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Thread: SI.Com steroids story on former Twins' pitchers

  1. #1

    SI.Com steroids story on former Twins' pitchers

    Tom Verducci's latest piece in Sport Illustrated goes deep into Dan Naulty's career and how much of it was enabled by steroid use. It's rather stunning.

    Thirty-three players appeared in at least one game for the 1994 Fort Myers Miracle. Only six of them reached the majors long enough to earn $500,000 in their careers. Half of those players are known PED users: Naulty, outfielder Matt Lawton (who tested positive in 2005) and pitcher Dan Serafini (who flunked a test in '07).

    There's quite a bit more, including a several other Miracle players who admit to steroid use. The notable exception is Dan Serafini, who doesn't see it as cheating at all (and he's the only one of the group still trying to stick in pro baseball.)

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/magazine/05/29/baseball.steroids/index.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star
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    Yeah, that was a great read.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    I have a feeling reading the linked article is really gonna bum me out. Here goes...

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Makes me wonder how all the top pitching prospects have mid-90's fastballs. Is that natural? Do they really have such good technique? It also makes me wonder why such a high percentage of pitchers need TJ surgery. Are they over-throwing their joints with juiced-up muscles?

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    Wow, that was powerful. Doesn't exactly paint the Twins nicely, in the one sentence where they are really mentioned....Great, great article.
    Lighten up Francis....

  6. #6
    WOW that was a great and very sad read...wonder how many guys were juiced 15 or 20 years ago...and so many guys all sports dying young like Kirby and Seau...must be a connection.

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    I think I read online that the incidence of early death is no higher among sportsmen than the population at large, we just hear about the sportsmen, but I also I think I heard on the radio that the study was a bit flawed. However, it would not surprise me that the incidence of young death isn't that much higher, but that we think it is because we hear about it when it happens....
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I was busy today and had no intention of spending that much time reading an article, but I couldn't stop reading it. Pretty fascinating stuff and makes me think back to those days differently. I was a kid and teenager during that era so I looked at the game differently than I do now. I had no idea that steroid usage was like that back then. Furthermore, I didn't know until this day just HOW much they can impact/improve (for a time) one's game. Naulty's "development" seems a bit on the extreme end of the "effectiveness" of steroids, doesn't it?

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Also, that is a terrible story about the sexual abuse, and one has to wonder how frighteningly common such a thing might be with coaches.

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    Agreed, there was no way I was going to read the long of an article today, but I could not stop. Agreed also on the abuse, just an awful thing to do to another human being.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Good story.

    I remember talking to Rantz one time in the early 00s and he was talking about how they had developed some routines that seemed to help develop velocity. This made me wonder if the Twins perception of what was happening was skewed as a result of steroid use about which they were unaware.

    It also made me wonder about the origins of the Twins preference of control over velocity. That might have been a workable philosophy in an era where people seemed to just develop velocity, but now that we know that was also a result of steroid use, maybe that philosophy is based on shaky ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    ...This made me wonder if the Twins perception of what was happening was skewed as a result of steroid use about which they were unaware...
    John, I've got some swamp property for sale I'd like to talk to you about.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Highabove's Avatar
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    Speaking about the Twins 96-98 Clubhouse

    "While he says no one talked to him about steroids in those years, players talked openly about amphetamines -- so openly that Naulty estimated that "80 percent of guys used drugs, no question." Speed was socially acceptable in the clubhouse."

    80% of Twins players doing Drugs back in 96-98, this seems to contradict the (holier than thou) image the Twins have sold in the past.


    Last edited by Highabove; 05-30-2012 at 02:26 PM.

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
    Speaking about the Twins 96-98 Clubhouse

    "While he says no one talked to him about steroids in those years, players talked openly about amphetamines -- so openly that Naulty estimated that "80 percent of guys used drugs, no question." Speed was socially acceptable in the clubhouse."

    80% of Twins players doing Drugs back in 96-98, this seems to contradict the (holier than thou) image the Twins have sold in the past.


