Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The BALCO Frenzy

I'm watching & reading the BALCO revelations (and so forth) with some amusement. The amount of piling on is the funny part. Take Marion Jones. One piece I read implied that the fact that she's never failed a drug test is evidence that she's taking drugs. The writer said her defense--that she's never failed a drug test--is the last refuge of dopers. So how does she prove a negative?

Did Bonds knowingly take stuff? I don't know, but probably. Does it show up in his performance? That's a harder question. I looked at his numbers before and after 1999, and (leaving the 73-HR season out of it), his hits, total bases, and HRs per plate appearance (not per at-bat) are all about constant...what he's done is turn about 100 outs a year into about 100 walks a year...and the change started before the 73 HR year...maybe steroids would help you do that? As I wrote somewhere on a baseball site, it's like he decided to stop making outs (his K rate has also declined precipitously).

Will a stronger testing regimen change things? Probably. Will that be a good thing? Again, probably. But the amount of ink being spilled about, and airwave time spent on, this is out of proportion to its importance. My list of more important stuff is pretty long (and look at what I'm doing).


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