Breaking: McGwire admits to using steroids in 1998

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We knew this was coming eventually, but now it has finally come. McGwire was taking steroids in 1998 when he broke the home run record.  Excerpts from his statement, which have been leaked:

  • “I wish I had never touched steroids.  It
    was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I
    wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
  • “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come.  It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what
    people have suspected”
  • “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs
    had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I
    didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good
    years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids.
    But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly
    sorry.”
  • “After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a
    position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but
    now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about
    it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.”
  • “I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and
    then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the ’90s,
    including during the 1998 season.”
  • “During the mid-’90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games
    over five years. I experienced a lot
    of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a
    stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was
    definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids
    could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and
    prevent injuries, too.”
  • “Baseball is really different now — it’s been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players’ association implemented
    testing and they cracked down, and I’m glad they did.”

The AP report says that McGwire also used human growth hormone, though McGwire didn’t include that
detail in his statement.

MLB says there is no “Shoehi Otani exception”

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Yesterday, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reported that there were potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Otani, and that Otani would, in fact, be posted to play in the United States for the 2017 season.

Now, however, Major League Baseball is pouring cold water on that:

Which is to say that, because MLB owners wanted to save money on international prospects, they have willingly adopted a rule that will keep top international talent from coming here when possible. Baseball officials want to grow the game internationally, they say. They just don’t want to pay to do it.

Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23:  Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers smiles after a two-run home run by Victor Martinez that also scored Rajai Davis during the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on September 23, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won, 7-4. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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OXON HILL, MD — This is the fourth year I have done these rankings (here’s last year’s). They started as a total lark, but I’m starting to worry that I have tapped into some sort of cosmic energy with them which somehow ties in with The Fate of Man.

I don’t presume that I have any power here. I’m just a conduit. All I know for sure is that, if I rank you in, say, the bottom ten on this list, bad things may very well happen to you. To wit:

I think the lesson here is obvious: be handsome. Everything else is secondary.

Which skipper is the most handsome this year? See below to find out. But first, the disclaimers:

  • No baseball manager is ugly. All of them have inner beauty, I’m sure.
  • This is a subjective list, obviously. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I will privately judge you for thinking unattractive managers are handsome, but that reflects poorly on me, not you. Let no one besides you dictate your feelings.
  • Finally, because some of you will inevitably offer a neanderthal comment about all of this, let me head it off by assuring you that this is merely a list of aesthetic handsomeness, not one of love or longing. I hate that even in 2016 I feel as though I have to say it, but I will say that I am a totally straight man making these judgments. If you find something wrong or amiss with that, I feel sorry for you. There is far too much beauty among people in the world for us to fail to acknowledge 50% of it merely because we’re worried about appearing less than traditionally masculine or feminine. Free your mind, the rest will follow.

The rankings:

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 04:  Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers watches the action during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on April 4, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 10-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

1. Brad Ausmus: Back on top after a one-year absence. I’m not gonna lie, I had no idea whether I’d put him here or give Mike Matheny a second year as my number one hunk. Two things happened last night, however, that helped me make up my mind.

First, just before going to dinner, I came across a late season photo of Matheny in which he was letting the mullet thing get out of hand (see below). Second, after getting back from dinner, I found myself standing next to Ausmus in the lobby of the Gaylord Hotel. He was with a group of friends, having a drink and chatting and, of course, was looking amazing. As I said above, I’m a perfectly straight dude, but even I can appreciate it when a man is in the 99th percentile of jeans-wearing. Indeed, the Tigers should change all coaches uniforms to jeans and a button down shirt next year and watch attendance soar.

But really, it wasn’t just the looks that put Ausmus back on top. It was how comfortable he is being a true Man of the People. A lot of the older managers hang out in the bars with the crowd at the Winter Meetings because they’ve seen it all and don’t give a crap. Bochy, Showalter, Leyland, Mackanin and those guys are always around. The younger set, who identify more with the front office types, are harder to find, presumably because they’re up in the suites with the suits, away from the hoi polloi.

Not Ausmus. He’s always down here with us plebes. He doesn’t give a crap, and there’s something dashing about that.

