Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gammons on Steroids and Scoring a Man From Third Base

Peter Gammons is becoming the indispensible source regarding the baseball steroid scandals. He alerts us to a new resource coming out to clear up any confusion on the topic:
Our education has begun. "The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems" by Will Carroll has been released and explains much of the science of what so few of us really understand. Carroll, whose "Under the Knife" column on Baseball Prospectus is an industry standard, sifts through facts and myths and helps understand the layers of performance enhancements.

He mentions that users are taking drugs, some legal, to help them focus.

Gammons goes on to write about how players are losing the ability to get men in from scoring positions:
This is a rant about selfishness and a lack of concentration and a preference for arbitration over winning. It's about not scoring runners from third base with less than two outs.

"You've got agents whispering in players' ears about numbers," says Rangers manager Buck Showalter. "If a player comes up with a runner on third and one out and the infield's back, if he gives himself up and rolls a ground ball to second base, that's a negative at the arbitration table."

"Strikeouts have come to be the norm, an accepted norm," says Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Guys too often want to hit the home run and forget that that run can win a game."

"I wish every player would study tapes of David Eckstein in that situation," says A's GM Billy Beane. "He will foul off a dozen pitches until he finally gets something he can get to the outfield to get the run home. It drives me crazy. Our players have heard me on this subject."

Why? Because when the A's left for their six-game swing through New York and Boston, they had come up with 42 runners on third base with fewer than two outs ... and 12 had scored. Pathetic. Eight teams had scored less than half of runners in that position.

And, no, the Phillies aren't one of those teams. They have an average of .553.

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