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Quote of the Day: Jim Caple of ESPN rips the writers

Jan 5, 2011, 11:06 AM EST

Jim Caple

This is fun:

I have a message for BBWAA members who continue to withhold votes from players who used, or are suspected of using, performance enhancers: Get off your @#*& high horse.

And that’s not from a godless blogger, mind you, it’s from ESPN’s Jim Caple.  It comes at the start of a vitriol-filled rant against those who would bar the PED users from the Hall while the greenie-poppers, spitballers and segregationists are allowed to grace the hallowed halls. And it just goes on and on like that.

The arguments are not anything we haven’t heard from the Internet Zealots before, but it’s definitely the most pointed attack I’ve seen from a mainstream writer at a major outlet.  Even those who are critical of the BBWAA stance — guys like Joe Posnanski — couch it in terms of “Misguided Voter X is a smart fellow and dear friend and I understand and respect his view, but …”  Caple just rips.

It’s quite wonderful, actually.

  1. jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Caple caved in to the groupthink. Who will be next? Is Heynman safe?

    • Ari Collins - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:15 AM

      How is that groupthink? Considering that the easy simplistic view that most people hold is the Cheating Is A New Thing And Steroids Are The Worst Kind Of Cheating Ever and Anyone Who Used Should Be Barred No Matter How Good They Are And Anyone Who Even Played In That Era Is Probably Guilty If They Ever Got Stronger Or All Their Seasons Aren’t Exactly The Same opinion.

      I’m pretty sure that calling something you disagree with groupthink is the new calling someone a socialist. Which is the new calling someone a flip flopper.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Is that the actual name of the group? ‘Cause that would be a mighty hefty and confusing anagram…

      • jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        You’re just spewing logic and reason in opposition to an overly simplistic view. Groupthinker! Arrest that man!

      • CJ - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        You Groupthinking Socialistic Flip-Flopper! How dare you! :)

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    And at the end, he spits vitriol at all things NY. In fact, he concludes by hating Cooperstown itself for daring to be located upstate NY.

    • sdelmonte - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      Anyone who ranks Toy Story 3

    • sdelmonte - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Oops. Total mispost there.

  3. BC - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Maybe he should rip that ESPN dude that voted for BJ Surhoff.

  4. giant4life - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Good for Caple! It’s about time.

  5. sdelmonte - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Anyone who ranks Toy Story 3 ahead of The Social Network is okay in my book anyway.

  6. Utley's Hair - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Jim Caple is just lashing out ’cause Al Davis fired him…oh…wait a minute….

  7. dondbaseball - Jan 5, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    There are definately degrees of cheating and PED is right at the top of the list behind throwing a game. Greenies and spitballing as they were referred are occassional boosts not an wvery game, every pitch, every at-bat occurance. While a “greenie” might get you up for a game, it didn’t make you stronger, more focused, run faster and a spitball might help you out of a jam but you can’t throw it every pitch to every batter and it didn’t give you endurance to maintain your velocity over the game or the season.

    The real question is did it take a Mark McGuire or Rafael Palmeiro from good to great to be considered for the Hall of Fame and in my mind, IT DID. Now for Bonds and Clemens, they were already pretty great before so what do you do with them? I don’t know that any “greenies” put a Mickey Mantle or Pete Rose from good to great, they already were. Maybe the one exception MIGHT be Gaylord Perry but who really knows how many spitballs or emery board scuffed balls he threw-10%, 20%, 40%? Even 10% seems too high for me otherwise he would have be caught more than he was.

    Caple can’t lump “cheaters” into one category just like criminals can’t be lumped together-a tax cheat vs. felony armed robbery are two different categories…

    • jkcalhoun - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      The real question is did it take a Mark McGuire or Rafael Palmeiro from good to great to be considered for the Hall of Fame and in my mind, IT DID.

      But you don’t know, and you can’t know. You’re just guessing. This is not a fair and just way to go about it.

      You don’t have to be fair, and of course it’s just fine if you don’t consider those particular guys worthy of your personal standard. At the same time, I think it’s appropriate for baseball fans to encourage the actual Hall of Fame voters to be fair, by abandoning biases and conjecture.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      There are definately degrees of cheating and PED is right at the top of the list behind throwing a game. Greenies and spitballing as they were referred are occassional boosts not an wvery game, every pitch, every at-bat occurance. While a “greenie” might get you up for a game, it didn’t make you stronger, more focused, run faster and a spitball might help you out of a jam but you can’t throw it every pitch to every batter and it didn’t give you endurance to maintain your velocity over the game or the season.

      And yet, if we follow the cliche that baseball is a marathon and not a sprint, greenies and other forms of speed would be the precise type of PED a person would want to take. Players have/had to deal with nagging injuries, day/night doubleheaders, extra inning night games followed by early day games, etc. The ability to take something, be it speed or steroids or anything else, to get back to their usual playing ability is the issue at hand. Why we feel the need to dice it up into separate groups is beyond me.

    • iammaxa - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      “The real question is did it take a Mark McGuire or Rafael Palmeiro from good to great to be considered for the Hall of Fame and in my mind, IT DID.”

      I don’t think that is the real question for many voters, though. For them it is a question of integrity: if PEDs-use amounts to cheating, then it doesn’t matter if a player would have been Hall-worthy in any case. For an analogy, imagine a very intelligent student who cheats on an exam. Would we ever say, “Well, he would have gotten an A even if he hadn’t cheated, so give him the grade.” Of course not. Whether the student would have done well in any case is beside the point, because cheating is a moral problem.

      Obviously, you can go on to argue about whether PEDs-use really does constitute cheating, whether cheaters should be kept out of the Hall of Fame, and so on. But I think it’s important to note that, at least for many people, the salience of PEDs-use doesn’t have anything to do with whether it really turns merely-good players into great ones. It’s not a question of efficacy.

    • Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Jan 5, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      @ dondbaseball: “it didn’t make you… more focused…”

      Wrong. That’s exactly what greenies allowed fatigued players to do. These attempts to draw a bright line distinction between greenies and steroids are without merit and without any science to back it up.

      • tigerprez - Jan 5, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        Actually, this is highly speculative. Unless you have ADD/ADHD, greenies would probably make you more jittery and less focused overall. There was a Washington Post article that made that very point a few years ago, with a quote from Bronson Arroyo saying that hitters told him they were able to focus better now that greenies were banned and they had stopped taking them.

        Worth considering.

      • Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Jan 5, 2011 at 7:49 PM

        Actually, it’s not “speculative” at all. It’s the result of scientific study. It’s true that not every user has the same reaction (nor even the same reaction each time they take greenies), but there are reasons amphetamines are classified as “stimulants.” From Wikipedia:

        “Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, energy, self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggression, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, grandiosity, excessive feelings of power and invincibility, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia, and with chronic and/or high doses, amphetamine psychosis can occur.”

        I’d say increased “alertness” and “concentration” are directly related to “focus.” In what way are those effects, along with increased “energy, self-esteem, self-confidence,” etc., not performance-enhancing?

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