I knew I said that I wasn’t going to post until after the new year, but my Mama told me to go and read Jerry Crasnick’s interview with Baggy, who didn’t exactly speak in any sort of cliches. I’m proud of the guy – he’s talked more openly about his opinions about steroids and weightlifting and roiding baseball players than any other real Hall of Fame candidate who is busy either decrying the McGwires of the world as EVIL or puffing himself up with innocence (Saint Dale Murphy). I think it took some serious, uh, guts (ahem) to dare to say what he says about players and performance enhancers.
My favorite excerpt?
“People can say anything they want about Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, but it was fun to watch. Barry Bonds is the best player I’ve ever seen. He would stand on first base and say, ‘If they throw that pitch again, I’m taking them deep.’ Then guess what? The next at-bat, he would take them deep. He could steal a base anytime he wanted to steal a base, and he was always safe. I’ve only seen three or four people who could ever do that. No matter what anybody says about Barry or Mark, who I love to death, they were great players and they were fun to watch.”
And you KNOW that LOTS of people will use that statement as proof positive that Bagwell used roids and is too cowardly to admit it and then do the right thing and commit suicide, or something, because of the enormity of the depravity of this heinous crime of using (shudder) some chemical to either heal injuries, get better, or continue playing.
Check out the rest of the interview.
I know there are the Jeff Pearlmans of the world who absolutely INSIST that Bagwell is positively guilty of using steroids because he lifted weights, played first base and hit home runs (and as we all know, no male is capable of adding any muscle weight merely by lifting weights) and because he wasn’t an outspoken critic of roids who demanded that testing be implemented (like his “twin” Frank Thomas) or declared innocent for some unknown reason, like Jim Thome. Fortunately, Pearlman doesn’t have a HOF vote.
(UPDATE 45 minutes later): I swear to GOD that I wrote what I wrote about Pearlman BEFORE I read what he said about Bagwell on his blog. And dammed if he didn’t say almost word for word exactly what I thought he’d say. If you hit home runs, if you did not look when you finished your career exactly as skinny as you looked when you were 21, if, in fact, you lifted weights, if you did not loudly demand steroid testing – and best I know, Frank Thomas was the only active player who did – then you MUST be presumed guilty of steroid use. I wonder if Pearlman knows that not all steroid users put on muscle weight that is obvious – see Manny Alexander/Alex Sanchez. I wonder if Pearlman is going to just come out with a blanket condemnation of every single player during 93-05 who didn’t loudly demand steroid testing – and if so, why not. And I also wonder when he is going to start accusing Carlton Fisk and Mickey Tettleton of being steroid users seeing as how they claim that they only put on all that muscle weight later in their careers from lifting weights. And I sure nuff would like to know who all these known steroid users on the Astros were from 95 to 04 (remembering that Caminiti was gone in 95 and was no longer friends with Bagwell/Biggio due to his alcoholism)…
I know that some HOF voters are refusing to vote for ANY player who played during the steroid ERA and will only consider candidates whose career ended before 1993/1994 because they have decided that since they can’t positively KNOW for absolute certain who did and did not use, they are all being presumed guilty.
And here’s what Joe Posnanski, the best baseball writer on the planet (sorry Richard, but not all ballplayers can be Babe Ruth) has to say about Bagwell in his most recent piece:
“…It looks like Bagwell will fall well short. And I can only come up with two somewhat related reasons:
1. The crazy offensive Selig Era has made us jaded about spectacular offensive numbers. That’s understandable, I guess. Bagwell’s six seasons of 39-plus home runs would have seemed otherworldly twenty years ago. After all, that’s as many as Willie Mays had, more than Mickey Mantle had, as many as Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt COMBINED. But the Selig Era has taken the jolt out of those numbers, in part because of steroids but also in part because we simply have grown numb after seeing home run after home run after home run after home run.
2. Jeff Bagwell — though he never tested positive for steroids, never was implicated in any public way, was not named in the Mitchell Report or by anyone on the record as a suspected user, and is not even on this rather comprehensive list of players linked to steroids or HGH — seems to have become in some voter’s minds a player who used performance enhancing drugs.
I can’t even begin to describe my disgust at No. 2 … it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach….
Check out the rest of his article. Pos is so good that I even read his non-baseball blog entries just for the pleasure of reading his writing.