Dee Gordon Suspended for 80 Games

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies

Some shocking news to report. Per MLB.com, Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games without pay for violating baseball’s drug policy.

The All Star and reigning NL batting champion has tested positive for “exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, performance-enhancing substances”, a violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He is eligible to return July 29th.

The announcement was made after the Marlins sweep of the Dodgers.

“Obviously, two different ends of the spectrum for us, and our team,” manager Don Mattingly said. “You’d expect our team to be in there all excited, and then we get this news. Not quite the feeling, but from there, we’ll support Dee. These guys love Dee, and I feel like he’s one of our kids, to be honest with you. I love him, and then we’re going to move forward.”

I am stunned. The Marlins were on an upswing. They should be ecstatic, having accomplished something they had never done in their history: sweeping the Dodgers. They are one game under .500. They actually had a little hope. Faint, but it was there. This damages those hopes catastrophically. They may not have a huge fan base, but those that follow the team care deeply. I am very sad to hear this news. Guys at his level don’t need the drugs. He has the pedigree, the son of a former major league pitcher, Tom Gordon. He has the innate talent. It’s the scrubs, the ones who barely will make it–the ones who need the extra push. Oh, baby boy. What were you thinking.

 

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Dee Gordon Suspended for 80 Games

  1. I keep reading funny comments elsewhere about Ryan Braun and how the Brewers would love to have that extension back because of the PEDs. Possibly but it can’t be performance related, all Ryan has done is hit since he’s been back from suspension. Sure he had a pedestrian 2014 and but since 2915 he’s been very productive. It’s just your typical extension that will likely end not so productively like many many other extensions in Baseball.

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  2. This is a real shame. The routine suspensions of players for PEDs is a continued black mark for the league. Mr. Gordon, you let your team, your fans, your league, your family, and most importantly yourself down with this. Hopefully you will publicly own up for what you did, and make sure in the future to live a clean life.

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  3. “Guys are his level don’t need the drugs. He has the pedigree, the son of a former major league pitcher, Tom Gordon. He has the innate talent.”

    I agree, ‘Burgie, but this also applied to Barry Bonds, pre-1999. He had the pedigree, was the son of a major leaguer and had innate talent up the wazoo. In Barry’s case, it wasn’t need, as he had a Hall of Fame worthy career already. It was sheer ego and jealousy at the attention and accolades that McGwire and Sosa were getting during the 1998 season. In Dee’s case, who knows, but I suspect need had little to do with it.

    Hopefully he can put this behind him and learn from it.

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  4. Guys on his level of mediocrity, in order to win batting titles, absolutely need PEDs. He wasn’t that good before last year and jumped to the moon in every category. This guy is a cut and dry example of when PEDs noticeably, I argue undoubtedly, improve performance. This dude stole a batting title. Lame.

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  5. I own him on two Main Events and a couple other high dollar leagues. Including an Auction Championship squad that was sitting 3rd out of 165 teams. Last night’s news was like having an NFL punter kick me in the junk after a running start. I was so happy after seeing the Broncos get their new quarterback, too.

    Dee’s breakout came in 2014. He stopped getting the bat knocked out of his hands at home plate that spring and I assumed he just physically matured. He better steal 30 bases in August and September.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really don’t care about PEDs, until the medical profession actually starts trying to quantify the actual effects of the various PEDs on baseball performance, it’s just speculation. I found this rather naive PDF:

    http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas.2010.6.2/jqas.2010.6.2.1240/jqas.2010.6.2.1240.xml

    They used OPS… so I guess steroids help you walk more! I guess all that intimidating muscle mass makes the pitcher miss his spots. Even inside the PDF they admit there’s no exact way to know but golly they’re sure their amateurish statistical analysis proves there’s a benefit.

    This is what drives me nuts. Everyone is SURE there’s a benefit but no one seems to be able to actually QUANTIFY it. There have been countless studies on how steroids can add muscle mass and even some interesting things about fastball velocity in the case of pitchers:

    http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas.2010.6.2/jqas.2010.6.2.1240/jqas.2010.6.2.1240.xml

    These studies however just assume that increases in muscle mass and increase in fastball velocity are proof of better performance. However how did this increase in velocity actually result in better on the field baseball performance? That doesn’t seem to be explained other than pitcher’s experience an increase in 1.07mph on average, but did they have more strikeouts? Did they lose control of a faster pitch resulting in higher walk rates? What if it flattened the fastball trajectory and made it faster but more hittable with less movement? This abstract doesn’t give me a hint. This assumption that more MPH automatically equals improved performance is suspect to me and I’m not paying 42 smackers to try and find out.

