bursa in the elbow best otc ed pills whats a heart murmer heartgard plus 26-50 is prozac a mao inhibitor depo-provera injection pain meds for dogs tramadol serevent generic name dehydrated urine for drug test how do you treat schizophrenia pain blocking medication spikes in blood pressure causes tendons in the elbow joint can you spot while your pregnant subutex withdrawal symptoms pin x cost new pain drugs compare nexium and prilosec define clostridium botulinum i cant lose anymore weight vulvar skin condition can acupuncture help depression long period of time define illicit drug use caffeine and osteoarthritis salt inhaler walmart water purification pills walmart opiate detox at home period a day late bruised pinky finger bismuth for ulcers meth and heart problems grape seed extract vs resveratrol are barbiturates narcotics triglyceride medication list difference between hypoglycemia and diabetes hylands earache drops lice in adults cvs prescription refill app ana blood panel cradle cap medicine swollen glands ear ache hard toe nails cure for throat cancer what is adderall used to treat pain with appendix benefits of nutmeg inability to be happy vet solutions ear cleansing solution over the counter skin glue singulair and depression new cancer drugs 2015 blood under skin on finger can amoxicillin cure sinus infection prevacid for child drug classification for cocaine leaky bladder surgery right knee ligaments best acne scar cream measles rash face symptoms rheumatoid arthritis hands can you change your skin color headache teeth hurt hiatal hernia pictures zinc health benefits old blood discharge during pregnancy swollen gland throat soap under sheet 120 heart rate an 415 inject generalized anxiety and depression blood blister like pimple diet pills with amphetamine after the umbilical cord falls off cat replacement milk extreme pain in feet crabs symptoms in men acne treatment system cortisone injection pregnancy clear rectal mucus discharge sore throat lots of phlegm birth control hormonal acne cure for planters wart sandalwood essential oil skin benefits nasal spray withdrawal right sided chest pain causes heroin relapse signs brown blood on period eating but not gaining weight bayer contact info toes itch at night greenish black stool in adults can atenolol be crushed bactrim for uti tight feeling in chest calories in 1 oz butter beta blocker metabolism removing impacted feces pull back muscle treatment best cream for bed sores what causes holes in your tonsils cost of ativan allergies lymph nodes my tooth hurts are hemorrhoids deadly pills help get pregnant l theanine contraindications is mg the same as ml what are the symptoms of insomnia tums in pregnancy boat motion sickness spray on aloe hashimotos and weight gain simultaneous inflammation of many arteries dry skin on newborns face non weight gaining antidepressants metronidazole 500 mg tablet increased spinal fluid m367 pill snort sex after miscarriage staph rash on face garcinia extract side effects antibiotic for acne what is topicort for lumbar radiculitis exercises what is andro bones in your hand how to test for drugs side effects of amphetamines crohns disease in small intestine walmart acid reducer anxiety medication taken as needed flexeril for fibromyalgia blood clot in toe kentucky poison control ovulation missed period swollen lymph node in lung is zoloft safe cardizem cd 120 mg omega 3 dha fish oil g 171 pill isopropyl alcohol 91% tinnitus goes away elbow and hand pain sinus headache while pregnant docetaxel brand name definition of nebulizer what is panic attack are planter warts contagious causes of rib pain phentermine birth defects radial nerve exercises sponge bath baby period three days late symptoms of oral herpes high white blood cell count meaning rimadyl for dogs dosage best brand of melatonin to buy cost of daily cialis hemorrhage stroke definition actos vs metformin synonym for whispered leg numbness when lying down diabetes mellitus type 2 blocked salivary gland treatment weaning off xanax what does a fib mean phentermine diet meal plan flushing nephrostomy tube rite aid dry shampoo scabies rash contagious punching bag throat child fever 3 days symptoms for upper respiratory infection sun safety tips lump below scrotum daily recommended dose of magnesium ergocalciferol 50 000 unit capsule h-15 why is my left leg numb augmentin side effects in babies chronic pain patients treated like criminals alcohol and valium lbm medical term cephalexin 500mg dosage for dogs androgel patient assistance uti in baby girl how ulcers are treated indigestion stomach pain signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome side effects of alcohol abuse wets the bed achy pain in legs define total cholesterol hydrogen peroxide mouth wash occasional ringing in ear need to poop long term use of ranitidine vitamin d walmart pain management york pa fish oil capsules benefits heart palpitations and fatigue bacterial pink eye dark brown urine round ligament pain pregnancy trazodone hydrochloride high benzocaine safe during pregnancy potassium content of orange juice symptoms of retinal detachment heel pain on the side apetamin syrup weight gain what is toxoplasma gondii 1800 calorie diet to lose weight flomax vs cialis for bph alcohol and medication interactions the dangers of xanax no sweat shoes narcotic drug classes medications for pad epo blood doping dexamethasone for altitude sickness is it okay to take drugs for trigeminal neuralgia mosco callus and corn remover liquid oral herpes outbreak duration symptoms of canine distemper what is heart valve stenosis bump in vagina liquid diarrhea for 3 days oral contraceptive pills silverscript part d reviews how to drink liquor causes of eye inflammation acne bumps on nose what does flashback mean can i leak amniotic fluid rhinorrhea medical definition can guys get hot flashes cocaine nose effects best otc antihistamine eye drops side of neck swollen devils claw plus shelf life of doxycycline proton pump inhibitors side effects pain when kneeling punctured tympanic membrane supraumbilical ventral hernia la retina del ojo ery tab ec 333 mg beta blockers