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Thursday, November 23, 2017

2-Point Conversing: A Plaque for Mac?

Credit: Image by Rdikeman
Do McGwire's words have the power to get him into Cooperstown?

Steven Waye and Eric Karlan offer their opposing viewpoints on Mark McGwire's changes of being inducted into the Hall of Fame his steroids confession this week.

Be sure to check BrooWaha every week to discover the most controversial sports stories and debates in Steven Waye and Eric Karlan's 2-Point Conversing. In the meantime, if you do not already have an account with BrooWaha, sign up to contribute to the Conversation by posting an Extra Point of your own below the article.

THE FIRST POINT...Why Eric Karlan immortalizes McGwire

In the early years of professional baseball, right-handed pitcher Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox dominated batters with his spitball. By smothering one side of the ball with saliva, petroleum jelly, or any similar substance, Walsh could cause his pitch to move erratically as it approached the plate, proving nearly impossible to hit. The spitball had existed for years, but between 1906 and 1912, Walsh inspired a new craze. Other pitchers studied the art of spitballing and incorporated its trickery into their repertoires. By 1919, pitching statistics had become so exaggerated in comparison to batting numbers that dismayed league officials (after all, chicks dig the long ball) imposed a partial ban. The following season, however, Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was struck and killed with a Carl Mays spitball, and a complete ban was sanctioned.

In 1946, Ed Walsh was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. His 1.82 career ERA remains the best in league history, and he remains widely recognized as one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game - in spite of the fact that his career was technically defined by an unethical practice.

In this most recent era of professional baseball, right-handed hitter Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinal dominated pitchers with his hitting. By taking numerous variants of steroids and human growth hormones, McGwire was able to bolster his slugging statistics and hit home run after home run, proving a nearly insurmountable threat at the plate. These growth-enhancing drugs had existed for years, but during the 1990s, they became a craze among players. Batters and pitchers alike studied the art of steroids and incorporated them into their 'workout' regimens. By 2005, power hitting statistics had become so inflated that intentionally ignorant league officials (after all, chicks dig the long ball) finally instituted a long overdue steroid policy. The following year, a United States government investigation revealed how widespread the steroid issue truly was and the penalties for players who tested positive increased in severity.

In 2010, Mark McGwire was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for his fourth time. His home run every 10.61 at-bats remains the best in league history, and his numbers would indicate that he is one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game - but fans, pundits, and Hall of Fame voters overwhelmingly refuse to recognize his successes in light of his recent confirmation that his career was technically defined by an unethical practice.

The contrast and comparison between spitballs and steroids seems unfounded, but must be acutely examined. In contrast, the spitball may have led to the only player death caused by an on-field incident in baseball history, but outside of that freak incident, it was merely a strategic invention for pitchers to gain an edge on hitters, not a health concern. Meanwhile, steroids have not yet directly resulted in a player's death, but drug use by our athletic role models threatens the health and livelihood of impressionable youth seeking fame and fortune.

In comparison, both spitballs and steroids were at some point allowed (dare I say embraced) by the sport of baseball - league officials included - despite dramatically warping statistics. Not all players took advantage of these opportunities to gain an edge, but because both practices were permitted (or in the case of steroids, more conveniently ignored), for all intents and purposes, the playing field was even. Moreover, neither practice was short-lived; both endured for a generation of players before ultimate condemnation.

Our society's stubborn sensitivity is the only barricade blocking McGwire from entering the Hall of Fame. The real issue surrounding McGwire is not his steroid use - it is his lying to the American people during Congressional testimonies in 2005, and his subsequent secretive behavior. For those like Andy Pettitte, who openly owned up to their mistakes and have an overall likable demeanor, our society quickly forgives and forgets.

We err as humans in punishing those who we simply do not like, while conveniently ignoring the facts. McGwire did not create steroids, nor did he ever popularize it like Walsh popularized the spitball. He was unfortunately part of a culture where players had the choice between long-term health and short-term glory - a dilemma that sounds simple, but for those of us who have never enjoyed the spotlight, is probably impossible to fully comprehend.

McGwire is not to blame. Team owners and league officials loved the exaggerated hitting numbers; they conveniently ignored to facts and bred this culture - not the players.

