Hear me out – I’m going to ramble a bit – but I really love baseball –
so I have a few thoughts/questions
1. I consider myself a minor historian of the game – and the past has taught us that as a rule most (85%+) players will perform at their peak levels ages 27,28,29 – a slight drop off will occur ages 30-33 – more significant drop ages 34,35 – and very few players perform even at acceptable levels after age 36. Strength/Conditioning over the years has probably moved that bar to the right – but most of the ‘named’ players totally buck 100+ years of evidence
2. At any given time in baseball history there have been a handful of players performing at star or all star levels ages 36-41. Perhaps 2-5 at any time. A few freaks of nature are still amazing into late 30’s and most of these end up in HOF – or at least close to it. We will always see a Greg Maddux, Mark Grace, Ted Williams, Nolan Ryan – but if you look at history – dominating seasons at those ages are really few and far between. I’ve wondered for years how come so many players are turning in better than career years at such advanced ages – Clemens, McGwire, Sheffield, Palmeiro – and those are just the obvious ones….truth is I bet the report is the tip of the iceberg.
3. It really makes you look deeper at just how the great that ‘super’ Yankee season was? Half the bloody roster are named – and if 50% of the team are getting injections you just know the coaches and ultimately the manager are aware. But…they were great and winning…so it was cool?
4. How do you punish it? Guilty til proven innocent? Of course Clemen’s lawyer says it all fabrications- but I think the fans would support a lifetime ban for all those named. F*** it – clean up the game – and ban anyone else caught in the future. If the Olympic committee can make it happen…why not MLB? I think every except the players union would love to see the players barred – and what could send a better message to the kids coming through the minors now?
5. I think this puts Rose / Black Sox and players who jumped to the Mexican League or Federal League and got banned into perspective. This is beyond cheating – it’s completely messed up. If the same data affected soccer I’d want the same.
Anyway…I hope it changes the game – as it makes it very hard to celebrate any stats at all over the last 10 years. Everyone says the pitchers are getting worse – which is wrong as the talent pool to pick from (global now) just keeps getting bigger and bigger.