Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ryan Howard: The new Maris?

You can keep "Chasing Aaron." Bonds' home-run surge, however impressive, won't culminate until next year (at the earliest). And, even then, it's obviously tainted.

Meanwhile, we've got a bonafide "Chasing X" right now: Ryan Howard's "Chasing Maris."

Because if Howard (now at 53 HR), can get past Maris' 61, we can have a VERY interesting debate about who the REAL single-season HR champ is.

(What: You're going to argue for Bonds? Or McGwire? Or Sosa? I'll se your "sketchy 70-plus" and take Howard's 62-plus and no suspicions.)

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

No suspicions?

I don't know how you can come to that conclusion. Has he taken and passed a litany of drug tests that I don't know about?

I think that since he will have done something that nobody had done since Maris before 1998 (and as a sophomore to boot) that questions should arise. Is he just that good, or did he have help?

There will be suspicious people (whether they are justified is another debate) no matter what.


Jon said...

How can Ryan Howard NOT be MVP? +9 in HRs, +19 in RBIs, and carrying his Phils with Pat Burrell hitting behind him....not Rolen or Delgado.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Howard is no small dude. I don't put it past any player to be cheating. Just because he's young we give him a pass? Jose was on it early and often.

Anonymous said...

Dan Wetzel is right - the best thing Ryan Howard could do, if he beats Maris' record, is to stand up at the end of the season and volunteer to take every drug test that's currently in use. He won't, of course, and I'm aware that the shadow of HGH would linger even if he does, but it's nice to think that an athlete might care that much about keeping the game clean.

marcomarco said...

The worst thing that I hate about the Steriod Era are 2 of the 3 above posts.

From now on, any time any athlete performs well those questions will be raised.

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Anonymous said...

After being a cubs fan I've found it impossible to have no suspicions about a player. Also see Ortis and his HUGE turn around from Minn. to Boston.

Roge said...

To Marcomarco,

Innocent until proven guilty is a nice thought, but unrealistic in our sports culture today. Baseball's drug testing isn't comprehensive and it's possible to get around. If I were Ryan Howard, I'd take every test known to man. If he's clean, it's just that much more impressive.

Brien said...

The problem with the notion that Ryan Howard take every test known to man is this ...

The MLBPA will never let him. They refuse to let their players submit to voluntary testing to prove innocence or establish guilt.

As long as Don Fehr has his way, the only testing the MLBPA will accept is testing that they (MLBPA) has some control over in terms of when, where, how, number of tests, etc.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Rodgers is right on the money. Innocent until proven guilty is great to say but thats not the way things are in sports today. If it was McGuire, Sosa and Bonds' records would not even be discussed at possibly not legit because none of them failed a drug test.

Jake C said...

Barry Bonds holds the record plain and simple. If you want to speculate on his "legitimacy" than do so with EVERY player who looks suspicious. Let's say Clemens' records are not true, or Gagne's saves, etc. Everyone wants to dismiss the multitude of other players, MANY pitchers included (pitchers have had more positive tests than position players) who have done some type of PED.

Again, it's not even the PEDs alone. Ever era has had some type of controversy (dead-ball, juiced-ball, spitters, ball marking, etc.). If every form of cheating ended in the dismissal of records, our HR king would probably have 40 something and pitchers would have much worse historical stats.

Chris said...

I'm a Phillies fan, and I see no reason to throw away Bonds' record. To deny that steroids have been in the game for 40 years(not just 20) is naive, and to deny that HGH is still in the game is also naive. Howard could be on it, who knows?

Bonds holds the record. Period.

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty still stands as far as "proof" is concerned. But fan speculation and public opinion is based on circumstantial evidence -- not what's admissible in a court of law.

People will speculate that Howard is taking performance enhancing drugs, and the circumstantial evidence is there to back up that speculation.

Frankly, we know steroids were present in the game with such players as Caminiti, Bonds, Sheffield and Giambi. Who knows whether they are still present in those players or others, and who has taken them over the last 10 years. That being said, I refuse to blindly accept that every player is clean until someone admits his use (e.g., Canseco, Sheffield, Giambi) or until tests confirm that he used. So there is an air of doubt with respect to accomplishments that deviate too far from the mean.


marcomarco said...

"I refuse to blindly accept that every player is clean until someone admits his use"

What a load of crap.

The fact that we're all going back and forth on this speaks directly to my point. Most assume that someone is cheating, which sucks for those that are not.

Howard has been smashing the ball since he was 12 years old.

Ortiz didn't have Manny Ramirez with him on the Twins, nor did he have a 320ft right field wall to check-swing balls over 324 times per year (81x4).

"If I were Ryan Howard, I'd take every test known to man. If he's clean, it's just that much more impressive."

Another load of crap. So he's less impressive until he proves himself to the public?

Anonymous said...


I appreciate your positions, but if he hits 60 home runs a year for the next 4 years, then tests positive, what then?

We all are gun-shy after Bonds, Giambi, etc. were identified, and countless others stopped enhancing (there's a reason home run totals are down across the sport).

I can't blame you for your stance, but certainly mine isn't "a load of crap."


Anonymous said...

I think it's wise to point out, since we're going down the innocent-until-proven-guilty road, that none of the big boppers have ever been found guilty of cheating (save Raffy).

So why would there be any controversy over the records? Show me the Sammy Sosa test results. Show me the Barry Bonds test results. Show me the Mark McGuire test results. For crying out loud, show me the Jose Canseco test results! He admits to being the poster child of steroids, yet we still don't have any negative test results of the man. Crazy!

Innocent until proven guilty? Looks like everyone is innocent...

marcomarco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
marcomarco said...

Raffy isn't innocent. MLB and the players union surely isn't innocent.

Howard, Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, Clemens, Ortiz, Griffey Jr., AROD, Rickey Henderson (126 steals? outrageous), Julio Franco (74 years old? outrageous) and David Eckstein (5ft 1in? ourageous).

Further, can we call Cortezone a performance enhancer? How about a tendon surgery that bleeds on your sock? Tommy John? Lazik?

Yankee, your opinion isn't crap, but the Steroid Witch hunt is.

marcomarco said...

From ESPN Mlb Statistics, select 'Juice Box'. Notice 2006 averages are higher than ANY other year.

Juice Box
Through Sep 5 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Homers Per Game 1.043 1.071 1.123 1.032 1.109
Runs per game 4.618 4.728 4.814 4.592 4.861
Doubles per game 1.793 1.816 1.837 1.823 1.886
Aggregate SLG .417 .422 .428 .419 .432

MLB instituted a steroid policy for the first time in 2004. ESPN.com looks at 2004-2005 power numbers compared to the 2002-2003 seasons.

Anonymous said...

Are there no suspicions?? First real season and he's pounding out 60 homers??

THe only player I would not suspect is Pujols, because he's been around.
As to your question, the record is 73. That's it. Get over it. Asterisks are for the weak.

Anonymous said...

"No suspicions"??

Are you the same Dan Shanoff who likes to keep reminding us that there is no reliable test for HGH?

"No suspicions"??

Come on, Dan. When John Kruk says this year's numbers are up due solely to the weather, I laugh, but someone like you shouldn't ignore the fact that the reason steroids has us so sad is that we spent a couple decades with our happy little blinders on.

Anonymous said...

I find anything John Kruk says about steroid to be funny. He was on the 1993 Phillies. Steroids are the only reason that team made the playoffs. David Justice called a spring training game 2 years ago for ESPN and said "That team had a couple of monsters on it" during the middle of a steroid discussion.