Was McGwire stupid? Probably. Should he be penalized for partaking in something that, technically unethical, was not illegal. Absolutely not.

Ed Walsh does not have an asterik next to his name in Cooperstown. And when Mark McGwire finally earns his rightful place in the Hall, neither should he.

GOING FOR TWO...Why Steven Waye banishes Big Mac

No one, least of all this writer, is going to settle the steroids debate. People have their opinions, and that’s fine. It is, of course, a controversial issue, but it didn’t have to be. Bud Selig could have come down hard from the very beginning, if he and everyone else who now vehemently decry the rampant use of steroids in baseball had the stones to demand drug testing before this was a problem. So let’s not pretend this was ever a matter of principle. Both Selig and steroid users like Mark McGwire know where their bread is buttered: they make money and keep their jobs as long as owners are putting fans in the seats. For McGwire this meant staying healthy and being productive. For Selig, this means providing a consistently entertaining product for the enjoyment of the American populace.

Let’s be honest, if there was a product on the market that made you better at your job, and your superiors didn’t care to take the time to regulate it, wouldn’t you take advantage? If there was a drug that made me that much more adept and insightful of a writer, you bet your ass I’d use it. And wouldn’t my editors be happy? For the same price, they are receiving a product that exceeds anything they’ve seen before, so why would they ask questions? Before I continue with this article, let’s agree that ethically this issue is nowhere near as black and white as it’s made out to be.

That being said, we can better understand the problem if we look at The American Pastime as essentially a confluence of two games: the immediate drama of the day-to-day competition that unfolds over the course of each season, and the tricky task undertaken by fans and the sports media to quickly contextualize the accomplishments that occur in the now and establish their place in baseball history. People want to know both what is happening and how important what is happening actually is, and the only way to do this is to compare and contrast it with what has already been accomplished.

Thus, we can more easily grapple with the steroid issue on a macro level (it is no coincidence that a lot of these cartoonishly inflated power numbers were achieved before regimented testing was finally implemented) than on a micro level (players in this era are greedy, unscrupulous cheaters). Players were using the tools available to them to achieve the height of their abilities while Selig and his ilk looked the other way. We can’t exclude players from the Hall for their confirmed or strongly suspected steroid use, but we have to compare their numbers, fairly or not, to those of their contemporaries and judge their accomplishments likewise. There needs to be a page in the record book giving the dates when these drugs were first available and use began to become widespread [clearly, everyone knew] and Bud Selig’s name needs to be all over it as the man who ultimately let it happen.

So when Mark McGwire says he was given a natural gift to be able to hit homeruns, I believe him. The steroids kept him on the field longer, they helped him hit the ball farther and out of the park more often, but there is no doubt that he was a talented ballplayer. ’98 captured the collective imagination of our country and baseball was America’s game again, and McGwire, Sosa, Selig, and steroids made it possible. But if that’s the only reason we’re talking about Mark McGwire’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, forget it.

Steroids shouldn’t keep McGwire out of the Hall of Fame; his numbers should. His hit totals and batting average are solid, but not spectacular. His RBI total is above average, but not Hall-worthy. He has no MVP awards and only one World Series Championship, during a 1989 campaign where, again, he was solid but not spectacular. Basically we are considering his application on the basis of one magical season, and his prodigious homerun total.

Since his one outstanding statistical ability was homerun hitting, and most of his homeruns were hit during the steroid era, we can’t really compare his figure of 583 homeruns. We have to go down the list to Fred McGriff at 493 to find the next Hall-eligible player with that many homeruns who hasn’t been voted in (McGriff’s first year of eligibility was this year). But all of those other players excelled in at least one other statistical category, or demonstrated remarkable leadership and ability to win.

It’s crazy to me that McGwire PR-savvy “apology” is stirring up so much Hall-related controversy. The man simply does not have the resume, and while his atone-by-numbers sobfest with Bob Costas will ease his transition back into baseball as the Cardinals’ hitting coach, it will have no bearing on his spotty Hall of Fame candidacy. Best of luck Mark, but the most muscular of physiques didn’t allow you to bash your way to Cooperstown, and the river you cried for the public won’t float you there either.



