Layin' Down the Law on These PED Cox

OK, so I’m super late with this, so I made it its own post. I got a little sidetracked because of all of the Damien Cox-sparked talk of PEDs out there on the interwebs today—which the slice of radio magic between Keith Law and John Shannon this afternoon on the Fan 590’s Prime Time Sports (audio here) relates to—and I wanted to look over a bunch of stuff relating to last year’s Jerod Morris-Ken Rosenthal-Raul Ibanez incident, because… frankly, we’ve kinda been cunts to tiny little Kenny ever since then, and I wanted to make sure I can navigate this one without being too much of a monumental hypocrite. (Also, because I was looking for a wicked-awesome picture of Cox with hair that I know I saw a while back in an amazing Zambonic Youth post, which—along with the entire blog, it seems—has disaperated.) (UPDATE: Found! Thanks, Godd Till!)

So, I’ve re-read what Jerod wrote about Raul Ibanez last year, as well as how we reacted—calm, rational and level headed, as always—and the Cox piece once again.

Fortunately for my conscience, Jerod’s piece proved to be mostly an analysis of possible reasons for Ibanez’s incredibly hot start (park factors, competition) that concluded with a lament about the inevitable PED speculation that would come. Cox, on the other hand, offered up counter-theories only in the most sarcastic, piece-of-shit-like way. So, while there may be a tinge of hypocrisy in my defending Morris and not Cox, I really do think that, if you actually read what Jerod wrote—which, if I recall correctly, was kind of the major fucking problem with how the media treated the Ibanez situation in the first place—he’s hardly being accusatory, if at all. Cox totally is.

Maybe that’s some serious pro-blogger bias shining through—and maybe it’s exposed by the fact that I’m completely with Law here in his exchange with Shannon and Rob Faulds this afternoon (and wasn’t with Kenny Ken Ken last year). But I’m especially down with the first bit, before he has to defend himself from Shannon’s incredible admission that he’s just fine with being a cheerleader for the NHL, and his baseless accusation that Law is probably the same same kind of complete fucking hack when it comes to MLB.

Here’s the exchange:

LAW: I think if you know anything about the science of Performance Enhancing Drugs, which is to say that there is not a whole lot of science on it, it’s just totally inappropriate to offer that kind of speculation. I expected it, I think I predicted it either in a chat or on Twitter, I said somebody in the media is going to do this—is going to ask this question—rather than just recognizing that this is the nature of baseball. We have these crazy, one year random outliers throughout history. Davey Johnson is the one I keep going back to—I think it was 1973. Guy had never hit 20 home runs in any big league season and he hit 43 that one year. Was he on something? No. This is just how baseball works, you’re going to get these crazy one year outliers. It’s just randomness, and people can’t accept that as randomness—they’re always looking for some kind of explanation, that’s human nature. Unfortunately, in baseball now we have this steroid conversation which combines, in my view, scientific ignorance with statistical ignorance, so you sort of get this perfect storm of bad conversation.

SHANNON: To continue the bad conversation, just for a little bit longer, does this mean that if he did it again next year and the year after that we have more of an opportunity to ask the question? To bring up, as Damien Cox did in the Star, that you have to wonder about the situation of Performance Enhancing Drugs?

LAW: This is the thing that I keep coming back to: you don’t have to wonder, in fact, you probably shouldn’t wonder, because we do not know that steroids take you from a 15 home run a year guy to a 40 home run a year guy. In fact, they almost certainly do not, because we’ve seen long lists of guys who’ve failed tests who were not 40 home run a year guys, who did not suddenly go from, essentially extra guys on big league rosters, which is what Bautista was, to a guy who, at least for one year, is—I don’t know—one of the ten most valuable hitters in the American League? I don’t think that’s a stretch to say that that’s where he is right now. There’s no drug in the world that’s going to do that—or, at least, if there is, nobody’s found it yet. So, to me, I just find the speculation to be completely inappropriate—because, again, the science doesn’t support it, and the statistics we have do not support it. So, why are we going there, except to create controversy?

