Friday, March 23, 2007

Steroid Lunacy

So the latest round of steroid accusations are out, and Angels center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. leads the list. Whatever - he's still more of a defensive asset anyway so the 'roids don't matter much with him.

But there's something in this set of finger-pointing by Jason Grimsley - which includes Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Miguel Tejada - that sits funny with me. Read the second paragraph:

"Baltimore teammates Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons and Tejada also were implicated in the sworn statement, the Times said. [emphasis mine]"

Brian Roberts? Really? The rest I can believe, especially Gibbons - he suspiciously got really good really quickly. But Roberts? Has Grimsley taken a look at Roberts recently? He's ridiculously skinny. The only cream he's been rubbing on his skin is suntan lotion. In fact, I've often used Roberts as my proof that not all baseball players are on 'roids, because damn. Maybe Grimsley was confused - he is a pitcher, after all, and it is kinda hard to see Roberts when he turns sideways in the batter's box. Roberts has hit 40 home runs in his entire six-year career. You don't bat .286 and slug .410 (Roberts' numbers from '06) on steroids, folks.

I'm not saying that Roberts is morally clean. I'm just saying that if Roberts was trying to take steroids, he was incredibly inept at it. I guess if Roberts was taking something, baseball will have to ask itself this: if you fail at cheating, is it still cheating?


Barzelay said...

But Jeff, steroids don't make you a better ball player, they just make you a stronger ball player (and maybe faster). They don't give you more skill. A mediocre batter on steroids is just a stronger mediocre batter. His pop-flys pop up higher, and the double plays he bats into happen more quickly. When he whiffs, there's more air.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I think Barzelay has got it mostly right. I'm pretty sure that I've read the two biggest advantages with steroids are in the speed and recovery areas. Quicker bat speed translates into more homers, but only if you're able to make contact.

But bigger still is the recovery issue. Players can bulk up more because their muscles regenerate faster, and pitchers can throw again sooner after an outing, and have longer sessions.