Transcript for Hot Takedown: A Rod's 3000th hit
I ballot. So walking through Brooklyn their day on my way to work. Blocked by a school that had this. Carter books out from their library. And it's year school free book sale kind of thing take the Butler. And I had a feeling we will be talking out A-Rod on this podcasts. And sure enough. There it is Mac Christopher's. On the fueled with Alex Rodriguez Rodriguez. Dot dot dot. He was eight spent. So I want it start this segment. With just an excerpt from chapter nine. Entitled starting at the top. This is from his 1996 season his first full year in the big leagues after a couple years and now. When Alex Rodriguez arrived at spring training he looked like a new person. He'd added pounds of muscle to his body without losing any flexibility or speed. He walked are right up to manager Lou Piniella and spoke softly. But firmly. I'm ready he said. Melo looked him in the he had never seen Rodriguez look so serious. I New York sun. Well so. Bring that up because now what I read that I like can't help but think about steroids and this is what Alex Rodriguez has done himself apps flexible. Yes exactly pounds of muscle at. I'm not sure that back receiver is exactly the guy do expose. Any lesbian fiction also. That conversation and that is that we are you can do different if pregnant on the number of books he's written a race though it would that that is. As an answer if if a rod was a Berry's two and Matt Christopher's story that a deep cut mattress for reference and I don't know that you know merry season and characters that are standing in for the and are unrealistically talented and so. All things are innocent now what matters from Randy and because Al that we know that came after he booked up in the 1960s and apparently. But it brings us also to would happen last week which is that on Friday. Out out Freddy Rodriguez became the twenty actress and hit three to hit 3000 times to get 3000 hits. In his career is the culmination truly one of the strangest carriers image of the mystery. You're steroids you championships. You've sent towards their pictures of them about his bed. He's been the league's Gil for years and it makes to meet major conversation on him really complicated and almost a proxy for conversation mr. air in general. Needed here at little bit about that. What Eric Wedge comment on 33000 hit a baseball tonight. Because I'll artery I get that but you can't deny the performance that I what is Donald of course his career. So can we deny Neil I mean like it's do we factory in. Steroids to his performance or the staff staff snapped the top quality and that's I mean finding the answer that I would be able to solve all of our hall of fame debates and and it's the eternal questions of how do you deal with the stats from this era because. You know as Saber metrics guy. I have always been of the opinion that you know there each era has its own defining you know attributes for instance before baseball was integrated. You had Babe Ruth facing off against you know not. All of the staff's that he could have faced you know the pitchers that he could have faced Satchel Paige. Competes against him among many other agreed pitchers and so do you you know do you dean Ebert for that. Only economically integrated yet exactly because he put up the numbers that you know. Taking advantage of the situation and he was handed of course you can say you know Alex Rodriguez. Sort of made his own situation but a lot of people during his era. Used performance enhancing drugs so. In a certain sense you wanted to say the eras are what they are in if you adjust to the league average eats. You know whatever season it is in whatever the conditions are if you just adjust for the quality of competition that he. They faced in all of these things then you can kind of put everyone in their place in Major League history and you have to deal with the untidy and use of steroids but on the other hand you do add this issue of you know do you believe Jose Canseco who said that substantial portion of the playing population use steroids. Or do you kind of confinement only two things like the Mitchell report or the testing got leaked later. You know a small number of people used in do you assume ever went outs was clean and I think that is really the issue even beyond the idea that. A ride. Sort of willingly broke the rules if they were not the rules that were in place of Major League Baseball at the time they certainly were against you know the law at certain points that he was using and then he even broke them once they were. Against the rules of Major League Baseball so sort of an un repentant cedar. How do you deal with that and how do you contextualize that in a sport that loves numbers and loves. The at least the illusion that you can take. Rodgers horns these numbers from you know the nineteen teens and put them right up against Ken Griffey junior and A-Rod and Barry Bonds and make some kind of clean comparison. And maybe we're all nigh eve and in this just expose the ID. You know the idea that FaceBook can do that for what it really was which used his finance. Yeah I think that's kind of wait it was. Baseball's love being able to take any number and staff many parent have it hold true and now you throw the wrench into it of how to quantify what steroids meaning it blows that whole. Notion apartments is the ultimate irony for baseball that. It wants to name in quantify everything. Ends. Yet it can't quantify this one thing that is like. Steve being dark cloud over all of baseball and yet it's still trying to quantify right it's still trying to say. We think you joked we think you'd answer is we thank you didn't you get into the hall you don't. It's the ultimate irony of baseball right now is that the quantifiable witnesses award I'm just gonna say. Of baseball and yet this thing that you can't quantify an ice and said this and I can't believe I said it around the horn last week and talk about Iraq as a among Mets fan and am I'm not an A-Rod fan but at some point in we didn't do this when we hit home run mark. At some point you have to stop and say okay. It can Regis at some point Parse out that the baseball. In an honor him for Som of that. Because it seems like there's just been years and years and years of never even stopping to really recognize. Some of what he's done in baseball and and you chief. It's I'm confused because Neil your piece on 530 right now. In which you do normalized for the area that player has played in an end in it you'd note that A-Rod 3000 hits. If you normalized for the number pits that are going and in that air that the that the player played in belted averaged that are that are. A-Rod is probably 48 hits. Ahead of where we expect and be if you are playing at an average time as that are reasonable approximation of it yet. And so to me then doesn't that take into account and about to argue that against us open figures out of an output and that taken account. The steroids era quote unquote and it away quantify our relative to other baseball errands. There to a certain extent I mean this is kind of a pure Saber metrics solution to it is just to say. Well let's look at what the league average of hits per plate appearance was in and adjust for park and adjust for or. You know lived though overall environment in which he played. And I don't think that's really satisfying. Beyond just the numbers for their own sake necessarily. Which was the purpose