FAULDS: And also it’s a great opportunity as he gets ready to renegotiate his contract. So… if you’re gonna do it, this is the time to do it! Right? You always have your career year in a contract negotiation year. [Yes, please, kill this actually interesting discussion with pointless sports cliches, Rob. Seriously, what the fuck?]

SHANNON: “No, actually, Keith, I understand what you’re saying, would probably protect the game of hockey in the way that you protect the game of baseball, in your own way, because baseball has been very, very good to you,” [Wait, what? Holy shit, this is completely making me regret all the times I have not bothered to point out what a completely useless twat I think John Shannon is.]

LAW: Well, I’m about as big a critic of the industry as you will find. I mean, I’ve been killing Major League Baseball on how they underpay amateur players coming out of the draft. I think if you call the Commissioner’s office and say, “Is Keith Law really protecting the game of baseball?” there’d be some unprintable words coming back from them. I feel like that’s a really unfair accusation.

SHANNON: OK, fair enough. But my point is I don’t think that it’s beyond reproach of someone in the journalistic world to ask the question [No, that wasn’t your point at all!]

LAW: If Bautista had failed a test this would be a different conversation, but he hasn’t. This is like Raul Ibanez last year—gets off to a hot start for the first two months, and a blogger raised the question, “well, should we be talking about Performance Enhancing Drugs? Why aren’t we asking this question?” Jerrod Morris was the poor kid’s name, and then he’s getting blasted on national television by mainstream media guys. Now we have a mainstream media guy doing exactly the same thing: offering completely unfounded speculation on a player who has never failed a test.

SHANNON: I didn’t view it as speculation, I viewed it as—I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking questions.

LAW: That’s totally semantic. Completely semantic. You know what? I heard—I’m asking the question—is it possible that you’re just a terrible racist? Is it possible?

SHANNON: But I can shoot it down as quickly as that, and we can mo
ve on, right?

LAW: Jose Bautista can shoot down this speculation just the same.

SHANNON: As he should. As he should.

LAW: But the problem is, you’ve already planted the seed out there. That’s the thing. This is the Donald Regan line—he was an American politician—“Where do I go to get my reputation back?”

  • trillemdafoe

    Faulds is good at writing columns no one reads.

  • Anon

    someone should email McCown the Faulds segment from monday and the Law/Shannon segment from yesterday and ask him if this is how he wants his show run when he’s on vacation*.

    *off sharing his hockey expertise** with the world.
    ** hockey expertise not included

  • newballcoach

    Transcript from the interview:

    LAW: we do not know that steroids take you from a 15 home run a year guy to a 40 home run a year guy. In fact, they almost certainly do not

    I’m paraphrasing a little bit, but it shuts down the argument that Bonds hit 73. Bonds was already a future hall-of-famer before he started heavily juicing, a great, naturally gifted player. Steroids aren’t talent pills, if I started juicing I wouldn’t be in the MLB in 3 years hitting 50 jacks/season. It’d be 60. I just wish one of these stat-heads could find a formula to explain away steroids effects, so we could put this ridiculous bullshit behind us.

    BTW, Damien Cox is spending the week at his cottage, to get away from all the “haters.” I feel like this was a suggested vacation from the Star to stop him from making them look any worse. Anybody agree with me?

  • Alex Grady

    I kinda want to see someone who was never really known as a great base stealer steal 40 in a season and get blasted with steroid accusations. but I guess that will never happen.

  • AlexTG

    that’s especially funny because roids would probably help more with running than hitting

  • SaskatoonRiot

    I can see why the author has this man-love for Law. He’s like a man talking to boys.

  • SaskatoonRiot

    Easy to say in retrospect. The guy is the defending American League silver slugger at his position. He’s showed flashes of that this season, he just needs to develop consistency. Don’t close the book on Lind yet.

  • SaskatoonRiot

    “…or a good divorce.” Hilarious!

  • SaskatoonRiot

    Why do you say that? Green was the epitome of lean. He was a top prospect and hit well almost immdiately after becoming a full-time major leaguer.

  • SaskatoonRiot

    Becoming the story is the cardinal sin of journalism. But that’s what Cox wanted, I guess.

