A bunch of ‘roided-up clowns

Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham

Now it all makes sense – why older flamethrowers like Roger Clemens and Kevin Brown and others were able to throw and throw hard well past what would be considered a pitcher’s prime.

That’s what is jumping out at me from looking at the Mitchell Report that was released yesterday detailing former senator George Mitchell’s investigation of steroid and HGH abuse in Major League Baseball.

So much of our attention on steroid and HGH use has been on power hitters like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, that we almost completely overlooked the fact that pitchers had a lot to gain themselves from juicing.

Like Clemens, for example, who is alleged to have begun using steroids as long ago as 1998 – which if you remember is not long after the Boston Red Sox had given up on Clemens for being a tired old pitcher, basically. Clemens’ numbers in the last decade of his career were arguably better than that which we saw out of him in his early years – actually, to say arguably is to understate what we saw from Clemens post-Boston, given that he won four of his seven Cy Young Awards from 1997 on and two Cys after it was reported that he began using steroids.

And then there’s Brown, who went 72-45 in seven seasons after the age of 34 – and 13 years of freakish big-league wear and tear on his right arm and shoulder.

Even names like Andy Pettite and Denny Neagle showed up in the report – I mean, you have to ‘roid up to throw a changeup?

I think we need to keep this in mind when we assess what is going to be known as The Steroid Era. Sure, ‘roided-up clowns like Bonds and McGwire and Sosa put up some cartoonish power numbers at the height of the era, but how many of their at-bats were against other cartoon clowns?

That’s a question that we might never have an answer to.



Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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