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Bill James praised Americans villians!


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The greatest baseball writer of all time, the man who pushed statistical analysis in baseball before it was cool, and one of America's truly awesome people wrote a new must-read piece:


StadiumFirst of all, I have absolutely no doubt that, had steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs existed during Babe Ruth's career, Babe Ruth would not only have used them, he would have used more of them than Barry Bonds. I don't understand how anyone can be confused about this. The central theme of Babe Ruth's life, which is the fulcrum of virtually every anecdote and every event of his career, is that Babe Ruth firmly believed that the rules did not apply to Babe Ruth. I have outlined this argument before, and I apologize for repeating myself, but why was Babe Ruth raised in an "orphanage"? Because he refused to go to school. He supposedly threatened to throw his manager off the back of a moving train—about as clear a symbol of disrespect for authority as one could possibly find. He was caught using a corked bat, which was not a big deal to the league authorities because they didn't understand what you could do with a corked bat, and he very probably continued to use corked bats for much of his career.

Ruth knew perfectly well that he wasn't supposed to eat eight or 10 hot dogs between the games of a doubleheader, but he did it anyway. In 1930, the Yankee players were introduced to the president of the United States before a game at Yankee Stadium. The other Yankee players said things like, "Thank you for coming, sir" and "Honored to meet you, Mr. President." Babe Ruth said, "Hot as hell, ain't it, Prez?" Every story about Babe Ruth, every episode, reflects this very deep belief in the importance to Babe Ruth of not obeying the rules.

I am not saying that we should not admire Babe Ruth, that we should not respect him, that we should not honor him. What I am trying to get people to face is the cast of mind that made Babe Ruth what he was. It was not very different from the cast of mind that made Barry Bonds who he was, or made Roger Clemens or Ted Williams who they were. I myself am a stubborn, sometimes arrogant person who refuses to obey some of the rules that everybody else follows. I pay no attention to the rules of grammar. I write fragments if I goddamned well feel like it. I refuse to follow many of the principles of proper research that are agreed upon by the rest of the academic world. An editor said to me last year, "Well, you've earned the right to do things your own way." Bullsh*t; I was that way when I was 25. It has to do with following the rules that make sense to me and ignoring the ones that don't. It doesn't make me a bad person; it makes me who I am. I started the Baseball Abstract, self-publishing it when self-publishing was cumbersome and impractical, because it was my book and nobody was going to tell me how to write it or tell me what people were interested in.

You can't not love a guy who says stuff like this...and this:

A lot of what people "know" is nonsense, and the rules based on that knowledge are fetters and hobbles.

I hope Mr. James keeps keeping it 100 for the rest of a 200 year life.

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James is telling the truth.

AMphetamines or greenies have been in baseball forever. Mickey Mantle after a rough night had no problem downing a mess to get on the field. Ted WIlliams and Joe Dimaggio may not have partied that hard but both did the same thing. In fact both of thie r biographies documented that teams kept a coffee urn with greenie-laced coffee right in the clubhouse. If you wonder why there are more full 40-man team sin dugouts this month and why old teams like the Yankees are dragging, the amphetamine ban is playing a bigger part than anyone will say.

I hate the Sawx, but give Ortiz this; if your choice is take the needle or go back to the DR and cut sugar cane for relative pennies, you take the needle. If Dimaggio had a shot at using roids to get more power, he would've done it. Wer pretend the people we enshrine were necessarily saints, and it's not so. I dunno, may be Ernie Banks and Stan Musial were nice guys who would never do such a thing. But damn enar anyone else in the HoF was taking the needle.

Suspect this thread should be in the BB forum.

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