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President Larry Baer said Giants ‘Wary of Adding Players with PED Pasts’ Then Adds Three More in Past Two Years

‘Have we gone that far away from HONEST sports today that nobody cares anymore, and the Giants can , basically, thumb their collective noses at past drug testing efforts by MLB – weak as they may have been – especially now, in light of Barry Bonds‘ acquittal of all legal charges related to his PED and perjury allegations?’  With major league attendance and TV viewing down significantly since 2000 and the steroid era, MLB should perhaps  scrutinize  potential trades like  this latest trade, bringing another player with a PED past to the San Francisco Giants



Every Giants pundit we’ve heard from to date has praised the Giants acquisition of Marlon Byrd from Cincinnati for a respectable, sixth round pitcher with a high-90s fastball and cash , as well as paying part of Byrd’s reported  $8 million 2015 contract. 



They all mention  Byrd’s 19 homers this year, but few, if any, have mentioned the 37-year-old’s declining .237 batting average this year. That’s only 20 points more than Giants worst hitter on the team, Justin Maxwell – and Maxwell has more homers per at bats than Byrd . And then there’s reserve Gregor Blanco, who  is hitting 60 points higher than Byrd and a better fielder than Byrd. The (mostly Giants) pundits also fail to mention that Byrd is an average fielder, at best, and, as mentioned,  less talented than  Blanco or even Maxwell as a defensive outfielder. Then, there’s a young outfielder in the Giants system who could be a Duffy or Panik of the outfield – at a few million dollars less than Byrd.




Perhaps the pressure was on the Giants – not known for their ‘moves’ other than late season murky ones-  to make some kind of deal after having to use a pitcher as a pinch hitter, just to show they’re capable of getting ANOTHER BODY in the lineup -and outfield. But perhaps even MORE DISTURBING -at least to baseball purists –  not mentioned by the local pundits is the fact that Byrd is yet another example of the Giants , instead of going after legitimate, bonafide players continuing their penchant to dip into the murky waters of the PED   pool, which continues to survive, especially in San Francisco, despite  that Major League Baseball and many players act like the PED era is long past.  In so doing, the Giants pick up tainted players through waivers and trades that other teams don’t want (Why has Byrd been on 8 different teams the past eight years?); more often than not these players – some without PED indictments – come to the Giants and suddenly put up unlikely numbers (think Marco Scutaro coming to the Giants mid-season 2012 following his buddy Cabrera’s suspension to raise his average from .267 with Colorado to near .350 with the Giants, helping to finish the job that Cabrera had started , nabbing the Giants a birth in the playoffs.)








One can easily cite 10 big name players likely still using PEDs today, despite past  PED suspensions, based on their numbers (Alex Rodriquez being one prime example, on a pace to hit over 30 at the age of 40. Yet, even with the scrutiny of New York writers, Rodriquez seems to be getting away with it,has even become someone of a ‘comeback kid’ for Yankee fans Byrd never had his top homer year last year, with 25, at the age of 36 and is on a pace to, perhaps,  top that this year. However, he’ll have to do it in San Francisco’s spacious AT&T Park, unlike Cincinnati’s ‘band box,’ another aspect ignored by local media.




But, it’s the PED connection – Byrd goes back to Balco’s Victor Conte for that – that especially irks this ‘old school’ baseball fan  now several years after PEDs were supposedly erased from baseball . Have we gone that far away from HONEST sports today that nobody cares anymore, and the Giants can , basically, thumb their collective noses at past drug testing efforts by MLB – weak as they may have been – especially now, in light of Barry Bonds’ acquittal of all legal charges related to his PED and perjury allegations?




Marlon Byrd stats



Byrd’s choice of PED in 2012, when he got busted, was tamoxifen, a women’s cancer treatment and used for  breast reduction.  Byrd, in apologizing for getting busted, inferred he needed the drug to reduce his breast size, adding that he wasn’t aware that tamoxifen was a PED.  He promised to read the labels better and all and make sure he didn’t take any more PEDs. The only problem is that, after having one of his worst years ever, in 2012, after going off the drug, had his very best seasons coming back the following four years, hitting 92 of his 150 career homers to that date in only three years after the age of 35! (SEE CHART ABOVE)



Wouldn’t it be something if Byrd came on late season 2015 ala Cody Ross in 2010,  or 2012’s Marco Scutaro (who was never indicted but had a strong connection to Melky Cabrera after raising his verage 70 points with the Giants) in 2012 to help give the Giants yet a fourth unlikely postseason and chance to win yet another World Series after having gone 56 years without winning one until 2010?


