All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Major League Baseball continues to be haunted by an old ghost: allegations of steroid abuse. A story from today's Los Angeles Times broke last night, setting the sports world abuzz:

Clemens Is Named in Drug Affidavit

Someone who had access to the original, non-blacked out affidavit showed it to a Los Angeles Times reporter. The players named by Jason Grimsley as steroid users are:

Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Miguel Tejada
Brian Roberts
Jay Gibbons

Perhaps most unnerving was the allegation that (former) Yankees trainer Brian McNamee was the guy who was recommending steroids to the players and hooking them up with suppliers. Sheesh.

I can't say I'm shocked about Clemens and Pettitte. Steroid rumors have surrounded Clemens for a long time. He's a power pitcher who has kept his power at an age when most are retired or have switched to softer throwing styles. Then there was the bat-throwing incident - 'roid rage?

And Pettitte and Clemens are so close, training together, etc. If one is using steroids, you kind of expect that the other is, too. I remember when Pettitte's fastball jumped from the upper 80s to the lower 90s. Better mechanics was credited at the time; now, I can't help but wonder if the cause was chemical, rather than mechanical.

Tejada is not a surprise, either. He's another one who's been followed by steroid rumors for awhile now.

Never gave much thought to Gibbons. But Brian first reaction was surprise. Then I thought again, and wasn't really surprised. Clearly, last year was a fluke. He had been hitting 4 or 5 homers a year, then suddenly, he hit 18 - in a season that was prematurely cut short by a close encounter with Bubba Crosby at 1B.

From the LA Times article:

Roberts, listed at 5-9, 175, hit 18 home runs in 561 at-bats last season, matching his combined total through the previous six years in the major and minor leagues.

Put that way, you realize just how unusual that fluke season of his was. Just natural maturation, or better hitting through chemistry?

The knock on Bubba has always been his small size. When he was a draft prospect, scouts fretted that he was too short. They worried that his small frame couldn't carry a lot of muscle. Even Mattingly said a little guy like Bubba is never going to hit a lot of home runs. (Does size really matter that much? Hank Aaron was a skinny little guy. Why do today's big hitters all look like Big Papi?)

Brian Roberts is even smaller than Bubba: 5'-9", 175 lbs. vs. 5'-11", 190 lbs. We tend to link steroids with the big bruisers. The sluggers, like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. But steroids must be even more tempting for the little guys. The guys who need an edge, just to stay in the majors.

I'm reminded of something Lawrence Taylor said, when asked about his cocaine use. He said when you look across the line and see guys high on coke, half out of their minds and foaming at the don't want to face them unless you're in the same condition.

Okay, it's not quite the same situation in baseball. Still...if other players are using steroids, there must a lot of pressure to use them yourself. The competition is so intense.

So far as I know, Bubba has never used anything illegal. He did get picked for random drug testing last year, along with several other Yankees. I assume he came up clean; the only Yankee who got publically busted last year was Matt Lawton.

And I begrudge Lawton every one of the 50 at-bats he got as a Yankee. It plecks me off that Bubba was benched for a cheater like Lawton. (A cheater who hit .125, no less.)


posted by BubbaFan, 11:51 AM


Marlins need a new manager now... How about Bubba for player-manager!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, October 01, 2006 11:35 PM  
I've often thought Bubba might end up being a coach one day. When he talks about baseball, I'm struck by how intelligent, articulate, and knowledgeable he is about the game.

A lot of fans think of him as being dumb. Partly because of his name; they just figure anyone named Bubba is uneducated. And partly because of his tendency, especially last year, toward silly baserunning blunders.

But I think the baserunning issues were just lack of practice/experience. He never made the same mistake twice.

And he got a degree from Rice; he can't be that dumb.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, October 02, 2006 6:53 AM  

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