More on the Mitchell Report

by thoughtfulconservative

How much do steroids help? While this columnist from the Spartanburg paper uses Eric Gagne as an example to say not much, this professor in the San Diego Union Tribune gives a differing opinion.

“Basic mechanics and physiology, combined with simple but reasonable models, show that steroid use by a player who is already highly skilled could produce such dramatic increases in home run production,” writes Roger Tobin in the January issue of the American Journal of Physics. “Even modest changes in bat speed can increase the proportion of batted balls that result in home runs.”

And for pitchers,

Tobin says pitchers can increase their fastball velocity by 4 to 5 mph and decrease their ERA by about .5 runs per game. “That,” Tobin writes, “is enough to have a meaningful effect on the success of a pitcher, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the effects on home run production.”

Which brings us again to Gagne, a recent acquistion by the Brewers. Under “Viewpoint” in the Sidelines of Saturday’s Waukesha Freeman, Tony Mooren, like me, wonders what Gagne will be capable of,

Eric Gagne, practically the world’s best reliever in 2002, 2003 and 2004, suddenly saw his game go south.

Uh, let’s see now, that southern turn would have been in 2005.

And that just so happened to coincide with the year Major League Baseball got its anti-performance-enhancing drug thing going.

And now Gagne’s taken his game north – to the Milwaukee Brewers for a mere $10 million for one year.

This is not a good thing for Brewers fans who might be hoping he regains the form that earned him 152 saves with 365 strikeouts in 247 innings those three good years but only 25 saves and 127 whiffs in 117 innings in the three seasons since.

Gagne will be 32 years old in January – and should be in his prime – and should have been in his prime the past three seasons.

But he allegedly had help those three seasons. And it’s not the kind of help he likely can get again. It would be nice to see him do well on his own. But don’t count on it.

Which Eric Gagne did the Brewers get? The unbeatable closer of the LA Dodgers? Or the guy who could barely get an out toward the end of the year with the Red Sox?

Unfair? Sure. One writer calls the report “The Radomski Report” because,

Without [Kirk] Radomski, the Mitchell Report is largely a recitation of doping charges that the public already knew and a list of recommendations with little punch. With Radomski, Mitchell had access to one of the primary sources of performance-enhancing drugs for dozens of players – backed by checks, money orders, mailing receipts, address books and telephone records.

In all, 53 of the 85 major league players cited for drug use in Mitchell’s 311-page report are directly or indirectly linked to the 37-year-old from Lindenhurst, N.Y. [emphasis mine]

A couple of more for this post. First from Dan LeBatard at th Miami Herald, also in Saturday’s Freeman, albeit the electronic version,

Thursday’s big winners? Jose Canseco, telling the truth even as his entire sport turned into a lie. Imagine that. The guy dancing around in a Speedo on The Surreal Life was the most credible guy in the room. And Barry Bonds, who is less alone today even after being named in Mitchell’s pages. Now we know that just about everyone throwing toward Bonds was evidently on steroids, too. And that a whole mess of hitters were using steroids, but only one of them was breaking the home-run records.

And from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune, also in Saturday’s Freeman,

Everybody involved with Major League Baseball wants to move forward, from steroids investigator George Mitchell to the guys in charge of washing uniforms. Of course they do. Moving forward connotes action. It means rolledup sleeves. Getting things done. Solutions.

But must there be the squealing of tires as they drive away?

…Allow us to turn and behold the damage that was done. Tainted records. Widespread fraud. Lost faith. Dangerous examples.

More than a few high school kids now believe steroids aren’t such a bad route to fame and fortune. It is estimated that at least 3 percent of high school athletes use steroids. Ah, but that’s probably somebody else’s high school team, you say. Not your kid’s teammates. Or your kid. Couldn’t be.

Right, let’s move forward.

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