Great Moments in stupid steroids grandstanding

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Newsday’s Wallace Matthews will not be out-crazied by anyone. After positing — against all evidence, really — that Bud Selig will be remembered as a worthless, failed, commissioner, he suggests one way for the Budster to rehabilitate his legacy:

The way he can do it is simple. All Bud Lite has to do is declare that – under the powers granted the commissioner to act in the best interests of the game – baseball will once again recognize Roger Maris as the all-time single-season home-run leader and Hank Arron [sic] as baseball’s career home-run king.

End of story, cue the crescendo, ring down the curtain on a transcendent commissionership.

Matthews says such a move would take “courage” and “integrity.”  If by courage and integrity he means “stupidity” and “ignorance,” sure, I’m totally with him. And that stupidity goes beyond Wallace’s seeming inability to spell Hank Aaron’s name.

Setting aside all of the chaos such a move would foment, when does Wallace propose that baseball start recognizing records again?  Now? Ten years from now?  Tell us, Wallace, when did the “steroid era” begin and end?  Also, given that one of the most high-profile steroids cheats of the era was a pitcher, what does Matthews propose to do about those records?

And while we’re asking questions, does Matthews even think that steroids are a problem apart form how they impact the big records?  Because as I sit here right now, I can’t recall him ever commenting on what steroids mean for, say, the borderline minor leaguer or the desperate veteran just trying to hang on. With Matthews, steroids only matter for one reason: records, records, records.  Though Matthews probably counts that as three reasons (using his fingers for the counting).

Here’s some advice, kids: whenever someone is peddling simplistic solutions to difficult problems, they’re almost always 100% full of it.  Steroids in baseball and how they impact the big records is a complicated issue. Matthews’ solution is so brainless, it gives the concept of simplicity a bad name.  You do the math.

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

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On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.