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    you know what this really looks like if you step back and look at it, a whole bunch of people sitting in a vat of shit they willingly climbed into, flinging it at each other, and nobody realizing that it’s shit. Everybody here is wrong, and they are all just loading up the vat, and throwing it around.

    Before i type anything more just let me say that i could care less about professional athletes taking performance enhancing drugs. Kids under the age of consent is a different issue, but once you are an adult it’s up to you. (not that people should be able to sell/administer shit that is unsafe etc etc, but again a different discussion)

    I’m sorry but no ballplayer has any right to get upset that people are questioning him on this. There’s a proven history of it, and several players have been less than forthcoming on the issue and then proven to be liars. To his credit it doesn’t seem like bautista is upset by this whole thing personally, but no player ever should expect to be believed on this topic for a very long time. And they did it to themselves.

    The cox/griffin tussle and all this crap yesterday on PTS is just complete bullshit. These fuckers just keep trotting out the same old dog and pony shows so they can avoid having to really do any kind of analysis or reporting or god forbid shine a light on their part in the whole mess. Is somebody calling somebody out this week about ped’s? great next week let’s reverse the roles on some other topic and manufacture another outrage we can all blabber about endlessly so nobody takes a look at the fact we had our heads up our asses from the late 80s to the early 2000’s. The sports media is just covering themselves with this shit and they can’t drown in it soon enough.

    And fans who get all up in arms about all this need to grow up. Ballplayers, fuck every professional athlete, does whatever they can to get ahead. very significant numbers do what people like to call “cheating”. a whole lot of times (like peds in baseball until recently) it isn’t even cheating, it just breaks their stupid bubble of ignorance. Since i was a little kid i could not see why i shouldn’t assume that every pitcher was scuffing balls, and every hitter was corking his bat. later on i learned to assume that they were all taking amphetamines, if not worse. why shouldn’t i assume they were taking steroids or hgh? hell, for a long time you could pickup magazines where companies were selling the goods mail order and the prescriptions to make it all nice and legal. do you think they were selling it to only pro athletes like this?

    everybody is wrong here, and the sooner everybody looks at each other and can admit it the better. i doubt it will ever happen though.

  • Bushkorn


    From Mike Komisarek’s twitter this morning:

    mkomisarek: First person I spot tonight with a Leafs jersey on at the Jays/Yanks game will get 2 tix to our home opener at ACC Oct 7. See you tonight!”

    I will be there will Bushkorn bells on!

  • anon

    haha wow easy there soapbox, hope you gave yourself a nice pat on the back for that one

  • Peter DeMarco

    Great, that’s all we need, more Leaf Jersey’s at the Jays game.

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    actually it was all summarized very nicely by a poster at lawyers, guns and money – “I just wish somebody would catch jeter, so all this can go away”, i’m paraphrasing but that was basically it.

  • Coolio

    U are the worst rapper ever!

  • Alex Grady

    that was my joke.

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    yet another excellent point to add to my rants about ped’s

  • allisauce

    Can you guess which young pitcher is more hyped?

    Pitcher A: 24 Years Old, 23 G, 3.90 ERA, 140.2 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 132 H, 7.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 18 HR, 103 ERA+

    Pitcher B: 23 Years Old, 21 G, 3.90 ERA, 131.2 IP, 1.24 WHIP, 121 H, 6.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 13 HR, 104 ERA+

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    can you tell which team plays for a team with maybe, i don’t know, 50 million fans, and which one doesn’t?

  • allisauce

    I’m pretty sure that was my point.

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    really? i thought you were asking a question? i answered a question with a question, which is of course dickish, but it seemed more like you were asking a question not making a point. hence the “?” in what you wrote. i thought you wanted an answer.

  • allisauce

    Ha, no worries. These internets can be tough sometimes without the inflection of voice, which I obviously heard in my own pea-brain.

  • Ian

    How would steroids explain Shawn Green’s career path? His career path was almost exactly what one would expect from a baseball player. Incremental improvement, peak performance at about the age of 30 followed by decline. How is that suspicious?

  • therearenogoodnamesleft

    well if you believe that the only good players are ones who dominate the league in their rookie league and everybody else who just improves through their first few years in the league is suspect, then i guess it makes sense. think of all the people who are already writing off snider…