Author Archives: Larry@IIATMS

Free Lainer Bueno!

To understand what happened to Lainer Bueno, you need first understand a few things about clenbuterol.  Clenbuterol is a popular performance-enhancing drug, reputed to promote both weight loss and muscle gain. Clenbuterol has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Major League Baseball and (to my knowledge) every other professional sports league with its own anti-doping program. We know that this drug has been a problem in baseball — as part of his plea bargain, former Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski admitted that he’d distributed clenbuterol to dozens of baseball players.

No scientific study has ever confirmed that clenbuterol helps athletes get stronger or lose weight, but this drug does have proven effects when given to livestock. Specifically, clenbuterol is known to increase the leanness and protein content of cattle, sheep and pigs. But the practice of feeding clenbuterol to livestock is banned in most counties, since the drug can persist in meat after the treated animal is slaughtered, and meat contaminated with clenbuterol has caused cases of widespread food poisoning. …

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Expensive Truth

Let’s travel back in time together to December, 2009, when the Yankees’ last championship was still fresh in our minds. Back then, superagent Scott Boras stated that baseball teams were receiving up to $80 – $90 million in revenue sharing and central funds, and that some teams weren’t spending all this money on player salaries.  Boras later recalculated, and claimed that the revenue sharing plus central funds total was closer to $70 – $80 million.  Major League Baseball denied this, of course. MLB Executive Vice President of Labor Relations Rob Manfred said that Boras “completely made those numbers up”, that Boras’ comments “have no basis in reality” and that Boras was living in “fantasy land.”

We now know that Scott Boras was telling the truth and that Rob Manfred was lying through his teeth. In 2007, the Tampa Bay Rays received approximately $71 million in revenue sharing and from baseball’s central fund and MLB Properties. In 2009, the Florida Marlins received approximately $83 million from these same sources. …

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Yanks’ Popularity With Texas Toddlers Hits All-Time Low

Let me repeat. Gavin is three years old. I’d like to remind Gavin that his Rangers beat the Yankees in six games last fall. The team he ought to hate is the San Francisco Giants.

Gavin is only three and he does not live in Boston, so it’s possible that he possesses an open mind. I think this situation can be salvaged. I suggest that the Yanks send Jeter and A-Rod to Texas to meet with Gavin. The two sides can talk this out. Young only took Gavin to a store. Jetes and A-Rod could take Gavin to the zoo, with maybe an ice cream cone to follow.

The Yanks have the economic might to combat the Rangers to win the heart and mind of Gavin Justice-Farmer.  It’s a good cause. We’re not looking to pry Gavin away from the Rangers and Michael Young. We just want to stop the hating.

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Socialism 101

As Hank would tell us if he hadn’t been gagged by Bud Selig, socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources. You know this is true because that’s what it says in Wikipedia. From this definition, we can see that baseball is not a socialist enterprise, since we don’t have public ownership of baseball teams. All major league baseball teams are privately owned.

But, here’s a surprise: baseball is a little bit socialistic. One part of socialism is cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources. Baseball has that. As written in the Yankee Stadium bond prospectus, the Kommissar (er, I mean Commissioner) of baseball has the power to take actions he deems to be in the best interests of baseball, even if these decisions are not in the best interests of the Yankees. These decisions include the length of the season, the scheduling of games, the teams that the Yankees play against, the league where the Yankees play, and of course the sharing of revenues.…

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Simulpost: Jim Edmonds, the HOF, And Baseball’s Lost Generation

During the complete sweet spot of Edmonds’ career (1995-2005, which includes his abbreviated 1999 season where he only played in 55 games), Edmonds was among the very best in the game, ranked by cumulative WAR (from B-R.com):

Rk Player WAR Age G R H HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Barry Bonds 96.7 30-40 1449 1188 1455 449 1093 .315 .485 .684 1.168
2 Alex Rodriguez 76.0 19-29 1575 1241 1890 429 1224 .308 .386 .581 .967
3 Jim Edmonds 62.2 25-35 1475 1023 1525 326 957 .293 .388 .554 .942
4 Jeff Bagwell 56.5 27-37 1580 1171 1673 357 1147 .292 .412 .548 .960
5 Chipper Jones 55.9 23-33 1643 1099 1809 331 1111 .303 .401 .538 .939
6 Jim Thome 53.2 24-34 1526 1050 1489 400 1098 .285 .416 .577 .993
7 Ivan Rodriguez 52.3 23-33 1440 910 1770 227 863 .313 .351 .509 .860
8 Andruw Jones 51.9 19-28 1451 855 1408 301 894 .267 .342 .503 .845
9 Sammy Sosa 51.5 26-36 1582 1092 1717 493 1271 .282 .362 .575 .937
10 Manny Ramirez 50.6 23-33 1574 1123 1835 416 1349 .317 .413 .605 1.018

Any random slice of data creates issues, we acknowledge this.

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W-L, R.I.P.

If you look at Ohlendorf’s game results for 2010, you’ll see that he really didn’t pitch that badly. In 2010, Ohlendorf had 11 “quality starts” — a start where he pitched at least 6 innings and allowed no more than 3 earned runs. Of course, the quality of the “quality start” statistic is itself debated, but at least you can say that Ohlendorf pitched decently in roughly half of his starts. Ohlendorf’s Adjusted ERA+ (often simply abbreviated ERA+) was 100 in 2010, meaning that by this measure Ohlendorf pitched last year exactly at league average.  (Adjusted ERA+ looks at the number of runs a pitcher allows, and makes adjustments for the pitcher’s ballpark and the number of runs allowed by other pitchers. )

(You might think that a pitcher would have to be terribly unlucky to have compiled Ohlendorf’s peculiar statistics in 2010.  But the statistics we typically use to measure pitcher luck indicate that Ohlendorf was actually a bit lucky in 2010. 

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ESPN Simulpost: On Doping Tests And Intelligence Tests

Here are two rules for more effective drug testing, straight from Mr. Conte.  First, doping tests should occur at random.  A scheduled test deters players from doping prior to the test.  Random testing deters doping all year round.

Second, tests should be timed so that they’re most likely to detect doping.  For example … HGH is most often used at night, before bed.  So the anti-doping forces should test for HGH in the middle of the night, if they can get away with it. Otherwise, the tests should be performed first thing in the morning.  Baseball is testing minor leaguers for HGH,  after a game is over.

Not smart.

Consider anabolic steroids.  A baseball player is most likely to use anabolic steroids during the off-season, when he has both the time to complete a cycle or two of steroids use and the ability to engage in the physical training necessary to get the most from these drugs.  But baseball focuses its drug testing during the regular season.…

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Excuses, Excuses (Anti-Doping, Part 2)

We’ve heard odd doping excuses over the years, some documented here.  Let me mention a few others.  Sprinter Justin Gatlin blamed a masseuse with a grudge. Amateur cyclist Chuck Coyle blamed identity theft. Long distance runner Dieter Baumann blamed his toothpaste. Sprinter Dennis Mitchell said it was a combination of five bottles of beer and at least four sexual encounters with his wife on the same night (per Mitchell: “it was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat”).  When cyclist Frank Vandenbrouke was found with a banned substance, a drug sometimes used to treat asthma, Frank said the drug was for his dog.  Cyclist Ivan Basso used the “procrastination” excuse — when he was caught with performance enhancing drugs, he said that he was planning to dope but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

Here’s an all-time great excuse: Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor blamed his doping test result on the Cuban-American mafia.  Actually, that wasn’t his excuse. …

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