Saturday, June 15, 2013

#PEDs in Baseball - OPEN LETTER to Ann Killion, SF Chronicle - REAL FANS for REAL BASEBALL

Thank you for your informative column June 9. You're one of the two or three local writers -
or anywhere, for that matter - who will write extensively about PEDs in baseball, even if it means
going against the local baseball darlings, your San Francisco Giants-and even the Oakland A's
to a lesser extent.

You write how, more than a decade since Bonds and Balco began the parade,that
 PEDs are still prevalent in baseball.  I believe it as much or moreso, since the newer
'designer' drugs are virtually undetectable and in and out of the system the same
day. Baseball drug testing has not kept pace with with pertetrators. The only
difference in testing this year versus last year is basically including a
test for human growth hormoe (HGH) while giving the test (likely only once) during
the season, instead of only offseason.

How many people have you seen indicted this year? None. Last year there were four and we're
nearing the half season mark. And, we know that with the Miami Biogenesis situation there ARE
many people using...over 20 just among the named , so far, in that East Coast group. On the West
Coasat there's still a sizable contingent using PEDs - and still led by the San Francisco Giants, in our
opinion, and this is based on not only common sense but thrown in some science and logic. It's
pretty sad when the poster boy for PEDs, Victor Conte of Balco infamy, has to be the one to tell us
we're still steeped in it - only now it's 'PEDs' insTead of 'steroids.'

  Giants circa 1960
caption: REAL BASEBALL, REAL GIANTS , circa 1965

As an 'old school' baseball fan, I can no longer watch a team like the Giants
continually run out obvious PED users, in our opinion, year after year. The Giants,
alone, are making a mockery of baseball, winning two world series in three years
with mostly journeymen players,
questionable castoffs that other teams didn't want for more reasons than  their  
baseball performance.  Two teams and nearly a third with largely different names,
but the same 'game plan.' So a Brian Wilson
goesout. Bring in a Mijares and elevate a Casio. So Casio goes out, bring in a Gaudin.
Only the names change. Results the same.

Once on the Giants, more often than not, these players- seemingly miraculously - have 'career
years,' even at advanced ages. Not just Pitchers like Mijares, Gaudin, Casio and now
Mache(sp), but hitters like Pagan, Blanco, Torrez (2010), Arias and especially
Scutaro. We even see sudden, surprising  upgrades in younger, local players like Crawford and
Sandoval, despite the injuries.  Even Belt has hit more homers already than he did all of last year.

Before I go on, I will say I don't HATE the Giants, even though I've been an A's fan
and WAS  a Giants fan until all the shenanigans - which includes the Giants 'win at
any cost' front office attitude - from turning up the PA system when the Giants are
at bat  to announcing 'sellouts' that aren't to their 'dynamic' ticket pricing (which
overcharges unknowing tourists,etc.) . In fact, I am concerned that the A's
would re-sign Batolo Colon after his PED suspension. I would also be
Surprised if he's NOT 'using' again, with his 'career season'  to date - at age 40! But
the Giants, have Basically thumbed their collective nose at baseball, knowing that
Selig, himself,doesn't seem to  really care based on his lack of action and since 
baseball is thriving with younger fans who have grown up on
tainted  baseball and don't know how much better it could be without the artificial
enhancements .  While Giants ownership purports to be very community oriented
and  'fan friendly', and they may be, 
ownership is  symptomatic of an aggressive  Silicon Valley business model, where
good people like Bill Neucomb and Stan Conte will be 'thrown under the bus as 

 The whole Biogenesis recent flap  is really not news. We've known the already suspect names, lead
by Arod  and Braun. It may just be Commissioner Selig's way of trying to make us thing he's doing
something about PEDs in baseball. Even if the 20 or so players get suspended I don't think it will
deter the others who are currently using . It's just Selig making  a deal with the head of Biogenesis ,
who doesn't want to go to jail.
Those same players would serve their suspension and come back and, probably, continue on the
latest, new and improved PED, while Selig and Co. lag behind.