9-27-15 Bringing us up to date, Byrd has hit near .300 since joining the Giants, up 60 points from his .237 average at Cincinatti, yes, much like Ross and Scutaro    unlikely marked improvements did in 2010 and 2012 and don’t forget Joe Panik in 2014 after joining Giants with an average minor league record. Again, if this were a one time thing it could be a lucky break but with four late season acquisitions all staging major improvements is way more than a coincidence. SEE


But there’s even more unlikely activity, not late season but during the Giants seasons. Then there are the ‘young Giants,’ not indicted  Duffy, Panik and Heston (among others who came out of nowhere late season 2014 and  2015 mystifying some like this writer after suddenly hitting and pitching (Heston) better in the major leagues – with more homers and lower ERA – than in the minor leagues. And don’t forget Kelby Tomlinson and now Jarrett Parker (three homers in one game) and Mac Williamson and maybe even Trevor Brown, the latter three all so-so minor league players, who are suddenly batting .400 their first week with Giants!  Like Magic! Not a single failure, rookie players performing better the long-time Giants regulars! SEE




But, in our personal review/opinion, Byrd has been already into the ‘culture’ before coming to the Giants and its well-known ‘open’ atmosphere, where PEDs in baseball became de rigueur two decades ago with Barry Bonds – and don’t appear to have slowed since, what with 7 KNOWN PEDs useres on the Giants during the three world series and this year. One can trace the PED benefits the Giants derived from Melky’s big first half 2012, AndresTorres career year in 2010 along with Jose Guillen’s remarkable 2010 August, along with unlikely Huff and Burrell swan song years, Morse’s key first half in 2014 which propelled the Giants into the playoffs. Without those associations its doubtful the Giants would have had enough mustard to squeak into the second wild card slots.




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Maybe only then would true baseball fans – especially the ‘old school’ variety like us finally ‘wake up ‘ and start being outraged by how the Giants have pulled the wool over many eyes to get away with unlikely late season wild card finishes, despite their inferior teams featuring known PED users and sudden increased performances when the going gets tough. (E.g. Bumgarner’s sudden ERA decrease from seasonal 2.99 to 0.29 in postseason (against better hitting) Yes, it would the Giants have this PED thing down to a science, in our opinion, getting out the ‘secret sauce when the going gets tough. Byrd might fit right in, although it might be a little tougher to hit the homers in the bigger Giants ball park





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Since many haven’t been able to explain away the Giants’ unlikely successes with their first three world series wins in 56 years, many have handed the crown to Bochy for lack of more than one or two star players. But, in fact, Bruce Bochy, nice guy who he may be was not even a .500 manager until these past five years  when he came under this special ‘talent’ in a bottle(?) that came his way beginning in 2010 (actually long before that, but even with Bonds he wasn’t able to cross the .500 line as a manager.   What may be worse is that Bochy has been complicit   in the many dealings involving PED players, going back to his long managerial reign in  San Diego,  where Ken Camaniti got the PED ball rolling .   Not a surprise that Bochy hasn’t won a ‘Manager of the Year’ award in San Francisco, despite taking a team that doesn’t appear as good as others, on paper, all the way to the top three years in five.     MORE .




Larry Baer

Giants President LARRY BAER, a guy who outwardly ‘pushes all the right PR buttons’ but has, inwardly, upset many and perhaps affected adversely, but you won’t read about this in the San Francisco papers.



6th ‘PED’ Acquisition in Four Years for Giants after Larry Baer said Giants ‘Wary of Adding Players with PED Pasts’




Since Baer came out with that statement last March (March 19, SFGate), the Giants have gone out and acquired three KNOWN PED users in Michael Morse (2014) Everth Cabrera (currently in Giants minor league system) and, now, Marlon Byrd. So much for Baer and Giants keeping their word. But then, it appears that few may even care about PEDs anymore – especially in San Francisco, where Barry Bonds has been brought back to coach and, perhaps, update his ‘secrets’ to the newer players – where  Bonds remains a hero and the Giants lead the majors with now 25 PED players since Bonds.  Just by the fact that we heard no mention of Byrd’s 2012 PED indictment by our local writers is tantamount to giving the Giants carte blanche to getting whoever they want without any strings ‘side affects.’  San Francisco is the opposite of the East Coast, where players like A-Rod at elast come under some scrutiny;  in the past , the press  would normally at least mention an important part of a new player’s background.




