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Gaylord Perry and Bud Selig's comedy routine

Mar 15, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

Bud Selig was at Giants’ camp over the weekend:

Just as Selig prepared to leave, Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, in town
for a series of Giants functions, ambled into the room. Greeting Selig,
the 71-year-old Perry jokingly said, “I want the rules changed so I can
make a comeback!”

Playfully rubbing Perry’s shoulder and cap — areas where the 314-game
winner may have concealed greasy kid stuff to throw his notorious
spitball — Selig responded, “What rules need to be changed?”

Said Perry, “I think you know!”

I think it’s great that the Commissioner and Perry can joke about cheating to gain a competitive advantage.  Maybe if Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds “ambled” and joked more they’d get into the Hall of Fame just like Perry did.

  1. Glenn - Mar 15, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Comparing a spitball (Gaylord Perry) that a reasonably competent umpire should have detected with steroids (Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire) that a reasonably competent commissioner should have detected? C’mon.

  2. Brian - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    I was going to post that I’ve mentioned this in past conversations I’ve had and the response is always that Perry’s cheating wasn’t as egregious and that it was the umpire’s failure to catch him. But that has already been made moot!
    Good thing Gaylord Perry didn’t break any home run records.

  3. JE - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    MLB’s vendetta against Bonds notwithstanding, Craig, illegal/unsupervised steroid use is still dangerous to the user. The spitball is not.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    You cannot be serious, J.E.
    Do you know how dirty baseballs are?

  5. Robert - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    I’m so sick of these arguments. Hopefully you’re just being contrarian and don’t actually believe that spitting on a baseball is comparable to shooting illegal and potentially harmful substances up your ass.
    Yes, technically they’re both cheating. The difference is Gaylord Perry may have inspired thousands of kids to spit on baseballs, while Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire may have inspired thousands of kids to do something that can ruin your liver and cause premature heart attacks (or get you arrested). There’s some comedy in the former, not so much in the latter.

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    I’m so sick of these arguments. Hopefully you’re just being contrarian
    and don’t actually believe that spitting on a baseball is comparable to shooting illegal and potentially harmful substances up your ass.
    1) You don’t shoot steroids “up your ass.” That totally wouldn’t work. At least not for what you’re trying to accomplish.
    2) Yes, I’m being contrary. I’m allowed to have a little fun, aren’t i?

  7. scatterbrian - Mar 15, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    I read this post and sort of assumed everyone would be on the same page and understand that cheating is cheating. It is daylight savings, so maybe some of you needed that extra hour?

  8. Luis - Mar 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    The debatable negative effects of steroids are completely irrelevant to the point being made. Craig is (for the millionth time) pointing out the blatant and downright offensive hypocrisy of the prevalent “He cheated the game!” argument for keeping guys like Bonds and McGwire out of the Hall of Fame, when someone like Gaylord Perry can fucking joke around with the commissioner of the sport about how much he cheated back in his day and wind up in the Hall of Fame without many people so much as batting an eye. It doesn’t mean the two behaviors are morally equivalent, just ethically so (at least within the confines of an official and sanctioned professional baseball game).
    .
    And for the love of all that is good and holy, shut the fuck up about the children.

  9. JE - Mar 15, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Now it’s my turn, Craig: are you serious? ;-)

    Are you really equating a single batter’s death from 90 years ago (poor lighting, no batting helmet) to anabolic steroids abuse (liver damage, heart disease, etc.)?

    And to be clear: Selig ought to be crucified for blackballing Bonds after the ’07 season.

  10. Old Gator - Mar 15, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    So Bonds ambles in an asks Selig to change the rules, and Selig rubs Bond’s tushy as he bends over and asks, which rules Bobby?

  11. Robert - Mar 15, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    The “debatable” negative effects aren’t debatable to me, as I work in an industry famous for steroid use and have witnessed the effects firsthand. Regardless, your outrage over this incident belies the fact that Hall of Fame voting is a highly subjective, imperfect process to begin with. The voters are free to weigh the comparative evils of spitballs and doping, and it seems most have come to the conclusion that one is worse than the other. The reason few share your outrage is because the average person understands the distinction between the two. Time to get over it.