  What makes it so painful  is to watch, time and again, a team like the Giants bring
in the same ‘type’ Players – often even  former teammates of know users, eg
bringing in  Mijares and Blanco from
Kansas City, where the two   had played with fellow countryman and indicted Melky
Cabrera. There are many other players who haven’t been caught- who weren’t
‘dumb or dumber’ in the words of
Victor Conte. Anybody just even wonder why a fourth of the Giants players are
from Venezuela – and, of those, half or more came to the Giants via Kansas City and
the ‘Melky cultlure.’

But the real, basic ‘ science’ is to simply observe , statistically, these players the Giants  keep
bringing in. Among  the hitters, we’ve chronicled in our previous, main blog , ‘Where Did You Go
Joe Dimaggio’  (which was,  inexplicably and mysteriously,  removed from
cybersphere) how averages go up while strikeouts diminish.  Take Scutaro , for example, who
since coming to the Giants has hit
nearly 100  points higher than he was hitting at Colorado and his strikeouts are half of what they
were; here’s a 38 year old player having his best two  half seasons of his career
since coming to the Giants and establishing hitting streaks and numbers only
people like DiMaggio and Ruth have accomplished.
With Sandoval, it’s the same.  Up until his recent injury, he had cut his strikeouts in half  or better,
 while keeping his hitting average high and increasing his power with some very long homeruns
(Since last September, Sandoval has hit almost 20 homers and the former free swinger rarely strikes out more than
once a game, now. Watch your box scores. He and Scutaro have the lowest strikeout totals among
Giant regulars and the Giants, as a team, have the lowest number of strikeouts in the league, while
leading the league in batting average. This from a team , again,  of journeymen players, heretofore
 not known for their hitting , other than Posey and maybe Pence.

With the pitchers, you need only to look at pitching velocity. There are stats online, which we’ve,
again, researched and displayed in our previous blog before it was taken down,  which show
timelines of   players’  pitching performance.  We see major fluctuations among many of the
pitchers. Newcomers like Mijares and Gaudin are suddenly throwing with higher velocity (low 90s)
than ever before in their careers, which pretty much explains why 4.0 ERAs are now in the twos.
Same for Casia since coming to the Giants and now Machi. Among the starters, there are some
interesting fluctuations in the lines of Vogelsong and Lincecum.  When Vogelsong, especially, was
doing well , the past couple years, his velocity was considerably higher.  Pitchers don’t normally see
their velocity increase as they get older, just the opposite  which explains Cain’s fall off; Cain is
likely NOT among the users.
With Mota, while he was here,  it was the same thing until the end.    Aren’t other teams curious
why these journeyman pitchers suddenly become ace relievers with big fastballs? Or, maybe the
other teams know they have players, themselves who are using , and better not say anything thing.

  Walk off a hero sign with melky
So , where does the blame go? We know there’s a problem with PEDs in baseball, or
we should know. Is it the fault of the players, the team ownership, MLB or maybe
the fans. . We say probably some ofall four. But, again, it’s hard to blame the young
fans who’ve only seen tainted baseball in their lifetimes-and the Giants fan base is
pretty young.  The players should no better but , probably feel that if nothingis
going to be done about PEDs in baseball – and if they can easily  get away with using
them – why not use them, especially if their friends and teammates already are
users; it would be a disadvantage NOT for them to use PEDs.

 That pretty much leaves the owners  and MLB.  Selig is largely at the mercy ofthe strong baseball
unions which want to protect the players, so that leaves the baseball ownersas the key culprits, in
our opinion.  Ownership could shy away from known and suspect PED users – andmany of them do.
That’s how the Giants have acquired as many as they have.   GM Brian Sabean is ableto pick up
some so-called ‘talent’ like Cabrera and Mota that other teams may shy away from.Don’tforget Jose
Guillen, another indicted player and ‘headcase’ the Giants acquired during theirstretch drive to the
World Series in 2010; the Giants would get several game winning hits from Guillen –enough to
make up the one game difference over the Padres in winning the West-
before MLB asked the Giants, politely, to release Guillen after he received a damning package
of PEDs in the mail. There was also Tejada, an indicted player in the Mitchell report that the Giants
picked up for the 2011 run, perhaps one of the few who didn’t contribute as hoped even though
he was near the end of his career.   It’s just the fact that the Giants would continue to go after
this ‘type’  , if you will.

