About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

54 thoughts on “Harper, Daily News, continue whisper campaign against Bautista

  1. Granderson is hitting a few. All we need now is for some "expert" to decide he's dirty..

    • No, Granderson being 2nd in the A.L. in home runs is just proof that Cano, A-Rod, and Tex aren't hitting enough home runs.

  2. I’m with Harper here. Sorry, the days of blindly accepting this sort of thing are long gone. Can anyone actually point to a player that has developed this dramatically and quickly at this point in their career who hasn’t been linked to PEDs? Have we completely forgotten the last 20 years of MLB?

    • Its not just baseball, its all sports. You have Merriman and Romanowski and others in the NFL. You have Marrion Jones and Ben Johnson in the Olympics. And if you choose to believe all the new information coming out on a daily basis, Lance Armstrong as well. I want to believe that all athletes win championships and MVP's and set records with out the help of PED's. But there is a voice in the back of my head that says "wait a minute don't take the athletes word for it". Yes there is testing, yes players get caught. But does anyone remember Gregg Anderson founded BALCO to stay ahead of drug testing? There are other people out there doing the same thing that Anderson did. As for Bautista or any other player who dramatically gets better, I hope they are clean and set records and win championships. But that voice is still there going "slow down, wait a minute"

    • Mike:

      1. Ted Kluszewski.

      2. Nate Silver says that lots of players have unusual career paths — it's more the rule than the exception.

      3. Do you imagine (putting Bautista off to the side for one moment) that the other 1,199 guys on baseball's 40 man rosters are all playing clean? I don't. But if you still suspect that there are PED users out there, then why is only one baseball player hitting home runs at Bautista's rate? If you want to try and explain Bautista, you're going to have to come up with an explanation that's unique for Bautista.

      4. You're doing what baseball fans do, and associating PED use with spikes in career performance. There's only weak logic to support you. Why not assume that PEDs can be used the other way, to help an athlete perform consistently? Look at the career of Manny Ramirez, the only baseball player in history who failed two drug tests PLUS probably failed the 2003 drug tests. Man-Ram has had a pretty damn consistent career. In cycling, Lance Armstrong's critics have said that it would be impossible to race as consistently as Armstrong — day after day, race after race — without the help of PEDs.

      5. You're working with the wrong profile for a suspected PED user. Look at the names of the guys who've flunked drug tests. In general, they're young players struggling to hang on at the MLB level. A surprising number are pitchers.

      6. You're reasoning backwards, from effects to cause, and that is always dangerous. Reasoning backwards only works if there's only one possible cause for the effect you're looking at. Here, there are other possible causes, including ones that neither of us is smart enough to identify. What's more difficult, these causes work in combination.

      7. We have drug testing for a reason. If we could detect PEDs by watching a guy hit a home run, or even by counting the number of home runs they hit, we could save a lot of money. Instead of having guys pee into cups, we could card guys to see if they're too old to produce the performances we're seeing.

      8. There's another advantage to doping tests. At some point I'll have to write a piece here on how these tests work, but with a lot of these tests, the testers do not "find" drugs in an athlete's system. Instead, the testers find a state of facts SO suspicious that they feel comfortable (using advanced statistics) saying that the athlete must have doped. So in essence, it's not necessary to catch a guy with a needle in his butt; we ARE willing to sanction a player if the suspicion surrounding that player is statistically high enough. Contrast how the doping tests work to what you're saying: you're saying that Bautista's home run production is suspicious, but you have not tried to quantify your suspicions. Do you see where this can lead? It can lead to a result like we have in cycling, where any level of success is suspicious. Think carefully about whether this is a place you'd like to go.

      9. http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2010/09/24/b….

      • Right, the Brady Anderson test pretty much falls apart on its own logic. To believe in it, you've got to assume that someone starts taking steroids, has a sudden spike in power, and then stops using them for some reason and comes back down to Earth. That's not a great analogy since Bautista is still the best hitter on the planet, but you get the idea.

      • Suspicion is not an accusation. If Bautista is clean, he should take it as a complement. He's such a good baseball player without PEDs (if he's clean) that people assume he's doping. A .552 wOBA at this point in the season is just sick. Barry Bonds on PEDs stuff. Obviously Bautista isn't even 1/2 way through the season yet so we'll see how he does, but Pujols has never had a wOBA about .462 for a season. A-Rod's career high is .449. Bonds had 4 seasons above .500, topping out at .546. What Bautista is doing right now isn't normal. That doesn't mean he's using PEDs, but let's not act like this is normal. Bonds never finished a season as well as Bautista is hitting through 1/4 of the season.

        1. Ted Kluszewski had a wOBA of .386 at 25. His career path wasn't particularly unusual. Bautista went from .330s to .422 at 29 to .552 at 30. Whether he's on PEDs or not, his career path is very unique. Perhaps there is someone comparable, but it's not really Ted Kluszewski.

