Saturday, February 14, 2009


With this A-Rod steroid business there's a lot of new talk about the statistics compiled by steroid users. What do we do with Barry Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and the others? Do we reestablish Henry Aaron as Home Run leader? Babe Ruth?

The problem: baseball is a team sport, and every play, every ground ball, every hit, every piece of strategy involves the statistics of many ballplayers simultaneously. For example, do we take away Roger Clemens victories, or even some of them? If we do - if we don't count the games he pitched in his later years - what do we do with the statistics of the hitters who batted against him? If you take away a Win from Clemens what about taking the Loss from the pitcher who lost that game?

What if a player batted .298 in a season in which he was 0-6 against Clemens - what do we do? Take away those 6 hitless at-bats and refigure his batting average which would now be over .300? How do we make up the extra money that hitter did not get paid that he might have as a .300 hitter?

What about the pitchers who faced Bonds? Do we take away the home runs given up, refigure the wins and losses and reevaluate the ERA? If you take away Bonds' RBIs, do you also take away the Runs Scored for the players on base when he homered? Eliminate Bonds' intentional walks and then what - take away all the RBIs of the hitters who followed him and knocked in runs?

How about all the games Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and the others (do we even know who these others are?) were responsible for winning? If you take away their statistics, do we change the wins and losses for the games they personally influenced and alter the season standings? How about changing the World Series results?

There seems to be no workable solution other than to just "take it all into consideration" when coming to an opinion. If you don't accept Bonds, then Aaron is your Home Run champ. If you vote for the Hall of Fame, you can decide not to induct any steroid user. But when it comes to game statistics, you can't make it good... for all concerned, can you?

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