Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

Posts Tagged ‘steroids’

Punctuated Home Run Equilibrium: Part III

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 27, 2010

From Coming Home Through Expansion: Waves #2 and #3

This is the third in a multi-part series examining the history of home run rates in Major League Baseball. Inspired by my disagreement with J.C. Bradbury’s opinion on the importance of steroids in the rise in home runs over the last 15 years, this research attempts to look beyond statistical expectations.  Rather than providing explanations for changes in home run rate, this series hopes to provide the reader with causal relationships not drawn from correlation, but rather from actual events.  Part One introduced Mr. Bradbury‘s argument, as well as my initial concerns with the position.  Part Two explores the Roaring Twenties and the decade’s end, where we see that a small piece of large puzzle can explain what appears to be widespread instability.

Following a plummeting rate of home runs per game (HR/G) during World War II, the return of the stars and the subsequent evolution of the American way of life led to what appears as a dramatic spike in power at the big league level.  Today’s entry examines what history has to say not from a purely numerical level, but also from a historical examination.

To be perfectly clear, I am not attempting to weave a narrative in retrospect.  Rather, my argument is that the peaks and troughs throughout history are largely evolutionary and incidental, byproducts of other socio-historical factors endemic to the game or experienced by the players.  The ups and downs that appear as data points are functionally independent of one another.  Extremes either high or low have historically tended to correct, if not overcorrect, themselves from year to year.  We will see this a number of times in today’s article. Read the rest of this entry »

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Edinson Volquez…lest we forget

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 17, 2010

Edinson Volquez

Edinson Volquez, with his original right arm (left). (photo from about.com)

Hey, Remember Him?

On April 21st, Cincinnati righty Edinson Volquez (aka Edison Volquez; aka Julio Reyes)  began serving his suspension of 50 games for violating MLB’s ban on performance enhancing drugs.  Today is officially Day 27 of his suspension.  I, for one, hope that he is feeling guilty about cheating the game, the Reds, and the fine people of Cincinnati, Ohio.  I hope he takes the proper level of responsibility for the trouble that he’s caused his team.  And I damn sure hope that, for the next 23 days of his life, he has a hard time looking at himself in the mirror.

And in 7 days, sixteen days before the end of his 50-game suspension from MLB, when he is allowed to return to the minor league affiliates of the Reds to continue his post-surgery rehabilitation that would have had him on track to make his return to the majors at the end of July, I hope that he understands that what he did was wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

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PEDs: the Liturgy and Daily Life

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 13, 2010

Thursday night on WSCR-670AM, Laurence Holmes [full podcast available] raised the question of why there is little more than a collective shrug when football players test positive for PEDs. I started thinking about it myself, and this is what I came up with:

I don’t think that it is facelessness of so many players that allows us to dismiss PED use in the NFL. Rather, it’s the emotional and temporal natures of baseball and football that create the different receptions.

Baseball games happen every day for six months: one hundred sixty-three (ASG) days out of one hundred eighty-three. Ninety percent of our days from April through October begin with the knowledge that a baseball game might transform the mundane into the miraculous. The ebb and flow of the game, the season, and our emotions are all closely tied together. We get to know the habits of the players, the hitches in their swings and the movement of their throws. Baseball, as a part of our lives, allows us to become emotionally tied to the players who we see possibly more often than even our friends and family. Read the rest of this entry »

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