        2. Unusual and going from OK to one of the best ever at 29, 30… aren't really the same.

        3. Absolutely. If he is using, I'm sure he's not the only one. Your argument is illogical, though: "why is only one baseball player hitting home runs at Bautista's rate?" Why was only Barry Bonds hitting HRs at Barry Bonds' rate when we know for a fact there were other PED users out there? No one is saying PEDs make Bautista good, just that they may be making him better if he is taking them.
        The other side of this argument is, why are you so sure that no one is using? Or that Jose Bautista can't be using?

        4. Bautista has consistently crushed the ball for 2 seasons, on a HOF pace for the first part of this season… Again I'm not saying that he IS using, but consistency is not an argument that he's not using.

        5. Perhaps because the rich players can afford the drugs and masks that allow them to pass tests? McGwire, Sosa, A-Rod, Clemens, Bonds, Pettitte, Palmeiro… not young, not barely hanging on. A lot of the most egregious users and the most competitive, hardest working guys, which makes sense.

        6. Absolutely, he may not be using. He may be, though.

        7. People get around testing. They use drugs they're not testing for and masks that clean their pee… Again: suspicion is not proof or even an accusation. If he's clean, Bautista should take the accusations that he must be taking PEDs to hit this way as a complement.

        8. Please let me know how many people believe testing will catch 100% of users.

    • "Can anyone actually point to a player that has developed this dramatically and quickly at this point in their career who hasn't been linked to PEDs?"

      But again, this is a shell-game of a circular argument. No, I can't, because anyone's who done that will have drawn speculation they used steroids. Although depending on how far back you want to go, Maris had a sudden jump in power at 26-27 that was basically gone when he turned 30.

      • Maris topped out at a .426 wOBA at 26 years old in 1961 (after .412 at 25 and .362 at 24). That'sabout in-line with Bautista's 2010 (.422 wOBA after a career high .339 in 2009), but not his start to 2011. His start to 2011 is historically good. It's a small sample and the next 3/4 of the season may not be the same (probably won't be actually), but to date he's on track to beat Barry Bonds' best wOBA. Not saying he's using, but that's suspicious.

  3. Good points, Larry (this is a different Mike). I think it's natural to be suspicious given what has happened, however I don't think it's right or fair to assume guilty until proven innocent (with no evidence or even credible accusations for that matter). Bautista is not even comparable to guys like Bonds or Armstrong in that they have multiple accusations from different sources (some probably credible, others not so much). If someone comes forward and accuses Bautista, then I think our suspicions should be [cautiously] raised. But until then, I have to assume he's playing by the rules and that starting his load and swing earlier + normal physical development has done the trick. I mean you see what Paulie pointed out last night, the guy just doesn't get cheated with his swings, even 0-2 if he makes contact he's swinging harder than ****.

    Besides, wasn't it determined that only a small % of a player's HRs would come from PED use? So maybe Bonds doesn't hit 70, but he would have still hit 50. My adjacent point would be that even if PEDs were present with Bautista, they wouldn't and couldn't explain the jump from 13 to 54 HRs.

    Out of curiosity I just checked Fangraphs… by the sweet beard of Zeus! Bautista put up 6.9 fWAR last year; he already has 4.6 WAR this year! If you assume he plays 150 games, that's something like 17+ WAR (of course that also assumes he keeps up .350 avg, 70+ HRs, and .500+ OBP). So even if he stopped playing after May, he would probably end up in the top 30 or so in fWAR. Personally, I think it's quite exciting as a fan to see a player have such a special season (as long as it doesn't interfere too much with the Yanx making the playoffs). Fangraphs has a plethora of articles on him, interesting stuff http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/is-jose-… I mean one thing that is baffling is his 5 yr $65 million contract could be the biggest bargain in history, considering he's already produced $22.5 worth of WAR this year (that just makes me laugh).

    • I just asked my friend (an astute Buccos fan) if he cringes and shakes his fist every time Bautista hits another bomb. He said, "Yes because I thought we gave up on him too soon and then gave him away for nothing (minor league catcher Robinson Diaz who they released in 2009). It's one of those times you HATE being right."

      2011: Jose Bautista: 4.6 WAR; entire Pirates team: 4.6 WAR. Ouch.

  4. I think you have confused the author saying that after the steroid era you have to be SUSPICIOUS of someone going on a tear like this for him saying he assumes Bautista is juicing. There's a huge difference there. I've read a couple of posts here, and I'm pretty shocked that ESPN would associate with this blog to be honest. Guess it says something about ESPN.

    It's there clear as day

    "it’s impossible not to be suspicious when someone suddenly starts hitting the ball to the moon in his late 20s."

    yet you still choose to misrepresent the author. The irresponsible journalist here is clearly you, and not Harper.

    • I didn't misrepresent him at all. And we'll even ignore that you're being willfully dense to the content of a multitude of MSM columns about PED use to be hyper technical in this case.

      To wit, I compared Harper to Jerod Morris, who didn't explicitly accuse Raul Ibanez of steroid use either, but merely held it out as a possible explanation for Ibanez's early 2009 power surge and used the same general "it's impossible to not be suspicious" framing Harper employs. He was flayed for it by "real journalists" in a way I guarantee Harper won't be.

      • And to be clear, I think Morris or any other non-MSM writer is just as foolish for playing that game as Harper or anyone else is.