ARE PEDS NOW AN ACCEPTED PART OF BASEBALL, CIRCA 2015? Interesting how the media are now reporting players with PED backgrounds. We mentioned how A-Rod’s unlikely 2015 comeback is becoming at least tolerated, despite all his negative press in recent years. With the Byrd deal, one Cincinatti source, instead of bringing up Byrds’ PED history, skirted the now ‘politically incorrect’ PED aspect by calling Byrd a career  ‘late-bloomer’ or words to this effect,  alluding to the fact that nearly two-thirds of his lifetime homeruns have come in the past three years after Byrd was 35 years old, an age when most ballplayers are retired or slowing down.








(Numbers as of late July, 2015)     We’ve seen other older players suddenly put up big ‘comeback’ numbers this year – ‘Big Papi,’ Albert Pujolz and Chris Davis to mention a few. Then there are a number of younger players, who’ve come along since the Mitchell Report and when  ineffective drug testing hasn’t nabbed many; their  unlikely numbers would indicate something’s going on. Take, for example, half of the Giants starting lineup; Duffy, Panik, Crawford have already hit more homeruns, by far, than in any other career year, including the minors (Duffy never even hit a homer in college ball yet has 10 this year in the majors), and Belt will have his personal best by season’s end, despite being hurt several weeks of the season. Even pitcher Bumgarner has hit four homers this year, his best ever.




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As of July 28, four of the league leading hitters were  San Francisco Giants, with only Buster Posey one you might expect, the only one with  a career batting average over .300




Meanwhile, the Giants, as late as July 28,  had five starting players hitting over.300 with a sixth only two points shy – something that hasn’t been done since 1973;  this for a team with only one lifetime .300 hitter and regarded as among the weakest hitting teams coming into 2015, excluding the post season, when they somehow manage to always put up big numbers. Yes, other teams have had their own dealings with PED players, but few have so many telltale signs of formerly marginal players suddenly hitting around .300, where only two players on the entire team have averages under .250 and the team average of .271 is the best in baseball- this for team here-to-fore known for its pitching.




Victor Conte and Marlon Byrd


Victor Conte (left) of BALCO ,  Marlon Byrd, right,  Conte’s  last remaining MLB client







As a side note, Byrd is/was the last major league player reportedly still dealing with disgraced BALCO owner Victor Conte, the man behind Barry Bonds and his unworldly success via PEDs during his 15 years with the Giants. Whether Byrd is still dealing with Conte is anyone’s guess but that Byrd has hit 92 of his 150 lifetime homers in the last three years is most telling. We guess that doesn’t mean much to the average modern baseball fan – and especially Giants fans – but we think it’s pretty disgraceful for cheating players to get away with this stuff in light of players NOT cheating and more honest teams losing out to ones with widespread drug cultures like the Giants.




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  And, if Byrd goes on to have one of those Cody Ross/ Marco Scutaro / Bumgarner late season binges we won’t be surprised but if it’s what pushes the Giants into the playoffs again we’ll just shake our heads and laugh at what baseball has become, especially in San Francisco. A laughingstock to the real baseball fan – or anyone with good knowledge of the past .No surprise that baseball attendance has taken a nosedive in recent years, as shown in the chart above.  Interesting to not that the biggest dip has come in the past five years during which the Giants have won their three world series – whether this has any correlation or not may be subject to debate but World Series viewing has been down even more than attendance, with the 2014 series between the Giants and Kansas City the reportedly the least TV-viewed series of all time.




Larry Baer gave us a moment of hope last year when he made that statement about the Giants steering clear of PED-indicted players, but, that quickly proved to be as false as Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 deleted emails. Not only have the Giants NOT avoided players with PED pasts but it would appear they almost purposely go after them with three of their five major acquistions since that statement having PED backgrounds, ie Morse, Cabrera and now Byrd. Only Leake and Aoki have not tested positive for PEDs, and Aoki is one of those many Giants players with unlikely numbers increases this year.




In summary, the current Giants powers-that-be have continued their league-leading long time journey to ruin the game of baseball on two counts: 1) their continuing acquistions of KNOWN  (and likely) PED players (with 25 -more than any other team) and 2) thereby, winning enough games with said players to catapult them from a respectable team to a post-season-caliber one. Remove Andres Torres, Jose Guillen, Melky Cabrera and Michael Morse (the only one likely but not assured of using PEDs during his playing time with the Giants and their explosive numbers from those three World Series winning year teams (2010,2012 and 2014) and the Giants wouldn’t have even made the playoffs in any of those years. (And, that’s not counting the likely collaborators on the team not caught with PEDs).




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