2. Mike Matheny: I’m gonna catch all kinds of hell from Cards fans for knocking Mathney down a notch after his first place finish last year, but I’m sorry, you gotta do something about that hair in the back, Mike:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while the umpires review a call against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the third inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Maybe that’s always been there, I don’t know. But I’m really noticing it now and, for as little standing I have to criticize anyone’s hair, I’m not prepared to make a mullet-wearing man my Most Handsome Manager. Don’t get me wrong: he’s still leaps and bounds more handsome than the 28 men below him. Ausmus and Matheny are in their own league. They should probably pull a John Laroquette and take themselves out of the future running in order to make it fair for the other guys. But you have to make distinctions somehow. Get a haircut and check back with me next December, Mike. Or maybe wait for Ausmus to get fired, which could totally happen in 2017. Then you can assume th top spot again.

3. Dave Roberts: A big leap from last year. As I’ve always said in these rankings how one carries oneself in the role of manager has a huge impact on one’s handsomeness, at least how I define it, so we had to see him in action before his ranking stabalized. Roberts came into a job with a stress level that made Don Mattingly look like this, often:

Ned Colletti, Don Mattingly

Roberts, however, dealt with the same stuff — the Yasiel Puig drama, the expectations that come with the Dodgers payroll AND he dealt with Clayton Kershaw getting injured — yet he always looked cooler than the other side of the pillow:

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts reacts prior to game two of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

That’s what handsome is.

4. A.J. Hinch: The chin dimple pretty much ensures that he’ll always be in the top five.

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 06: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros talks with the media before playing the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on July 6, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

5. Joe Maddon:

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 04: Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs speakds to the crowd during the Chicago Cubs victory celebration in Grant Park on November 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs won their first World Series championship in 108 years after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

A big jump for Joe who, in recent years, I’ve held down a bit because I felt like he was trying too hard to be the cool dad which, as a dad, I can tell you is never a great look. But as I noted with Ned Yost the past couple of years, winning begets swagger which begets handsomeness and seeing Maddon walking around the Winter Meetings this week with a championship under his belt has allowed me to see him in a different light. He’s still trying too hard — he was wearing some sort of down vest that looks like it came from Pro Glamping Illustrated or something — but when you win a World Series, you can wear whatever the hell you want and still look good.

6. Bud Black: A top-10’er in the first two years of this list due to his status as the Gold Standard of the Silver Fox set but, sadly, AWOL last year as he was without a gig. He’s back now, baby, with a bullet. Just saw him yesterday too, as he gave his first Winter Meetings presser as the Rockies manager:

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Nice blazer, Bud. Lookin’ good as always.

7. Ned Yost: Yost takes a tumble as the winning swagger from the past two Winter Meetings just isn’t there:

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The glasses are sliding down the nose ever so slightly. The body language during his presser was more clenched and less expressive than we’ve seen in the past. None of us deal well with adversity, but going from World Series champ to missing the playoffs has taken a subtle but perceptible toll on his Ned’s hunkiness.

8. Pete Mackanin: Pete has been hanging out in the bar here every evening with a group of people, one of whom I presume is his wife. They’re a happy bunch. Laughing and enjoying themselves, sitting at a table with some food as opposed to walking around with drinks. He dresses smartly. From what I’ve observed, he talks some, but doesn’t dominate the conversation. He may be the smoothest manager for a 90+ loss team I’ve ever seen.

9. John Farrell: Still looking good, even if he’s down a few notches.

10. Torey Lovullo: New kid on the block:

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Torey Lovullo #17 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait on February 28, 2016 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s an open question if he’ll keep that smile on his face after being in charge of the Diamondbacks. That job probably takes a toll.

11. Terry Francona: He remains the Most Handsome Bald Manager in Baseball. At least I think so. I haven’t seen a pic of Lovullo with his hat off lately. If I remember correctly he’s receeding, but I don’t think he’s truly and fully bald yet in the way Tito proudly is.

12. Brian Snitker: Since he took over in May this is his first time in the rankings. As with any new guy, this could go in a lot of different directions going forward. On the one hand: piercing eyes and rugged jaw:

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20: Manager Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves looks on from the dugout before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

On the other hand, he doesn’t really wear anger well:

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 23: Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after being ejected by third base umpire Mike Everitt #57 from arguing the call on the video review initiated from Emilio Bonifacio #64 being called out at homeplate against Travis d'Arnaud #7 of the New York Mets to end the seventh inning at Turner Field on June 23, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

However:

KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves poses during Photo Day on February 25, 2008 at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If Snitker brings back that soup strainer one day, he may be a darkhorse top-five’er.