      • I believe you did misrepresent him. You directly quote him being "suspisious" and then take that to mean "anytime there’s someone crushing home runs you don’t expect to be doing it you must necessarily assume there’s chemical hanky-panky going on." That is not what he said. He said there may be hanky-panky going on, and there absolutely may be. Testing doesn't mean you catch everyone.

        If there is a single player about whom you can be "suspicious" about PED use in all of MLB… it's Jose Bautista. All the warning signs are there, so being suspicious is the natural conclusion. Being suspicious is not accusing a player, it's wondering if they are using. If the hippy neighbor always has red eyes it may be allergies, but you're going to be suspicious that they're a stoner, no? You have to be either sure that testing catches 100% of offenders (drugs can change as fast as tests… so this is by no means assured, but who knows maybe they do catch them all) or blind not to be suspicious of Bautista. He's not just hitting HRs… his wOBA is in the mid-.500s. He's suddenly the best hitter since… Barry Bonds. Is Barry innocent of PED usage too?

        Just because the MSM does something, doesn't mean you should follow their lead. Two wrongs don't make a right. I would actually recommend looking at what the MSM does, and immediately doing the opposite.

        • "I believe you did misrepresent him. You directly quote him being "suspisious" and then take that to mean "anytime theres someone crushing home runs you dont expect to be doing it you must necessarily assume theres chemical hanky-panky going on." That is not what he said."

          Well if you want to lawyer it up, you can read it as "assume a high likelihood of steroid use," which is more or less the same think as saying there's reasonable suspicion. Interestingly enough, most people don't seem to require quite that level of hair splitting.

          "If there is a single player about whom you can be "suspicious" about PED use in all of MLB… it's Jose Bautista."

          Based on what, exactly? The totally unsubstantiated and unlikely assumption that steroids can lead to a sudden and massive surge in power?

          • A. He did not “assume a high likelihood of steroid use.” He said it’s suspicious. It is suspicious. Two players I know of not on PEDs has ever reached the offensive level Bautista is at through 1/4 of the season for a full season: Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb came close, but not quite. Mantle never reached this level for a full season, he fell 36 wOBA points shy. DiMaggio was 10 points short of that. Willie Mays never came close. Hank Aaron never came close. Pujols has never come close. Even on PEDs A-Rod never came close. Perhaps this is a once in a century ballplayer. Totally possible. It is still suspicious given what we know about PED use and player performance. Even if he’s on PEDs, this is still very, very, very impressive. Over a full season he’s probably going to fall off a bit, but it’s still extremely impressive and it’s still suspicious.

            B. What are you talking about? It is substantiated. If you really don’t think steroid use combined with weight training increases muscle mass… I’m not sure what to tell you. I’ve never studied the subject, but I’m willing to bet it’s proven scientifically. Maybe it’s just a placebo. We should ask Arnold and all those other body builders.

            Again, no clean player (that I know of) since Williams reached this level for a full season. It is suspicious that Bautista may be the first guy to do it. Even if you think he’s the most talented player ever to play baseball, it’s still suspicious. Barry Bonds was a very, very, talented baseball player. He had multiple MVPs in Pittsburgh. He didn’t reach the level Bautista is now at, though, until his skull literally grew… if you think his skull grew without HGH and all the people accusing him of using are just out to get him… that’s your choice.

    • Ted, Brien's not the only one to have reached this conclusion about the Daily News piece. Craig Calcaterra reads it the same way, and he slammed Harper a lot harder than Brien did. See http://bit.ly/lrsCSu. Even harsher than Craig is The Common Man, possibly the blog that sets the standard for all other baseball blogs. http://bit.ly/iIaoDW.

      No one ever says that Bautista is juicing. They just keep saying that it's supicious, and you have to wonder, and you gotta bring the question up. This pattern of reporting gets repeated, over and over, until the fact that the suspicions keep getting repeated itself becomes some kind of confirmation that something is wrong.

      All this for what purpose? I keep hammering the same point: to the extent that PEDs enhance baseball performance, they potentially enhance every kind of baseball performance. PEDs are out there, and there are huge holes in baseball's testing program (like that they do very little testing in the off-season). It's not irrational to be suspicious, but it is irrational to suspect any player over any other.

    • Simple analysis such as looking at his walk rate and other things show that when you take more pitches you tend to get to hit the pitches YOU want to hit. It's a shame a "credible" news source can continue to pass this along as actual news/story. I'm sure that there was never any type of change Bautista made to improve his approach at the plate. Definitely didn't change specific mechanics in his swing, or adapt to a new ballparks. He most definitely doesn't get lucky at the plate. Probably has a horrible work ethic. Most definitely isn't playing everyday.

      As a former player at a highly competitive level (college) these things happen. So yes, it's really believable that a guy just starts hitting a ton of bombs due to just getting better in general. The guy is in his prime years as an athlete. But because it's an easier story to write we'll just stick to the PED's. HE MUST BE JUICING.

      • You are incorrect. Look up his o-swing on fangraphs. Bautista is literally swinging at more balls out of the zone this season than any season in his career. His BB% jumped not because he's more patient, but because pitchers aren't giving him anything to hit. When your OPS is 560 points higher than the guy behind you in the line-up… that's what tends to happen.


