132 thoughts on “Don’t thread on me”

  1. Neagle?

    I heard John Smotlz on 790the Zone this morning. He said he wished his name would have been on the report because he’d be a very rich man after he was done suing everyone. He questioned the why’s of the report, but in the end agreed that for those whose name is in the report, the most telling sign of guilt is their slience. He also said that of all the players on the list, only one has really come clean and admitted it (Giambi).

    Based on the report, there’s no question that the use of steroids was widespread and HGH is still being used because there is no test for it. Those current players named for HGH should be suspended for a minimum of 20 games and MLB needs to get testing in place ASAP. My reasoning? Some of those guys still use them (Gary Matthews Jr.) and it will send a message to them and others that are using that if there doesn’t need to be a drug test if they have proof that you ordered or used it.

  2. He said he wished his name would have been on the report because he’d be a very rich man after he was done suing everyone.

    What an odd thing to say. Hardly a first for Smoltzie, I realize. Good to see he’s still vigilant against non-existent enemies, though. And need I point out that he is already a very rich man?

    For me, the most telling sign of guilt is their appearance on the list….

  3. Why is that an odd thing to say sansho? If he felt like the way the investigation was done was bogus, then that’s a very true statement. The report even said that Radomski or McNamee would be looking at lawsuits if they were incorrect on any of the names. And if they proved they lied, well that’s a felony. I don’t see why that’s an odd thing for Smoltz to say.

  4. Yeah, I’m with Smoltzie on this one; the entire investigation is a bogus sham. But he is already a very rich man. A sign that you’re rich – when you get to regularly tee it up with Tiger Woods for “fun”.

    That said, I am working from home this month with the new baby here, so I was having my morning coffee watching some “Today” show but flipping to the Cable news channels during the break like CNN, Fox and MSNBC and (along with SportsCenter) and the coverage of the Baseball HGH scandal is rather dubious.

    On CNN, they actually had 2 9 year old boys on in their little league uniforms with their coach besides them, and one of the boys was talking about how Andy Pettitte was his hero but from now on, he’s going to go to Yankee Stadium and BOO him.

    The entire segment was a shameless, sad display, and a total dog & pony show for what once was a legitimate news outlet.

  5. Well, I don’t want to read too much into what might have just been an off-the-cuff remark to get a laugh on radio, but why spoil for a fight now? It sounds weirdly defensive to me, that’s all.

  6. Cutcliffe offered Duke job:

    Gosh, if I were Cutcliffe, I think I would rather stay offensive coordinator at Tennessee.

    I know Spurrier did OK at his Duke stint, but that’s about a hard a Division I job to win at as any in the country.

    But I’ll go back to what most people said at the time – Cutcliffe, who’s one of the best off. coordinators in the country, should never have been fired by Ole Miss.

    Ole Miss needs to realize it’s a 2nd or 3rd tier SEC program that doesn’t have half the seating capacity or fan base of a Bama, Tennessee or Auburn, and the fact that Cutcliffe was still winning 8-9 games a year there was a bloody miracle.

    I was not surprised at all when Ed Orgeron came in and did about 70% worse than Cutcliffe. Any SEC fan could have seen that from a mile away.

  7. I think it’s pretty sanctimonious of Smoltz to say the best evidence of their guilt is their silence. Smoltzie might think he would be suing everyone, but winning a slander case in this country is extremely difficult, especially for public figures. And, really, how do you prove a negative? Even if I were innocent, the best strategy might be to shut up and let it blow over.

    On the other hand, you can say the investigation was bogus but that’s at least in part because Mitchell got very little cooperation from players. I can’t say I necessarily blame them but if you are going to do something like this, you need subpoena power; under the circumstances, Mitchell probably did the best he could. But what bothers me is that he makes no distinction between guys that might have been long-term users and guys that might have shot up once or twice. To me, that makes a big difference. On Mike and Mike, Mike Golic admitted to using steroids for about six weeks during his playing career while recovering from an injury. That’s a hell of a lot different, IMO, from some guy using them for several years.

    And, regardless of steroid use, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were great players, albeit jerks as human beings.

    Alex, didn’t see that piece but, from what you say, I agree with your assessment entirely. But what else is new? How about interviewing family members after a tragedy and asking how they feel. This is the “CNN Way.” I’m surprised they didn’t bring in Anderson Cooper.

  8. Did anyone see this story on ESPN that talks about Michael Vick writing a letter to the judge asking for leniency? Also, it says that Hank Aaron and George Foreman wrote letters as well. I was very surprised that Hank Aaron would write a letter in support of Vick. Seemed a little out of character to me.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3153831

    Oh, and here’s the funniest line from the letter Vick wrote:

    “I was suffering from a deep state of depression, and after my father attacked me in the media, I was heartbroken. … That’s no excuse for using marijuana, but I didn’t know how to cope with all the difficulties I was facing because it was all new to me.”

  9. Marc, I agree with your sentiment, especially as you expressed eloquently at the end of last thread. Steroids are something that we as a society have a vested interest in making sure our children, and people we care about, don’t take. If that means humiliating Todd Pratt and Paul Lo Duca, I think that’s a price we’re all willing to pay.

    Also, to continue the music discussion from last thread, speaking of depressed bands, I’ve been listening to some Material Issue. (Long story short: they recorded some incredibly great love songs, made 3 albums, then the lead singer killed himself.) Man, they were good, though.

  10. Marc,

    Considering the way CNN used Anderson Cooper during Katrina, I am surprised they didn’t stick Cooper on the pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium with about 75 little boys behind him crying, all with various caps on. That’s the CNN way of doing things!!!!

    But then again, phony grandstanding has never been exclusive to ESPN. CNN has been doing it longer & better.

