What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Curt Schilling: No Team Has Won Cleanly in Last 20 Years

We’ve gotten to the point where you can’t have a discussion about the history of baseball without it getting mired into the “S-word”…steroids.

Yet, leave it to the outspoken Curt Schilling to add yet another log on the “get over it” fire that really needs to be lit under the collective asses of the “steroid moralists.”

The former six-time All-Star and World Series MVP talked steroids during an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (via Hardball Talk). “There’s a lot of good young pitchers in the game right now, but far fewer players are cheating,” Schilling said during his interview. “One of the bigger reasons they all did (steroids) was it allowed them to be April fresh in September and that helped you hit home runs. Anybody who ever says performance-enhancing drugs didn’t help players produce offensive numbers is full of crap. There isn’t a team in the last 20 years that has won clean,” he said.

Those last two sentences are the key to the whole discussion. We’ve been arguing for years over the first; Schilling’s statement that steroids are the reason for the offensive explosion in baseball completely ignores so many other contributing factors. But the second sentence ironically drives my point about how the effect of steroids on the game has been hypocritically moralized.

You’ve got to follow me close on this argument, because I understand how the “S-word” drives a visceral reaction that leads to an emotional argument. First, go back to to my original thoughts on the role steroids played in baseball.

Tainting the integrity of baseball under Bud Selig is like shooting out all your lightbulbs so the sun will go down. The sanctimonious hand-wringing on the part of baseball writers that is still happening over this is almost too much to bear. Where were all these scribing Dudley Do-Rights when Mark McGwire suddenly gained 50 pounds of muscle and transformed home plate at Busch Stadium into a bigger launching pad than Cape Kennedy? They were conveniently were sitting on their pencils because the offensive explosion that occurred in the national past time in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s was exactly what they wanted.

Flash the clock back to 1995 when baseball was trying to resurrect itself from the fiasco of the previous year’s labor stoppage that killed a World Series. The writers were bemoaning the fact that baseball is boring, there isn’t enough scoring, and the fans won’t come back to the game after the strike. So, when the moon-shots started flying out of ballparks across the league, the writers could barely contain their overt giddyness. This led to fans flocking back to the ballparks, and Bud Selig couldn’t have been happier.

The part nobody wants to admit is that the whole steroid issue began as attempt by writers to disgrace Barry Bonds. Writers have a problem with players who won’t kiss their collective asses, and Bonds was notorious for treating scribes with utter contempt. When it became clear that Bonds would be the holder of the two sexiest records in all of sports (the single-season and the career home run marks), the press began its delving into Bonds’ connection with BALCO. But much like Dr. Frankenstein, they created a monster they couldn’t control. Next thing you know, we have Congressional hearings and the resultant “outrage” at the “cheaters.”

Now for the fun part…baseball has a long and storied history of cheating. Since day one, players have been stealing signs, corking bats, scuffing or greasing balls, and generally doing anything else they could to win. Steroids are no different. It is far too easy to “blame” the aforementioned offensive explosion on the hypodermic needle, but doing so ignores some key facts.

  • In the 90′s, Major League Baseball expanded by four teams, meaning 50 pitchers who otherwise would have been in the minors now were plying their trade in ”The Show.”
  • Several new stadia were constructed in the 90′s, and the vast majority of them have outfield fences and small foul territory making them very “hitter-friendly.”
  • Of all the players caught using “performance-enhancing drugs,” half were pitchers.

In other words, the increase in offense has several possible contributing factors. The emptiness of the steroid argument becomes clear when one stops to consider that from the list of players named in the Mitchell Report, there wasn’t a case of a player who suddenly became a star due to his use of “performance-enhancing drugs.” Players who were stars before the needle were stars after the needle, and “role players” remained just that.

Shakespeare penned the correct thought on this scandal 350 years before baseball even existed: Much ado about nothing.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying steroids didn’t play a role. What I am saying is that the size of the contribution “performance-enhancing drugs” has been dramatically overstated. Just look at the aforementioned bullet points and tell me those were not factors.

There’s two big problems in the steroid moralist’s argument. First of all, if you believe use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is worthy of exclusion from the Hall of Fame, at which point do you pound the stake in the ground which says “No PEDs Beyond This Point.” The argument already rings hollow because the “no Hall for you” treatment already has been applied to players accused of PED use before baseball had rules against it.

That leads to the second problem…the steroid moralists already have a double-standard as to who draws their rath. Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte largely have been given a pass; whereas Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds might as well have kidnapped and eaten the Lindbergh baby.

This becomes a major issue because depending on who you want to believe, PED use was rampant in baseball, estimates happen between half and three-quarters of players were using something during the “steroid” era.  While that doesn’t mean it is acceptable to cheat and break the law? Of course not, but whether you like it or not, it has long been accepted that cheating, PEDs included, is part of the culture of the game.