    I have also read extensively this site:

    http://steroids-and-baseball.com/

    which provides a lot of interesting analysis and shows how it’s dangerous to make assumptions of “power spikes” and “sudden improvements” that can be attributable to just about anything (Going by the power spike theory apparently Roger Maris was taking steroids in 1961).

    I just probably need to search more but even famous respected people in the medical profession like Charles E. Yesalis who’s got lots of cred regarding Steroids and Sports talks primarily about the physiological effects of performance enhancement drugs. He’s on record saying that hey, there’s no study out there saying these PEDs help you catch a ball or actually hit it if you don’t have hand-eye coordination talent to begin with but it always seems like if anyone has a great unprecedented season we scream “STEROIDS”, now they may or may not have taken it (we seem to have a positive case in Gordon here but remember when Jose Bautista was suspect because he had his own breakout season?), but that doesn’t tell me anything about WHAT the drugs actually improved, how did that translate into actual performance.

    All I see is a lot of confirmation bias all around.

    Liked by 5 people

    • To be clear, Gordon has been caught and has to pay the penalty just like any other cheater. But that’s the extent of my feelings. I don’t feel the need to demonize him, to shame him or pontificate about the integrity of the game.

      A lot of people around the internet seem to act like Dee Gordon was drunk driving and ran over three kids. Whereas I look at it like a parking infraction. As Jo pointed out, Dee Gordon doesn’t NEED steroids, his own growth and training regiment can give him pretty much the same body. His arms don’t look any bigger so it’s likely any steroid he took had very little or no effect since the primary muscle mass benefit was likely his legs and torso (that steroids only help marginally with). Gordon was REALLY stupid here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think the bigger argument, especially about baseball (which I think PL has been championing) is the advanced recovery time you can get with steroids. If guys are able to throw more often, or recover faster from the muscle breakdown process from working out, that is a benefit. It’s also not something I think we should demonize either, but I digress…

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        • This.

          Until they make these drugs legal (and I’m fine with that), Dee cheated by getting a leg up on his recovery time from strenuous activity and/or injury. There is empirical evidence of this out there. His name is Lance Armstrong. PEDs do work, just not in the way everyone thinks (big muscles and small testicles is so 80s). The drugs they use are to improve recovery, not hit balls further or throw them faster. When you play 162 games, that’s a big freaking leg up on those who don’t take the drugs.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, this is true. And while they don’t work in the same fashion as greenies, their general impact is much the same – they allow a player to do more, even if they don’t allow him to do better.

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        • There is empirical evidence of this out there. His name is Lance Armstrong.

          Sorry to pick on you, but it annoys me when people bring up Armstrong’s cheating with others. He was involved in team sponsored cheating (blood doping) AND actively tried to destroy those who spoke out against him (suing them in court for libel/slander costing those people hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, even though they were right). Also blood doping is nothing like steroids.

          Yes, Gordon broke the rules and yes PEDs help. But I think you’d agree that the level of outrage over them vis a vis baseball is no where near the actual benefit they provide, yes?

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        • The drugs do their job. Excellent point, COPO. There is skill to cycling–I biked hard core, 60 + miles per day, but it’s different than hitting a baseball or pitching a ball. I agree completely. My PED of choice was ephedra. When I took it back when it was legal, I felt no pain. I could bike forever. There is a reason it is banned.

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        • Sure. That’s why I’m fine with them being legalized across the board (with rigorous testing for side effects, etc. of course). If everyone got to inject fresh blood laced with PEDs into their system like Armstrong did mid-race, then I’m fine with it. I said Lance, but we know it was an entire team of cheaters. He got all those yellow shirts so putting the target on his back is perfectly reasonable, if you ask me. And yes, he did much worse than Dee by slandering the rest of his teammates for all those years. That said, Dee should take responsibility. He has not unless you believe he took this stuff unwittingly. I certainly don’t believe that excuse and never have. Therefore, by definition, he’s a lying cheater. I’d be pissed if I’m his teammate for costing them 80 games of his time. I’d be annoyed if I’m not on PEDs and play in the MLB in general because that dick stole a batting title and ASG roster spots the past two years from players trying to stay in top physical shape all season long without the designer drugs.

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        • True regarding not demonizing people. As for steroids affecting recovery, I would like to see more recent data about that. And yes it can have an effect. But again, do have a reliable way to QUANTIFY it?