    As for Mitchell and the cooperation or lackthereof, I will go back to the point I was making yesterday – I don’t CARE who was using what for how long, prior to the HGH or steroids being illegal recently. That’s my point and many on here’s point.

    If Roger Clemens and everyone else (and yes, I agere, Clemens is a prick and I can’t stand him) were using this stuff when A) Selig and Dupay knew about it and B) turned a blind eye to it and C) it was legal anyway, why in God’s name is there even an investigation into the PAST?

    That’s my point. If MLB started banning these substances in 2004, 2005, whatever, then name names or suspend guys using this stuff after you ban it.

    Additionally, I will add to Mac’s point that there’s no proof whatsoever HGH actually helps anyone. Look at some of the names on the list from FP Santangelo to Marvin Benard – lots of fringe ballplayers who had middling careers at best.

    IMHO, I don’t see any difference between say Mark Prior and Nomar trying to use HGH to recover faster from injuries (again, it appears that it didn’t help them anyway) and me only sleeping 3 or 4 hours the night before because of a crying baby, and the next morning I drink 4 cups of coffee to stimulate myself, even though there’s no official “proof” that caffeine actually helps, and too much caffeine may in fact shortne my lifespane.

    That’s my bottomline – I wish this sham of an investigation into what players did before they banned anything wasn’t even part of our national conscienceness and we would stop giving these grandstanding cable outlets fodder to fill airtime.

  11. Marc,

    You make a great point that I think most people don’t realize…Defamation suits for public figures carry a MUCH higher burden of proof that for ordinary folks. And it IS basically impossible to prove a negative. That’s like me saying, “Have you ever eaten brussel sprouts?”, and you say “No.” Then I say, “Ok, prove it.” You can’t do it. However, I do totally agree with Smoltz on the whole “silence is guilt” thing. If you really didn’t do it, and you come out in the media and tell everyone who will listen that you didn’t do it, how can that come back to hurt you? Some of these statements from attorneys basically say, “Until we are able to discuss this matter with Player X’s union, he will have no comment on the matter.” WHY??? If he didn’t do anything wrong, he should be screaming it from the mountaintops. My wife is a school teacher, and she has always said that it is ridiculously easy to tell when her students are lying, based on how they react when they are confronted. These professional atheletes are just grown-up school kids. If they really are innocent, and they take their lawyer’s poor advice to make no comment, then they deserve whatever judgments people want to make about them based on that silence.

  12. Alex,

    You better be careful about slamming CNN–it’s a big reason the Braves won all those divisions. (: Actually, what CNN could do is reenact the Shoeless Joe Jackson episode and show a kid talking to one of the players saying, “Say it ain’t so, Roger.” That would be boffo TV. Hmm, I think I’m developing a plot for a new sitcom here.

    By the way, to actually talk about baseball, does anyone think it would makes sense to take a flyer on Mark Prior?

  13. Alex, I know this is a point that has been made, but since possessing and using steroids without a prescription is a crime, there has always been a de facto ban on their use in major league baseball. Baseball does not exist in a vacuum from the rest of society (antitrust matters excluded).

    If you want to talk about PR stunts, there is none bigger than MLB’s “official” ban on the use of these substances. I’d venture to say that most people, myself included, draw absolutely no distinction between those who used steroids before the “official” ban, and those who did so afterward. I mean, what’s next, an official MLB ban on murder?

  14. Tennessee Brave,

    You are probably right. I was just reacting to Smoltz’s comment that he would come out and start suing everyone if he had been on the list. But, I agree, if you are not guilty, it makes no sense to be quiet. But, as we have seen with Michael Vick, proclaiming innocence is no guarantee that you actually are.

    I think, regardless of what Buddy says, they are going to have a hard time retroactively punishing these players. While I think Mitchell probably did a decent job, using the report as a basis for punishment is problematic, given the lack of due process.

  15. But which steroids are illegal? As I have previously stated, my mother had to take steroids for her throat after her 2004 car accident landed her in the hospital, and then she developed a throat infection while in the hospital – forcing the doctors to prescribe her steroids. (my brother and I lightened her mood by saying she could now hit home runs like Barry Bonds, at the time).

    My point is, if we are discussing the ‘legality’ of everything outside of Baseball (since it doesn’t exist in a vacuum though I am sure many in the sport wish it did) then a player could easily argue the legal kind of steroids. Frankly, I don’t really see the distinction of the two.

    Steroids can be used for good purposes (my mom) or nefarious (Bonds) depending on who’s using them or how they are prescribed.

  16. I definitely don’t want to argue with Mac or JC about the efficacy of HGH- I don’t know what it does. I do think that it is probably erroneous though to say that because a marginal player took HGH that it has no effect. Perhaps that marginal player was slightly less-than-marginal before he took the HGH, and it bumped him up to marginal status. If it makes a AAA (or even AAAA) player good enough to be a fringe MLB player, then that’s a meaningful impact.

  17. Anabolic steroids (and most others, I believe) are prescription-only. It should be added that in a lot of cases players did get prescriptions, though they’re reluctant to because that leaves a paper trail.

    There is, to my knowledge, no recognized medical reason to prescribe human growth hormone to an adult.

    Steroids are a class of substances. The drugs your mother takes (or that I take for my sinuses) are corticosteroids, not anabolic.

  18. #22

    I agree, Rufino. It’s like the kid who flunked out of college — shameful in a family of PhD’s, but a shining star in a family of high school dropouts.

    #21

    The legitimate prescription is the distinction.

  19. I think Mac is right. But also, some substances are legal only if taken under a doctor’s supervision. I’m pretty sure it would be illegal for a pharmacist to distribute prescription drugs without a prescription regardless of whether the substances themselves were illegal. Getting steroids the way the players did was illegal period. Federal law on prescribing and distributing controlled substances is very strict, even for doctors.

