San Francisco Giants – Interesting look back at Bruce Bochy Era – Bochy Over-rated?

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As we go into the 2014 World Series it’s interesting to note that PEDs may have already been affecting baseball’s world series 25 years ago today when the Giants played the A’s in the 1989  ‘Earthquake Series, ‘ as we later learned that Mark McGwire and Jose Conseco of the A’s were hitting at a record clip with the help of Creatine and other PEDs at the time. Who would have thought that 25 years later the Giants are likely, as we see it, still using PEDs perhaps even moreso than what we saw back then.

 

 

We also have learned in recent reports   that new PEDs, even though hardly detectable in testing- if at all (Adderall) – will stay in a player’s system for some length of time-weeks and even months. So, even if players take PEDs during the off-season and not during the regular season, they could have a real affect on one’s performance and  the games the following season , even if the player is no longer ingesting the drugs. That’s the one scenario, but, more than likely,some  players are using DURING the season and getting added spikes of performance, as needed, ie  especially in playoffs and World Series. 

 

From Camaniti  to Bonds to  Now

– BOCHY 30 YEARS IN THE

SHADOW OF PEDs

Boche padres jpg

  Caminititi cropped

Ken Camaniti, Padres

 

How  Bruce Bochy Become Giants Manager? Bochy Overated?

 

Tony Gwynn’s recent passing brought to light some interesting connections  between the Giants and Gwynn’s long-time San Diego Padre team.Bruce Bochy San Francisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval, med peds, san fran giants
Giant manager Bruce Bochy was San Diego Padre’s and Gwynn’s manager from 1995 to 2001, when Gwynn retired. It was also during those years that  Gwynn, then   in his late thirties, had   three of his five best years, hitting over .350 at an age  most players are retired. Ken Camaniti, an admitted steroid user who lost his life at 35 due in part to performance enhancing drugs, had among his best years, certainly his best power numbers  with as many as 40 as a Padre when he had never hit as many as 20 before; he received MVP and propelled the Padres to the World Series in 1998.  Caminiti took advantage of the emerging drug culture in the San Diego clubhouse, then largely a steroid   called creatine that would become popular with Oakland A’s player and San Diego native Mark McGwire.  The trend would escalate especially to the San Francisco giants, though the drug s of choice would change.   Barry Bonds and at least seven other (later indicted) Giants would favor a testosterone-based steroid known as the ‘clear’ and the ‘creme’  the Mitchell reports).

 

 

Bochy ,  as manager, would witness  cartoon-like numbers in Camaniti and Gwynn and later Bonds when Bochy came to the Giants in 2007.   Bochy  likely knew he was coming to a team featuring another cartoon-like character, both in changed appearance and statistics in Bonds, who was having his best seasons and breaking homerun and other records and doing things never done before , again, at an age when most players were either retired or nearing it.

(Note: We don’t believe Gwynn used PEDs most of his  career but may have became caught up in the team culture with Caminiti and perhaps  others in his later years when he could most benefit , much like his friend, Barry Bonds on the Giants.(Gwynn was still hitting over .350 after the age of 37).



It’s possible at the time  Bochy wasn’t aware of a drug culture while Caminitti was still with San Diego, but he would  find out  a few years later while still managing San Diego when Camaniti came out with his own book in 2002 about his admitted steroid use in San Diego that would , in part, end up killing him  . 
When the Giants tabbed Bochy to replace Dusty Baker as manager in 2007 he certainly knew , post facto , if not before , what had happened around him during his San Diego days, yet  Bochy would accept the managerial position with the Giants knowing of the controversary surrounding Bonds’  astonishing late -career numbers .  If anyone should have drawn connections between his own now-deceased  ex-player, Camaniti, and Bonds ,  it was Bochy.  No doubt the Giants knew something when they hired him, i.e. as a sympathetic figure who would put up  with Bonds – and even let the Giant’s star player control the clubhouse, including what trainers could come in to work with him. The Giants own team trainer, Stan Conte – no relation to Victor-would later leave the team for the hated Dodgers, just to get out of   a toxic situation.
In a much forgotten or overlooked interview in 2002 , Bonds promised to share his ‘secrets’ with teamates.  That he did , we would later find out,  with seven  Giants indicted for illegal drug use (Mitchell Report). Other players that may NOT have joined Bonds, such as Jeff Kent, would  have nothing to do with Bonds.

 

 

When Bonds propelled the Giants   into the World Series in 2002 with his ‘bag of secrets’  , Giants management no doubt would overlook  negative  Bondsian antics so much they rather lose a popular manager in Dusty Baker than a .370 power hitter (2002) who seemed to keep getting better  with age!

 

No doubt  Baker  had had enough of a dysfunctional clubhouse, and the Giants of him – and Baker was sent packing. Thant’s when, in 2007,  Bruce Boche came on the scene.  Recently fired as manager of a  dysfunctional San Diego Padres team,  no doubt with similar problems as the Giants,  in  Bochy no doubt the Giants figured there was a match. On one hand one would think Boche would run the other way fromthe Giants, but, heck, it was   a job – and managerial positions in major league baseball don’t come up often.

 

 

In  Bochy,   the Giants management found a tolerant manager who didn’t mind playing second fiddle to Bonds;  one who would look the other way when the Bonds’ entourage appeared. trainer and drug guru Greg Anderson in tow.