13. Andy Green: A guy with the cheekbones and jawline he sported a year ago. . .


screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-12-00-55-pm

. . . should not be hiding it behind this much facial hair:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 16: Manager Andy Green #14 of the San Diego Padres looks on from the bench in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 16, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

Clean it up, Andy.

14. Paul Molitor: He didn’t get uglier. Some guys just moved ahead. Even if he did get uglier, the memory of Young Paul Molitor will likely buoy him for years:

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15. Jeff Bannister: Many of you tell me that I’ve been underrating him:

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Manager Jeff Banister #28 of the Texas Rangers looks on as the Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 2, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Fair. People underrate the Rangers every year too.

16. Joe Girardi: Holding steady with his intimidatingly strong arms.

17. Dusty Baker: Dusty can’t help being one of baseball’s oldest managers and time, of course, is undefeated, but he’s so damn comfortable and relaxed all the of the time that he’s way higher on this list than anyone his age has a right to be.

18. Craig Counsell: I suppose he is far more conventionally handsome than I give him credit for, but something about Counsell doesn’t sit right with me:

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 3: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers spitswhile watching the game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on July 3, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

He turns 47 next season yet he still looks like that kid who hangs out in front of the drug store, opening Donruss packs and yelling “sweet!” after finding a Mark Grace Rated Rookie before peddling off on his Mongoose.

19. Bob Melvin: I feel like he’ll be the Oakland manager until he dies of old age, so it’ll be interesting to see him slide down the list as time takes its inevitable toll. Heck, given how the A’s seem to be tied to Melvin forever, maybe they’ll pull a Jeremy Benthem kind of deal with him and let him manage as a corpse in, like, 2059 or something. That would certainly impact his rating here. Though whether he’d go up or down I have no idea.

20. Kevin Cash:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 1: Manger Kevin Cash #16 of the Tampa Bay Rays yells from the dugout during the third inning of game against the Detroit Tigers on July 1, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

I’ve never gotten the appeal. People tell me I’m so wrong on him and that I should have him in the top 10 — and I suppose there’s a “Mark Ruffalo avec Mail Pouch Tobacco” vibe to all of this — but I just don’t see it.

21. Don Mattingly: It was a rough year in Miami, especially at the end of it, for obvious reasons. Matingly has seemed to have his seasons end with some level of stress and tumult every single year. He hasn’t made his appearance at the Winter Meetings pressers yet, but I’m hoping he’s relaxed and recharging.

22. Bryan Price: I feel like this is the last year he’ll be on this list. Then again, I’ve been saying this for years.

23. Scott Servais:

scott-servais

“What is it going to take to get you into a new Buick? My manager says I can throw in the all-weather floor mats at cost!”

24. Buck Showalter: Showalter was poised to be way higher on this list and all he had to do was put that killer outfit he just picked up and he would’ve been gold. For reasons only he can explain, however, he left it in the drawer. Baffling.

25. Terry Collins: He already has gray hair, but at the moment it looks like a past-his-defensive-prime Curtis Granderson is going to be his everyday center fielder this season. If so, his gray hair may get gray hair.

26. John Gibbons: He’s not at the Winter Meetings this week due to dealing with a flu. This is what he looked like late in the season when he was healthy:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 3: Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 3, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Imagine what Gibbons looks like sick.

27. Rick Renteria: Welcome back to the managing ranks, Rick. Baseball always needs a manager in your particular mold.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Rick Renteria #17 of the Chicago White Sox in the dugout before the game against the Minnesota Twins on October 2, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

28. Bruce Bochy: Given the health scare last spring, allow me to say that I think Bochy is one of the most handsome men baseball has ever seen and the only reason he is listed at 28 right now is a computer glitch that is preventing me from changing it. Bad, computer! Bad! Bruce Bochy is an adonis! (no one tell him about this, OK?)

29. Clint Hurdle: Hurdle’s handsomeness is directly proportinal to his happiness. He has a very pleasant smile and gives off an admirable rugged charm when things are going well. But we all remember what happens when he’s angry:

Clint Hurdle red face.bmp

With the Pirates reportedly dealing Andrew McCutchen, one can only assume Hurdle is going to be angry more in 2017.

30. Mike Scioscia: All of these pictures came via the Getty Images search. When you use it, a search field comes up with all sorts of image options. This is one of the options:

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-12-54-43-pm

You may not like everything I do on this website, but you had better thank me for not unclicking that box and looking for Mike Scioscia nudes. That would definitely make a person . . . feel something.

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 23: Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 23, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)