Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Rise of Ibanez

Yes, this is the second post based on something Jayson Stark said today, and yes, I do read people besides hacks from ESPN, but this article Stark wrote about Raul Ibanez had me a little upset.

I try to avoid steroid talk here, but I just couldn't this time. Ok I'm sure most of you have heard about Raul Ibanez being accused of using steroids by a blogger last week. Ibanez was quite upset that the notion could be put forth simply because he was having the best season of life at age 37. Many in baseball have come to his defense in this regard, pointing out that he has moved from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park in Philly and that he now has a much better lineup surrounding him.

Stark goes into great detail in his defense of Ibanez, using various methods of statistical analysis to prove that this all makes sense and that steroids would be an absurd reason to explain his meteoric rise to the tops of the home run charts. He laments that fans would jump to such a conclusion simply because of the time we live in.

I just have this to say to Stark: Shut your mouth.

Now I will say that during the off season I though Ibanez was a perfect pick up for the Phillies. He was a better hitter than Pat Burrell and could actually play defense. I figured his numbers would go up with the move to a better lineup and park, but like everyone else I never expected to see such a huge jump.

The reality I would like to impart to Mr. Stark is this: It is because of the time we live in and the players have no one to blame but themselves. Maybe if players don't like being accused of using steroids then they should stop using them and if clean players don't like falling under suspicion then they should do something about the situation and culture rather than hiding behind locker room privilege and a greedy union.

The players are the ones who can change the atmosphere of the game not the fans. Many fans chose to show blind faith when players told them they were clean and accusations to the contrary were ridiculous. Now, I think the fans have earned the right to be skeptical and players need to reap what the sow, same with the writers. So while Raul Ibanez is probably and innocent casualty at this point ask yourself this; Is anybody who played during that time or wrote about baseball during that time really innocent? Isn't the greatest evil not standing up to those who do bad things?

If Raul has a problem with that kind of thought process then talk to the union rep.


Dan said...

Here's the thing. If Ibanez tails off and hits 9 HR's the rest of the year, then he just got off to a hot start. He will end up with a line similar to past seasons. If he hits 48 HR with 135 RBI for the year, I think there is reason for suspicion. Case and point, Luis Gonzalez in 2001 with 57 HR, which was almost twice as much as his career high. It was sandwiched in the middle of 6years when averaged 26.8 HR in the other five seasons.

Peter said...

I'm not saying he did or he didn't, but I don't want any of these people getting on a high horse cuz someone sends out an accusation because he all of the sudden jumped from a top 100 hitter to a top 5.

Players, writers and owners are responsible for this suspicion from fans so they can only look in the mirror.

Dennis said...

What I think is lost in all of this is that sometimes, without explanation, guys just have a good year.

Besides, does anyone really think that one offseason of steroid use will double or triple a guys home run totals? Or that Sosa would have been a 25 HR guy without steroids? Because if that is the case, then why the hell didn't every single player ever in the big leagues do steroids?