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11 comments on 2-Point Conversing: A Plaque for Mac?

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By JJFCPA on January 17, 2010 at 09:19 am

I am on Steve's side on this one. He had an opportunity to come clean and chose not to. It is hard to fathom what he would have achieved if he had not dropped pills, taken shots etc... I feel the same way about Barry Bonds.

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By Billotto on January 28, 2010 at 06:42 am

Go ahead with your bad self Steve. 49 home runs as a 22-year old rookie which is still a MLB record, (oh, and he left the team the last game or two of the season and a chance to hit 50 but his wife was having a kid) ... Sosa vs. McGwire all but saving baseball from financial DOOM, and with the Commish, writers, fans, owners, EVERYONE looking the other way when guys like Brady Anderson were jacking 51 bombs out of the yard OUT OF NOWHERE and in one isolated season ... and by the time Canseco turned RAT because too many baseballs were bouncing off his forehead so he decided to publish his "tell all," of course for "ethics" issues, and every other player from Clemons to A Rod to Bonds who got sucked into the spider's web of performance enhancement seduction should just INDEED have an asterisk placed behind their names which would all but denote that their spectacular numbers may have, or were admitted to be, "tainted" during the period known as the "STEROID ERA." But I still feel they should all be inducted into the hall. Seems more acceptable to me than a bunch of hypocrites who do the voting who have obviously never done anything wrong in this life evidently, and can play God with their little snipy little "power ballots." (wasn't Henry Aaron who was actually not a unanimous inductee? Okay, luckily, no problem with THAT voting committee) I say take the Commish, any owner of your choice, and any fan of your choice and you have the classic "three monkey syndrome" of one covering his eyes, one covering his ears, and the last one covering his mouth. And if there was a FOUTH monkey, let's just put him in a white doctor's uniform, give him a big fat syringe, put a teethy grin on his face and pin a big note to his chest that reads "these three guys to my right will cover for us so don't sweat it and get your ass over here for your "medicine" son; everyone ELSE is doing it! And while we're at it, why don't we rate the most hideous crimes known to man in order of their criminal seriousness: (1) Murder (2) Steroid use. (3) DUI (4) Honking hookers after shooting a 64 at Augusta ... you Tiger you. and (5) Betting on baseball; why not? May as well include a guy with 5,000 base hits into the charade. Of course, after that would be somewhat "lesser" crimes like bilking 60 BILLION from trusting investors, waging nine-year wars against the wrong country, dropping N-BOMBS on other human beings just because they happen to be born a different shade, United States Presidents who lie, cheat, steal, corrupt, (but get pardoned later, so no big whoop)....I could rattle off a few more bits of mad cap rationale but why beat a dead horse into the ground. Steve, you've got the right take on things...end of story. Maybe we should go back and retro-disclude Ty Cobb's Hall of Fame plaque from Cooperstown for sliding into second base with his cleats high about jugular-high while we're attaching points to sins? And hell, we may as well get real and launch an investigation into some MORE possible sinners from the past like maybe how many 50s through 90s Hall of Famers were speeding their TITS off through their entire minor and major league careers? Luckily, amphetamines don't inhance performance, right? I mean Andre Aggasi said it didn't help HIM any, so thank God someone around here isn't feeding us a line of crap. I mean, back in the sixties we used to have a catchy phrase that read "speed KILLS! Yeah, it must be so convenient to be one of the members of the voting body who obviously are devoid of sin over the course of all their lives and have probably NEVER even driven home from some ESPN bash drunk as a skunk and about four times the legal limit!...because I'd hate to think any of them would be in any way hypocrits!! But luckily for me, I know they're all squeaky clean so that's a relief. It gets old, does it not, Steve? Doesn't the Bible mention something about forgiveness somewhere in there? I'm no Saint, but last time I checked, Brett Favre even had a little Vicoden problem for a couple of years way back when so maybe we ought to take a long hard look at HIS stats from some of those Packers days too while this WITCH HUNT has some embers still burning under the stake. Actually, after what the Saints did to him last Sunday, I wouldn't BLAME the poor guy if he was on a slow morphine drip for the rest of the week. I was worried he might not get out of the Superdome ALIVE for awhile there. Rock on, Steve....you "get" it; but there are still a hundred million or so goodie-two-shoes types still out there who have never made any serious errors in judgement in their lives, have never cheated on their wives or lied, certainly never smoked pot at a college frat party or even dabbled with the funny powders even, I don't know if I could take that Steve...but last time I checked, we're all human and we've ALL had to look for a little forgiveness to be granted at one time or the other; it's kind of like that soul music line...."have mercy! I'm just relieved that the guys in control of Mac and Bonds' and Clemens' body of work being judged is backed by perfect behavior because we wouldn't want to be throwing out any babies with any bath water, now would we? I was raised a Catholic and I did my fair share of confessions, but I said my prayers and was forgiven for my sins; no bus trip to HELL the next day. Hang tough Steve...there are way bigger things for anal retentive people to dwell on more than a 7 or 8 year run where players were all kind of covering each other's asses and the their union reps sure as hell were scratching their chins and looking the other way when they saw "stick people" become frothing Andro pit bulls. Ever seen a Barry Bonds rookie card? .... a stiff wind off the Frisco Bay could probably blow him over back in his rookie year. I saw forgive! And if they wanna do asterisks to cover any "SHOCK" from having all this phony baloney mock surprise that grown men just might seek out a performance advantage suppliment at some point in his career, whether it was a few cups of coffee per game all the way up to a shot in the butt cheek; people should read up on what JFK's doctor was giving him under the "term" medicine. Men have weaknesses and are subject to bad decision-making; it's the nature of MAN, and overly-pious and pompous "perfect people" should maybe look at their own selves in the mirror sometime and ask themselves if they were in some of those players' shoes, would they maybe too be at least a bit curious to just go "what the hell" what's that plll or cream you're using over there Jose? William Danford, San Diego, Ca. (and one of the only Charger fans in town who wasn't so myopic as to blindly think that a ZERO ground game plus a bad rushing D = a recipe for disaster. No D, no Super Bowl; I was over the Jets loss the very next day. Sure, it hurt, but the only guy who could pull THAT trick off is Peyton Manning. I'm pulling for Brees though. Saints as NFL Chapmpions vs. Katrina hell equals BLISS. Peace.

