SPORTS: Juiced - Jose Canseco vs. Mark McGwire + Jason Stark Turns into Sergeant Shultz

Don't like snitches? I guess you must despise the West Point cadets who swear to never cheat and will not tolerate those who do. The honor system of the military must be a particular thorn in your side.

You don't like snitches because you're a coward. Not because it is wrong to report liars, crooks, and cheats.

Posted by mark butterworth at March 28, 2005 10:23 PM

Yeah Mark - you got me pegged. Military hating coward. Your ability to see right into my soul is eerie.

Do you have kid's? Because I'm curious if you teach them to rat each other out when they see something the parents told them not to do.

Posted by chris at March 29, 2005 4:25 AM

I don't think Canseco's motives are the point, and every time they're emphasized, the real crimes are forgiven a little. And that's a shame. Being a rat is a lesser crime than being a cheater, I think.

But you're absolutely right about McGwire. No matter how much he tries to differentiate himself from Canseco, they have both done something to baseball that it will never recover from, in my world. Shame on the whole lot of them.

Posted by Uncle Mikey at March 29, 2005 6:28 AM

Mikey - you are right that Canseco's motives not being the story. Rampant steroids in baseball and the baseball writers and owners turning a willful blind eye to the problem are what should be more closely examined. Just because these players weren't caught at the time - doesn't mean they should be excused or God forbid rewarded.

Posted by chris at March 29, 2005 6:56 AM

Wow. So many errors of fact. Let's see now...

McGwire didn't cheat. Steroids were not against the rules until he retired. Don't like the idea of chemically-aided athletes? I don't either. That has nothing to do with whether he broke any rules.

He wasn't a one-dimensional player. He won one gold glove & probably deserved more than that: the all-star voting isn't the only popularity contest in baseball. He drew an enormous number of walks, which is why his OBP is 41 points higher than Canseco's even though his batting average is 3 points lower.

Baseball Reference does list Canseco as the most-comparable player, but there are two points you didn't mention: they are not truly similar (score is 807 - vaguely similar), and they are comps only because they played roughly the same number of games in the same era. The most similar players in terms of skills on the field are Ralph Kiner and Harmon Killebrew - and neither of them is all that similar. Uniqueness as a player is one of the defining characteristics of a Hall of Famer. Labelling McGwire's best season "freakish" so you can ignore it and make their numbers more similar than they actually are is silly. Since they were both on the juice, I don't see how steroid use means you get to ignore the stats that don't match.

Raw stolen base totals are a poor measure of baserunning ability. Canseco was not a good baserunner.

That stuff is relatively minor. The genuinely idiotic statement is this one: "Subtract the steroids and Mark McGwire is nothing more than a Jack Clark or a Dave Kingman."

First of all, Jack Clark was an outstanding ballplayer. He'll never make the Hall because injuries cut his career length, but he was, at worst, one of the three best hitters of his generation. Dave Kingman was a lead-gloved, .220-hitting pain in the ass. There is literally nothing he did as well as McGwire, not even run the bases. Comparing them doesn't make McGwire look bad: it makes anyone uninformed enough to compare them look bad.

Posted by Al Jackson at March 31, 2005 3:44 PM

Al - let me address your points in order.

1. McGwire not only cheated - he in dealt in felonious actions to do so (yes I'm making an assumption of guilt here). Simple possession of a syringe for the purpose of injecting contolled substances is a felony and was so when McGwire was playing. Plus if he did not cheat why the "I'm here to talk about the future" crap when he was under oath? You may be the lone adult left in the US who believes McGwire didn't use steroids. MLB did not test for cocaine use either but that doesn't mean that players were allowed to snort up before a game.

2. McGwire is under consideration for the HoF for a single dimension of his game - his ability to hit HR. Don Mattingly was 10 times the fielder than McGwire and he played by the rules - that won't help him get any votes though. McGwire is not up for the HoF because he won a Gold Glove or walked alot.

3. Speaking of walks - another reason he walked alot was because he was such a stiff on the basepaths. He was literally a walking double play waiting to happen.

4. "Uniqueness as a player is one of the defining characteristics of a Hall of Famer." No its not. Uniqueness is more a characteristic of a freak - which due to his steroid use - McGwire qualifies as. Look at almost any HoF player and you will probably see a couple of other players who were also great but also similar. McGwire's uniqueness stands out like a sore thumb (or should I say a sore needle injected ass cheek).

5. "First of all, Jack Clark was an outstanding ballplayer. He'll never make the Hall because injuries cut his career length, but he was, at worst, one of the three best hitters of his generation." So you're saying that maybe if Clark took steroids to help prolong his career that he too could have made the HoF? McGwire had injuries too but his steroid use allowed for quicker recover times. McGwire's best seasons came after injuries that might have ended the career of a non-steroids using player. Wasn't that my point in the comparison to Clark?

6. Kingman was a jackass but how do you know what McGwire is like in person? If Kingman took steroids isn't it reasonable to assume he would have gotten another 34 HR and be in the 500 club and the HoF? Again - I point out that the only reason McGwire is under consideration is because of his HR and I again point out that it is reasonable to assume based on the evidence that he would have not been the HR hitter he was without steroids.

