May 21, 2007

Why Ortiz?

After receiving a pretty nasty comment, I felt it would be best to respond where everyone could see it. I made an off-hand comment in an earlier post that I think David Ortiz took or is taking steroids (along with Sosa and Bonds). I received a comment from 'Matt32.'

Matt32: 'Not all yankee bloggers are as wreckless as this one.'

Oh, so I'm wreckless for stating my opinion. So those other bloggers are staight news men who never share their opinions?

'Here's the thing. The yankees have a history with steroids. First sheffield, and now giambi. The red sox have been completely untouched by steroids. No one who knows what they're talking about points to ortiz. He's always been a big guy, and doesn't have the type body you get from steroids.'

You call two players a 'history'? One of them is on Detroit. Does that mean Detroit now has a 'history'? And the only reason Giambi is even caught up in this is because Bonds used Balco, and Giambi (probably) also did from his days in the Bay Area too. If not for the Bonds investigation, we might still think he was clean as a whistle - as some people think about Ortiz, who I'll get to below.

'One more thing, this blogger was wrong (again) about steroids making hitters more powerful. Steroids help you recover from workouts faster, which helps you work out more. But simply taking steroids wouldn't do a thing.'

Really? So steroids don't increase muscle mass? disagrees with you, and I'll take their word over yours. "When most of us should not train more than 3-4 times per week, and every time we train we should not spend more than 1 hour in the gym, people that use steroids can easily train 6 times per week, splitting their sessions in morning and afternoon training, as well as they are able to spend easily 2 hours in the gym, getting stronger and bigger, week after week. (That's something that would make any natural bodybuilder get overtrained in no time!) Consequently, these people are able to train longer and recuperate faster, making it much easier for them to increase their muscle mass as well as their strength." Clear as day. (c'mon Matt32, this is 9th grade stuff.) If you take two guys, you give them a certain strength goal (for example, to bench 250 lbs), the juicer will get there first because he can exercise more often than the 'clean' guy. His muscle mass and strength increases greater and faster.

And when did I ever say just juicing itself does anything? Of course the juicer has to exercise too. I never wrote that anywhere. Please point me to that statement. And I really don't understand the Bonds defense that steroids don't make it easier to hit a baseball - in a sense this is true, roids don't increase hand-eye coordination. However, being stronger (as a result of juicing) allows batters to swing the bat faster (which allows for greater reaction time when identifying the pitch), hence hit the ball harder/farther (e.g. McGwire, Canseco, etc.). That's just common sense.

'Again, I encourage you to check out other yankee blogs that are far more careful with accusations and that back up there facts.'

Again, I encourage you to check out other yankee blogs and see how much of it is opinion. That's what the blogosphere is for. If you want hard news, go to the New York Times. But wait a minute, even they have an opinion section! What's the world coming to?!

So why do I believe Ortiz has/is juicing? Several reasons:

1. Injuries
Ortiz had many injury problems during his tenure in Minnesota - he never had more than 415 at-bats in any season there (his last). All of a sudden, he's been healthy for four straight years (hasn't had less than 448 ab in his Boston tenure). Roids increase recuperation time, so it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to presume that Ortiz began taking roids to help himself recover from his various injuries (to increase muscle and bone rebuilding) around his last year with Minnesota or his first year with Boston. But a negative side effect can be...

2. The heart
Look at last year's heart problems. And as we know (again here), heart problems can be a sign of steroid use. "steroids do make your muscles grow more (that's the good part), but they affect ALL the body's muscle growth (including the heart of course, and thats the bad part). The heart is a muscle that is also affected by steroids..."

3. His OPS+ was never more than 122 (his last year in Minnesota). Since joining Boston, it's never been below 144. He was merely a good hitter with Minnesota (and never even an All-Star), now he's a perennial MVP candidate. He never slugged over .500, now he slugs .600+ every year. He never hit more than 20 HR in Minnesota; with Boston he's never hit less than 31. And this was all after his 'peak' years of 26-27 (peak years determined by Bill James and Baseball Prospectus if you're wondering). It's not damning by itself, but how often to players jump that much? Say what you will about Bonds, Giambi and McGwire, but at least they had precedents of great hitting; not so for Ortiz.

4. And who said he's had the same body type his whole career? I beg to differ.

Looks remarkably similar to this, except it happened during an even shorter timespan than Bonds:

None of this, of course, is hard irrefutable evidence that he did/does juice, but it does seem to point in that direction.

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