insomnia hydrogen peroxide first aid do cranberry pills help uti treating lead poisoning ventilation medical definition planters wart duct tape can t afford prescription definition of ganglion is watermelon high in potassium vancomycin eye drops side effects basal cell skin cancer early signs loose yellow stools in adults rabies blood test 20 salicylic acid dangerous tick bites natren trenev trio muscle twitching in back para que sirve cyclobenzaprine gingivitis in kids what helps shingles pain what is paracentesis sweet wormwood benefits cum inside of me percocet and clonazepam antibiotics and kidney stones iron supplement 325 mg oral treatment for scabies what is kaletra taking prenatal vitamins at night seizure medicine list stomach pain worse when sitting allergy attack symptoms the cheese effect best aloe vera gel brand sensory level definition diabetes walk team names ip 464 pill citrate of magnesium after stitches removed gastritis what to eat what can i put on ringworm prilosec bad breath what can stop periods phenylephrine 10 mg how often neosporin wound care penis injury during sex severe heel pain when walking photos of scabies rash fever and bad breath ed injection video anti personality disorder symptoms weird heart flutter cause of hemorrhoids how is marijuana taken bad taste in mouth white tongue poison control ga period means not pregnant how long to detox off alcohol cefuroxime 500mg for sinus infection ceralyte where to buy antibiotic vs antiviral suboxone overdose treatment coupons for eliquis gas leak poisoning symptoms home remedies for uti in child amino acid l theanine etiology of myocardial infarction vaccine for rabies vicodin 35 92 insulin resistance and weight loss problems how much adderall cervical cyst symptoms vitamin e and coconut oil what is pantoprazol horizontal white lines on toenails phentermine recreational use how much vitamin d3 is safe left hand hurt how to fix a tooth my asshole is bleeding stitches vs sutures cashew allergy symptoms strawberry tongue treatment left side of throat swollen plan b contraceptive cost ppv medical abbreviation what is wheezing weak against methadone clinic in florida how to treat toenail infection alcohol sleeping pills what medicine has codeine in it what cause baldness cipro common side effects vertigo nausea headache arthritis skin symptoms i cant smell anything what to do if tick bite what are ulcers iud and sex 1000mg to g define follicle in ovary antiretroviral drugs side effects active ingredient in advantage for cats epsom salts laxative sore big toe nail corner ligament in leg toxicity of boric acid metmorfin side effects incisional hernia treatment usa online pharmacy what drugs are opiates found in otc sulfa drugs new treatment for psoriasis heart stroke definition prescription for uti difference between adderall and methamphetamine influenza a virus symptoms what is grand mal rectal itching causes renova vs retin a aumentar leche materna gas effects on body back of leg muscle diseases that start with v popular antipsychotic drugs what can cause sleepwalking lower back bone wart on toe treatment contusion in knee adderall in mexico pharmacy cold or hot for headache fml forte generic metastatic lung cancer survival rates what happens when you drink mouthwash can polio cure cancer period after 6 months how many ml in a mg hair skin and nails gummies reviews creatine supplements facts do all stds have symptoms what causes kidney dialysis very depressed and unmotivated heimlich for toddler shingles and exhaustion effects of a tetanus shot getting off birth control pills why do eggs give you gas cough and hoarse voice anxiety depression and adhd cause of leukemia vyvanse for add can genital warts be treated questions to ask your psychiatrist my left arm feels numb headache puffy eyes fractured elbow pain tamoxifen and blood clots diet pills review m 16 round leg shorter than the other i miss your body nystatin prescribing information is leukemia terminal progesterone shots in pregnancy weed in system coricidin chest congestion and cough high over the counter anti diuretic magnesium gluconate liquid what does going cold turkey mean what causes eye tics nail fungus oral treatment how to order phentermine online is macrobid a sulfa buy pills online bladder infection symptoms in kids how to stop taking adderall lupron ivf weight gain vitamin d pregnancy dose i slept all day tramadol side effects itching c 225 pill what does xan mean what is aplastic anemia how do you get poison ivy does hair stop growing foods low in uric acid 750/20 infected elbow bursitis gynostemma tea health benefits early period on nuvaring milliunit to unit phosphorus foods list dan dan 5443 publix prescription refills meth in urine can you take motrin with amoxicillin tetanus shot reaction how long how does gestational diabetes occur ear aches remedies adults joint pain in wrist numbing feeling in leg greenish yellow vaginal discharge potassium hydroxide uses skin care what is a massive stroke lorazepam social anxiety what does ung mean itchy rash cure remicade infusion reaction what can cause pneumonia benadryl dosage for 3 year old taking the blue pill niacin adverse effects scarlet fever long term side effects effects of metoprolol infants and pedialyte athlete drinking water trigeminal neuralgia cause diet kidney failure what pill is this an 627 l round yellow pill skin problems that look like ringworm lortab vs hydrocodone onset of ambien celebrity deaths 1982 glands in groin fluorouracil cream side effects aparato urinario masculino lidocaine ointment for tattoos mao inhibitor drugs list causes of vulvar cancer what causes my feet to swell g 224 pill lack of pms symptoms do drugs cause schizophrenia causes of sore feet red dots after sun exposure sinus pressure teeth white pill with g what does itchy feet mean what type of disease is lupus pharmaceutical weight loss drugs zovirax for herpes botox trigeminal neuralgia vistaril side effects weight gain [p ways to treat bronchitis can you overdose on nicotine patches biaxin generic name gabapentin overdose symptoms mucinex and getting pregnant will ondansetron get you high