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By Billotto on January 28, 2010 at 06:59 am

Please excuse all the lame sentence errors or spelling; I think I'll need to get some Coke bottle glasses to try to type out BOMBS like that last one, and want to hear something really sad....?.....that was the SECOND message I wrote! The first one crashed on me before I could click the "send" tab. My fingers are bleeding all over my keyboard as we speak. I'm new to BrooWaha...that was my first piece ever, so bear with me and the imperfections in spelling and double words or thoughts, or repetition. I'm much more literate than this micro-mini text allows me to be due to being a half-blind 61 year old geezer who knows baseball like the back of my hand. But hey; nothing ventured nothing gained, right? Oh, and did I mention that I'm a pathetic and majorly addicted fantasy baseball addict? Someone please....SAVE me! I don't think I washed my truck once from April to the end of September...I was glued to the waiver wire the whole damned time. William D.

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By Jack Bates on January 29, 2010 at 02:04 pm

Good two pronged view and man, that comment by Billoto was a nice little bonus article!

Pro sports is all about do what it takes, period. What is performance enhancing? How about laser eye surgery for a pitcher to get his vision better than 20/20? same for batters? LeBron James is having the best year of his career...he had laser eye surgery...why all these 3s keep raining and he sinks shots from half court in warmups for fun. Coincidence?