    There's some other comment about the Yankees front office being gracious, unlike how it was with the Twins. Yikes. I know it is just Naulty's word, but still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    John, I've got some swamp property for sale I'd like to talk to you about.
    I was going to bite my tongue and stay quiet, but... having not read the Mitchell Report, were the findings contained therein a whitewash with regards to what level of complicity management and coaching staff were responsible for during the whole steroid era? Just the description of Naulty's year-to-year body changes and what management was "encouraging" with regards to his physical development seems obviously suspicious... the Rantz comment seems just a tad (take your pick) naive, ironic or (self)-deceptive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    I was going to bite my tongue and stay quiet, but... having not read the Mitchell Report, were the findings contained therein a whitewash with regards to what level of complicity management and coaching staff were responsible for during the whole steroid era? Just the description of Naulty's year-to-year body changes and what management was "encouraging" with regards to his physical development seems obviously suspicious... the Rantz comment seems just a tad (take your pick) naive, ironic or (self)-deceptive.
    Mitchell report was useless. Generally, I think the Twins knew some guys were on roids but didn't help supply it. They were pretty active in Summer Leagues in Latin America and would send some big prospects down there and they'd get bigger (David Arcia, for one). I don't think any team was innocent in the steroid thing but I don't think the Twins were among the biggest violators, for a number of reasons.

    I'm also not sure that their reliance on control over velocity was based on steroids except that control pitchers tended to be cheaper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    Mitchell report was useless. Generally, I think the Twins knew some guys were on roids but didn't help supply it. They were pretty active in Summer Leagues in Latin America and would send some big prospects down there and they'd get bigger (David Arcia, for one). I don't think any team was innocent in the steroid thing but I don't think the Twins were among the biggest violators, for a number of reasons.

    I'm also not sure that their reliance on control over velocity was based on steroids except that control pitchers tended to be cheaper.
    Thanks, GA. Given that era was pretty much a lost decade for the Twins, your excellent perspectives probably sums up the level of participation and commensurate results on the field. On the flip side, did the Twins tend to more easily part with possible steroid-abusers (Naulty, Ortiz) and make no attempts in signing suspected FA abusers as an excuse to cut payroll and embrace and accept the consequences of "Piranha" batting power and Pitch-to-Contact throwing?

  18. #18
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. Verducci is an incredibly powerful writer and there is a lot of food for thought in that article. I just find the following 2 paragraphs incredibly depressing:

    "What would you do to cross that line, even for a day? Even with testing, the answer for many is to use drugs. Since 2005, there have been 527 violations of the drug testing agreement by minor league players and 35 by major leaguers -- about 70 confirmed cheats every year. One of the most common causes of a failed test is the drug stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, an old school steroid that can be injected or taken in tablet form. It is a favorite among body builders and ballplayers because it adds lean muscle mass and strength without excessive weight gain.

    Cheaters can use fast-acting testosterone creams and gels to keep their testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio below the allowable 4-to-1 threshold. They can use HGH, which functions more as recovery agent than strength builder, virtually all year long. This season, baseball became the first major American pro sport to use a blood test for HGH, but the program amounts to one announced test: Players know they will be screened when they show up for spring training, and not again during the season. Still, the testing protocols over 10 years appear to have slowed the cheating considerably."

    "Considerably slowing" a 100 mph train may only mean that you've slowed it down to 50 mph (if even that). (And thinking that baseball is leading the way depresses me more when I think about other sports).

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    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    John, I've got some swamp property for sale I'd like to talk to you about.
    You're insinuating that the Twins knew about the steroid use and looked the other way. I don't think that's the case. Verducci seemingly didnt think so either.

    As evidence, I'd point to the quotes from the other prospects about being oblivious to the problem. And people thought steroids wouldn't really help pitchers, just pump up those home run numbers. And even with THAT perception, very few people were talking about steroids as being responsible for the offensive explosion we saw in the late 90s. I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of words were written on that "where is all the offense coming from" question. The balls were wound tighter, year-long training programs, etc. And let's not forget that when Canseco dared to say that everyone was doing it, he was instantly mocked.

    It might be hard for people to remember, but it was a naive era. Looking back, I feel like that Twins prospect who said that all the signs were there, and he can't believe he didn't see it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    One other thing that struck me is the frank admission that steroids improved performance for both Naulty and Horn. Certainly contradicts all those arguments about PEDS ONLY helping to heal more quickly or prolong a career.

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