Posted by chris at March 31, 2005 5:33 PM

No, Chris, I got you pegged as a lily livered coward who has no honor or ability to respect a code which demands that people not tolerate wrong doing no matter who does it.

Even your weasel word of not having your children "rat" out each other is pathetic. Your children steal, do drugs, beat someone up, but God help the kid who informs the parents? How utterly stupid and pathetic.

You're even worse a lousy coward than I imagined if you teach your kids to cover up wrong doing. What an effing creep. Stay off my block and away from my kids. Maybe it would have been good if someone had "ratted" out the kids at Columbine or up in Minnesota. But no, that would have been vile snitching.

What a prince you are, Chris.

Posted by mark at April 1, 2005 12:35 AM

Mark - yes I teach my kids not to be "tattletales". I must assume from your tone that you teach your kids the opposite. I teach them to work things out themselves - what do you teach them to do - inform on their peers? Ah - informants! There's some role models for kids. You dare bring up Columbine into the discussion. How low will you stoop? Should I return the volley and ask you about the Hitler Youth taught to inform on their parents?

Canseco is villified in baseball probably more for breaking the lockerroom code and telling tales out of school. I fault him for this - yes. What he had to say needed to be said - yes. Is he the most trustworthy of sources - no.

I fault the clean baseball players in this too. They could have taken things into their own hands and demanded stronger testing or they could have confronted guys like Canseco and McGwire.

I fault the baseball writers who saw what was happening to the HR records and said nothing.

I also fault the owners because they "protected" players like McGwire by building them up at the expense of clean players. They built them up both in PR and in salary.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

And Mark - you call me a prince? Based upon the bile in your posts I guess I am....

... compared to you.

Posted by chris at April 1, 2005 6:33 AM


Your responses and justifications are just plain weak. Bile? You bet. I'm sick of weaklings looking the other way at wrong doing, teaching others to do the same, and labeling those who have a sense of honor as rats and snitches.

As I said, you ever hear of the military code of honor? You want Serpico not to report on other cops who are on the take? Or how about in the college class when half the class is cheating on a test that you actually studied for?

It's the coward who won't stand up for what's right because someone like you will call them a snitch, a rat, and informer.

You think we're talking tattletales here? That's pukeably pathetic. You mean you don't teach your kids that there are rules and if any of them break them, you want to know about it and covering up for a brother of sister won't fly?

You don't teach your kids that the eldest is a role model and if they don't provide a good model for the others, you don't want to know about it 'cause that would be snitching?

Or when your kid is smoking pot, cutting class, and sneaking out when you're asleep, you don't want to know about it?

You don't like snitches? Canseco's a tattletale? Of course, he is 'cause he wants more money and notoriety, but the fact is that he's got something to tattle that should have been done decades ago, but wasn't because so many of folks like you, " (were) brought up old school where a snitch is persona non grata."

That is, where cowardice is preferred to being ostracized by other cowards. Reghardless of motives, give Canseco a medal for at least blowing the lid off the stinking, corrupt, and sick mess of professional sports. The shame is that no one will tell the truth out of any sense of decency or honor -- because you and others like you will call them a rat. (If you ever find someone whose motives aren't mixed, that'll be the day.)

Hitler Youth informed on parents and others because they were taught to and rewarded for it, just as kids are now taught to never tell on anyone because they will be punished for it by both other kids and adults.

And if you can't handle your kids running in and and complaining, "He called me a poopy head again!", then you need a parenting skills class. In fact, if your kids are calling each other poopy heads all the time, who taught them to be nasty little cretins?)

Posted by mark at April 1, 2005 12:59 PM

On third thought, I have been intemperate and I apologize for the offence I have given. I can't apologize for having a passionate love of truth and a belief in honor at the risk of disapproval from peers and contemporaries.

What has been done to baseball and other things by the gross sins of omission by those who were witness to corruption of the sport is inexcuseable.

The idea that people who tell the truth are snitches or rats or break the code is what helps to make it possible for the immoral and corrupt to thrive.

How many young people or college students are now willing to complain of other students who cheat, even though those who get away with it diminish the value of everyone else's honest score?

Do you want professions half full of people who didn't do the work for their credentials? What's the remedy? Why having others tell on them. There's no other way.

I have known men with the incredible courage of going to war and enduring battle, and yet they lacked the strength to stand up for their morals or principles against their fellows' willingness to overlook sin, crime, or incompetence.

If someone has a family full of "tattletales" then that family has a problem and it isn't because the kids are constantly complaining of the others. It's because the parents don't know how to do their job very well.

Posted by mark at April 1, 2005 8:37 PM

Passion is a thing I admire. I just like to keep things civil.

I apologize if I have offended in any way.

Posted by chris at April 4, 2005 5:48 PM

Everyone does steroids 'cept the redsox

Posted by Allen at April 7, 2005 5:37 AM