          The same steroids and baseball site has this page and the tone is very disdainful.

          http://steroids-and-baseball.com/healing-effects.shtml

          However the information is old, so maybe something more recent is available. This is an excerpt:

          It certainly isn’t medical science. The closest science has come is to note that certain selected anabolic steroids appear to have some minor healing benefit in rodents. The original 1997 study (about the only one typically cited by other studies touching on the subject), “The Effect of Anabolic Steroids and Corticosteroids on Healing of Muscle Contusion Injury” [The American Journal of Sports Medicine 27:2-9 (1999)] contains the remark that anabolic steroids “may have an ethical clinical application to aid healing in severe muscle contusion injury” [emphases added], which is a very long haul from saying that they do much for naggy muscle pains on a day-to-day basis.

          Most medical references to anabolic steroids with respect to healing refer to its apparent ability to help skin cuts heal over (wound closure); that is very far from healing damages to muscles and tendons, which is the kind of “healing” that athletes would be concerned with. For example, when we read “the anabolic steroid oxandrolone significantly enhanced wound healing”, we need to notice that the sub-title of the article is “Oxandrolone, an anabolic steroid, enhances the healing of a cutaneous wound in the rat” (“cutaneous” means of the skin) and that the study measured time to wound closure.

          When you play 162 games, that’s a big freaking leg up on those who don’t take the drugs.

          I know Bravo but have we quantified it though? Do we know how many games Dee Gordon would have played without PEDs vs with PEDs? This is the kind of thing I’m asking folks to contemplate. Do we have something out there that can tell us: Yeah Dee Gordon would have played 20% less games if he didn’t take PEDs? For the record he played 148 games in 2014 and 145 games in 2015 which seems in line for what you would expect an MLB player in his prime to be able to play. He also has no extensive injury history. Unless you’re telling me he took steroids to heal his thumb faster. I admit I haven’t looked deeply but there’s nothing immediately unusual to me about his playing time.

          This brings up another thing that makes me think steroids have had little to do with Dee Gordon’s performance, people keep pointing out he only stated having fantastic numbers since 2014… well it also happens to be the only time Gordon was given a shot a playing a full season: Games played from 2011-2013: 56-87-38. Hardly a chance to prove himself. He also did something different starting in 2014: He was now a 2B and no longer a SS, that definitely puts less stress and demands on your body since SS is the one of the toughest positions to field outside of catcher. He also didn’t come out of nowhere: he was the Dodgers #1 prospect for a while until he came up for good. So the expectations and potential for All-Star caliber performance were there already. 2014-2015 are also his age 26-27 seasons, within the typical accepted range of peak performance for MLB players who have put it together.

          Basically we have lots of factors we could point to that would explain how Dee Gordon went from highly regarded but disappointing prospect and near flame-out to perennial MLB All Star.

          I would like to be able to move the conversation forward and question the basic assertion of “PEDs work”. Ok, but HOW MUCH? I lean in Jo’s direction: the real players that benefit from this are the fringe guys fighting for the bench spot or middle to late relief arm role. Guys who have copious amounts of talent aren’t really going to see the benefits.

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        • You took the type right out of my keyboard, COPO. If they finally do quantify a gain, I expect it to be tied to healing and recovery times for muscle mass. It seems to me in a 162 game season that would be the clearest thing to look for.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to purchase that study. It seems they actually did the research. Sadly, I am no longer in my masters program–I cannot access the scholarly articles for free.

      There is no question steroids improve strength. Whether that translates to improved baseball performance? I don’t think so. I can go to the gym, and improve my strength. That will not make me hit a baseball any better. That is a skill. Steroids will NOT improve your skill.

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      • They increase your ability to train by reducing the recovery time. This enables athletes to work harder, which improves strength and quickness. The ability to wait on a pitch even a fraction of a second longer is a significant advantage. This means more baseballs squared up. Probably some borderline pitches not offered at as well. The additional confidence they provide is a huge benefit, too.

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        • Shattered Olympic records. Shattered baseball records.

          Why does the winner of the Mr Olympia title every year absolutely dwarf the winner of Mr Natural Olympia?