  12. Bear - Mar 15, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    So Bonds ambles in an asks Selig to change the rules, and Selig rubs Bond’s tushy as he bends over and asks, which rules Bobby?
    Bobby?

  13. Anon - Mar 15, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    This is not contrarian – what Perry did was just as bad, if not worse, than PEDs. Let’s be consistent in our moralizing, people. Bonds and McGwire “cheated” (I’ll concede that term for the sake of this argument) to get a competitive advantage. Perry cheated to get a competitive advantage. There is absolutely no difference, and it’s a disgrace that Perry is in the Hall of Fame and Bonds isn’t.

  14. Luis - Mar 15, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    I don’t particularly care about what you perceive to “have witnessed…firsthand.” Oddly enough, I too work in an industry with fairly strong ties to steroid use. The scientific evidence to back up the various claims that get thrown around about the physical effects of anabolic steroid use is thin at best. Regardless, that really wasn’t my point.
    .
    The point is that the behavior in question is incredibly hypocritical. Sure, I suppose the baseball writers guilty of this hypocrisy, as well as the voters themselves, are free to be hypocrites…that doesn’t make it any less offensive. Though “outrage” is probably going a bit far. I’m not sure I could really care less about the HoF than I currently do. The problem is people like you who are incapable of clearly defining an argument. Besides the fact that your use of the word “evil,” as well as your previous invocation of “the children,” is reason enough to suspect you’re a little over the top in your anti-steroids hysteria, the relative immorality involved in shooting up vs. spitting on a baseball is, as I said before, irrelevant to the current discussion.
    .
    It’s a question of intent. As another poster so plainly put it: cheating is cheating. It’s not really that hard a concept to wrap your head around. If someone wants to argue that Bonds and his ilk should be demonized because they’re evil people or because they’re infecting our children, well that’s an argument. A stupid argument, but an argument nonetheless. If you want to argue that they should be blackballed because they “cheated the game!!” while not even considering whether this same action should be taken against known (and admitted, somewhat proudly in Perry’s case) spitballers or amphetamine users or any of the other cheaters littered throughout this great game’s history, well then you really don’t have much of a serious argument at all.

  15. Floyd - Mar 15, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    I think that George Brett should be tossed out of the Hall of Fame.
    After all, as the various commentators have wisely pointed out, cheating is cheating. There is no absolutely difference between one act of cheating and another, regardless of the degree of cheating or the deleterious effects on baseball. That incident with the bat and the pine tar was absolutely egregious, and should be treated as such.

  16. Anon - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Floyd, if George Brett spent most of his career gaining a competitive advantage by using too much pine tar, he probably should be tossed out of the HOF. At least if we’re going to be consistent.
    I’m just not sure who gets to decide which cheating is really CHEATING – or, in your words, which cheating has a deleterious effect on baseball – and which cheating is simply gamesmanship, or part of the unwritten rulebook, of whatever other kind of label you want to give it. Everyone can read a rulebook. Not everyone, and not even every player, could figure out the ins and outs of the unwritten rulebook.
    It’s not even consistent per type of cheating. McGwire and Bonds are pariahs because they used steroids. But Andy Pettitte isn’t. Why? They did the same thing. McGwire gets destroyed because he claims he only used ‘roids to help him heal faster. Why would McGwire think the media and the public would accept this nonsense? Maybe because Pettitte spent an entire news conference claiming THE EXACT SAME THING last year, and everyone congratulated him on his “honesty,” and decided to move on.
    This is the problem with unwritten rules. If you’re going to moralize about ‘roids, you have to moralize about all kinds of cheating. And if you’re not willing to do the latter, then shut up about ‘roids.

  17. Michael - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    C’mon guys, cheating is either cheating or it’s not.
    At least everyone was using ‘roids. The spitball was an unfair advantage.

