Saturday, 16 February 2008

Much Ado about Zaun

Full disclosure first, I don't give a crap about juicing in baseball. MLB coulda put the kibosh on it 15 years ago if they had wanted a "pure game, they didn't, so fuck it - why should I care?

Level playing field? Didn't every player have an equal opportunity to acquire stuff that MLB wasn't preventing them from having? Yup. Equal opportunity = level playing field, as far as I care. Not that I don't think it would have been cool if baseball had kicked ass in the early 90's or whatever and stopped it - that would have been great .

But they didn't, the "Purist" bus left the station over a decade ago and there ain't a damn thing you can do to catch it. Sucks, but that's life. Deal.

Now, ya wanna hate Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, even Clemens for fucking up your purity? Knock yourself out...but can we please at least come to grips with reality on the little guys? Hell, some of those dudes didn't even stick in the majors. And that brings us to Gregg Zaun.

Some of you folks are ACTUALLY pissed at Gregg-fucking-Zaun for being a "juicer"


For starters, how the hell much juice you think a man can get for $500? but besides that, look at the stats, man! The check in question was written in 2001...I don't believe if I've seen it reported if it was before or after the season, but let's say it was before.

"OH," you say with your finger of righteous indignation extended' "just look - Zaun had an OPS+ of 131, the highest in his career, in 2001! For SHAME!"

That's true, he did - IN 39 FUCKING GAMES!

If you apply his career averages to 2001 and assume that 'roids accounts for the difference, then Zaun got nine extra hits, 3 of which were HR.

Oh. My. GAWD. How will we EVER survive a marginal player blowing up for ....39 games?

and the next year after that he hustled off to Houston where he posted a mind-boggling OPS+ of........wait for it......


Clearly the man is corrupting the game forever. Seven years ago.

I'm sorry, spare me the outrage over a fringe player clinging to his livelihood doing a little something to make his career last longer or keep a job. I have a feeling there are a lot of the indignant out there who might make the same choice - or if they didn't it would not be the integrity of the game that stopped them.

And if you look at it, the great majority of the people named in Mitchell are just that sort of player. not record breakers and award winners - just blue collar guys trying to hang on.

It has been widely reported that there are two main reasons for PEDs: performance enhancing (duh) and to recover more quickly from injury. Now I don't know about you, but I really don't think the record book has been sullied if a guy preserves his career by coming back from an injury in 3 months instead of five.

I've said that i don't care about PEDs in any case, but even more so, I think it's a bad idea to lump guys who juiced for a brief specific period to aid recovery in with the guys like Bonds who clearly had game-altering goals.

Anyway, bottom line? Maybe Zaun's check story is thin (I am not as suspicious of it as some seem to be but that's irrelevant) but I simply don't care. I'll assume for the sake of discussion he did order them himself and did take them, I still don't care.

And I think it's pretty damned anal that anyone would.

Just my humble opinion.

-- WillRain


Chris Iafolla said...

I think you missed the point on this one--as passionately as you may have argued it. True, PEDs were pervasive in the sport of baseball, but the issue is not as cut and dry as you paint it here. Equal opportunity does not mean a level playing field. You are talking about an equal opportunity to do something illegal. The playing field for those that chose to abide by the law was far from level. And yes, MLB is as much to blame as anyone here. But consider this: for every fringe guy like Zaun that chose to take PEDs, there are probably five that chose not to and never cracked the bigs. I don't think you can make this issue as black and white as you did. The fact is: Zaun cheated, Clemens cheated, and they deserve the criticism that comes their way.

Thanks, I enjoy your site. Keep up the good work.

Check out mine if you have some time, there is a post on Clemens down the page a bit.

The Southpaw said...

Oh, I absolutely agree with your points for the most part. I would quibble that it wasn't illegal (even Bonds isn't being charged with using) but it was unethical.

But I absolutely agree that those who had, shall we say, a lower ethical standard than others gained from it. Somewhere out there was a borderline catcher with integrity who was maybe aced out by Lo Duca (or Zaun, if you assume he really got better via the 'roids which sure doesn't look likely given his stats).

what I mean to point out, however, is that MLB had not acted to make it a career risking decision to use. So that, as far as a given player's relation to the league, they all had the equal opportunity to use or not without fear of the league coming down on them.

It is in THAT sense only that I am arguing that it was an equal opportunity situation. In every job a person can have, there are ethical and unethical ways to advance - and people advance via methods others consider unethical all the time. Certainly that's true in professional sports in other ways besides PEDs.

I wish there was a highly reliable test for ALL PEDs....but absent one, I don't think there is a clean way out.

Anyway, thanks for checking out the blog and for the kind words...I hope you will continue to come by and comment (well reasoned replies like your are very coveted).

I like everything about your blog except, of course, for your dim view of the Jays. Perhaps you are not as optimistic about health as i am (probably few are) but I think they are going to surprise you. If the Yanks are good for 92 wins (which I think you have about right) - I think we can challenge that.

Chris Iafolla said...

Fair enough, thanks for your explanation.

As far the Blue Jays go, I could honestly see either scenario happening. IF Burnett stays healthy and Halladay has the season he has capable of, the Jays have as good a 1-2 punch as most.

Perhaps my judgment is being cloudy by memories of 1992....I am a Braves fan after all.