Author Archives: Larry@IIATMS

Pettitte and HGH

Did Pettitte Cheat?

Here’s what we know: in December of 2007, baseball released the Mitchell Report, detailing a lengthy investigation into the use of PEDs by Major League Baseball players. The report identified 89 baseball players who were alleged users of PEDs, including Andy Pettitte. But this list was by no means comprehensive. The players discussed by name in the Mitchell Report were those implicated in the BALCO investigation, and those named by trainers Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee. The Mitchell Report stressed that “[t]he illegal use of [PEDs] was not limited to the players who are identified in this report.”

The Mitchell Report contained a discussion of Pettitte’s use of HGH, which was based on information provided by trainer Brian McNamee. According to the report, Pettitte was on the disabled list with elbow tendonitis from April 21 to June 14, 2002.  During this time, Pettitte contacted McNamee and asked him about human growth hormone.  McNamee then travelled to Tampa at Pettitte’s expense and spent about ten days assisting Pettitte during his rehabilitation. …

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When A Trip To The Gas Station Goes Wrong (Part I of a Series on Anti-Doping)

O.J. Mayo recently received a 10-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-doping rules.  Mayo tested positive for DHEA, a legal over-the-counter supplement that is supposed to be a testosterone booster and is banned by the NBA (but not by Major League Baseball).   Mayo’s excuse? He claims that there was DHEA in an energy drink he bought at a gas station, and that he had “no idea” that DHEA was a prohibited substance. In his own words:

It’s not like I went to a GNC and got some kind of Muscle Armor or something. Or ordered some supplement off the Internet or anything … A local gas station got me hemmed up. I’ve definitely got to make better decisions. I admit to my mistake, and it’s something I’ve got to deal with.

Props to O.J.!  We’ve had athletes who’ve claimed that they failed doping tests because they took a vitamin B-12 shot, or drank bourbon, or ate a bad steak or flaxseed oil, or kissed a girl in a bar, or were attacked by a girl in a bar, or had a vanishing twin in the womb.…

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Lovefest

[The Yankees are] always the favorite. C’mon, they’re the New York Yankees, they’re in the biggest market in the world … We’re happy to be those guys they worry about looking over their shoulder. I don’t know, if it was anyone but Cashman I’d say there was some gamesmanship in it, but in this case I think he was saying something he believes. I hope he has respect for us because we have plenty of it for them.

In baseball terms, that’s a nice, big, wet kiss returned right back at ya’, Empire!

Mmm. All this sweetness is giving me a tummy ache. Anyone care to give us an antacid?  How about you, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein?

Anything GMs say at this time of year is purely for your [reporters'] benefit to fill space. I don’t think a lot about what I say, [Brian Cashman] probably doesn’t think a lot about what he says, it’s all just to make sure you guys get to work 12 months out of the year.

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The Accidental Budget

My best guess is that the Yankees will end up with an Opening Day payroll of around $206 million.

So, here’s our headline: the Yankees are holding the line on spending — in their own way.  The Yankees have the largest payroll in baseball, but this payroll has remained relatively constant for the last 7 years.  Since 2005, the Yankees’ opening day payroll has averaged around $203 million, never exceeding this amount by more than $10 million.

The Yankees’ spending restraint can be seen in the team’s “luxury tax”, the penalty the Yankees have to pay each year as a result of exceeding spending limits set forth in baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.  In 2010, the Yankees’ luxury tax bill was “only” $18 million – the Yankees’ lowest tax amount since the inception of the tax in 2003 (when the Yankees were paying tax at a lower rate).

OK, sure.  If the Yankees had signed Cliff Lee, their opening day payroll would be at or above the record $230 million figure I projected late last year. …

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Chastised, but Not Discouraged: More on ‘Roids, Greenies and Public Perception

Let’s recap.  Earlier this week I wrote a post reacting to the ongoing debate over whether anabolic steroids users should be barred from baseball’s Hall of Fame.  I noted that most Hall of Fame voters have opposed the admission of any baseball player who has confessed to anabolic steroid use, or who has tested positive for anabolic steroid use.  This anti-steroids stand (what I referred to in my original piece as “Zero Tolerance”) has been expanded to include players who are suspected of having used anabolic steroids.

In response, writers such as Rob Neyer have argued (persuasively, I think) that it’s illogical and nonsensical to bar all steroids users from the Hall of Fame.  Rob makes a number of arguments in support of his view that I think are persuasive, but one of his arguments struck me the wrong way: Rob argued that the Hall of Fame is already populated with baseball players who used amphetamines to enhance performance.  If the Hall of Fame is already full of likely amphetamine users, then in Rob’s view we cannot logically take a different stand regarding anabolic steroids users. …

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‘Roids and Greenies

(An aside: it is crazy to think that baseball’s “Steroids Era” began as late as 1994, and ended as early as 2004.  Anabolic steroids were used in baseball long before 1994.  As Craig Calcaterra recently reminded us, Congress first linked anabolic steroids to baseball back in 1973U.S. weightlifters were using anabolic steroids in the 1950s; football players were using anabolic steroids in the early 1960s.  It’s silly to imagine that baseball players took 30 years to catch up with performance-enhancing athletes in other sports. It’s equally silly to assume that anabolic steroids disappeared from baseball with the advent of drug testing in 2005.  Rest assured, any baseball player who wants to use anabolic steroids can continue to do so, with little or no risk of failing a drug test.  More on this in a later post.)

I include in the Tolerance Camp some of my favorite baseball writers, including Jayson Stark, Rob Neyer and Craig Calcaterra.   …

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Is The Gap Shrinking Between Baseball’s Rich and Poor?

1.      Teams That Made (and did not make) the Playoffs.  As we’ve already noted, the 2010 baseball season was a bad year for money.   Of the top ten revenue teams in baseball, only three (the Yankees, Phillies and Giants) made the playoffs.  A large number of rich and (usually) successful teams missed the post-season in 2010: the Red Sox, Angels and Cardinals were replaced in the playoffs by the lower revenue Rays, Rangers and Reds.  We’ve discussed it before: there’s substantial revenue to be earned in the post-season.  When only three of the top revenue teams make it to the post-season, that shifts revenue from baseball’s rich to baseball’s poor.

2.      Financial Reverses At The Top.  When we say that 2010 was a bad baseball year for money, we’re not only thinking about results on the field.  The Red Sox saw their TV ratings drop, which probably hurt their bottom line.  The Mets, Dodgers and Cubs saw declines in home attendance, which certainly hurt their bottom line.…

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Cliff Lee’s Worth (The “No Panic” Edition)

To start, let me express my gratitude to Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, who has written a series of posts using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistic to value the deals made this off-season with Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and others. Cameron is a guru of WAR, so I feel comfortable following his approach in examining the Yankees’ offer to Cliff Lee. Cameron has valued the current crop of free agent deals at $5 million per each WAR to be added by the free agent in question. Looking at this in simplest terms, Cliff Lee has produced about 7 WAR over the past three years, making him worth about $35 million for each of those years.

(Does $5 million per WAR seem high to you? It seems high to me, too. But most experts value WAR in free agency at between $4 and $5 million per WAR. Cameron has estimated a dollars per WAR figure that has been steadily growing towards $5 million per WAR.

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