Bill James Comments on Steroids

Columns — By Scott Ham on July 23, 2009 1:22 pm

It has been a long time coming, but Bill James has written his thesis regarding steroids:

For the last ten years or so people have been asking me to comment on the issue of
steroids and the Hall of Fame. To this point I have resisted addressing these  questions, arguing—as I do with the Hall of Fame status of active players—that there is nothing to be gained by trying to guess where objects still in motion will eventually land. With the passage of time the dust will settle, and we will see the issue more clearly.

After ten years, however, the dust does not seem to be settling very rapidly. There seem to be as many different and contradictory opinions on the issue now as there
were five or eight years ago. We are all tired of arguing about it, but we still don’t agree. In any case, I am finally ready to say what I have to say about it. It is my opinion that, in time, the use of steroids or other Performance Enhancing Drugs will mean virtually nothing in the debate about who gets into the Hall of Fame and who does not.

The discrimination against PED users in Hall of Fame voting rests upon the perception that this was cheating. But is it cheating if one violates a rule that nobody is enforcing, and which one may legitimately see as being widely ignored by those within the competition?

It seems to me that, at some point, this becomes an impossible argument to sustain—that all of these players were “cheating”, in a climate in which most everybody was doing the same things, and in which there was either no rule against doing these things or zero enforcement of those rules. If one player is using a corked bat, like Babe Ruth, clearly, he’s cheating. But if 80% of the players are using corked bats and no one is enforcing any rules against it, are they all cheating? One better: if 80% of the players are using corked bats and it is unclear whether there are or are not any rules against it, is that cheating?

The “rule” against Performance Enhancing Drugs, if there was such a rule before 2002, by-passed all of these gates. It was never agreed to by the players, who clearly
and absolutely have a right to participate in the process of changing any and all rules to which they are subject. It was not included in any of the various rule books that
define the conduct of the game from various perspectives. There was no process for enforcing such a rule. The punishments were draconian in theory and non-existent
in fact.

It seems to me that, with the passage of time, more people will come to understand that the commissioner’s periodic spasms of self-righteousness do not constitute
baseball law. It seems to me that the argument that it is cheating must ultimately collapse under the weight of carrying this great contradiction—that 80% of the players are cheating against the other 20% by violating some “rule” to which they never consented, which was never included in the rule books, and which for which there was no enforcement procedure. History is simply not going to see it that way.