  18. Robert - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Yes, Luis, my use of the term “comparative evils” indicates that I consider both steroid use and spitballs to be evil. Preacher Roe and Ken Caminiti are burning in hell next to Adolf Hitler as we speak. Meanwhile you’re the one using terms like “downright offensive” while discussing a man who rubbed Vaseline on a baseball.
    I never said Bonds should be demonized, or even that he should be kept out of the Hall of Fame, I said your expectation that the topic of spitballs be treated as seriously as steroid use is absurd. The fact that Perry openly admitted to doctoring the ball while almost all known steroid users were outed kicking and screaming just underscores that point.
    Lastly, I only mentioned “the children” once to underscore why one matter is treated more playfully than the other. I knew that would invite the same backlash of talking points you trotted out, but sorry, I’d rather have my kid take up Perry’s habits than Bonds’, and we’re all (even Selig) within our rights to take that into consideration.

  19. mike - Mar 16, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    No, it’s disgraceful that Perry IS in the Hall of Fame as a known cheater. It’s PROPER that Bonds isn’t.

  20. mike - Mar 16, 2010 at 6:33 AM

    I fail to understand why steroids aren’t unanimously considered worse than spitballs or pine tar or anything directly related to simply breaking the rules of the GAME. Steroids are illegal and have been since the early 1970’s. If one of us Joe Averages were caught with these things we’d be arrested and subjected to huge fines and jail terms. So to hell with these Major Leaguers who take the juice and are given a free pass by everyone including our judicial system. If McGwire admitted to killing someone after the fact, he’d be on trial for murder. Now THAT’S inconsistency.

  21. Ray Steele - Mar 16, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    Sheesh, Craig, you should know better than to attempt humor on a baseball board.
    The steroids “up your ass” comment made me think of the South Park where everyone decided to shove food up their asses to see if they would crap out of their mouths. What would come out of the mouth if roids went up your ass?
    http://braveslifer.wordpress.com

  22. Luis - Mar 16, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Ugh. I’m not sure why I’m bothering with this anymore, when you continue to display a clear lack of ability to participate in a coherent argument. I’m going with that over poor reading comprehension, as you certainly seem to display at least a respectable level of education. Anyway, to clarify:
    .
    1) I was questioning your use of the word “evil” itself, as I feel it’s sort of sensationalist and has no place in a discussion of steroid use. Go read the previous post; nowhere did I accuse you of considering spitballs to be “evil” or of equating them morally with steroid use.
    .
    2) My use of the term “downright offensive” had absolutely nothing to do with Perry or spitballs. Again, try actually reading what I wrote. It’s the blatant and unapologetic hypocrisy of those who chastise one form of cheating while abiding numerous others than I find offensive. If people want to moralize, I guess that’s their right; but they damn well better be consistent.
    .
    3) I never accused “you” of demonizing or wanting to demonize PED users. I pointed out that those who choose to do that sort of thing based on moral grounds are making one kind of argument, which is different from the HoF argument currently being discussed.
    .
    4) As for the children thing: fair enough. It’s possible I read too much into that, but you’ll have to excuse my hair trigger with that sort of thing, as it’s one of the most commonly used devices by anti-steroids crusaders, and a cheap one at that, and elicits nothing but contempt from me.
    .
    I hope things are a bit clearer to you now. Truly. I take no pleasure in pointing out your logical and analytical failings…if anything, I find this whole exercise exasperating.
    .
    Of course, it’s hard for me to let it slide when, in the brilliant words of xkcd, “Someone is wrong on the internet.”

  23. Robert - Mar 16, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    If you subscribe to the “cheating is cheating” argument, then yes, Selig is guilty of being inconsistent, but not everyone sees it in such black and white terms. It’s the same reason a couple parking tickets wouldn’t keep a player from winning the Roberto Clemente Award, while a drunk driving conviction very likely would.
    And my reading comprehension is just fine; I wish you could comprehend the fact that not everyone shares your outrage about this incident and tone down the douchier aspects of your posting persona.

  24. Luis - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Just won’t stop digging that hole for yourself, eh?
    .
    Also, regarding your surely well-intentioned and eloquently-put advice: if my contempt for the feeble machinations of those ill-equipped to mount a cogent argument bleeds through, well, so be it. Isn’t anonymous, smug one-upmanship what the internet is all about?

  25. Robert - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    I suppose it is, but repeatedly declaring oneself the winner of the argument is lame even on the internet. Try letting your scintillatingly cogent arguments speak for themselves sometime. Goodnight and good luck.

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