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By Billotto on February 01, 2010 at 04:45 am

Hello World. It's me again, the guy who pounded out a decent enough argument for Mac, Bonds, A Rod, Sosa, and all the other so-called "liars and cheats" who got caught up in that nightmarishly compromising, hugely embarrassing and "everyone-looking-the-other-way-mentality period known as "The Steroid Era" .... should indeed be let in, and I made the best case I could for why I still think in those terms and believe in what I wrote about concerning the "hypocracy factor" of it all. I'm not here to make any more defenses for my takes, especially since i've re-read the original message a couple of times and I could have done a lot better with the way I presented it, not just spelling-wise and grammatically better as I whined about all ready in my earlier self-critical follow-up, but that's all spilled milk now; no sense crying over it. But the point of this piece is to let it be known that I have written two seperate newer comments in the last two days that I had fully intended on entering in here but unfortunately, and with having to all but admit to fully being very embarrassed by admitting to this....I let both messages, which each were probably moving into the 5,000 - 7,000-word range; and I even proof-read to the max and with all spelling cleaned up and things much more understandable. I did some more into the subject of baseball vs. suppliments, enhancers, creams, injections; all that. But this is where I get to admit to the bone head part. I let both messages CRASH before I could even click "add your comment!" How did I do such a stupid thing?....I'll tell you how. I'm pretty new to this Mac and I just jumped from an older Gateway PC which was still pretty rockin' had all kinds of good guts, nice sound card, a good graphics card...I added extra memory, space, all that. But obviously those who have also switched to Mac know the subtle differences and the re-acquainting one's self with the new and different technology which is of course, do-able in time and a little tutoring, or maybe a call or two to AppleCare, but I found out one thing and it wasn't pleasant in the least; if I just pounded out 6,000 words in this box, then say I decide to log onto Google to look for an odd spelling or a baseball stat or something, and after I did my business with that, then clicked back onto this BrooWaha page to finish a sentence or two and then submit, the message VAPORIZED and the box was empty! Do you believe a living breathing genious writer like myself (I have an okay sense of humor, not great...just okay) could somehow make the same essential mistake TWICE in about a 24-hour period of time and virtually throw away about 11,000 words of writing? Well I did it. Is there some steadfast and basic rule I need to know about this message box or do some secret trick you veterans of BrooWaha use, myabe the actually writing of your stuff over in Adobe or some other note pad software, then merely doing the copy there and paste here thing to avoid waht I just described, not to mention the jumpiness of this box when blind owls like myself need to rely on the ZOOM function just to fatten up this box enough to read what the hell I'm even trying to write. And also, does this BrooWaha site run with some sort of built-in message-cancellation feature that's built in so that if one leaves the page, then returns, anythng in the "comments box" is automatically erased/deleted? I'd appreciate any suggestions from experienced users of this site. I'm a rookie to it. I like the whole BrooWaha concept...I just don't like not knowing what I did wrong that's led to the loss of two pretty monster messages that we'd all be reading up in the area above had I not blown it. Remember...that message above was my first-ever entry so bear with me: I'm kind of a novice in here but I'm much more humble than I want to admit to or maybe even seem. Can anyone help me out with how some of you function through the nightmare I just described? Hell...this morning I had the 7,000-word re-do of the first one I lost and went to bed with the Mac in sleep mode just so I wouldn't screw up and erase TWO messages in a row, but I forgot to save the second message somewhere before I went to the sleep mode, and then in the morning I forgot to be wary of the same mistake I made just 6 or so hours before and without thinking, jumped to my e mail this time, for a quick peek, and then immediately went OH MAN!....I think I just screwed up again. I click back to here and sure enough, an even bigger and BETTER second message was also vaporized from the box. Hell...I damn near had enough for about two or three chapters of a novel with what I self-destructed, all told. Thanks for reading this; not exactly a "creative piece" but I'll get there in time if I can learn to stop MURDERING the ones I spend all night writing but keep erasing accidently! If I would have had a shotgun, I just might have done the "Hunter S. Thompson" thing, but I'm probably too chicken to go there so I just had to live with having wasted essentially 15 to 20 hours of writing yesterday and watching it all disappear LIKE THAT before they could ever be read by anyone but me. If the word BUMMER was ever applicable for a 60-plus 60s throwback like myself, it was after I did those two bone-head moves! Live and learn, right? The HARD way! Yeah, BUMMER pretty well sums it up. ......William "Billotto" Danford

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By EllisDiamond on February 19, 2010 at 03:28 pm

Thanks for the article. Interesting views. Bottom line is cheating should never be rewarded in my opinion.

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By Diamond Dust on February 19, 2010 at 03:39 pm

Thanks for sharing !

