastime.


  1. How many MVPs did AJ Perstimpity win? Zero. Bonds won seven. How many all-star teams did he make? Two, putting him 12 behind Bonds. How many Hall of Fame votes will Pierzineskie receive? I have no idea, but I'll bet my life savings it will be way fewer than Bonds.

    There is no mystery as to why Bonds' cheating gets more attention than other players' has: because Bonds got more attention, period.

  2. So you judge the magnitude of the cheating by the skill level (as perceived by the media) of the cheater? Interesting....

  3. I think you're misreading Dr. Brainsmart's statement, Squid Bandit. It's not because of Bonds' skill level, it's "because Bonds got more attention, period."

    An athlete's skill and the attention that athlete gets are occasionally related, but they're not the same thing. Assuming they the degree of attention athletes get is based solely on their degrees of skill is a reasonable (and optimistic) mistake to make, but Anna Kournikova, Derek Jeter, and Danica Patrick all show that that's not really the case.

  4. Ah, but the "more attention" premise was based on Bonds achieving more as a baseball player. He did NOT say that Bonds got more attention because he was freakin' gorgeous (Kournikova or Patrick) or because he was "Cap'n Jetes" in a large media market. Brainsmart said it was based on All-Star games and MVPs and (future) HOF votes. Those things aren't skill-related?

  5. As I read it, the “more attention” premise, as written above, was based not on what Bonds had achieved as a player, but on what he’d been awarded. One doesn’t really achieve an All-Star Game berth, or an MVP trophy, or a vote for the Hall of Fame—one is awarded those things.

    And yes, those things are, theory and often even in practice, related to some degree to skill. But they're also related to the attention an athlete receives, which is why popular athletes having substandard years sometimes make it into the All-Star Game.

    Would you argue that Jim Rice made it into the Hall of Fame on his skill-related achievements alone, or was he helped by the attention he received during and after his career? I’d argue that his skills and his statistics left him appropriately outside the Hall for a long time, but that a Boston-centric media push (i.e., attention) convinced voters to let him in.

    You’ll note that in his comparisons of Barry Bonds and AJ Pieroneimports, Dr. B didn’t refer to hits, runs, OBP, home runs, slugging percentage, or any other numbers that are more purely skill-related (and/or drug-assisted) achievements.

  6. You used a straw-man argument here... I never said a word about the "magnitude of the cheating." In answer to your plea to explain "why less outcry over one than the other," I wrote quite plainly that Bonds got more attention, therefore his cheating got more attention. Yes, Bonds got that attention because he was a more skilled and more accomplished ballplayer, but that's beside the point.

    If Barack Obama drove drunk and killed a kid, you think that wouldn't -- or shouldn't -- receive more attention than if some librarian in Alberta did it? That doesn't necessarily mean that one crime would be worse than the other, but with more attention comes more scrutiny... that's just the way it works.

    I do think, however, that we're not talking about equal 'crimes' here. A jaywalker and a murderer do not receive the same punishment because there are different levels of lawbreaking. Take each guy's cheating and put it in a vacuum, and they are still unequal... in scale, in intent, and in impact.

    Bonds was a superstar, one of the best players the game has ever known, and cheating gave him records that may never be broken; Pierzinski's a player forgotten by many even before the end of his career, and his cheating got him to first base in an April ballgame. Do you really expect equal coverage and treatment for these two unequal men doing unequal things?

    Tell you what, let's be fair and keep both Bonds and Pierzinski out of the Hall of Fame. I'd be OK with that outcome.

  7. Some Guy - if you'll bother to notice, my initial comment said "skill level (as perceived by the media)". Those things presented by Brain were awarded based on Bonds' skill level perceived by the media.

  8. Great, then, I'm glad we're all in agreement.