        No. He MAY BE juicing. And he absolutely may. People also got mad when McGwire and Sosa were accused of using…

        • Anybody "may" be juicing. You might, I might. Anyone on a 40-man roster might be juicing. The idea that baseball player "A" "might" be juicing isn't worth talking about. But when some MSM guy starts bandying about the word "suspicious", we have a problem: "suspicious" refers to a wide range of possibility, from "we can't rule it out" to "what the hell else could it be". THAT's wnat makes it irresponsible to use a word like "suspicious" without also using more responsible words defining what you mean. A lot of people (Brien, myself, Craig Calcaterra, TCM) read "suspicious" here in context to be something very close to an accusation. Maybe all of us overreacted (though so far, you're the only one I've seen who read this piece differently), but if so the piece led itself to the interpretation we made by not defining the level of suspicion being expressed by the author.

          • It is suspicious. Here is the definition of the word via google:
            1. Having or showing a cautious distrust of someone or something.
            2. Causing one to have the idea or impression that something or someone is of questionable, dishonest, or dangerous character or condition.

            Having seen all the big HR hitters of the last era linked to steroids with a very high level of success in those linkages, yes it is suspicious for a guy suddenly hitting like Barry Bonds at 29, 30 years old. That is suspicious. If you are not suspicious you have got to have been living under a rock for the past 20 years. To not be at least suspicious is being willfully ignorant about the impacts of PEDs on baseball players and the likelihood a player hits as well as Bautista without PEDs in any given season. Suspicion doesn't mean you know he did it or you even think he did it, it just means that there's a serious chance he might have.

            I have a captious mistrust for a guy who is hitting a wOBA of .552 1/4 of the way through the season: therefore, I am suspicious. It is questionable. I question whether he is using PEDs… so, I'm suspicious. I don't care if it is someone who has a track record of success or someone like Bautista. That's a mark Barry Bonds never reached over a season.

            That you, Brien and whoever else don't know the definition of suspicious is really not my problem.

            If you guys also choose not to be suspicious of McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Brady Anderson, Roger Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, etc., etc. That's your perogative. It seems really likely that the overwhelming suspicion was warranted in those cases. In others, it might not have been.

          • "Anybody "may" be juicing. You might, I might. Anyone on a 40-man roster might be juicing. The idea that baseball player "A" "might" be juicing isn't worth talking about."

            Say you're a teacher. Any kid in your class "may" be getting abused or neglected at home. Does that mean you just ignore the warning signs one kid is presenting and assign equal probability to all? Certainly you don't call the police and child protective services over a couple of bruises… or call the parents and accuse them… but you're going to be more suspicious in the case of the kid with all the warning signs than the kid with none. You may be dead-wrong, and the kid with no warning signs is getting beaten while the other kid just bruises easily while playing with friends or whatever. You shouldn't just ignore the kid without the warning signs (or not test players who don't hit 50 HRs). You're still more suspicious that the kid with the warning signs might be abused, and given what you know on the subject you have every right to be. So long as you don't jump to conclusions in an unprofessional way… you shouldn't accuse the parents, but you might look into the subject a little.

          • Again, an absurd analogy that doesn't even begin to stand up. By your own admission, or near admission anyway, steroids couldn't explain all of Bautista's improvement, so there has to be another factor in addition. So by acknowledging the other factor (to work it into your analogy, say you know that a kid fell at recess and now he has a bad bruise) but continue to assert that it's suspicious nonetheless only works to the extent that we assume guilt or likelihood of guilt in everyone.

          • Who is being absurd here?

            I have said a dozen times that they don't explain all of his success. You are still choosing to ignore my actual points and just arguing against a strawman.

            "So by acknowledging the other factor (to work it into your analogy, say you know that a kid fell at recess and now he has a bad bruise) but continue to assert that it's suspicious nonetheless only works to the extent that we assume guilt or likelihood of guilt in everyone."

            Come on. I'm being absurd?

            We don't know where Jose Bautista's bruises came from. We can only speculate. We didn't see him fall and get all the bruises. All we know is that he went home from school for the summer with no more bruises than the average kid in class, and the next school year he started coming to school every day with the most bruises in the league then after another summer he started coming for the first semester with more bruises than we have ever seen on any human being in our lifetime. Timmy might have developed a love for some physical activity that leads to bruises… that is completely possible. He might also be getting abused, though, and with all the bruises it's more likely than with a kid with no bruises. Even if he is getting beaten at home, that's probably not where every bruise came from… after all every kid in class has some bruises throughout the school year… the more active (or clumsy or anemic or whatever) kids more so than the others. Timmy has an unusually high rate of bruising even for the most active kids we've ever had in class, though… so we are naturally suspicious. If he sees the guidance counselor, the nurse, and we have some conferences with the parents… sure we drop the suspicion down to a normal level. We haven't done any of those things, though, so we're still suspicious.