  20. I don’t think it’s JC or Mac that are saying HGH has no impact. There are scientific studies that say that and that JC cites extensively on his blog. Now, maybe those studies will be disproven later but I don’t think they are making those statements based on their intuition.

  21. I still don’t think any of this means anything. No one on the list really shocked me and if the Rocket wants to pitch again in July for $6 million a start, someone will sign him.

  22. Well, Smitty, as a Georgia fan, I am happy to see him go; I just wish there was a way for Fulmer to rehire Randy Sanders. ;-) I would guess that with Al Borges resigning at Auburn, Fulmer may talk to him but who knows.

    I will say this about the Duke job – it’s a tough place to win, but Cutcliffe has a shot there, because besides being a really smart offensive coach, he’s going into a conference that’s a complete & utter joke.

    The ACC doesn’t currently have 1 legitimate power save for MAYBE Virginia Tech. That’s the only school I can take seriously, year to year, except when they have faced the SEC, my unranked Dawgs beat a #14 rated Va. Tech in the Peach Bowl, and then LSU hammered Tech earlier this year. And that’s the cream of the ACC’s crop.

    Cutcliffe, despite the major recruiting limitations he will have in Durham, probably could turn Duke into a 7 win (or more) team because the ACC is so pathetic.

    (I am wondering why Arkansas didn’t go for a guy like Cutcliffe, who’s just as good a coach as Petrino, has more class, and knows the SEC landscape better, not to mention won at Ole Miss and supposedly Arkansas is an easier place to win than Oxford).

  23. In a sport that is monitored by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, if a steroid is prescribed by an athlete’s physician WADA will actually consult with the doctor to see if there is another medicine available for the condition that does not have performance enhancing effects. Baseball, however, is not monitored by WADA. Although they do consult with them and use the WADA lab in Montreal to do process all of their tests.

  24. Clemens is the reason I can’t sit this aside yet. He’s an important figure in baseball history. He could soon be a legend, maybe after we get the taste of “Will He or Won’t He Return” out of our mouths.

    But part of that legend is Roger’s strong belief and advocacy of weight training for extending a pitcher’s efficiency. He claims to have learned this lesson from Nolan Ryan. Schilling and Pettite say that Roger converted them. Is juicing something Roger advocted, too.

    If you’re the fighter we think you are, Roger, sack up or fess up.

  25. Here’s a quote JC pulled from the report:

    A number of studies have shown that use of human growth hormone does not increase muscle strength in healthy subjects or well-trained athletes. Athletes who have tried human growth hormone as a training aid have reached the same conclusion. The author of one book targeted at steroid abusers observed that “[t]he most curious aspect of the whole situation is that I’ve never encountered any athlete using HGH to benefit from it, and all the athletes who admit to having used it will usually agree: it didn’t/doesn’t work for them.”

  26. Cutcliffe is not a good recruiter.

    No way Tennessee hires Borges. They will keep it in house. It is very rare to UT to hire someone who doesn’t have a connection to the program.

  27. I hope Cutcliffe becomes Duke’s next Steve Spurrier. Go Blue Devils!

    Mark Prior? He gave me enough nightmares. I say NO. Let the Mets get him. He fits their profile.

    sansho1,
    I also tend to think Smoltzie’s comments were off-the-cuff. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    Alex,
    I thought A. Cooper did a great job during Katrina, but yes, he’s been officially transitioned into “news star.” Unlike some others, though, I think his heart’s in the right place. Saw him at a concert afterparty once—he’s a shorty.

    From previous thread:
    Dustin,
    I saw The Descendents’ Bill Stevenson play drums a number of times for Black Flag in their more grunge/metalic years with Henry Rollins out front. That bunch could kick up a squall.

    urlhix,
    Speaking of melancholic bands, funny you should mention Yeasayer. They’re playing the Mercury Lounge on Houston Street tomorrow night. We’ll be getting a snow storm. Hope people show up for them.

  28. Smitty,

    My vote is for Tennessee to rehire Randy Sanders. Then again, I am also hoping Georgia Tech can find a way to bring back Reggie Ball and give him another 6 years of eligibility. (Not that Taylor Bennett is much better).

  29. The report isn’t a sham, but it is necessarily limited by the weak powers Mitchell was given and the almost total lack of cooperation by players. Perhaps it will serve to spur Congress to take another look at steroids in baseball and other sports with subpoena power and then we’ll get some more complete answers. Basically Mitchell only was able to get information from trainers and labs that were already busted by the Feds. Obviously there are more trainers, labs, and players involved who haven’t been caught yet and thus weren’t listed in the report. Don’t assume that anybody not listed is clean.

  30. #40

    ububba – I was wondering the same thing. It’s why I think Cutcliffe can be successful at Duke.

    #39

    Smitty – I had a feeling you might say that; at UGA and Bama, we have the same feelings about Neil Calloway. ;-)

  31. Ron,

    Everything you just said is why the report is a sham. It will have no effect on the game at all, except give a few fans some heckling amunition towards Nook Logan, as if you needed any.

  32. Smitty,
    I beg to differ. I believe baseball could change, from MLB on down.

    The report could discourage minor- & major-league players from using PEDs because they fear the humiliation of getting caught.

    Also, it could change the culture of PEDs in levels below MLB. If MLB players reduce their use, kids may not be so apt to use them either.

    And then, there’s the Hall of Fame issue, which is open to much questioning. Like it or not, some guys ain’t getting into Cooperstown now.

