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The difference between good cheating and bad cheating

Aug 5, 2010, 1:45 PM EDT

USA Today’s Christine Brennan on A-Rod, in a column which argues that A-Rod’s PED use should cause Major League Baseball to dock him home runs:

During those three tainted seasons in Texas, A-Rod hit
more home runs than in any other three-year period of his 17-year
career: 52 in 2001, 57 in 2002 and 47 in 2003. (Are there really still
people out there who think performance-enhancing drugs don’t affect home
run totals?)

So, the years he admitted to cheating yielded 156 home runs. From there, we can do the math: 600 minus 156 equals 444.

USA Today’s Christine Brennan on the New England Patriots’ video tape cheating scandal from a few years ago:

But no one should be surprised. There’s cheating in the NFL? That’s
news? Wouldn’t it be more newsworthy if there were no cheating in the
NFL? New England, in particular, has developed a bit of a history for
this kind of antic. Once every 25 years, the Patriots produce a head
coach who decides that he must use all the technology available to him
to win a football game.

I could not find any sentiment on Brennan’s part to deprive the Patriots of their Super Bowl titles back then.  I’m curious as to what has changed.

  1. Tim's Neighbor - Aug 5, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Burn.

  2. JBerardi - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    “(Are there really still people out there who think performance-enhancing drugs don’t affect home run totals?)”

    Are there really still people in the world waiting for one shred of empirical evidence that this is the case? Yes, yes there are.

  3. Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Christine Brennan is up there with Jon Heyman on the “People who make me embarrassed of my Northwestern degree.” Still undecided on Joe Girardi.

  4. Christian - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    There was a really good post on this article over at FireRickReilly. It’s just kind of mind boggling that a supposedly educated person could write that (even if we ignore the Patriots hypocrisy).

  5. Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Also on that list is me for being incapable of properly-completed sentences. *facepalm*

  6. geoknows - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    So let’s see…If Brennan is suggesting that we subtract all of A-Rod’s 156 home runs hit between 2001 and 2003, doesn’t that mean that she believes that without PEDs he would have hit exactly zero home runs during those years? Seems a little extreme to me.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Yeah, I agree that there is evidence of PEDs helping home run total rise…otherwise, why would there be so many home runs hit in the last 15-20 years? Guys just got better? Pitching just got that much worse? Puh-leeze. However, you can’t dock him all of his home runs because you still have to assume he would have hit his career average, minus those three years. It would be STUPID to dock anyone their home runs, as you can’t tell just how much home run totals were affected. Just saying “They helped” isn’t enough. Stupid concept and stupid article all the way around.

  8. Saints97 - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Is he really the only guy in MLB that had his top HR years at the Ballpark in Arlington?
    We should erase all homers hit there, too.

  9. Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Exactly.

  10. The Ol Goaler - Aug 5, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    While I continue to cry in the wilderness (or Jonesboro, Arkansas, to be specific), “Yeah, but how many PITCHERS were “juicing”??? A stronger (faster) pitcher throwing to a stronger batter means more MPH off the barrel of the bat; which translates to more home runs. Ballpark factors? It’s easier to hit homers in (parts) of Fenway, Houston, Arlington, Philadelphia, Wrigley (with the wind blowing out), and so on… but let’s ignore that to rant and rave about “cheaters”. Anybody else remember “scuffball” pitchers and corked bats?

  11. bgrant - Aug 5, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    That http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/brennan/2010-08-04-alex-rodriguez-asterisk_N.htm link would make a good The Onion headline. Looks like a sports writer who is a bit behind in A-Rods HR count, but still considers #444 to be a milestone HR:).

  12. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 5, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Of course, none of the pitchers ARod (or anyone else) hit against were dirty. Not a one. Nope. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nil. Null set.

  13. Joe - Aug 5, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Those years were also during his age 26-28 seasons. Odd time for someone to peak, don’t you think?
    Oh, wait. It’s exactly the right time for someone to peak!

  14. Jonny5 - Aug 5, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    So she want his totals for 3 years to be wiped out completely? Seriously though, everyone does hate a-rod. There’s more proof of that than what the Feds ever held against the guy.

  15. Jaxeagle - Aug 5, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    What an idiot, I’ll still waiting for the PED that improves the hand eye coordination that it takes to hit a baseball.

  16. Detroit Michael - Aug 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    A-Rod’s best seasons, measured by Wins Above Replacement, did not take place in Texas:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rodrial01.shtml

  17. JBerardi - Aug 5, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Guys must have been ‘roiding it up like crazy in the 30s, I guess.

  18. Bearwin - Aug 5, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    it’s impossible to have empirical evidence @ this point…but common sense tells you PEDs inflated power numbers. You really think sosa would have hit as many HRs w/out PEDs??

  19. walk - Aug 5, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    I can hear jun pierre now, or any light hitting player, just waiting for you to take away arods homers for those years. When that happens his hr total will jump because you will have to add hrs to every player that batted against a suspect pitcher.

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