Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why #SFGiants Big Drop Off - Past Catching Up?

"To me, personally, I think you should be out of the game if you get caught...It takes away from the guys that are working hard every day and doing it all-natural."
  -MIKE TROUT, Los Angeles Angels interviewed on Boomer Esiason's ESPN radio show

Why #SFGiants Big Drop Off - Past Catching Up? 

How does one explain the #SFGiants nearly unprecedented drop (from 10 games ahead in first place to one game behind in the West in a 22 day period).   We need to look at current symptoms as well as review the past few years to see what led up to where the Giants currently stand.  #Giants PEDs, #Michael Morse, #PEDs, #steroids, .  Tim Lincecum, Balco, baseball PEDs, baseball steroids, baseball without drugs, Bruce Bochy, Jose Guillen, MARCOS SCUTARO, san francisco giants, steroids, 


First, before we look back,  It's unusual to see so many current back injuries including serious ones to Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, which have kept them out of the lineup for long spells, and lesser back problems for Michael Morse, a previously indicted #PED user. Others on the team, like Sandoval and Vogelsong, have been out of the lineup often, too, with nagging injuries.  Certain back problems have been tied to steroid use, where the kidneys are affected, leading to lower back pain. Other nagging injuries are also often the result of PED use.  PED use could be a factor in the sudden Giants drop off, in our opinion, especially when on looks at the history of, i.e.San Francisco Giants and its large number of indicted PED players. 

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2) LARGE NUMBER OF PED USERS ON GIANTS - Their Game Winning Hits Alone  Enough to Have Put Giants into both World Series

Perhaps the Giants' luck has run out.  Despite lack of a deep farm system, the Giants were able to skate  to two world series victories in 2010 and 2012 with marginal players and two great months at seasons' ends both in 2010 and 2012. .  While other teams were feeling the summer heat, the Giants were playing with extra bounce in their collective step August through October with almost two complete different teams 2010 and 2012. The Giants benefitted  enough to put them ahead with  players of PED pasts, such as Melky Cabrera in 2012 and Jose Guillen and Guilllermo Moto in 2010 plus likely other users not yet caught  . How else does one explain the Giants' sudden surges in August - October, both years, with newly acquired players like Cody Ross and Marcos Scutaro, in 2010 and 2012 , respectively,  who would see their numbers skyrocket once with the Giants? Remember Ross' astonishing eight homeruns in October, 2010 while Sandoval did it in 2012, hitting three in one game against Detroit after only hitting six the entire season and Scutaro raising his average 100 points to .350 after leaving colorado mid-season for the Giants?


Even the regular lineup may have joined in the Giants drug culture
for the late season heroics including the playoffs and World Series.
Even the older players on the Giants, such as Sandoval,as noted, got hot late season and in the playoffs, interestingly after Jose Guillen (2010) and Melky Cabrera and Scutaro (2012) joined the team.  As with any culture where there's smoke there's fire and there were too many mediocre players suddenly getting hot at season's end - both years with largely two different teams - to call it a coincidence, what with the Giants history. 

You had pitchers past their primes like Vogelsong and Lincecum suddenly making a joke out of  top hitters on Detroit and Saint Louis in the World Series. Much like Huff and Burrell, Even the estranged  Barry Zito - left off the World Series Giants in 2010 -  somehow got off the deck and suddenly went from the Giants doghouse with a 6.00 ERA to   World Beater for a few short weeks in the 2012 playoffs and Series, only to go back to his old self the following year, before being released. 

"Some people  are just trying to find that extra edge," Trout told Esiason. "It's tough as a guy that goes out there and plays hard every day and puts [in] 110 percent effort ... to wake up, see there's a list of guys that are on the list (of  indicted PED users)."

4)    MLB TESTING HAS NOT KEPT UP WITH LATEST PEDS, Making it Easy To Get Away and Succeed with Performance Enhancers - Giants Have Had Most PED players since Bonds

MLB has still not implemented the available test that can detect the new 'designer' testosterone PEDs players are using. Players can simply inject the steroids into their bodies the day of a game and the drug can be out of their systems hours later. Under latest testing rules, MLB only has to do as little as one test during the season and usually lets players know in advance of testing. So, as Victor Conte of Balco fame said , players have to be 'dumb or dumber' to get caught.  It's become somewhat of a tradition since steroids came into baseball in the 1980s but became especially popularized with Barry Bonds for players to go to steroids late in their careers to give them one final boost and help with nagging injuries. The sad part is that the steroids, themselves, often result in more nagging injuries down the line. Remember first baseman Ken Camaniti, one of the early (admitted) steroid users who lost his life, in part, to PEDs.

Note: Different Steroids affect players in different way with different results. For example, 'Cream'and 'Clear' Testosterone , as used by Barry Bonds, could put bulk and greatly enlarge some party parts and shrink others - and contribute to baldness and impotency while giving a hitter more power , ie homeruns. Barry Bonds took a great variety of other drugs, in combination, that may have exagerated to his extreme change.  Newer 'designer' Testosterones appear to do the opposite, helping one stay in shape and not putting on bulk or affecting homeruns so much as helping to improve bat speed and batting average. 


The Giants had made a  habit of getting quick fixes for holes on their rosters with known and suspected PED players - largely Venezuelans - and in 2010 and 2012 it worked for them. It's amazing how GM Brian Sabean was able to know so much about the underground PED use because seemingly every 'no name'player he acquired went on to have at least temporary success with the Giants - enough to help their cause. Kansas City was like the Giants' 'minor league' source for such players , from where they aquired pitchers like Mijares, Machi, Gutierrez and Petit (Machi , Gutierrez and  Petit all have had that sudden success once with the Giants and continue to this day). Other players like Torrez, Huff and Burrell would come  to the Giants at advanced ages and have 'carreer seasons' only to suddenly drop off the radar only  after helping lead the Giants, in this case to a 2010 World Series.


