Great Moments in Warped Public Perception

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I realize ESPN reader polls aren’t scientific, but check this one out:

source:

Baseball’s confrontation with PEDs has been long and loud and public. It’s the sport where people get hung up on the integrity of the record book way more than any other and where people get hung up on their relationship with the sport as a child more than any other, looking for heroes and purity and wallowing in more nostalgia.  Most importantly, in recent years, baseball has also had the most rigorous testing and enforcement program of all the major sports, leading to more positives, more discipline and more news stories. In light of that I understand how one might be tricked into thinking that baseball has the most widespread drug use.

That said: for people to actually think that that baseball has a bigger PED problem than football, and by such margins, is flippin’ crazypants.

This is the hidden data problem, or some variation of it, in action. We see things when they happen. We don’t see things when they don’t happen. We don’t see NFL players get busted for PEDs, so they must not be taking them, the thinking goes.

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: “We suck”

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As I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Baltimore lost its 107th game last night, tying its 1988 mark for the most losses in Orioles history. They will certainly break that record and will almost certainly blast by the all-time franchise loss record of 111, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. That team only played a 154-game schedule so the O’s likely won’t be the worst team in the franchise’s 118-season history by winning percentage, but it’ll be close enough.

Over at The Athletic Dan Connolly reports that one Oriole, catcher Caleb Joseph, is well aware of how bad the Orioles are and he is not mincing words about it:

“I’m not a loser. So, to be associated with that severity of losing is embarrassing. It’s shameful really . . . I don’t blame [fans] at all [for not attending games]. We suck.”

That last bit was in response to Matt Olson of the Athletics coming up to him before a recent game, noticing how many empty seats there were in Camden Yards and asking Joseph if it was always like that. Let that sink in: a player for the Oakland Athletics who, year after year, have some of the worst attendance in baseball, is shocked at how poorly Baltimore is drawing.

As for Joseph, he spends a lot of time talking about how the attitude is all wrong with the Orioles, how there does not seem to be any accountability and how things weren’t like that when he came up back when the Orioles were winning. Which, well, yeah.

Baseball players often attribute winning and losing to whatever attitude is prevailing around the clubhouse. Maybe that’s true on greatly underachieving teams or borderline teams that aren’t catching the breaks, but it seems far more likely that winning makes teams happy and instills camaraderie while losing makes teams sad and makes people look inward. Players tend to get the causation wrong about all of that because, I suspect, they don’t want to admit that they’re not as talented as the competition so it has to come down to some motivational or mental defect. Which, if that makes a player feel better, fine, but these O’s weren’t going to win many games even if they came in with smiles on their faces while singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of their rear ends every day. They just aren’t good.

Whatever you think of all of that, one thing is clear: the O’s need to clean house in a major, major way.