  5. Ted, Bautista is unusual whether he's using PEDs or not. That's a large part of the point I'm making. Of course I cannot know for sure, but it's my assumption that a certain number of baseball players continue to use PEDs. However, Bautista is outperforming whatever group of baseball players you might care to associate with Bautista. You might just as well credit his beard for the home runs, or the fact that his name begins with a "B". Whatever group you can think of, Bautista is outhitting them. So you cannot say that his hitting is circumstantial proof of anything.

    • Agree that he's unusual with or without PEDs. His sudden ability to hit like Barry Bonds for at least 1/4 of a season certainly points to an improvement in his game with or without PEDs.

      If a number of baseball players probably use PEDs, given what we saw in the last 20 years (McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, A-Rod… all the top HR hitters… all proven to have used or accused of using PEDs) wouldn't Jose Bautista be a prime candidate.

      " You might just as well credit his beard for the home runs, or the fact that his name begins with a "B". "

      No… this is where your argument departs with reality. PEDs generally enhance performance, that's why they are called "performance enhancing drugs." There are some bad batches that don't help, some PEDs might leave you susceptible to injury, and they're not going to magically turn a low-A flunk out into Barry Bonds. However, by and large they help you play baseball better. When someone is playing baseball better than anyone… almost ever… it is more suspicious that their performance is enhanced than if someone stinks. Doesn't mean the suspicion is founded, but it's logically there due to the circumstantial evidence available.

      Beards are not proven to add strength and boast athletic performance. PEDs generally are.

      "Whatever group you can think of, Bautista is outhitting them."

      But the group his number best match up to is guys who used PEDs or are heavily accused of using PEDs… Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, A-Rod, Manny Ramirez. I have no idea where Bautista will finish the season, but you look at the history of guys who hit for a wOBA above .450 without PEDs… it's really short. The list of guys who have done it more than likely on PEDs is longer… that is circumstantial evidence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumstantial_evide

      • If you're going to compare Bonds with Bautista, then you're putting Bautista in the very, very top level of baseball performances ever. You're up in the rare air of Bonds, Ruth and Ted Williams. The other guys you mention don't compare. We can say that perhaps something like 0.1% of PED users historically have hit like that, and maybe 0.001% of non-PED users have hit like that. Obviously, these are VERY rough numbers. But my point is that you can't reach any conclusions from these numbers. If we can say that PEDs turn one in a thousand guys into a Barry Bonds, and we then find someone else hitting like Barry Bonds, there's no reason to suspect that the guy we've found is taking PEDs.

        In order to reach conclusions with numbers like this, you have to make a second assumption, which is either that it's impossible to hit like a Barry Bonds without taking PEDs, or else that the odds of anyone hitting like Barry Bonds without PEDs are enormously high (high enough to overcome that 0.1% by a large margin). But we have Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, who hit like that without PEDs. It CAN be done. Granted, non-doping hitters don't hit like this very often, but as we've already established, doping hitters don't often hit like this either.

        I've said all I'm going to say on this post. If there's interest, I'll write more about PEDs.

        • "We can say that perhaps something like 0.1% of PED users historically have hit like that, and maybe 0.001% of non-PED users have hit like that. Obviously, these are VERY rough numbers. But my point is that you can't reach any conclusions from these numbers."

          You guesstimate that it might be 100x more likely to reach these numbers using PEDs, and people have no right to be suspicious? One thing is 100x more likely than another, but we should just assume there's a 50/50 chance of either being the case?

          "If we can say that PEDs turn one in a thousand guys into a Barry Bonds"

          PEDs don't magically turn players into Barry Bonds. They turn players into a better version of themselves. In most cases in baseball, a more powerful version. In cycling, perhaps it's blood plasma for endurance. I would guess there are PEDs with fast-twitch benefits for sprinters to take them. I'm not an expert on PEDs by any means, but the circumstantial evidence for PEDs ability to increase power is overwhelming. Look at weight lifters if you want to ignore the dozens of obvious MLB examples.

          "In order to reach conclusions with numbers like this"

          No one is trying to reach conclusions. That's where you and Brien are arguing against a strawman. Suspicion is not reaching conclusions. I am not accusing Bautista of anything let alone concluding he is using or has used. I am saying that based on 20 years of evidence, his production is suspicious.

          "But we have Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, who hit like that without PEDs. It CAN be done."

          Again… this is a reading comprehension issue on your part and Brien's part. I never once even accused Bautista of taking steroids. The quote Brien misrepresents does not accuse him let alone conclude he's using. Absolutely it can be done. Even if he's juicing I'm very impressed, if he's not I'm wowed to the point of tears. That it's suspicious does not mean he's using. It means it is suspicious. I literally gave you the definition of the word… are you still having trouble with its meaning?

          "Granted, non-doping hitters don't hit like this very often, but as we've already established, doping hitters don't often hit like this either. "

          You have literally said you think it's 100x more likely he's on PEDs than he's not. You've made my case for me. It's suspicious.

          "I've said all I'm going to say on this post. If there's interest, I'll write more about PEDs."

          No, I'm not interested. After seeing the logic you've employed here–something is 100x more likely to happen in your own estimation, yet we can't say it's even a possibility–I have no interest in reading anything you write. I am not some ignorant reader who wants to eat up whatever you spit out.

