Cheers and Jeers from the House of ĎRoids
By Scott Glab
ĎRoids. The one syllable MTV-abbreviation has become audible in the background of most every baseball conversation in the last few weeks, especially in terms of debunking the accomplishments of the gameís premier big boppers. A few points regarding the issue:
I mentioned the debunking of playersí accomplishments earlier. Negative criticism is very easy to give. But what about the power hitters from the 90ís who showed no bodily signs of steroid abuse? Perhaps we should take a look at their accomplishments in a new perspective. A few examples:
I cringe at the pain his mama must have gone through at birth. Heís just a plain big guy. He was at Auburn, and probably was in high school, too. He won two MVP awards, and almost personally ushered in the era of the walks-a-lot power hitter, now personified by Barry Bonds.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Keith and I have always been fond of calling him "Ken Griffey Overrrated", but he was able to generate gobs of home runs with sinewy but not gargantuan arms and an amazingly fluid swing. But who knows? Maybe upon coming to the Reds, pressured to stay atop his game, KGO jumped on the Ďroids train and began suffering the rash of injuries that currently plague him. His does look bigger than he did a decade ago, but let us not forget that in males, physical strength (not agility or endurance) peaks in the thirties. His body may be filling out to middle age. Either way, it seems highly unlikely that his body was altered by steroids in the nineties.
Historically speaking, the Crime Dog may be the biggest victim of rampant steroid use. He has always used his incredibly long reach to generate torque enough to pound the stuffing out of nearly 500 balls over the course of his career. Nearly 500. He probably will never reach the vaunted 500 HR plateau, while many of his injection-filled contemporaries have soared right past it. Most people feel his career stats leave him short of Cooperstown, but would we feel that way if the numbers of his contemporaries were not juiced?
Itís a tough question. But there are no cut and dries in evaluating baseball players. Steroid usage is simply another variable we have to take into account when we embark on the joyful task of trying to get a feel for what a player is really worth.
Scott never misses an opportunity to extol Fred McGriff. Email him to hear more.