Simply put, you can’t take new-found morality and use it to go back in time and right all your perceived wrongs. You can’t go back and change history to strip teams of titles just because it was retroactively discovered some of their players were cheating.  If you did that, there wouldn’t be a championship team left on the books.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

10 comments on “Curt Schilling: No Team Has Won Cleanly in Last 20 Years

  1. tophatal
    July 26, 2011

    Well given the fact that the players themselves remained ominously silent throughout this era should Schilling’s statements come as a surprise to anyone ? Donald Fehr former MLBPA Executive Director if anything was as complicit in this all as well as the league hierarchy and team owners ! So what ? The only unfortunate thing out of this all is that kids will now believe this defines what it means to get ahead in the game even if it means endangering their long term health . Money drove this all as a great many individuals had a massive financial windfall .

    Are you a boxing aficionado ? Did this on the heavyweight boxing scene if at all interested ? Can’t stand the fact the sport has become so mind numbingly boring with neither Klitschko brother willing to fight each other !

    Not Anymore ….


    • JW
      July 26, 2011

      That’s a good point – Guys like Schilling who are pointing this stuff out now…well, where were you 10-15 years ago? Oh, you were enjoying the windfalll as well…


      • tophatal
        July 26, 2011


        Oh yeah he more than reaped the dividends alright as they all do in such instances . He now has his own software design and gaming company . Schilling is looking for investors looking to invest a minimum of $250 k in the venture at present . Somehow I don’t believe that he’s that impoverished !

        What also pis_es me off are the likes of the sanctimonious airheads such as Peter Gammons , Joe Buck and Olney who all acted is they were completely unaware of the charade going on . Never mind the fact that Canseco was shouting it from the rooftops not long after he retired , as he felt betrayed by those within the game . It was even a bigger joke once certain idiots came out trying to discredit Williams and Fainaru-Wada prior to ‘Game of Shadows’ being published and after also . What no one believed that they took time to verify their facts ? The blow-back from it couldn’t have been more repugnant had their been sh-t rolling down a hill with a landslide accompanying it all ! And all you could hear from Selig and the owners …….” were we were simply unaware “. Another sack of bull_hit as usual !

        tophatal …………..


      • tophatal
        July 26, 2011


        ’til the league hierarchy has shown that they’re just as accountable for this mess, own up to it rather than hiding behind all this bs of privacy issues as Selig has done initially with the AMA and the IOC leading to baseball being thrown out of the Summer Olympics . It had nothing to do with waning appeal or lack of competitive teams but the idiocy of Bud Selig who was at the time unwilling to adopt the IOC and WADA drug testing protocols .

        tophatal ………..


  2. ChrisHumpherys
    July 26, 2011

    Sounds to me like this is a first-ditch effort by Schilling to get the batch of players associated with steroids into the Hall now that they’re becoming eligible.

    If “everyone” did steroids, the cream still rose to the top and guys like Bonds, Clemens and the like should be voted in and not held out.

    The next few years oughta be fun, don’t you think?


  3. chappy81
    July 26, 2011

    I can’t stand Schilling, but damn it I actually agree with him.


  4. sportsattitudes
    July 27, 2011

    Curt Schilling…Unfortunately, every media outlet knows he’ll give them as long an interview as they want…and more. Never stops talking. Sometimes he makes sense, sometimes nonsense. It is fascinating how some people get chatty once they are out of the “inner circle.” Steroids is a flashpoint word and you either fall on one side or the other. Didn’t bother me to hear people were using and wouldn’t bother me if they found something else to use now. There always will be some people looking for an edge and a way around the current standard.


  5. Dick Marple
    July 27, 2011

    “Tainting the integrity of baseball under Bud Selig”…. let me count the ways…

    -Expansion/diluted pitching quality, smaller ballparks certainly factor in.
    -The shrinking strike zone can’t be ignored. The top of the strike zone has worked its way down from the shoulders to the waist.
    -Should also include the liveliest baseballs ever used. No scientist here, but the idea of removing a ball from play because it actually TOUCHED DIRT smacks of absurdity. Juicing the ball in the 1920’s helped the rubes forget the 1919 World Series as they watched home runs soar and records shattered. Our man Bud did the same to erase his biggest shame-loss of the 1994 World Series.
    -PEDs certainly affected the ridiculous numbers put up on Bud’s watch.
    I hated the McGwire-Sosa circus. I knew something was rotten, but didn’t know what. Gotta agree that Bonds’ personality/media hostility helped push the new “outrage”.
    -Thankfully, I can retreat into my subjective version of BB history and separate this era from others. I can despise Roger Clemens and keep a squad of hitmen on retainer, in case somebody bad-mouths Saint Kirby.
    – I can ignore Bud’s inevitable HOF selection. He did his job. He made wealthy owners even wealthier.


    • JW
      July 27, 2011

      This is exactly why you are the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Committee.


  6. Pingback: Finally, Someone Else Gets It, Part II – The Ryan Braun Situation, “Osama” Bud Selig and “Chemical McCarthyism” « Dubsism

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2011 by in Baseball and tagged , , .

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