  6. "When McGwire broke the record the common refrain was that he was on creatine, nothing illegal… "

    As I recall, and I was pretty young so I may be misremembering, the story on McGwire broke when a reporter saw Andro in his locker. If that's the case, anyone saying the above would have just been wrong on the facts.

    • A reporter claiming to have seen a bottle is not indisputable evidence… It's not 1998 anymore, though. Players are not going to leave bottles of andro in their locker.

      My point is that people have made all the same arguments that guys who were using weren't… just as we can't prove Bautista is using, we can't prove he isn't. You are scolding people for even suggesting that he might be, but the opposite position is equally illogical.

      • But using that standard quite literally could encompass every good hitter from here to forever or anyone who has a power surge. So in that case, singling Bautista out for a smear-by-innuendo campaign is still grossly unfair.

        • Yeah… that's what PEDs do, so when it happens it is suspicious. You don't have to smear someone to state the obvious. It is obvious that PEDs make hitting like Bautista more likely than not using PEDs. Your colleague Larry thinks it might make it 100x more likely. Yet you guys are all in a tizzy that someone might state the obvious.

          • Please provide a link to a study indicating that there are performance enhancing drugs, be they anabolic steroids, HGH, or whatever else you like, show potential to transform a replacement level baseball player into the best hitter in the game.

            Be forewarned that I too am done with this conversation until you provide such evidence.

          • "Please provide a link to a study indicating that there are performance enhancing drugs, be they anabolic steroids, HGH, or whatever else you like, show potential to transform a replacement level baseball player into the best hitter in the game."

            I never once said this. Be forewarned that you are arguing against a strawman. I never once said that Bautista took steroids, and that alone turned him into Barry Bonds.

            There is evidence, however, that steroids increase power. That's why weightlifters who take them get bigger than weightlifters who don't.

            I am clearly right here, and instead of admitting you are wrong you choose to create a caricature of my argument. I never said PEDs took Bautista from 0 to 60. I said that the fact that he is now even at 60 is circumstantial evidence that leads to suspicion of steroid use. You are not arguing against me. You are arguing against a boggy man that doesn't actually exist.

          • I have explicitly said that I do not think PEDs alone are responsible for Bautista's success. Nor for Barry Bonds'. Not for A-Rod's. Nor for Clemens'. Clearly these guys were/are great baseball players. That you would misrepresent my argument to pretend I did is quite honestly insulting. Just like I took exception to you misrepresenting Harper's statement. This seems to be a pattern with you reading what you want to read, and willfully ignoring what is actually written.

            Bautista has improved, and I don't credit that to steroids. Larry estimates that it is 100x more likely to hit the way he's hitting on PEDs than not on PEDs. That's what I'm saying. It is suspicious. If you are 100x more likely to be weaving all over the road drunk than not drunk, the officer is going to pull you over because he's suspicious you might be drunk.

          • Alright, this is just getting tedious. You've been nothing but contrary and rude, you've insulted the site and its contributors, and as per usual you simply can't take a contrary position without being verbose and condescending. At this point your arguments are nothing but a mix of condescension, insults, and repeating the same assertions over and over while insisting that you are obviously right. There's just absolutely no point in continuing this conversation, given your comments here and your history as a commenter at RAB.

            Have a nice day.

          • And you misrepresenting my argument by painting me as having said steroids are the only thing that made Jose Bautista he able to hit a baseball is any better?

            I mean, seriously… what in the comment you responded to doesn't make sense? You built a strawman out of my argument and claimed I was obviously wrong based on a point I never made. I said as much. No where in the comment you respond to do I insult anything besides your argument.

            There are actually quite a few people who appreciate my comments on RAB and have said so in the forums… quite a few of the more respected commenters there actually. People who bullheadly make illogical statements and refuse to be reasonable… not so much.

            Your argument is literally that there is no link between PEDs and power… that's not a reasonable argument. Your argument is that being suspicious of something means you know it is going on or even think it is going on… that's not a reasonable argument. Yet, you refuse to back down and admit that you may be wrong. I will admit when I'm wrong very readily, but in this case I feel very strongly I am not wrong. Hitting like Barry Bonds brings suspicion of PED usage. Your colleague Larry has agreed in his comments by hypothesizing it may be about 100x more likely to hit like Bautista on PEDs than off them.

          • That doesn't mean you are drunk–perhaps a bee was in your car or an animal in the street so you swerved–just that the officer is suspicious due to circumstantial evidence. (Really the no-drugs analogy would work better if you are just a really bad driver sober… comparable to Bautista just being a really good hitter clean.)

            I feel like there's no reason to even discuss this with you, because you seem to have made up your mind that no one has the right to question whether any player is using steroids. Therefore you're missing all the subtleties of the discussion.

          • I will respond to this only because I appreciate the Tommy Boy reference.

            The hole in your analogy is that driving under the influence has been demonstrated to cause erratic driving, so there's reason to be suspicious that someone driving erratically may be under the influence (of course, if you pull them over and they pass a breathalyzer and field sobriety test and you're still suspicious you're getting on much flimsier ground). Since there's no evidence whatsoever that PED use, whether anabolic steroids or anything else, causes a massive increase in baseball performance, the analogy simply doesn't hold.

