Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Barry Svrluga: Cutting to the chase

Sledge: Yes? No? Maybe so?

There's not a whole lot to talk about other than, at least in terms of the roster and the lineup, Terrmel Sledge; he's the fulcrum, so to speak. If he's playing, then Endy might be sitting. If he's playing, then Nick Johnson might be traded. If he's not playing, then it might be because he's been traded.

Barry Svrluga nips the thing in the bud and gets down to the real issue here: what of Sledge?

So while there are questions about whether he'll start and where he'll play, the most significant uncertainty about Terrmel Sledge continues to be: On Opening Day, will he be a Washington National?

Jim Bowden's reply is curious, to say the least:

"It'd be real hard for me to trade a guy like him," Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said Monday, "because they don't come often."

If a guy like Sledge doesn't come along often, then by all means don't trade him; why is Bowden even thinking about it, then?

I guess the obvious answer is that he's got a history of saying such things and making such stands. Or Bowden is trying to puff up Sledge's trade value. Your call.

---Nats Blog brings it hard to the hoop today, concerning the "Barry Bonds" entry in the 2005 edition of Baseball Prospectus. Although I haven't gotten the book yet, the relevant portion is excerpted, and the blog entry is a very good read. I especially like the point with regard to "moral outrage."

---More Prospectus!!!. According to Steve Goldman's chat (see link), the BP boys are finishing up a look at the 2004 Red Sox, with a special emphasis on the team's management. It is tentatively called "Excuse me, Theo: How About Employing Us, Too?" Or "Mind Game." Whatever.

And, Ryan, there's no word yet as to Dayn Perry's involvement.

I tend to think that, in fact, uniformed people (which is everybody except Bonds, his trainer(s) and possibly the people on that grand jury) shouldn't be speculating about what steroids may or may not have done for his performance.

We don't know when he took them, we don't know how long he took them, we don't know if he was doing serious weight training beforehand, we don't know what kind of results those did or didn't have. Furthermore, we don't know whether or not steroid use would have a noticable effect on baseball players, and if they did, whether it would be positive or negative. I've seen compelling arguments from trainers, doctors and physiologists on both sides.

There's a lot of myth about steroids floating around, and not much in terms of actual known fact. It's time for people to stop jumping to conclusions.
I agree with all of that, Yuda. In fact, before my computer FUBAR'ed my original post on the topic (and I consequently said "Meh" and posted something quickly before lunch ended), I had linked to Selig's comments regarding the record book. My general comment was that all the "all-time home run list" (or single-season) is, is a list of career home run leaders. Nothing more. The numbers ascribe no moral values or assertions.

I do sense, though, that BP---though it cloaks itself in an objectivist . . . well, cloak, cheers on a moral level for Bonds just as much as, say, Jay Marrioti cheers against him on a moral level. In other words, while I certainly might be guilty of insinuating more into BP's Bonds rhetoric than I have any right to, it is my belief that BP's takes on Bonds are somewhat disingenuous, this one (perhaps?) included.
My feelings on the matter are actually not too far from King Kaufman's.

As a side note, if you can only read one sports column/article a day, it should be King's over at Salon.
King Kaufman's great, although I don't remember his position on this particular issue (and the Salon day-pass ad thing is too burdensome for my limited patience).
A brief summation is in order, then.

Basically, he feels that, while steroids in sports are something of a bummer, we don't really know much about what they do, we don't actually know who's used them, and he doesn't understand why they're necessarily against the rules -- since said rules don't seem to stop the use of them.

Add in some confusion about why in, say, baseball, uppers seem okay (or, at least, people look the other way) but steroids aren't. Move to football, where people are willing to look the other way about steroids, etc.

Personally, I think we should let athletes use them -- under supervision of a doctor -- if they really want. But, yeah, if they're going to be against the rules, then people should follow the rules.
Yeah, that's probably a reasonable perspective King's got there. (I do wonder just how much the NFL "looks away" from steroids, though; that seems to be something that is repeated so much by some people that it becomes confused with fact, but I could be wrong. The opposite, I guess, is also true; many people in the media talk about how tough the NFL's policy is---like it's fool-proof or something.)

Anyway, I also read King's column today about the congressional show-pony hearings. No ads, for some reason; interesting stuff.
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