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By Billotto on February 23, 2010 at 01:17 am

In response to the comment written by Diamond Dust written February 19th, 2010: My apologies for not getting back to you sooner; I'm bogged down with uncontrollable fantasy baseball temptation once again and if you've ever played that game you know what a monster of a grind it is to commit to that much mental torment, all though it's still the best "pound for pound" "bang for your buck" of them all! And re: your take that cheating should never be tolerated in sports; I can appreciate your opinions on that and I don't blame you in the least for maintiaining a hard stand and I won't even attempt to claim that my notions are any more, or less, of a reality than your statements have indicated. It's a black and white issue; unfortunately, there's no gray area to be found in the matter. It is after all a very controversial subject and my admittedly "rag tag" gonzo-esque contention that there were arguably a great number of players who (and I use this term loosely) quite possibly could have indeed been cheaters themselves in the era that preceded the steroid years and their beginning in the late 80s to the current day. Documented cases of amphetamine use by players, most noteably Pete Rose, who all but admitted to the frequent use of what were commonly called within inside baseball circles as "greenies" and their use in major league baseball was much more widespread than anyone looking in on the game could ever be aware of and anyone who has ever had issues with weight from the 1940s to now can attest to the fact that amphetamines (or "greenies" as was baseball's little inside nickname for them) are quite frankly an extremely and very potent stimulant that, if used on a regular basis, can difinitely be attributed to the enhancement of and athlete's performance; not only physically, but in some cases mentally and if this was indeed the case and occurred similarly to how more recent steroid use has come to the surface, many a great Hall of Fame inductee's statistics would have to be also pondered and weighed for their own legitimacy in a fair world. The scenario I painted in my original message of "gathering former players who have been long-since inducted into the Hall of Fame" and having them all be "retro" questioned as to what they knew, what they suspected, or even what they did for that matter...was at the very root of the point I was trying to make, far-fetched of a notion as it may seem. Obviously bringing Henry Aaron, Mike Schmidt, and Brooks Robinson, among others, into another "witch trial" to address the question of whether or not players from the 50s through the 80s did in fact rely on "pep pills" to help them put up the kinds of Hall of Fame numbers they compiled over their illustrious careers is all but unthinkable but if nothing else, a case can be made that it at least addresses a real and documented condition that existed during that time and just might even puts things into a different light; at least it has to ask the question, "did players from past eras indeed cheat the game of baseball in any way by taking energy-inducing amphetamines that weren't necessarily legally prescribed and in many cases, were quite frankly handed out to players quite casually and were quite possibly abused habitually by certain players who were quite possibly looking for a little extra "boost" to carry them through the dog days of August and possibly into the post season? My point?.....I guess speed's okay; no big deal with that if some players happened to be wolfing down a few pills to keep them awake back in the Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Roberto Clemente days, making them more alert, or gave their senses a bit of a "boost" ... yet HGH and some of the other things that weren't even necessarily illegal in those early days of the "roid" years, long before the congressional which hunt convened and brought a bunch of "scared stiff" players to the stand to testify either against their former MLB associates, or against even themselves. So what if Donald Fehr was probably the number one reason why baseball dragged its feet on the issue for at least eight or nine years leading up to that big day in court; or if the owners, fans, TV networks, and even the players themselves all played the dumb card; and players from Roger Clemens to Sammy Sosa and every other slap-hitting singles hitter in the game most likely knowing something was rotten in Denmark, yet all it took was a tell-all book by one Jose Canseco to bring everyone to their senses. Yeah, I get it; bad Sammy, bad Rafael, VERY bad A Rod. (but he cried and said, "I'm sorry" so he'll probably get