          • You don't have to do me any favors… Your refusal to deal with reality doesn't impact me at all.

            "Since there's no evidence whatsoever that PED use, whether anabolic steroids or anything else, causes a massive increase in baseball performance, the analogy simply doesn't hold."

            Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco… all those guys did unprecedented things some at unprecedented ages… all these guys took PEDs… I know that correlation is not causation, but the circumstantial evidence here is pretty strong.

            There is no ethical study where you can scientifically link PED use to improved baseball performance… So by your standards there is no way to ever say baseball performance is impacted by PEDs. No matter how many players perform better on PEDs than not on PEDs, there is no scientific proof. This is just not a reasonable stance to take.

            Drunk driving laws were passed because of circumstantial evidence that drunk drivers were getting into accidents (and injuring people) at a much higher rate as much as due to scientific proof that alcohol impairs driving ability. People knew alcohol impaired driving ability for a longtime, it was the stats on drunk drivers getting into accidents that prompted the laws. The analogy largely holds. There is circumstantial evidence that the guys hitting tons of HRs in the steroid era were on PEDs.

          • You're eliding the difference between "performs better" and "performs drastically better," among other things. I see no reason to pay any attention to you if you are going to leave out important adverbs while accusing me of misrepresenting someone for saying six of one is half a dozen of another.

          • ? Seriously?

            Bonds did perform DRASTICALLY better on PEDs than off PEDs, and he did so in his late 30s. The difference between Bonds best wOBA with the Pirates (which was also identical to his first with the Giants) and his 4 year peak on PEDs is like the difference between Ryan Theriot on his career and Derek Jeter on his career. The difference with his career best season is like the difference between Ronny Cedano and Derek Jeter.

            Are you really saying that there's not a DRASTIC difference between Jeter's offensive career and that of Ryan Theriot or Cedano's to date? Really? We can do the same exercises with Sosa or McGwire and we're going to get similar results.

            If you think 20 HRs or 100 points in wOBA is not drastic… I don't know what to tell you.

  7. I'm not splitting hairs… I'm reading the words on the paper for what they are. You are reading between the lines and assuming that by "suspicious" he actually meant something else. Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn't. Just like perhaps Bautista has or is using, perhaps he hasn't and isn't. Unless you get it straight from Harper's mouth that Bautista is using, you're doing the same thing to him you accuse him of doing to Bautista. The inconsistency there bothers me.

    The fact is that after the steroid era, when someone hits the way Bautista is hitting it is logical to be suspicious of steroid use. It is not logical to banty about accusations or conclude that he could not be hitting tihs way without PEDs. Just to suspect that he could be using steroids. They say that 12% of regular gym goers use HGH… if MLB matches that population, then just about 1 guy in ever line-up is using statistically speaking. Given what we saw in the steroid era, it seems likely the guys hitting the most HRs are more likely to be using… because guys hit unprecedented #s of HRs in the steroid era. You can ignore it, but not one player ever before hit as many HRs as McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds hit on PEDs. There is some link between huge HR #s and steroids. That doesn't mean every guy who hits a HR is on 'roids…

    Harper is absolutely right to point out that this is suspicious. You are reading between the lines and assuming he doesn't mean it's suspicious (which it is), he actually means Bautista is necessarily taking steroids. You are inferring that. It's not there in the words on the paper. That you choose to willfully ignore the impact PEDs have on baseball players and do not know the meaning of the "suspicious" (which I define below, via google)… that's a you issue. That Larry unprompted estimates Bautista is 100x more likely to be using than not using and still sides with you… that's a Larry issue. Most reasonable people would be suspicious of whether Bautista is using steroids. That doesn't mean they know he is using or accuse him of using, they are just suspicious. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not splitting hairs… it's black and white. Either you accuse him of using, or you don't. Perhaps Harper is accusing him, perhaps he's not. Without asking him, I don't see why you accused him for accusing Bautista. If you can't see how you are doing the same thing to him you accuse him of doing to Bautista… I'm not sure what to say.

    • Again, when you strip this all away you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. If you're not willing to say there's a reasonably high likelihood Bautista used steroids, how exactly do you claim to be suspicious? If there's little to no likelihood he did, then you're just laying bare that your stated suspicions have little to no backing and are more than likely unfounded.

      This is what we call "six of one, half dozen of another," and you're playing the part of the guy who insists that saying "six" is different than saying "half a dozen."

      • I am willing to say that there is a higher likelihood that Bautista is using steroids than the average player. There is a high likelihood he did in all probability… if you figure that maybe 10% of MLB players still use–guessing, but that's a bit less than the # of gym goers in the US who use HGH (12%)–then there's a very good chance he's using… like 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 maybe. If you want to peg the number of players using and still passing tests at more like 1%… then sure there's little chance he's using. I have no idea what the number is, so I have no idea what the likelihood is. Rather than pretend that I do know… I just say that he's more likely than average. Possibly the most likely in all of MLB.

        More importantly, I am willing to say that I am suspicious that he may have used/be using PEDs… which is what you jumped all over Harper for saying.