    Yes, it’s true that the very most wealthy players could afford masking agents to disguise their tests (BALCO was great at doing that, apparently), but that’s a risk they may not want to take.

    With this report (however imperfect), the culture of the game may change and IMO that’s a good thing.

  33. Johan Santana Looking For $140MM?
    Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports today that Johan Santana’s agent has told teams interested in trading for his client that the cost of an extension will be around seven years, $140MM. We’d previously seen estimates in the six-year, $120MM range.

    if Zito got $18 per, I’m guessing Santana @ $20 per is a discount

  34. I don’t understand having any problem at all with Smoltz’s comments. If someone gives an interview and says nothing of substance, we all comnplain about how he is not forthcoming. Smoltz didn’t say anything wrong and I believe he spoke his mind fairly well. I find this much more refreshing than the phony political answers that many coaches and players give.

  35. What about Minnesota picking up Adam Everett? The NL version of the Astros. Could they possibly have an offense featuring Everett, Nick Punto, and Jason Tyner?

    I have little interest in naming names on the Mitchell report, but there is one name I wish had been there…Curt Schilling, I hate that guy.

  36. @50,

    Trade for Santana, have him and Tex for a year, win the World Series, offer them both arbitration, and then rebuild! Five years or so out of the playoffs would probably be worth finally winning another championship.

  37. I’m glad this went down during the off-season so it can all cool down before baseball starts. I miss it.

  38. Dave Justice is on Colin Cowherd’s show right now telling his side of the story. It’s a fascinating.

    “When I was with the Braves we didn’t talk anything about steroids or anything like that.”

  39. Yes, it’s true that the very most wealthy players could afford masking agents to disguise their tests (BALCO was great at doing that, apparently), but that’s a risk they may not want to take.

    Testing will only catch the dumbest and/or poorest cheaters, it will never solve the problem. The players will always be one step ahead of the testing. The only way to go is to do what they’ve done – go after the player’s drug dealers and hope the potential shame of being named in something like this will act as a deterrent.

    Even then with the money at stake I imagine most will still think it’s worth the risk.

  40. #50

    I agree with that, Marc. I would absolutely take another WS title in exchange for 5 down, non playoff years. It’s worth it.

    #55

    Further evidence that any ex-Braves implicated such as Stanton, Justice, Mercker, etc. all did so away from Atlanta.

    On ESPN, they keep saying “all 30 teams” but that simply isn’t accurate. Sure, Justice and Stanton played for the Braves, but if they were doing this stuff in other uniforms, how does that really implicate Bobby Cox or the organization?

    If anything, the Yankees, mets and Dodgers look the worst from this report, followed probably by the Orioles, Phillies and Cubs.

    But sure, if you get a list of 80 names on a piece of paper, at some point you will have all 30 MLB teams covered in their career.

  41. But then again, the teams that LOOK the worst, as Mac has told me, look that way because those were the clubhouse guys George Mitchell could actually get to.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if 65% or 70% of recent and current Major Leaguers (including Chipper or Javy or Giles) have used, it’s just that Mitchell (thankfully) was unable to aquire a source inside the Atlanta clubhouse.

    Unlike New York, we obviously run a tighter ship. Good, I hope Mitchell and Selig found the whole experienece frustrating and were stymied as much as possible.

    I will say it again what guys did in the past has NO bearing on me as it was legal and Selig knew what was going on.

  42. So David gave a pretty strong defense, confirming that he talked to McNamie about HGH to help heal his groin injury. He said McNamie put it in his locker, after Dave said he might give it a shot, and when he saw that it involved needles he decided he couldn’t do it.

    He questioned Radomski’s saying he sold to Justice by asking why he didn’t provide any checks from David. Good point, since Radomski evidently was keeping those checks around.

    There is an incredible level of difference in both the evidence and severity of the allegations in the report and looking at it as a “list” is complete crap.

    I’m sure they’ll archive Dave’s interview on ESPNRadio.com sometime soon.

  43. it’s just that Mitchell (thankfully) was unable to aquire a source inside the Atlanta clubhouse.

    There’s no question in my mind that the Braves have had their fair share of juicers. We’ve had some extremely likely candidates over the years (Gant, Klesko, Boone, Giles, Javy, even Andruw if you want to get all worked up about that sudden power spike). We even had a trade that looked a lot like a steroid purge (Boone and Klesko for three warm bodies).

    But Mitchell never got to the source so those guys are saved the embarrassment.

  44. Robert,
    You may be right, because the Olympics are another example of high-risk/high-reward behavior.

    Apparently, Bonds failed 2 drug tests (according to the indictment) and, according to the Mitchell Report, somehow was given prior warning about a couple more tests, which he passed.

    But yeah, taking PEDs will be worth the risk for some and not for others.

    Alex,
    Let’s not forget that the Yanks’ clubhouse attendant had an axe to grind against the Yankees, which fired him.

  45. Robert,

    Exactly – I think that’s 100% correct. It’s again why this whole investigation is a sham and needs to be shut down. Whatever side any of us come down on on the issue of HGH or when people took things and whether or not certain players or ex players should be punished, the bottomline is, if you can only establish about 3 sources and you have only had access to a few clubhouses, but then turn in a report – how is that a complete investigation?

    Perhaps Mitchell should either not to turn any report if he can’t cover all his bases, or wait another year.

    But when I was a kid, I usually got a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ if I tried to turn in an incomplete homework assignment.

  46. From the report:

    Justice denied using performance enhancing substances himself, but he provided the names of many players who, he suspected, had used steroids.

    How big of you David. Man I would love to have heard those names.

    After we learned of the statements made by Radomski and McNamee about Justice, in order to provide Justice with information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me. He did not respond.