Today, after over a decade of playing the PED game,the Giants may finally be slowing down. Due to the lack of REAL testing and Giants' lead, other teams have finally said 'If you can't beat them, join them ' and are now going after the tainted players only the Giants once pursued.  (Note, every team in Final Four last year had indicted PED user(s) on their team.)    President of the Giants Larry Baer  , while not saying the team would stop going after PED players, did express a note of caution (SFGate)  because of the team's reputation for having had so many players on PEDs.   

Now would be about the time of year the Giants would normally start going to their bag of tricks following their June swoons but, so far, we haven't seen it; it still may be early. Knowing Sabean, never a great trader  but one to go for the occasional big name and overpay his current  better performing players , if the Giants continue to crumble he will once again resort to  the easy way out - that of finding low-cost, tainted players other teams may not want - IF THEY ARE AVAILABLE. Like with any trend that catches on, perhaps Sabean now has competition for PED players and has LOST HIS EDGE - for now,anyway. But don't give up on him. Knowing the Giants, they'll find a way back, illegal or otherwise in their liberal town - and nobody will seem to notice or care.. So, the Giants are down now  but they're not out.   They've just got NEW competition.

How long Sabean and company can get away with what  they've been doing for over a decade is anyone's guess. As Esiason noted, many fans don't seem to care anymore. Yet, as he also noted, Cooperstown still does, fortunately , as do some baseball writers  who may not say so publicly. But, with time and  more and more kids brought up on the PED culture, this may fully change in time with steroids and PEDs  becoming a totally acceptable part of baseball and all sports, perhaps like the legalizaition of marijuana in more and more states . 

A good number of the players that Sabean has brought in have been using PEDs and that's why Bochy has often looked like a magician with the pitching staff and lineup. But, take away the drugs or lose these players to injury and Giants and Bochy become mortal. In fact, if you look at Bochy's overall managerial career he is exactly at .500 as a manager, .490 at San Diego and .510 at San Francisco.  



SF Giants Players Linked to Steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Admitted Steroid and HGH Users  and Implicated Players and
MLB Positive Tests/Suspensions: (Mitchell Report,  http://www.baseballssteroidera.com/ and other sources)

Matt Williams 1986-1997
*Barry Bonds 1993-2007
Rich Aurillia 1995-2005 and 2007-2009
Marvin Bernard 1995-2003
Glenallen Hill 1995-1997
FP Santangelo 1999
Wilson Alverez 1997
Bobby Estalella 2000-2001
Armando Rios  2001
David Bell 2002
Benito Santiago 2001-2003
Matt Herges 2003-2005
Alex Sanchez 2005
Abraham Núñez  2006
Yamid Haad 2006 
Matt Kinney 2010
Eliezer Alfonzo 2006-2008
Jose Guillen 2010
Guillermo Mota 2010-2012
Miguel Tejada    2011
Melky Cabrera 2012
Mike Morse 2014

*Affect of steroids -example: Barry Bonds had never hit more than 34 homeruns and batted over .300 only twice in his seven years at Pittsburg  (1986-1993). After coming to San Francisco he only hit LESS than 34 homeruns once and only batted UNDER .300 twice in his thirteen years except for his last three years when he was injured

Not Implicated but Very Possibly on PEDs with Giants
JEFF KENT 1997-2002- - Power numbers suddenly soared when coming to Giants in 1997, peaking     in 2002 World           Series year with 37 homers and .313 average (career year) 
ANDRES TORRES 2010  - Had career years in 2009 and 2010 once coming to Giants at age 30
MARCO SCUTARO   - Most surprising increased numbers, this for a 37 year old player     playing in the difficult San Francisco  hitter’s park. Batting average up an otherworldly 90 points in a full half season since coming to Giants from Colorado, again hitting in an unfriendly hitters park. But even perhaps more amazing is Scutaro’s strikeout ration, indicative of possible PED use with increased vision and hand-eye coordination ala Bonds; he cut strikeouts down less than half with only 14 strikeouts since coming to San Frnacisco in July – that’s only one strikeout per 37 at bats!
 ANGEL PAGAN power numbers up since coming to SF with Melky Cabrera – from 24 to 38 doubles and from four to 15 triples this year with homers about the same (8    vs. 7).
 GREGOR BLANCO who was red hot, ala Torres (2010)  in 2012 for first half of season,  hit more homers this year(5)  than in all previous seasons combined
 SANTIAGO  CASILLA  suddenly halved his ERA after coming to Giants in ‘magic’ year, 2010 – from 5.96  in 2009 at Oakland to 1.95 his first year , 2010 with the Giants – and it’s remained there ever since.
PABLO SANDOVAL - Unlikely huge spikes in performance late seasons 2010 and 2012 and World   Series and   since.  
 JOSE MIJARES 2012 - Relief numbers up dramatically after joining Giants
 CHAD GOUDIN  2013 -  Near all-star pitching numbers after joining Giants
 JEAN MACHI - Sudden success with Giants
 YASMEIRO PETIT  - Cut his ERA in half and raised strikeouts, one per inning after joing SF from Arizona 

References: Mitchell Report,  http://www.baseballssteroidera.com/ and other sources
(Opinion column) 

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