Speaking about Mota, the Giants are the only team  to re-sign a twice indicted player . As Killion
points out the Giants have been pretty hypocritcal  to at once speak out against drug use , while
longdefending Barry Bonds through his court trials and , later, resigning of twice convicted Mota whilecontinuing to seek out a certain ‘type ‘ of player, if you know what we mean. Of the half
dozenplayers indicted of drug use in the past three years, the Giants have had half of them –
Mota,CabreraGuillen. Going back to the beginning of the Bonds era, the Giants have had  over
20 players either
Indicted or listed in the Mitchell reports , touted names  Matt Williams, Rich
Aurelia, Miguel TejadaplusArmando Rios, Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, Bobby
Estralella, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, BenitoSantiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy
Velarde, Mark Carreon, F.P. Santangelo, Glenallen Hill, AdamPiatt  along with
 Tejada,   Williams,  Aurelia and, of course, Bonds.  And those are just the namesListed in
the Mitchell Report - far more indictments  than those of any other team.

We’re probably leaving some out  a number of names, certainly the suspects like Jason Schmidt,
whowas all but later indicted after he left the team.    We bring up the names only to dredge up our
short memories and show how long and prevalent the Giants have been playing their game.

You ask ‘what game’? We’ll tell you. It is our belief that , after seeing the success of
Bonds and a fewOthers – and that the young and liberal San Francisco fans didn’t
really mind players on PEDs – BrianSabean   would go after this easier, open
‘market’ of  questionable players, past users and likely users.For years, Sabean had
struggled with his trades and , reportedly, had difficult dealing with many of
theTeams. Now he can has this ‘black market’ all to himself. It worked with Bonds
and it worked in 2010,even after Bonds.  And Sabean and the Giants, continue, to
this day, building teams that play above their heads – and NOT  because they work
extra hard and their coaches are so great. Sabean has now been with the Giants  than
any other GM with a team, thereby, wielding an enormous amout of power 
 on the Giants.

As long as the Giants continue to get away with what they’re doing  and players have a virtual free
reignon PEDs, don’t be surprised to see San Francisco  in the hunt, if not World Series, year after
year.  Wewrite the  words to try to help ‘wake up’ the silent fan out there, the young ones who know
know betterand the older ones who may have forgotten or are just plain na├»ve.  We strongly suggest
that fans whocare or have any curiousity about all of this start following the numbers and connect
the dots – andyou’ll see the Giants getting away with murder. We call them the Obamas of baseball.
While theyhaven’t been convicted of any major scandals yet, other than running Bonds out their for
10 years ) probably well knowing  , near the end , at least,  that we was guilty) and signing the largest
numberof former PED users , by far, than any other team, the Giants are just a couple whistle
blowers awayfrom, hopefully,  having their little game stopped.  But then, Obama’s still in
office now going onclose to 10 scandals – that’s another story – so who knows with the new,
tolerant society we live in,especially in San Francisco.  (In New York or most other cities, I don’t
think the Giants could have gottenaway with as much as they have; the fans and media in other
cities would not be so lenient .)

So, follow along, and watch the Giant's bouncing ball and see what happens… and maybe, do a little
digging yourselfs, speaking out and perhaps you’ll wake up and seeing the BIG LIE baseball is living.
Do we really want that or do we want baseball played more purely  as it was when I was a kid in the
1960s when Mays, McCovey and Marichal  were true and real GIANTS of the game with nothing
more some greenies or alcohol getting in the way – and those were anything BUT performance


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