    Big surprise. I guess he caught a break that Radomski lost his check, but there is really no reason for Radomski to lie about Justice since it was hardly all he had to offer.

  47. Regrettably Alex, I find this

    it’s just that Mitchell (thankfully) was unable to aquire a source inside the Atlanta clubhouse.

    far more likely than this:

    Unlike New York, we obviously run a tighter ship.

    I concede they are not mutually exclusive statements, but given the numbers of players per team from just a couple of sources, you’d have to figure usage was the rule rather than the exception.

  48. The question too is what is the manager’s responsibility. Is Bobby Cox supposed to monitor what his players are doing every minute? How far should he go in trying to find out what is going on? I’m not saying the manager has no responsibility, but he can’t be expected to know everything that goes on in the clubhouse. How far should he go in inquiring into what the players are doing away from the ballpark? I’m not saying he shouldn’t, I’m just saying I don’t know. And you have to remember context too. Let’s face it, to some extent this is like pot smoking in the 70s and 80s. We all knew it was happening but the culture at the time sort of smiled at it. I had a roomate in college that smoked all the time and put a towell under the door so I had to knock to get in. I wouldn’t have dreamed of turning him in. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to judge a prior era by the standards of today.

    As for the Braves, given how they hit during most of the playoff runs, we know the hitters, at least, couldn’t have been on steroids. :)

  49. Alex come on that hurts. My Rebels are or actually were second tier before Eddie the gar fisherman was hired. Maybe they can get back to second tier now that he’s fired. Mississippi has the prospects that its not an impossible place to win. Y’all are right though they never should have fired Cut. He won seven games every year but one. And had one 10 win season. (only won 9 that same season.)

  50. Marc,

    You have a fair point about Bobby or any of the other 29 Managers. That being said, I look at a phony like Tony LaRussa, who leads by example with his DUI arrest, and think back to his Oakland days where half his team was jabbing eachother with needles, and I doubt the players worries too much if LaRussa was in the bathroom and saw him.

    I think the Managers out there like Cox who all players universally love and admire (I will say it again – if you can get Gary Sheffield to like you, you are officially the most likeable manager alive) probably had it going on in their clubhouse, but it was more secretive.

    A LaRussa clubhouse guys could stand by their locker and a jab a needle, but people who have played for the Braves have too much respect for a class guy like Cox to do it in his face.

    My guess is if they ever have (i.e., Bret Boone), they get shipped out of town.

  51. jorgbacca-

    Let me say this – if they had kept Cutcliffe (which you agree w/ me on and most people agree he shouldn’t have been fired), Ole Miss (by now) is firmly a 2nd tier program and may have even snuck into the Atlanta title game once.

    Ole Miss made an enormous mistake when they canned Cutcliffe and hired Orgeron – a guy who wasn’t even a coordinator at USC, plus a true west coast guy that had absolutely no connection to the south. That was obvious from the getgo it would hurt Ole Miss.

    But until Ole Miss shows they can consistently win 7-8 games a year again, you guys have now been passed by Miss. State.

    I did get an email the other day that ranked the hotness of the girls at the 12 SEC schools – Ole Miss was ranked #1. (Georgia was ranked #2).

    If you’re going to have a top ranking in something, that’s a pretty good one!

    Ahem, Florida was #11 of 12. It may have something to do with all that ‘cheddar’ hanging out of their jean shorts.

  52. Alex,

    Not to defend LaRussa in any way, and I love Bobby Cox, but when you compare the two you should include Bobby’s domestic violence charge. That is a damaging assement of off the field behavior of Cox. A DUI, in my opinion, is far less offensive than hitting a woman.

  53. I thought the Eddie hire was terrible from the get go. First of all he named himself to be defensive coordinator even though he’d never been a coordinator on any level. And that was the Rebels biggest problem because every coach out schemed him so bad it was embarrassing. We lost to Wake Forest by twenty points at home last year when Wake only complete 4 out of five passes! It would have been even worse if we didn’t have one of the best college linebackers in years in Patrick Willis who’s leading the NFL in tackles this year.

    I’m optimistic Nutt will get us back into bowl games. He can’t be as bad because Orgeron was the worst hire in SEC football history.

    You are right though, Oxford has a lot of beautiful women. So of course I ended up with a State grad.

  54. clarke,

    I do remember that and it shows that Bobby is absolutely not perfect. (and again, I am less of a fan of him as a Manager than most on here).

    But beyond that incident, he’s pretty much been a nice, affable, likeable man with the media, with his players, his opponents, and what makes him the opposite of a bastard like LaRussa, you will never hear Cox get into a war of words with a low life like LaRussa – everytime LaRussa bashes Cox, Cox says ‘no comment’ and leaves it at that. That’s class.

    But yes, you are absolutely correct about his domestic violence/drinking incident – but he’s done enough classy things over the years to make me forgive the man.

  55. Jorgbacca-

    We breed beautiful women in the south ;-) Oxford has done as good job w/ that as any.

    Yeah, Eddie O. really missed the boat on utilizing a player like Patrick Willis – the guy is an absolute stud.

    I don’t love Houston Nutt but he did manage to sneak Arkansas into a few SEC title games (albeit during down years for the rest of the SEC west). I suspect he’ll do better than Orgeron.

  56. Schuerholz says in his book that there was a player they knew was juicing (probably, from the context, Bret Boone) and they got rid of him as soon as they could. Now, I’m sure there’s some self-servingness there, but I think that the Braves have at least tried to stay clean, while LaRussa seems to collect these guys.

  57. clarke,

    IMO, getting a DUI and hitting a woman is comparing apples and oranges, in fact, it’s all about the context in which it happened.

