20) You have an over-rated manager (due to other nefarious things going on, it would appear) with a sub -.500 managerial record over 20 years save for the three recent World Series years, which we feel are aberrations, anyway.
19) You have a team without its key igniter, left fielder Pagan ,who is replaced by a lifetime .250 hitting first baseman in Ishikawa who's hardly played in the outfield before, a guy who nearly quit baseball this year after being dropped by Pittsburg.
18) You have three rookies Panik,Susac and Duffy with less than two months ML experience, one of them in the starting lineup
17) You have a career .240 hitter playing center field in Blanco
16) You. Have a 190 hitter during the regular season platooning with the same leftfielder released from Pittsburg
...and that's WITHOUT BUMGARNER, lowering his seasonal ERA from 2.50 to around 1.00
15) You have a .230 hitting DH /first baseman/ left fielder over the last few months in Morse, who was injured last two months of the season coming in cold to the playoffs
14) You have a .220 hitting shortstop thru August who made the most errors in the league
13) You have only one .300 hitter in Posey - aside from Panik who's only played two months -and two good hitters in Sandoval and Pence and that's it.(Of course the playoffs is another story when Sandoval suddenly, almost magically starts pounding the ball.
12) You have one legitimate playoff caliber starting pitcher in Bumgarner with no 2. Cain on the shelf and a bunch of guys - Peavy, Hudson, Vogelsong - who would be fifth starters, at best, on most teams. Of course, on the Giants, their stats magically go up.
11) Those remaining three starting pitchers all over the age of 33, journey men players who might be out of baseball today had the Giants not picked them up:
10) One of those veteran starting pitchers, Peavy, had a one and 13 record with a five ERA before coming to San Francisco two months ago
9) You have another starting pitcher,37-year-old Vogelsong, cut loose by Pittsburgh and playing in Japan before coming to the Giants and suddenly, magically, having career years.
8) Your starting pitcher Hudson now 39 was out injured all last year and basically given up on by Atlanta
7) The closer, Casilla, was a 5.0 era pitcher for Oakland three years ago , before the Giants picked him up
6) Relievers Machi and Petite were 'no names '. until last year after they got to the Giants with a little little major-league experience and poor track records, high ERAs
5) Affeldt and Lopez were fair to MIDLIN' pitches before coming to the Giants
4)Morse was an injury prone indicted PED user, weak fielding , striking out kind of guy for Washington off a bad year before coming to the Giants this year. His year in SF wasn't all that impressive, either, with 15 homers, a .260 average and out with injuries much of the second half.
3) All the above mentioned Giants have suddenly improved -in most cases-78o789789 greatly improved- their stats since coming to the Giants (SEE CHARTS BELOW)
2) No coincidence that the Giants ALWAYS have great stretch drives (Sept-October '10,'12,'14) with mostly different characters DOING THE SAME THING as in 2010 and 2012. Think Huff, Burrell, Ross, Torres, Scutaro, Arias, Zito, Mota, Wilson, Renteria, Molina, Ishakawa(yes , that one), Guillen, Ramirez and Uribe.
Either the Giants have the best ever, miracle working pitching and hitting coaches that they could turn all these guys around like magic or something else is transpiring to have , to a man, very unlikely -almost impossiblyalmost impossibly-TUrned these players ' season around
But, the three players were more than enough to propel an otherwise undistinguished team of mostly castoffs/veteran players into the playoffs. The 31-year-old Torres suddenly became the strong leadoff hitter the Giants needed, Mota was an effective reliever to be later brought back to the team after he served his second suspension and Guillen had a number of key hits during his short stay. Then there were other acquistions like older players no other teams wanted: AUBREY HUFF, PAT BURELL and late season addition CODY ROSS, who all put up unlikely, perhaps career numbers in the twilight of their careers. That was 2010, the Giants first World Series winning year since 1954; they hadn't even been able to win it all with Barry Bonds but they did it with the Huffs, Burrells, Ross' in 2010, would you believe?
Of course, PEDs (or steroids, as they were mostly referred to then) were nothing new to the Giants, who had already a league-leading 23 indicted players since Bonds (Mitchell Report and more recent indictments). In 2012 it was new free agent MELKY CABRERA who gave the Giants a big push to the World Series before HE was suspended for PEDs, but not before he gave the Giants a big leg up. Others like 36-year-old MARCO SCUTARO , who the Giants got from Colorado was NOT suspended but nonetheless put up some astonishing numbers with the Giants, raising his average with the Giants by almost 100 points.
So, Now the Giants could use PEDs legally through the Adderall 'loophole.' With 105 MLB players already using the drug in 2010 -only needed was a doctor's permission and OK from the league - perhaps Torres even had a few teamates to whom he introduced the drug.