inducted) And just as a side note: I am not assuming, accusing or implying that Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews or Roberto Clememte were using amphetamines, but Pete Rose sure as hell was; he admitted to it in his book. And while we're at it, why not change all the history books and delete any record of Brady Anderson's 51 home run season; you know, that one year he "mysteriously" must have hit the weights extra hard but the next year, must have got lazy in the weight room because he only hit 15 the next year. After all...how many 50-and-up home run seasons have ever even been recorded in the annuls of Major League Baseball history? I don't have the figures in front of me but it has to be under twenty five, if that! I should look it up for the sake of this piece but why bother. And I do respect your opinion against cheaters, Ellis; I guess I just possibly suffer from that horrible syndrome known as "liberalism" when it comes to issues of this kind. It's the same thing with the Tiger Woods controversy; of course the guy's behavior was heartless, sleazy, irresponsible and just downright against all the laws of common decency and morality but I doubt the media put one half the ink into the Catholic priest sexual revelations many years back and how their punishment essentially was "being "hush hush hustled off to another parish to perhaps commit the same unspeakable crimes they were accused of in the first place" and any harsh punishment that they will ever encounter will indeed be handed down in the afterlife; certainly not here on earth, much less a court of law. Last time I checked, the Pope had nothing to say in regard to those mortal-sinning steroid eaters who were gaining an "edge" by cheating baseball into believing they were "all that!" And by the way, I was raised a Catholic and I only saw those men of God as someone to look up to and respect and in the 50s and early 60s, I never had one reason to not place every priest I met with anything other than the highest respect. As I look back on it, my original piece was meant more to expose the hypocrisy of it all when things come down to basic human behavior and how unpredictable it can sometimes show itself to be, and not necessarily whether A Rod or Clemens or Sammy Sosa should, might, or ever will get inducted into the Hall of Fame. When Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday to You" to President Kennedy when I was a teenager and I saw it on TV back in those "innocent" days, I still had the strange little thought in my young teenage mind that it was a little too "inside" for even my youthful and naive sensibilities but little did I know that many years later, not only JFK's brother Robert and God knows how many other noted celebrities and government officials just might have done the "unspeakable" with one of MY favorite female icons of all time. But..."Some Like It Hot" I guess. Not relevant you might say? I would answer, yes it is when you factor in that everyone who has a "name" out there in this world most likely subliminally believes he or she is indeed above the laws and the very scruples that the rest of society lives under; so I guess I'm merely saying in so many quirky words that the allegations and admissions involving creams, pills, injections, or even SPEED from by-gone eras for that matter - are all weaved into the very fabric of our society and always will be. For the most part, everyone is oh so "on their best behavior" when the cameras are on them; it's the actual life behind the scenes or what's going on in the wee wee hours of the early morning that might tend to shock and dismay most red-blooded pius Americans and that's the very thing I was attempting to say in my own strange way in my piece. All people in high places are not as squeaky-clean as we might think they are. I read in the San Diego Union (from an older issue) that Matt Stairs, recently signed by the Padres and in the best shape of his career after losing something like 30 lbs. So what's next? Matt coming forward and weepingly admitting that during his "get-back-in-shape" campaign, he was secretly stuffing down packages of Oreos that he had been hiding under his bed and then resorting to the "finger thing" and flushing away all the evidence? That's a cornball analogy and I realize that but my point is that everyone from A to Z has a few skeletons in their closets; it's just a matter of how much of a rattling noise the bones make when reaching for a coat or some other piece of clothing. "Did anyone just hear that rattling sound, kind of like bones...coming out of that closet? No?....just checking. I could have sworn I heard bones rattling. My bad." ......Billotto aka William Danford