James is dancing a bit of a line here, I think.  For one, he never really expresses an opinion about the use of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.  In his opinion, I’m sure, he doesn’t have to as his personal feelings on the matter are beside the point. What you or I think makes little difference compared to what is and what will happen.

Using that approach, what James leaves us with is more of a prediction about how history will judge the steroid era.  His conclusions are based on how we currently view the past, how societal and medicinal changes in the future might change people’s perspectives on steroids, and sort of a Veteran’s Committee effect that will apply the Old Boy’s Network in eventually enshrining known steroid offenders.

It’s an interesting exercise in trying to predict the future, which in the end is a matter of opinion.

Regarding the medical questions, James’ essential point is this:

How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They’re going to look back on them as pioneers. They’re going to look back at it and say “So what?”

Will society be more dependent on steroids and other medicines to not only prolong life but make us healthier?  Probably.  There could be some debate as to how accessible those types of resources will be across all economics levels.  Magic Johnson has been able to fight off the HIV virus for twenty years, by most accounts because his financial resources have given him access to treatments that most people can’t afford.  Given the high cost of pharmaceuticals now, what are the chances that the lower and middle classes will be able to afford these types of medications?  For all we know, there could be a real divide in society between the haves and the have-nots which would ultimately sway the majority’s opinion a completely different way.

James’ states that in the event that this premise is completely wrong, society’s opinion may matter little because, eventually, a player will a steroid background will somehow make it into the Hall, which will in turn open the floodgates to many.  Or, someone will be enshrined and it will be revealed afterward that they had used steroids, leading to the floodgates opening up.  This also presumes that there will be some method in place, a la the current Veteran’s Committee, that can elect players currently not on the ballot.

This argument from James makes the most sense from the standpoint of past history.  One of the barometer’s for enshrinement to the Hall of Fame has been the membership of the Hall itself.  It is easier to argue for Don Mattingly’s election when Kirby Puckett and his similar bottom end career numbers are already there.  The shame of the situation is that Puckett probably shouldn’t have been elected.  To this point, it hasn’t aided a similar player like Mattingly but the precedent has been set and could open the door for a borderline player in the future.

The same reasoning could apply to steroid users should someone finally be elected.  The problem may lie in contradiction to another point by James, where he states “History is forgiving. Statistics endure.”

Is history that forgiving?  James cites Shoeless Joe Jackson as an example of forgiving history, stating:

In 1950 no one thought Joe Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame. Now it is a common opinion—perhaps a majority opinion—that he should. People question whether he “really” did the things that he clearly admitted doing. His virtues are celebrated; his sins are minimized. Perhaps this is right; perhaps it is wrong. It is the way of history.

That approach sounds like the opinion of the casual fan.  James himself states that Jackson “clearly admitted” what he did, leaving little doubt as to his guilt.

When it comes to the Hall of Fame, the casual fan has no input into who enters and who doesn’t.  The process, at the moment anyway, is left to the BBWAA, which does not always seem like the most educated of groups.  It is also a group made of dozens if not hundreds of Murray Chass types, who eschew modern statistics and Internet resources as tomfoolery.  The nature of that little club is already changing.  By 2040 or 2050 (James’ time line), one would think the approach of the same organization will be a little more enlightened by the younger generation that grew up with the resources that keep facts like Shoeless Joe Jackson’s guilt alive.

History has been somewhat forgiving to this point because so much of history has been lost to memory.  There are people spending years of their lives trying to rebuild the details of baseball games played less than a hundred years ago because a lot of the particulars were either lost to time or never recorded.

We won’t suffer that same fate with the history we are creating now.  We live in a period of time where everything is documented and saved on at least a hundred hard drives across the world.  If you have any doubt as to whether Pete Rose actually bet on the Reds, you’ll be able to access the Dowd Report online or through whatever iteration the Internet has morphed to through the end of time.  There will be little doubt.

History forgives what is easily forgotten.  We’re entering an age where memory and paper are no longer the keeper of history.

Finally, James addresses the issue of whether steroid users were actually cheating:

It seems to me that, at some point, this becomes an impossible argument to sustain—that all of these players were “cheating”, in a climate in which most everybody was doing the same things, and in which there was either no rule against doing these things or zero enforcement of those rules.

I have a hard time backing this argument.  Let us apply James’ use of society as a proper metaphor for what happened in baseball.