It's not to say that other teams aren't using Adderall or other PEDs - in fact, one has to wonder how the Cardinals ,with the fewest homers during the year, have hit the most homeruns (12) in the playoffs so far. But, again, that's a relatively small sample. The Giants have been doing this stuff for five years and then other PEDs long before - if not hitting for power they get on base and pitch the lights out in the playoffs. In the Giants, we're seeing lifetime .230 hitters with the most RBIs in the playoffs, ie;
2014 Playoff RBI Leaders
#1 TRAVIS ISHAWAKA -7 RBIs .230 hitter with other teams, .266 with Giants
#2 BRANDON BELT -6 RBIs .243 reg. season, hitting .500 in playoffs
#3 BRANDON CRAWFORD -5 RBIs .242 career hitter
We're seeing guys like Blanco win game three by putting the ball in play and forcing an error , and Perez, a .190 hitter during the year getting a two strike hit against one of the top St. Louis pitchers in Game Three. As to HOW MANY GIANTS are actually using Adderall or other chemical substances is anyone's guess but it's certainly at least 10%, the Adderall Average per team. With the Giants' history and 'culture' both in the clubhouse and surrounding San Francisco aura, we wouldn't be surprised if nine of 10 players are using if it's Adderall, especially since it's 'legal.'
The Giants have basically won since 2010 with three different sets of players on three different teams in their three recent World Series/ playoff years. Only a handful of players were starters on more than one of the year's teams. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO THE PLAYERS ARE . The names may change but the Giants modus oeprandi is the same. Everyone thought San Frnacisco at a big disadvantage without Pagan, but look what' s happening. Looking into this, it would appear that as long as there's a warm body who'll 'take the koolaid,' 'Playoff Potion' or Jints Juice (as it's affectionately called), or whatever to keep the line moving, that's all it takes. The Giants have been among the weakest teams coming into these playoffs - their record was #10 of 10 this year - but they've ended up out-dueling (out-stamina-ing, if you will?) as it were, stronger teams like Detroit, Pittsburg, Cincinatti and probably St. Louis in recent years- winning it all by striking out less, walking more and putting the ball in play, not to mention 'sudden surge' pitching, with even guys like Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum contributing in 2012 - and a bunch of cast-offs and over the hill guys this year, again. We won't be surprised see them go all the way, again, this iyear.. And PROBABLY not due to natural talent, in our opinion.
PEDs in baseball is a controversial and unpopular topic most people close to the game don't talk about. Team writers, who are around the players daily and see and hear things, are hesitant to write about it for fear of losing jobs - or simply turn a blind eye. We've been on it since 2002 and Barry Bonds and were surprised to see the 'culture' on the Giants continue from before that time - a full 20 plus years- to today. Trainers have walked away from it (Stan Conte). Announcers have too (Hank Greenwald) and even the team owner who oversaw the 2012 World Series , Bill Newcomb, was 'forced' out. A couple of newspaper reporters who finally blew the whistle on Bonds may have shaken things up for awhile but didn't have much lasting effect on the Clubhouse, it would appear. In a tolerant city like San Francisco it's easier to get away with things. Reporters may look the other way - and that's why in these pages we try to speak out for those of us 'old school' baseball fans who remember a better, more honest way of playing the game when one didn't have to guess who was on steroids or not.
Meanwhile, that win-at-all-costs 'culture' that's been around the Giants since Bonds appears to continue, perhaps in different forms, different 'koolaid' if you will. Legal or illegal, we believe it's wrong , unleveling the playing field and hurting the players and teams who try to do things legitimately. It was a sad day when we learned McGwire and Conseco were cheating and baseball has never been the same since. Perhaps that 1989 loss by the Giants to those guys had something to do with turning around the Giants 'fortunes?' Sadly, a younger crowd brought up on the Steroid Era, that watches the Giants just takes things in stride as if everything's ok. It's a sad day when even MLB has basically either given up or turned the other way by not implementing stronger drug testing and still allowing a growing number of players to albeit ' legally' use a performance enchancing drug like Adderall (even if therapeutic for some). Just as we see marijuana now legalized in many states, perhaps drugs are now a part of baseball forever. If you can't beat 'em join 'em. Not us.
Finally, as we go into the 2014 World Series it's interesting to note that PEDs may have already been affecting baseball's world series 25 years ago today when the Giants played the A's in the 'Earthquake Series, ' as we later learned that Mark McGwire and Jose Conseco of the A's were hitting at a record clip with the help of Creatine and other PEDs at the time. Who would have thought that 25 years later the Giants are likely, as we see it, still using PEDs perhaps even moreso than what we saw back then.
We also have learned in the literature that these new PEDs, even though hardly detectable in testing- if at all (Adderall) - will stay in a player's system for some length of time.So, even if players take PEDs during the off-season they could have a real affect on the game the following season even if the player is no longer ingesting the drugs. That's the one scenario, but, more than likely, players are using DURING the season and getting added spikes of performance, as needed, ie playoffs and World Series.
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