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By Billotto on February 23, 2010 at 01:38 am

Needless to say, those of us who THINK we're pretty good at writing could perhaps do a better job of removing four or five of the extra "quite possibly's" that jump out so hurtfully when looked back on something clicked off to the cosmos...but if nothing else this next sentence is meant for the exceptional writers on this site who have it all down. The art of writing involves much more than I'm aware of but I have to give it up the true wordsmiths who lay it all down so sweetly and make it all flow almost effortlessly. I have a way to go before I'm satisfied with my style so I won't pretend to be an article writer just yet; OR....I'll simply break all the rules, try to overcome poor grammar and occasional geeked out sentence structure and just cut loose with whatever the thing is I wanna say. Life's too short to go to writing school now! I'd rather be real pretend that I'm the next Hemmingway, so to hell with all that! But I do respect the Attanasios of the world who craft very clean work and are inherantly confident in what they throw down, along with many of you other excellent writers in here. It's no wonder that many of the great writers from history were MAD MEN!! I have a little bit of that.

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By Billotto on February 23, 2010 at 02:33 am

If I could spell worth a damn I'd be dangerous. Perhaps it's time to move on to a more current subject, and no, I don't think Tiger Woods should be publicly flogged for having sex with 19 or more women behind his wife's back. Since when have men not cheated on their wives and what is it about men who actually think their wives would NEVER cheat on them? In a perfect world where a man's wife is also his best friend, maybe sleaze never rears its ugly head; but in the REAL world, the one that JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Lydon B. Johnson and right on down to the world leaders of today, and sports and entertainment celebrities who may be going through the same types of issues. Infidelity is simply a bi-product of sexual urges that have de-railed and crashed the train into the canyon...men do it, women do it, golfers do it, even golfers wives possibly do it, Hollywood stars do it, and the WIVES of Hollywood stars do it. Everyone does it and no one does it! Is anything sacred anymore? To be honest, NO! But people still try and until the human technology finally somehow reaches a point where tiny implants can be placed under the skin that emit small non-fatal jolts of electricity to sensitive areas whenever a random runaway sexual thought or fantasy pops up on the meter to remind you ... BAD, STOP, WRONG WAY!! DO IT AGAIN AND YOU'LL GET TWICE THE VOLTS YOU LOW-LIFE SCUM! .... until that day, people will cheat on their spouses until they are caught. I am not an expert on the matter but I will say that I've been on both sides of the fence and I'm not sure what hurt the most; being cheated on or having cheated and knowing it was suspected and how much it hurt to lie. What Tiger and his wife are going through is a very painful thing to imagine but I just hope all those people out there who are so quick to judge even the sincerity factor of Tiger's apology and "just how real it felt to them." Oh, excuse me....I blew it world, I screwed around and got caught and I know my wife should leave my ass but believe it or not, I'm a sex addict and still love her; and all though things will never be the same again, I'm sure as hell gonna give it a try because 19 skanks could never equal one loyal wife in a thousand years! I guess the only thing that makes me feel the least bit okay is the WHEW! I felt when I found out all 19 of the alleged "skanks" were indeed women. Man....I would hate some sort of right wing Christian "wide stance" situations to muck up a good "guy cheats on wife" story. I love Tiger and believe it or not, I love his wife for at least having the courage to let yet another mortal man who DESTROYED ANY TRUST to somehow live on and attempt to somehow hope for forgiveness. Human beings WILL screw things up; they always have, they always will; and anyone who thinks that any Hollywood star, professional athlete, politician, or just your garden variety Joe Six Pack has never looked at women and fantasized about having sex with her, is DELUSIONAL!! SEX bombards us in the media daily and the human mind is only as unique as its limitations will allow. //// Obviously I have this thing about hypocrites .

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By Billotto on February 23, 2010 at 02:58 am

Now all I have to do is try to figure out this spell-checker program and THEN I'll finally be the gifted writer I know myself to be. Hunter S......where have you gone? Why did you have to blow your fool head off now that we need you the most! Oh, and by the way, he was DIFINITELY a cheater. But his wife talked about it in an interview and she knew what kind of territory she was exploring when she went there in the first place...and all but laughed about it in a documentary I saw on his life. So in the mean time, I guess life goes on and people keep making believe that using words like DANG, FUDGE, POO POO and PEE PEE make it all okay when having to face an essentially sexually-obsessed society of human beings who don't all have a handle on keeping their urges in check. And the ones that seem like they do often fall the hardest; to our utter dismay and SHOCK! Oh my God, not Jimmy Swaggart too! (retro sleaze - the list is endless) Anyone even remember the KOBE thing?.....I didn't think so because I sure as hell can barely conjure up a glimmer of a memory on THAT monumental "shocker" of its day. I personally respect fidelity, believe it or not and I've known some couple that I KNOW have been true to eachother and it's a beautiful thing. But not everyone has it quite down to a fool-poof science yet. Enough! Anyway, anyone reading this can pretty much figure out what kind of a writer I am thus far; I wing ding, I do a little Gonzo, I side-step, I butcher spellings, I dig deep, I break all the rules of proper writing, but I try. ....... William Danford, AKA Billotto

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