Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oswalt wants to re-write the books

Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt wants ARod's numbers stricken from the record books:

If Roy Oswalt had his druthers, any player who was proven to, or admitted to, using performance-enhancing drugs would have his numbers erased from baseball history, the Astros ace said on Tuesday.

That includes Alex Rodriguez, who on Monday admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs after a Sports Illustrated report revealed he had failed a drug test in 2003.
So Roy, when your teammate, Miguel Tejada, pleads guilty to some charge relating to perjury this week, what will you say to him?

How would you do this? Would you only take away ARod's totals, or do you have to adjust the opposing pitchers' stats, too? Do you then go and retroactively adjust the scores and outcomes? Are teams records restated? Much like an accounting ledger, you can't simply deduct from one side without impacting the other side. But what if the pitcher he face was also a known user?

Oz complained that ARod (and others) were cheating him. What if Tejada's performance HELPED Oz earn an extra win or two?


Wiping numbers away is impossible and (since I love the term) a fool's errand. When the book of baseball is written and catalogued in Cooperstown, cheats will be enshrined whether we know it or not. We are living in an era of chemically enhanced players and despite the testing, it's not going away any time soon. The crooked scientists and doctors are three steps ahead of the testers. We cannot simply strike whatever numbers we wish to make us feel better about ourselves, as fans. The 1950's, '60's and '70's all saw their fair share of chemical enhancement, from greenies and other amphetamines to cocaine. Now we have more elegant and advanced drugs.

A generation ago, fans saw the careers of beloved players like Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax end prematurely due to injury. Nowadays, Koufax would have had the "zipper" on his elbow or his shoulder worked on by Dr. Andrews and Mantle's knees would have been fixed arthroscopically. Aren't these medical procedures technically performance enhancing? The medical/chemical advancements have changed the game. Players get lasik surgery to improve their vision; isn't that performance enhancing?

What about players drawing their own blood, having it spun to consolidate the platelets only to have it reinjected to help rejuvenate an injured area? Is that performance enhancing?

What I have heard a ton of this week is this: Players should be competing only with what you were born with. OK, I like that. I'm not encouraging use of PED's, but to me, the line is a bit blurry. You aren't born with a replacement elbow or knee ligament or a repaired rotator cuff, things that both enhance performance and prolong careers. I know that the medical procedures are merely restorative, per se, but don't we see players coming back from TJS eventually throwing harder than before?

The line is a nice shade of gray and turning blurry.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

What about vitamins they all take after working out or before and after games? They're legal and mainly just Vitamin B and C and protein, but they're still enhancing themselves.

The Common Man said...

Good point. The line is very blurry. I wonder how he'll feel if Bagwell is one of the 103.

James said...

Knowing Oswalt, he'll feel the same way regardless of who's on the list - Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman; it won't matter to him.

He has never been scared to let the media know exactly how he feels.

When Clemens joined the team he didn't like it that Clemens didn't have to travel with the team and went as far as to say that everyone should be treated the same regardless of how long you've been in baseball or what your stats are.

We're talking bout one of the best pitchers of our generation and his team mate, but he was scared to voice his opinion.

The Common Man said...

Seriously, James? He hasn't said a thing about Tejada or about Clemens' alleged use.