What if the members of Congress were aware of the fact that many of it’s members were accepting excessive amounts of money from lobbying interests and adjusting their voting and policy based on these financial buyouts.  The governing party is aware of this action but does little to enforce it because everyone is benefiting.

What if a local police department is aware that there are a couple of drug dens in the middle of a neighborhood but does nothing about it because there are personal ties to some of the individuals.  Does that make the crimes any less illegal?

The implication that there was no rule against doing steroids is flawed.  There is no rule on the books in Major League Baseball that killing a man on the field is punishable.  That doesn’t protect baseball players from the rules of society where murder and steroids are both illegal.  Is it Major League Baseball’s responsibility to produce an exact copy of the penal code in it’s rule book to ensure that player’s abide by society’s rules?

We’re not addressing punishment here.  We’re addressing whether players can be judged as cheaters, and by cheaters we mean people who have violated the rules of the game in order to gain an advantage.  Yes, by definition, there was no rule in place until 2002 that stated players could not take steroids.  Should we as fans of the game be bound to forgiveness because what was morally objectionable and illegal in society wasn’t committed to parchment in Major League Baseball?  Do we have to accept the bad judgment and selfish acts of hundreds of players over the last two decades because, technically, it wasn’t written down that steroids are bad?

Regardless of whether these players cheated, history will be less forgiving to these players.  We have seen the spike in performance through that era.  We have seen records fall that previously seemed impossible.  We have seen players return to the norm around the age of 32 as James states while steroids made old men young again.  We have witnessed the before and after and will see more of it as time marches on.  The longer we go, the louder this blip in baseball history will become, the more obvious the differences between the steroid era and each era before and after.

The statistics will endure and they will tell the story of a generation of players unlike any generation before and hopefully afterward.  And we will all know why.  History won’t forgive because the statistics will never change, the differences will never diminish.  It will always be there for us to see, to remind us that these players were different because they broke a law and lied to society.

Tags: Bill James, PEDs


  1. Ron says:

    This writer seems to miss the essential point of the argument, probably because James himself muddied the waters. There was no “cheating,” prior to 2002, because there was no rule. The so-called “Vincent edict” carried no force of law.

    What on earth is so hard to grasp about that? Anyone who claims a player cheated by taking steroids before 2002 is committing slander.

    Have you got that part?

  2. Scott Ham says:

    Why should players be held to a lesser standard than the rest of society? If steroids are illegal in society, and a player has taken an illegal steroid to gain a competitve advantage, that should be morally ok because MLB didn’t negotiate punishment with the players union? Do I have to curtail judgment against a player that beats his wife because MLB can’t suspend him for it?

    Sure, it’s easy for me to sit at a keyboard and point fingers at guys who used steroids and call them cheaters. If I lived and worked in the same environment, I would certainly be as tempted ad anyone else. But let’s be realistic about the climate these players created: nobody spoke about it, nobody was honest about it, people received their steroids from the Ridomsky’s of the world. For a mass of people who supposedly didn’t break any rules, they certainly acted like a bunch of guys who didn’t want to get caught doing steroids while playing baseball. Even if they technically weren’t cheating, they knew and acted like they were doing something wrong.

    With that type of behavior, if they weren’t cheating, what were they doing?

  3. Kirk says:

    Seriously, why do you need a rule to forbid the use of something that is ALREADY ILLEGAL in this country. This is highly flawed logic. Does baseball have any rules against using crack?

    A much better argument would be to say that it was not, up until recently, illegal to use ephedra in MLB and thus since there was no rule about it in 2000 AND it was not illegal in the US, players used it and should not be punished for it. However, NOW ephedra is illegal in MLB but not the US so a player can be punished for using it even though it is currently legal.

  4. joe says:

    seriously I think players should be LLOWED TO USE SEROIDS JUST TO BOOST THEIR PERFORMANCE. they should make a steroid league only.

  5. ToddG says:

    There’s alotta pills to take when doing an Anabolic Stack…but don’t dispare! They pair up easy, and you can take em in 2s. My favorite Anabolic Stack is from the Dr Max Powers brand. You do notice a boost of energy from this, nothing major but more of an alert feeling. Which is great.

    You can find online – Dr Max Powers The Anabolic Stack – ithas everything you need… EVERYTHING. has amino acids, liver support, and yer standard vitamins all in large quantities. Obviously built for someone serious about performance.

    The price is OK. About $60, but for 30 paks its about right. I’d gladly pay more, but I am a college student.

    GET YOURS!!!!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.