        There is a ton of backing… like 20 years worth, and in another sense 150 years worth. You choose to ignore it because there is no scientific study specifically linking PEDs to baseball performance. As I've said… only Nazi doctors could even attempt to perform such a study. It is just unethical to pump subjects full of drugs and no non-human animal can play baseball. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, but you'd rather turn a blind eye.

  8. "there's a lot more that go into hitting home runs than just strength."

    I never said differently. In fact, I have said that exact same thing multiple times.

    "So if they're correct, there must necessarily be something else that explains the vast majority of Bautista's improvement even if he is using PED's, and by accepting that premise the increase in performance alone isn't enough to justify suspicion of PED use. "

    Again… you are arguing against a strawman. Please actually bother to read my comments. I've said this a bunch of times. Yes, I agree. I never once disagreed.

    The disagreement is only about how you quantify "the vast majority."

    Take Barry Bonds. He, unlike Bautista, was a great player throughout his career. From his early 20s on. He had two 10 fWAR seasons for the Pirates. Perhaps he was already juicing then, but we know for sure that his skull grew after that… He hit 46 HRs his first season in SF, 1993. That's a whole lot of HRs. His wOBA for two seasons in a row was .469. That's really good. Great really. When his head was literally growing and people make pretty well founded accusations he was using, he hit 73 HRs (despite not being pitched to much) and had 4 seasons in a row with a wOBA above .500. This came from his 36-39 year old seasons. A time when non-PED players tend to be declining or hitting their par… not getting substantially better. I can't prove that the PEDs helped Bonds… but it seems pretty damn likely. When you couple it with the other guys hitting unprecedented HR numbers on PEDs… it gets pretty overwhelming.

    The fact that Bautista was never all that good and now hits like only someone on PEDs has since Ted Williams and before that since Babe Ruth… yeah, that's suspicious. Doesn't mean he didn't change his swing, work harder, lift more, eat healthier, gain from experience, hit his prime, improve his eye-sight, start recognizing pitches better… whatever else he did to improve. Maybe he did those things (I have no idea). It's still more suspicious that he took steroids than it would be if his wOBA weren't in the mid-.500s.

    In a response to Larry below I make an analogy to a teach. Every kid in your class could be abused at home. You should keep an eye on all of them. If one kid is showing an unusually high number of signs, though, that doesn't mean you should ignore them and continue to put that kid in the same probability category as everyone else. You should be suspicious. You shouldn't accuse the parents or go to the cops, but surely you should be suspicious and do whatever it is you're supposed to do in that situation. Likewise, MLB should keep testing all players and no one should accuse Bautista without some proof outside of just his production at the plate. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be suspicious, though. The circumstances are such that a higher level of suspicion is justified with Bautista then with Joe Baseball, the average MLBer.

    • "The fact that Bautista was never all that good and now hits like only someone on PEDs has since Ted Williams and before that since Babe Ruth… yeah, that's suspicious."

      No, it's unusual. And you're pretty much just made the point for me. With Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc. you have good-great power hitters who became great-legendary home run hitters. Bautista was a replacement level hitter who is now the best hitter in the game. That's a wholly different situation than Bonds et. al.

      And if you accept that steroids can't possibly be solely responsible for the change, than the increase in performance alone can't be grounds for *justified* suspicion.

      • It is not a different situation, because he reached a level that has historically been reached by a far higher proportion of players on PEDs than players not on PEDs. Again… look at Larry's point. He guesstimates .01% of PED users could hit like Bautista and .001% of non-PED users (not concerned with the actual %s, just the increased probability for a PED user). He says that it is far more likely for someone to hit like that on PEDs than not on PEDS, therefore, (he doesn't say this, I say this) it is perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of someone hitting like Bautista. It is literally 100x more likely he's on PEDs than not on PEDs according to your colleague… I never even went as far as to say it is more likely he is than isn't, just that it's more likely he is than the average MLB player. Larry went to a whole different level by saying historically he's (guesstimatedly) 100x more likely to be doping than to not be doping. Obviously Larry was just throwing out numbers, but it shows that there's a reason to be suspicious. It doesn't show that Bautista is doping or that we should blindly accuse him of such. This whole argument comes down to the difference between being suspicious of something and accusing someone of something.

        Again, I never said the increase alone… you continue to misrepresent my points. I seriously (not insulting you, really being honest here) question your reading comprehension. The level at which he is hitting justifies the suspicion. That's always been my point. Why do you keep creating a strawman to argue with by saying my point is something that it's not? This is exactly where my comments started… you doing the same thing to Harper. You still don't seem to understand the concept of suspicion. Or if you do you are confident there is no link between power and PEDs. I don't know what to say at this point.

        • You're citing me to support you? When you've already said that I'm not worth reading on this point? Then one of two things is possible: either (1) you've misunderstood me (my own personal belief, but since I'm not worth reading on this point, my belief isn't going to carry much weight with you), or (2) I've accidentally said something you think is true, but only because I meant to say something else and I misspoke. In either event, if you think that anything I've said supports your point of view here, you're mistaken.

  9. Seriously, Ted troll Nelson, the basis here is the irresponsible journalism. To throw out the blanket accusation and hide behind the word "suspicion" is trash.