    Not that I’m trying to be relative at all, it’s just that people put all these expectations on the atheletes and then we vilify Mike Vick, cos he fought dogs, or LaRussa, cos he’ a drunk, so and and so forth. There are hundreds of thousands of people, yes, even some of us on here, that do or have done pretty much the same. (not dogfighting persay, but i think the point is made) The way I see it, most don’t have room to talk. They just get singled out because they’re atheletes and when you’r ean athelete, you’re suppose to be “above” things like that.

    IMO, people need to stop nitpicking with millionaire sports personalities trying to force them to hold to some unwritten moral code that they cannot and will not hold to. Start worrying about crooked cops and the terrorists and the MAN in general, because THAT is the real problem. I don’t give two shits what Clemens, LaRussa, Vick, or even Bobby Cox does off the field. Why should it matter to me? I’m a fan of the games themselves, the people that play them are a nice bonus.

    Ty Cobb was a racist and stabbed somebody, Ruth was a womanizer, the ’86 Mets were on cocaine, but Cobb and Ruth are in the HOF, and the Mets won the WS.

    My whole point of this disjointed rant is to say there is a difference between what you do on the field and off the field. Also, to point out that we, in general, are hypocrites and nitpickers, and if we gather the balls to actually complain about some guy, we should take a look at us, just to make sure we aren’t comdemning ourselves in the process.

    If stuff like that even matters anymore…

  58. I agree to some extent with Dustin that we shouldn’t expect athletes to be better than everybody else. There is no reason they should be role models. Certainly Tony LaRussa isn’t the only man in America that drives drunk and it is, indeed, hypocritical to act as if normal people don’t do things like that. But I do think we can reasonably expect them to be no worse and at least be decent citizens just like we expect that of everyone else. If someone does something wrong–and here, I invoke the name of Leonard Little,who killed a woman driving drunk–he shouldn’t be embraced just like if Joe Schmoe does the same, he shouldn’t be embraced. Athletes often get special treatment in this way because people want to forgive them because they can help their team. How many opportunities did Darryl Strawberry get compared to some schmoe off the street that did the same thing? I don’t care specifically what athletes do off the field but I do care if they commit crimes just as I do if anyone does. Michael Vick committed a felony; I agree it’s no worse if Vick does it than if a “civilian” does it but it’s not any better either. The fact is, if Joe Q. Public (I know I’m mixing cliches here) is involved in dog fighting, he isn’t going to have people wearing “Free Joe Q. Public” tee shirts.

    As for what LaRussa did and what Cox did, the only thing that mitigates what LaRussa did is that he didn’t actually kill anyone and that’s just pure luck. To say a DUI is not as bad as domestic violence ignores the context. If Bobby hit his wife, that’s terrible and deplorable but he didn’t kill her. LaRussa might well have killed someone.

  59. Is anyone else happy to see Clemens on this list? I never really liked the guy, but the real reason I am happy is that maybe, just maybe, people may look back at this era and see Greg Maddux for what he truly was – THE BEST PITCHER OF HIS TIME!!!

  60. Joshua, I’m right there with you in disliking Clemens, but I don’t think you can throw out his stats. Before he was ever alleged to have started juicing, he was a Hall of Famer. His performance over the past decade, where he has juiced pretty extensively, has certainly bulked up that resume, but like Barry Bonds, he’s someone who would have been one of the greatest ever to play the game even if he had stayed clean.

    Also, there’s no way of proving that Maddux was clean. I love the guy as much as you do, but remember that everyone who has ever played with him has described him as one of the fiercest competitors they’ve ever seen. It’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that he would seek whatever edge he could find to help his teammates win. There’s nothing about his physique or the evidence we know that would suggest that he ever did — but you can’t rule it out completely.

    Right now, we’re stuck with the stats we got. And Greg Maddux is one of the 6 or 7 best right-handed pitchers of all time. Like it or not, so is Clemens.

  61. As much as I like Maddux, there is no way to say he was the best pitcher of his time. Clemens was just better. Certainly, he may have been the best during 1994-1995 but you can’t discount what Clemens did over his whole career. Remember, he was 24-4 and struck out 20 in a game in 1986–long before he was alleged to have taken steroids.

  62. My only point was to make sure to take into account Bobby’s personal indisgressions when commenting LaRussa’s personal indisgressions- you can easily leave them out of the discussion and just focus on how they handle their jobs- Bobby wins in a cake walk.

    And @79, Marc,
    As a law student who has clerked in criminal firms, prosecution and defense, the facts and behavior of DUI suspects is much easier to digest then the facts and behavior of Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) suspects. It is an assault, so death can happen (unfortunately seen it) and it’s done on someone you supposedly love. DUI deaths are tragic and more reactionary because they happen in isolated instances. But to see a guy constantly come in on his fourth CDV charge is sad and depressing and indicates deep seeded behavioral issues that will never change.

    Luckily, neither of these guys have faced the possibility of their incidents reaching their worst possible conclusions. Let’s leave the personal stuff aside.

  63. I can agree with that Alex, but you also can’t forget that during Clemens’ last 4 years with the Sox, he was 40-39 – hardly anywhere close to dominant. Then the season he started taking ‘roids, he was 6-6 with Toronto, after the ‘roids, he went 14-0. Now, I’m not saying that ‘roids made him the pitcher he was. I’m just saying I think he hit a BIG lull in his career, and the ‘roids definately helped him out of that rut – whether that be psycologically or physically.

    Also, I can’t say whether Maddux took steroids or not. But come on, you can’t actually believe he did. That 89 mph heater he was gunning up there didn’t seem to gain velocity over the years.

  64. Clemens has more natural ability (juice or no juice) than Mad Dog, but Mad Dog had to work harder and one has to only look at Maddux’s physique to know he stayed away from any enhancements.