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        • There we go again, showing pictures of big muscles and looking at baseball records. I expected something serious. None of that quantifies anything you asserted to be true: improved recovery times (how do you measure that? Are you seeing time on DL improve?) squaring up the ball more? Where is the statistical analysis showing us that these rates have increased and are attributable ONLY to steroids? Big muscle man pictures? Yeah Dee Gordon looks exactly like that and so do many of the other players who have been popped. Also I’m not sold on steroids helping on quickness, much of baseball hitting is timing and reaction. That requires focus, you know what helps with that? amphetamines, which have been taken by nearly every player at one time or another since the 60s until banned in 2005.

          Pointing to baseball records is not quantifying anything, we have many other factors that can equally explain shattered baseball records, and let’s be clear, the only shattered records were talking about is the HR, I’m unaware of an across the board spike in shattered baseball records that we are trying to attribute to steroids. During the especially prolific years between 95-05 we have had four expansion teams, new baseball hitter friendly stadiums, old pitcher friendly stadiums retired and suspect baseballs. What I find interesting is that if hitters were taking steroids for an across the board improvement we would see a natural PF incline over the years, instead there was a big spike from one year to the next that is more consistent with the modification of the baseball. Basically of all the factors we can use to explain the data steroids is actually the weakest factor.

          I’m sure it helped, I’m also sure we don’t have a clue how much it actually helped. I’m also postindustrial people are making blanket assertions with not a shred of actual evidence.

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        • It’s the clear and most obvious factor, but I understand some people like to pretend it wasn’t despite overwhelming empirical evidence. You’re unaware of Clemens ridiculous late career renaissance? These new stadiums still exist. Hell, they’ve brought the fences in in San Diego and New York and numbers are still down. Lively baseballs happen from year to year. Not for a decade.

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        • But I’m asking, can you quantify this factor? I haven’t read anything that let’s us do that. I understand some people like to pretend Steroids are like Popeye’s spinach and magically boost offense, but just saying it doesn’t make it true.

          Bringing up Roger Clemens career isn’t quantifying. First of all you haven’t demonstrated how much of an effect steroids had on his career. You’re simply assuming that the entirety of the performance of what you call his late career renaissance was a product of drugs. At least that’s what’s you’re implying. Look me straight in the eye and say this is a scientifically and statistically valid way of evaluating the effect of a drug on performance: Simply pointing at the stat line and declaring: “It must be so”. That’s all you’re doing. You at least have to admit that much. You haven’t said anything like: Science has demonstrated that taking steroids will enable you to play 20% more games, will increase your K/9 by 5%, etc. I was able to find a study that found 1.07MPH above average pitch velocity for a group of players suspended by PEDs. but we all know pitch velocity isn’t the end all of performance. Ken Giles can routinely hit 99/100 MPH on the radar gun and he’s getting hammered surrendering more home runs this season than his entire career put together.

          Once you account for Roger Clemens, then you need to demonstrate whether the effects can be generalized. In other words can you say with certainty that whatever effect you can determine for Roger Clemens is the same for all players? To me it’s clearly not, look at the bunch of guys busted for PEDs: the vast majority of them fringe players. Clearly not everyone benefits the same if at all.

          We also have many factors for offense not being very good. The ever expanding strike zone of the last several years has been studied extensively. The skyrocketing K rate has definitely been a huge factor in keeping down offensive numbers far more than a few fences moving anywhere. In fact home runs are now back up from previous years so far from late 15 to early 16.

          You haven’t addressed the effects of expansion which are very real and can taper off once the talent pool stabilizes. My guess is you don’t have an answer for it except to assume that steroids had a greater impact than expansion. But I find assuming unsatisfactory.

          As for the stadiums, you’re not quite correct there. Pitcher friendly stadiums have cropped in the last five years well after the steroid era: Marlins Park and Citi Field to name a couple. Many other stadiums have opened as well since the race in ’98:

          AT&T , Minute Maid, Comerica 2000. Great American, 2003. Petco Park 2004. Busch, 2006.

          Basically the current hitting/pitching environment is very different from the one that existed between 95-’00

          Here’s the thing that bothers me with the steroids argument: You’re so sure it’s the reason but you haven’t bothered trying to quantify the effect. You. Just. Know. End of story. And that simply is an unsatisfactory answer for me. All we’re doing is assuming that steroids have a big impact and that’s it. Then we just go by gut feeling about how much of an effect it is. Gut feeling is a terrible way to analyze something.

          It’s not about pretending there wasn’t an effect. We know it was a factor. The question is HOW MUCH. All I’m getting is: A LOT, DON’T ME ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

          It’s a question begging for the most simple answer: QUANTIFY IT.

          You can’t answer that with any kind of certainty.

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