of the exercise and you can kind of run that as of her you know exercise. But he dared the question of that ethics of using performance enhancing drugs I don't think his is something that Saber metrics can ever really. Satisfactorily. Answered. And that's me you know maybe that's a farming that's something that's they are metrics was never really intended to do. A because a lot of this comes down not just to. You know the home runs that A-Rod hit. Had a certain amount of value and that value can be quantified and we can say how many yankees and mariners wins that he contribute to a Rangers went. Of older less of those ad but we you know that is not satisfying because there's this moral aspect to it that. It transcends winning and losing for a lot of the people that are the gatekeepers for the hall of fame. They want to be able to assign. A bigger meaning than just winning and losing some kind of ethical meaning to your ability to hit home runs. That. You know is is completely unsatisfied by any adjustments that you make without taking into account steroids so. I have perhaps the two grand of the theory about us. Which that baseball eased that baseball hasn't quantified everything make things feel empirical and therefore also makes things to pure. And purity is morally good right and so. What it rod did was and came if you're going at this bit before he tainted. The purity not just of the game but also of the stats for and that's actually his moral wrong. And it's not just a derided it we should say Barry Bonds did this well before a ride in was was you know criticized for. Into the interest Corbett cleanliness is next got penis right that there's there's a Christian reference on hot takedown right. But then you eat thing you think numbers are very clean. And A-Rod just muddied everything. But not to not just say rabbit he got to have one guy who who who takes the fall usually in the same way you do with cycling. And it really Iran is still playing in away. And maybe it's just reasons he dies but bonds. Never quite got back to where he was after all the serious stuff happened. Whereas Iran we're seeing now A-Rod I lose the by visiting other day. Has the fifth fewest softly hit balls in the majors this league among qualifying batters. Which is nuts he took a full year off of baseball and he's still hitting the ball incredibly hard and it. You're super steer metrics guy you believe that how hard player hits the ball is really what you should be judging bearers skill by not whether or not a falls for hitter not. That's crazy that I can play that the Kentucky drop and it gets backed Q. That the phenom nature of A-Rod and why it's such a tragedy if you believe in talent manifesting as it perhaps and actually should. That he chose to resort to enhancements as opposed to letting them that town's plan natural. Yeah and I wrote something about this last year of you know it's somewhat likely depending on when you believe a ride started using performance enhancing drugs and their people out there at the top that he used them in high school. And certainly that you know the the the passage that you read it with Lou Piniella was in 1986 he was a twenty year old it was in his Fuller first full MLB season. He could have been using Dan. We don't know and maybe that's the problem but if you take sort of that the evidence that we do you know that he certainly was using by the time he signed a mega contract for the Rangers. Then he had the talent to be one of the best players ever looking an N 96 season that he had in particular which he hit 358. Had 54 doubles led the league 36 home runs. And he would later go on to to steal 46 bases in the season just a couple of years later. While hitting 42 home runs so he had the talent to be an all time great not just a hall of Famer but in inner circle hall of Famer. And so that's what kind of makes this especially tragic is that he Kenneth through all that away with the steroids. It wouldn't you say we don't know what we don't know an era outside and we don't know. Pretty we don't know know anyone so how do you when you were talking earlier about trying to normalize stats. How do you know that you've even got the right time frame that's that's why it's still muddy well that's something. That you can never really normalize for all you can really normalize for is noticed that hey league wide offensive levels went up. And we're tracking you know word were devaluing. Your certain offensive events or your win you know runs created. That according to that because they're less valuable in a higher run environment than they were in a lower run environment and so you're kind of taking this position of almost like agnostic about. Steroids where you're saying look I don't care why the run environment has gone up. I'm just taking into account that it has and adjusting everyone accordingly. To that. But you're not really ever taking steroids into account because like he said. We don't know when anyone started we don't know when the pitchers that a ride faced were using there are not using. And we don't know when his you know fellow batters were using so. Hey it really does muddy things in that way and I think. All you can really do statistically. Is just take a win is a win is a win in whatever -- it is and it just took more runs to create a win. End you know late ninety's because of the you know the home run explosion and and the increased run environment than it does now when home runs or less prevalent and and run. Scoring list now I'm gonna selflessly give myself the last word on this which is that. What you just said Neil gets it what are some are saying earlier I think which is that. In baseball you know everything too because it baseball's the game and outcomes where. It when a pitch comes then it's either swing or hit or ball or strike right there are only certain that way that it said it's a pitch can. What happens when a pitch is patched. And what that. Trick with a sterile areas we don't. Know about it and that's also what trans aggressive against its own norms and that's thirteenth the waters well Kate you want that last word. I didn't is now it's making me think about Pete Rose and why baseball was so upset it can be and we just out of this week that rose was betting while he was a player thinks he has an in a way that of course muddies the stats to beaches. You go into stats assuming everybody has just pure intention of lying to play the game a certain way. And if you throw in gambling to the next thing you don't but pure intention is taken away which I think is one of the reasons why. Everyone based Pozen was pencil of Sen about. Incident is being banished forever it now baseball has the kind of process A-Rod and deal with him going forward and having him in the game and not knowing how to fee. An arrest that last word right back from you and stressed today that maybe now that yes. And just say that maybe it suggests that we're just need to deal with the fact that these are not perfect a little environments that simulations than and they never natural and he'll want that last word that's ever happened at an annual pay. OK so let's leave it there and will eventually all of that the last word on under different segments for the that you were watching video of this thanks for watching this to be Burleson. Cast. You can find via my feet are common and some. Your house with campers are significant digit.
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