 

 

A  couple of brave and astute San Francisco baseball writers writers would eventually expose what was lurking in those shadows of AT&T Park and finally put an end to a decade of Giants   and Bonds living a lie, Bonds    walking away with a bunch of MVPs  and the Giants nearly pulling off a World Series in 2002.  Pressure mounted and the Giants begrudgingly  said goodbye to the man for whom AT&T was built – or who built AT&T–  Bonds, then 41 and still capable of hitting more homers than anyone half his age.  But the fun down by McCovey Cove  was far from over…

 

 

The loss of Bonds proved a mere blip on the radar as the Sabean and the Giants would take what knowledge  they had gleaned from Bonds and –without much of  a farm system and nary a World Series victory in 50 years – parlay that into a couple of unlikely World Series victories  in 2010 and 2012.  This time they didn’t rely on one man alone, but a cast of characters… Melky ‘Milk Man’ Cabrera, Jose Guillen, Guillermo Moto and many more… and , with ownership , fans  and  a Commissioner  willing to look the other way, the Giants haven’t stopped since . Despite the problems and expense he may have cost, Bonds may bave been the Giants best deal ever,for those  concerned most about the profit movtive.

 

Bochy  .500 manager

Bruce Bochy seems   a very likeable guy and certainly a ‘player’s manager‘  but is he truly one of the premier managers of baseball?
He has been given credit especially for his handling of the pitchers and bullpen. But, when one looks at  his record he is a .500, (.501 to be exact as of 7/5)  manager with as many losses as wins over his 20 year managerial career.

Even with the Giants,who have been helped out with both natural and unnatural talent, he is only .514 , with a winning record only  the two world series  years of 2010 and 2012 plus 2011 of  his seven years in San Francisco prior to this one.
And, again, those winning years were certainly aided by  at three known PED users    (People may have already forgotten or don’t care that  the Giants have had, since  Bonds,  a notorious reputation for having PED players, morseo than any other team.) In 2010, indicted PED users Jose Guillen and Guillermo Moto gave the Giants probably 5-10 wins between them, enough to propel them into the series that year.In 2012 it was Melky Cabrera leading the way, giving the Giants more
winning hits than any other player during his half season before getting suspended – again, enough to propel the Giants to thte World Series.

 

Where there’s smoke there’s fire:

Teams not hesitant to take aboard PED players are likely to perpetuate the trend – now having gone on so long it’s hardly a trend anymore.
 It’s likely, in our opinion, that there were others, too, like Marco Scutaro,
who came to the Giants from Colorado  about the time Cabrera was suspended; he raised  his average nearly 100 points,. from .267 to about .350 where it remained the rest of the season.  As in 2010, the Giants had unlikely late season surges with players like new acquistioni Cody Ross
and Pablo Sandoval each  hitting 8 homeruns in their respective years of 2010 and 2012 – more than they’d hit the entire year. Sandoval  hit three home runs in one playoff game against Detroit after only hitting three homeruns the entire year.

“It helps late in the season,” says Rangers designated hitter Mickey Tettleton, in Pete Williams’s 1997 USA TODAY story titled “Lifting the game: Creatine is baseball’s new gunpowder” (thanks to FanGraphs recent reprint  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ken-caminitis-goody-bag/)  he does not bother with nutrition supplements.
 “When you feel sluggish, it makes you feel like you have a little left in your gas tank.”

 

 

  So, we’re saying, we believe that manager Bochy got some significant help to his managerial career .514  record with the Giants and even with San Diego where he was . 494 when he had Camininiti and Gwynn and others.(As reported before, we don’t believe Gwynn used PEDs his entire career but became caught up in the culture when he could most benefit in his later years, much like his friend, Barry Bonds on the Giants.)

 

Interesting to note that the Giants-despite team President Larry Baer’s comment that the team doesn’t like to go after PED players for the very reputation the team already has- continue to sign known PED users such as Michael Morse this year. This strategy may be catching
up with them as we note in a coming article.

Way back in 1997, Sabean in his second  year as GM with the Giants already was virtually sanctioning the use of PEDs, believing that players were going to use anything that would give them that edge.  Ever since then we’ve seen Sabean and the Giants resort to the ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ philosophy and has accepted that so-called inevitability of steroid use by signing many a known and suspected player.

 

 

From Pete Williams’s 1997 USA TODAY story titled “Lifting the game: Creatine is baseball’s new gunpowder” we have this key quote, reprised in Fan Graphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ken-caminitis-goody-bag/)

In my mind, the most important quote comes near the end from Brian Sabean, then in his second year as Giants general manager (notable in itself):

Steroid use “wouldn’t surprise me,” says Giants general manager Brian Sabean. “If it gives somebody an edge, guys are going to use it. Look how it’s affected other sports. We’d really have our head in the sand if we thought it wasn’t here in baseball.”

 

 

Again, that was back in 1997. Nowhere has Sabean said the team would not bring in players with a PED history and he’s been doing it ever since.

 

 The list of Giants who have used PEDs since then is longer than that of any other team. Rather than working against such an acceptance, Sabean and the Giants have lead in the open-door policy for drugs which has, in our opinion, severely tarnished , if not ruined baseball. Now, PEDs are commonplacein baseball. If not 50% of players are using, per the late user, Ken Caminitti, himself, or Balco’s Victor Conte in more recent times, a good percentage are
due to MLB”s continued weak or ineffective drug testing program, which has not caught a single player in the past two seasons, to our knowledge –
and not because the sport is clean. All or at least four of last years division winners had indicted PED users on their teams. We could name names but we won’t get into that;
hopefully that will come to light sooner than later by authorities higher than ourselves.  And, the PED beat goes on…

 

 

 San Fran Giants – Interesting look back at Bruce Bochy Era – Bochy Over-rated?

Bruce Bochy, SanFrancisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval, med peds, san fran giants, doping in sports