    I have a lot more respect for Mad Dog; plus, Clemens is an a–hole so good, I hope he is humiliated, even if I am against this whole Mitchell investigation.

    One thing I have maintained is that Iroot for nice guys and against bad guys. Jason Giambi may have cheated, but he’s been extremely classy post drug usage and has stayed late after games to sign autographs for kids.

    What Bobby Cox did was just as bad as LaRussa, but Cox has continued to be a classy, nice guy to everyone he’s met and talked to (as someone who has met him, I can vouch for this – he couldn’t have been nicer to my dad & I) and LaRussa continues to be a hateful, arrogant, preening jacka–.

    That’s why I am most thrilled about Bonds and Clemens receiving humiliation. They are jerks. For me, it’s simple – I want people who act like a–holes to go down and be embarrassed and I could care less if they are ever ‘redeemed’. But Giambi and Cox are nice guys so I root for them to succeed.

  65. Before Clemens’ late-career renaissance, there was serious discussion of which one was better. In 1999, Clemens went 14-10 (with the Yankees) with a 4.60 ERA, just a little above the league. His career record was 247-134, which of course is excellent. But Maddux after that season was 221-126, with a lower ERA, one year removed from being second in the league in ERA. And he was three years younger. It really did look like he would wind up with 30 or 40 more wins than Clemens.

    As it is, Maddux has 21 more career wins than Clemens had at the same age. I don’t think Clemens is going to pitch again, but Maddux will need at least two more seasons to catch him…

  66. Mac, you think Maddux will need to seasons to get 8 wins? I’m sorry, but I’d have to disagree with that one.

  67. Career records:

    Roger Clemens 354-184, 4916 2/3 IP, 4672 K, 1580 BB, 3.12 ERA, 143 ERA+, 1.17 WHIP

    Greg Maddux 347-214, 4814 1/3 IP, 3273 K, 969 BB, 3.11 ERA, 134 ERA+, 1.14 WHIP

  68. Marc,

    I never said Maddux was the best pitcher of all time, I said he was the best of his ERA. And yes, I can see where people would say Clemens was better, and I really wouldn’t argue that point with anyone – it is more of a personal preference. I the way Maddux pitches makes it alot harder for him to be successful than Clemens. And the fact that he was able to do it for so long and for such an extended period is simply amazing. Clemens had a huge lull in the middle of his career that I think hurts him.

  69. Joshua,

    I am with you – I think he gets to about 12 wins this year on another contending San Diego team.

    Of course, the caveat is if Roger decides to pitch 1 more year, it sets Greg back further.

  70. I will retract to some extent what I said in comparing Clemens and Maddux; I looked at their stats in the post-season and, although he and Glavine have a reputation for not pitching well in post-season, Maddux was generally very good and probably better overall than Clemens. He didn’t win that many games because the Braves didn’t hit. Clemen’s post-season career is really up and down.

    Clarke,

    I didn’t mean to denigrate the seriousness of domestic violence and I don’t have your experience with it. You are probably right that hitting a woman is morally worse than getting drunk and driving in the sense that the one action involves an intention to hurt someone else while the other doesn’t. But there is no proof as far as I know that Cox was a serial abuser or that the specific incident actually put his wife’s life in danger. Whereas LaRussa’s actions did or could have put someone’s life in danger. I’m not saying Cox was a saint by any means but I think DUI is a very serious offense.

  71. I would love to see Greg Maddux (347) end up right next to Warren Spahn (363) on the all-time win list.

    Clemens (354), Nichols (361) & Galvin (361) are still in front of him.

  72. The Maddux over Clemens case is pretty tough to make. They pitched about the same number of innings and Clemens was about 10% better at run prevention factoring in leagues and parks. It’s hard to get around that.

  73. Oh no I agree completely- I am not saying DUI isn’t a serious offense. Anything that involves putting someone’s life in danger is serious.

    Thank you for claryifing about CDV- it’s such an awful thing.

  74. #93

    Marc, I wholeheartedly agree your sentiment; while I deplore domestic violence and also find it a despicable act, by all accounts this was a 1 time incident that Bobby was truly regretful and otherwise, has come across to those who know him or have met him and the media (outside of LaRussa and Kenny Lofton) as a likeable, affable, good man – who made a terrible mistake and is by no means perfect because of what he did.

  75. The point being that before Clemens began using substances, it was by no means clear that his was the better career. At that point, he looked pretty much done, while Maddux was still going strong, and Clemens’ career numbers weren’t a whole lot better.

  76. Clemens has the advantage if you look at their current career lines, but I think it’s pretty clear that these last 3 or 4 years have really helped out Clemens’ numbers. And if you want to throw those out because of steroids, I think you give the nod to Maddux.

  77. What would you think of this?

    Clemens retires now. In five years, he’s HOF eligible, but this stink contributes to him not making it on his first try.

    Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux retire after this next season. In five years, the Trio becomes eligible and so is Roger.

    I’ll bet ESPN couldn’t find enough hours in the day to shill for Roger.

  78. And either way, Clemens is merely one of the best power pitchers ever. It’s a lot easier to succeed if you have a 98-mile an hour fastball. Maddux is one of the most unusual pitchers ever — he routinely got nearly 200 strikeouts a year against fewer than 30 walks, throwing slop.

    One of the least physically imposing players ever, one of the most mentally imposing. Opposing hitters knew he was smarter than them, and knew that even though he was throwing junk, there was no way they could hit it.

    Growing up watching Greg Maddux was one of the greatest pleasures a boy could have. You could just tell he had the hitters in the palm of his hand, and the ball danced as if it was a marionette. The game was over in two beautiful hours. And this slender guy, in Gretzky-like fashion, made all the physical freaks of nature go quietly into the night.

