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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Great Articles about Steroids and Giambi's Contract 


Will Carroll 的 BP 專欄終於出來了,很遺憾這篇文章放在 premium 部份,需要是訂戶才可以閱讀:"Steroids in Baseball - A Call For Testing"。【稍早我誤以為這篇不是 premium,若造成困擾請見諒】

如果能夠看到這篇文章的話,在閱讀前,請準備好兩件東西:一杯茶或咖啡 (看你愛喝哪一種),以及一本字典。我並不是英文程度很好的人,不過通常看棒球文章是不需要查字典的。就算有幾個字不懂,通常看看上下文也可以猜出來。這篇文章則不然,專業名詞太多了。除非念醫學相關科系,否則一般人會讀得有些辛苦。這篇文章還非常的長,非常非常的長。

Carroll 用了很大的篇幅詳細的介紹了各種被我們用 steroids 一個字打死的 illegal performance enhancing drug (IPED),同時他也討論了一些大家的對 IPED 的效果揣測及誤解。

Does a stronger player hit the ball harder, swing the bat faster, throw the ball farther or faster, or reduce fatigue significantly enough to change the game or his ability? The question simply has not been adequately answered. Since credible studies cannot be done using humans, instead researchers are forced to use proxies. If steroids make players stronger, do stronger players hit better? Do reduced recovery times help a pitcher get more wins? Kerry Rosenboom, the strength coach at Wichita State University and owner of Rosenboom's Weight Training for Baseball program, believes the effects are overstated. "I can get the same results as drug users with a smart workout program," said Rosenboom in a BP Radio interview. "These guys are putting themselves at risk for incremental gains. It's lazy, but it's also stupid."

老實說我最初思考樣本點的時候並沒有想到相關研究根本就不能這樣子來看。這不像是一般的公衛研究可以蒐集大量案例來分析,也不像醫學可以靠臨床實驗累積資料。看到 Carroll 提到 proxy 我才想到這部份研究可能必須要靠這種間接的方式來進行,那麼 MLB 球員用藥的樣本就不是最大的問題了。

下面這一段關於 Barry Bonds 的表現的看法跟上面的討論也有關係:

There is speculation that for hitters, the true advantage is that a batted ball travels farther. Absent any real evidence or scientific study that a stronger hitter is better, there are few ways to adequately test this assertion. One statistic often asserted is that Barry Bonds has hit more 450-foot home runs over the last five years than he had for the rest of his career. Having hit more home runs in the last five years than anyone, it doesn't appear that Bonds has increased his percentage of long home runs. He's merely increased the rate at which he hits home runs. Is that increase in rate something outrageous enough to cry foul? Bonds has averaged 37 home runs per season over his career. He hit 46 home runs in 1993, his first season in San Francisco. People fond of saying that Bonds' physique has changed significantly seldom point to any gain in 1993. Bonds has only surpassed that 1993 total in two seasons, 2000 and 2001. Measures of bat speed have significant accuracy problems, yet even these point to Bonds not having any IPED advantage. Two of the three highest bat speeds recorded by ESPN in 2001 belonged to Alfonso Soriano and Luis Gonzalez. Instead of muscle-bound, these players are more likely to be described as "lanky" or "wiry." Soriano is often compared to Hank Aaron himself, especially for his quick wrists and easy swing.

最有趣的是前幾天 Hank Aaron 才說了 "Let me say this. Any way you look at it, it's wrong.",Carroll 這篇文章裡提到在 Aaron 的日子裡使用 "performance enhancements" 並不是稀奇的事情:

Aaron, a worthy Home Run King if ever there was one, was hardly a stranger to performance enhancements. Peter Gammons recently wrote about the use of amphetamines in baseball, following work by Tom Verducci that has implicated nearly every great player from the '50s and '60s. Aaron, along with Pete Rose, Mickey Mantle, and others have all been accused of using "red juice" or "greenies." Even today, few players will touch the field without using something, whether that something is a protein shake, herbal supplements, a strong pot of coffee, or something more sinister.

對於這個問題有興趣的人,Carroll 這篇文章不應該錯過。關於醫學的部份由於我完全外行,所以我只能接受他所說的東西。如果有人有相關知識以及不同意見,歡迎在這裡留下看法,同時最好能夠直接寫 e-mail 告訴 Carroll,他回信的速度還蠻快的。

另外一篇關於 Jason Giambi 的合約狀況的文章也相當值得一讀:Murray Chass 在 New York Times 12/7/04 的 "Voiding Giambi's Deal Easier Said Than Done" 也很清楚的解釋了 Yankees 可以做的事情以及可能的後果。從他的分析來看,Yankees 在現行的 CBA 之下很難擺脫 Giambi 的合約。Chass 沒有提到的可能是 Giambi 對 grand jury 說謊被抓到,然後因為偽證罪坐牢,那麼 Yankees 會有比較好的機會引用下面這個條款:

7.b.1 The Club may terminate this contract upon written notice to the Player (but only after obtaining waivers of this contract from all other Major League Clubs) if the Player shall at any time fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the Club's training rules.

根據過往判例,要用沒有維持 "first-class physical condition" 來逃脫不想要的合約幾乎是天方夜譚,不太可能成功。即使這個 "good citizenship" 也不容易引用,需要比較嚴重一點的狀況才有機會成功,偽證罪是可能之一。不過他在 grand jury 前作證時已經承認了他使用 IPED,唯一有疑問的是某些人認為他可能在 2000 MVP 球季甚至更早就開始使用,這就與他的證詞不符合。我對於這種指控並不看好:第一,證據很難取得,就算他在 2001 年之前從某些來源取得 steroids 並且使用,相關資料恐怕也已經找不出來了;第二,如 Tom Candiotti 所言,在 1998、1999 做他的隊友時也感覺不到異狀,很可能也找不到任何人證願意指控 Giambi 去年做了偽證。

另外一點有意思的攻防是在 fraud 這一點,Chass 的文章裡面提到 Yankees 可能因為他們簽約時不知道 Giambi 使用 steroids 而在不知情的情況下買到『瑕疵品』。最近有好幾個 MLBPA 相關人員提到這一點,他們的說法都是『大家當時都知道 Giambi 使用非法藥物,如果 Yankees 不知道的話,他們大概是棒球界裡唯一不知道的』。的確,傳聞是存在的,但是幾乎大部分體型壯碩的球員都有相關傳言,這個不算什麼。當時不只是 Yankees 出了七年 $120M 的合約提議,很多人現在都忘記了 Billy Beane 出了什麼條件了。這些是 Yankees 這邊可以提出來的論點,不過我仍然不覺得他們會成功。

附帶一提,Rockies 如果以為那麼容易可以用上述條款擺脫 Danny Neagle 就太天真了。他們還欠他大概 $19M,如果他們可以一塊錢都不付我會非常驚訝。對 Rockies 最好的結果是雙方和解,同時金額 MLBPA 也可以接受。如果最後由 arbitrater 決定,我並不看好 Rockies 可以輕易獲勝。不過換個角度看,Rockies 如果能省下可觀金額,就算是 $1M 也好,我們剛剛在報紙上看到的就可能是人類歷史上最貴的 blow job。XD

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