  79. I second Kevin on that – nice job, AAR. And Mad Dog may not be a Brave anymore, but I haven’t stopped rooting for him! (except of course when he pitches against the Braves).

  80. And yet, there are still lone voices screaming at the wind that he scuffed baseballs. Man, I don’t know where that one guy on Baseball Fever got that idea, but I just can’t find the reason that he believes it.

  81. Because Maddux always had such great movement on his pitches and was so successful, he was always going to be suspect of doctoring the ball.

  82. I’ll never forget watching Maddux warm up in the bullpen before a game at Fenway Park in 1999.

    A pal & I got up close to the pen, saw him throw a few & he whispered to me, “I feel like I could hit him.”

    Then Maddux started throwing his real pitches which began to dart down to the left & to the right. Seeing the late action on the ball up so close was amazing.

    After a couple of those, my friend added, “Um, maybe not…”

  83. Justin,

    The guy claimed that it was said in an article in 2003 or so that Maddux scuffed balls and that it was in 3 Nights In August or something that Cardinals players gathered up a bunch of scuffed balls by Maddux.

  84. But, like it or not, Clemens is a Hall of Famer, steroids or not. I don’t think you can make a reasonable case not to include him. And it’s obvious that, like Bonds, the steroids may have enhanced his career stats but they didn’t make him a great player–he already was. It would be sort of ridiculous to have a Hall of Fame that did not include Clemens or Bonds (I think Rose and McGuire should be in as well although I agree Rose should be kept away from baseball). I understand the issue about character supposedly being a factor in Hall of Fame membership but, frankly,if you are going to go there, it’s a really slippery slope given the characters that are already in.

    As for the Maddux-Clemens comparision, Clemens had a real downturn in the middle of his career whereas Maddux did not. Did steroids contribute to Clemens’ resurgence? Who knows? You can certainly make the argument that Maddux has had a more consistent career and a longer peak (and it’s hard to see how steroids could have played a role in Maddux’s success). Clemens may have been better during their peaks.

  85. Marc,
    One could argue that before he went to Toronto, Clemens was a borderline HoF player, not a shoo-in.

    In 5 years, however, I think it’ll be fair to let the HoF voters make that determination about Clemens and his mid-career improvements.

  86. #109, Clemens isn’t a Hall of Famer until he’s actually voted into the Hall of Fame. Considering that McGuire wasn’t voted in, it’s not at all a certainty that Clemens will get in now.

  87. Agree, AAR. Plus, it appears Clemens only came close to Mad Dog’s ERA late in his career, during which he was clearly using supplements.

  88. AAR, didn’t Maddux have a season where he averaged over 8 innings pitched per start? Was it during one of those seasons? If so, I’d have to say they compare with just about any in history.

  89. Regarding the Justice article on ESPN.com, this is my favorite part of it:

    “Justice said he refused to try HGH because he doesn’t like needles but said he would have tried it had it been in pill form.”

    I dunno why, but that wreaks of “I did not inhale” or “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. Justice should run for office.

    Here’s the full link:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3154996

  90. …as an add in, my knowledge of baseball history is very limited, so you can take that with a grain of salt.

  91. David Justice’s handling of his name appearing in the report is Brilliant. He mentions higher profile names (Clemens), while admitting he would have used them if he wasn’t such a baby about needles.

  92. But, in fairness to Clemens, he pitched most of his career in what was generally a stronger league, certainly offensively, and had to face an additional hitter in each lineup. Maddux did get roughed up a bit facing AL lineups as I recall. On the other hand, he pitched some great games in the World Series, ie, Game 1 of ’95 and Game 1 of ’99 (until the 8th). Don’t get me wrong; I loved watching Maddux pitch and in 94-95, I don’t think I can remember him ever having a bad game. At worst, he is one of the top half dozen pitchers of all time. And if the Braves could have hit, he would have won 20 or maybe even 25 games several times. I remember one game against the Giants on the West Coast, Maddux had nothing, kept giving up hits and getting runners on. He won 1-0.

  93. The AL’s position as the stronger league is pretty recent. I don’t think it was significantly stronger until maybe 2003; there was nothing to divide the leagues during the heart of Clemens’ and Maddux’s career.

    Now, because of the DH, Clemens faced stronger lineups. Because they appear on each other’s similarity lists, you can compare their ERA+ at similar ages; Clemens’ ERA+ is consistently a little better… from age 34 (1997 for him, 2000 for Maddux) on. Hmm.

  94. Joshua, in 1994, Maddux pitched 202 innings in 25 starts, with 10 complete games (3 of which were shutouts). Overall, he averaged more than 8 innings a start, and went 16-6 with an ERA of 1.56 (271 ERA+) with a WHIP of 0.90. (16-6 record

    According to B-R, it was the 4th best season ever, behind Tim Keefe in 1880, Pedro Martinez in 2000, and Dutch Leonard in 1914.

    His 1995 season, by the way, is the 5th best season: 19-2, 209 2/3 innings in 28 starts (average of 7 and a half innings a start), 1.63 ERA (262 ERA+), 0.81 WHIP.

    There’s a reason he won 4 straight Cy Youngs, fellas.

  95. To clarify from this morning, I don’t have any problem with what Smoltz said. On the contrary — he’s entertaining as hell!

  96. Also, Maddux in 1994 and 1995 was the first pitcher with back-to-back seasons with sub-2.00 ERAs since 1963-1964 Sandy Koufax.

    Only 5 pitchers have accomplished this feat since the end of World War I: Maddux, Koufax, 1945-1946 Hal Newhouser, 1919-1920 Grover Cleveland Alexander, and 1918-1919 Walter Johnson.

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