Tuesday, April 15, 2008

HGH Makes You Ugly, NOT a Better Baseball Player

my original purpose with this post was to bash Paul Byrd and throw him in the "crummy Indians pitchers who should probably be in the minors or maybe even collecting their MLB pensions" bin along with Joe Borowski. but i started writing this article last night during the Sox-Tribe game, the one in which Byrd lowered his era from 11.05 to 6.07. not that he pitched a gem, exactly - he was cooked after 6, although he did only throw 78 pitches. therefore i decided i'm not really here to eviscerate Paul Byrd as a pitcher. this here is a good old-fashioned hide-behind-my-monitor-and-whatever-super-
Byrd-can't-fire-back-at-me ad hominem attack.

to quote that creepy Irish gypsy that just got out of jail on The Riches, "such is the power of the internet."

Paul Byrd took HGH. to many, that makes him a cheater. according to the San Francisco Chronicle (which, for my money, has to be the world's greatest source for spilling the word on doping baseball players), Byrd received shipments of the drug between 2002 and 2005. according to Byrd, it was to treat a pituitary gland tumor. now, i'm no medical doctor, but i am an internet expert. and a google search for "pituitary tumor HGH" doesn't seem to bolster Mr. Byrd's case at all. surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy seem to be the treatments for such an ailment. but whatever. let's give him the benefit of the doubt. let's also assume then that pituitary tumors help transform a fringe-average pitcher into an above average pitcher. you want proof? fine.

Byrd's ERA+ for the last 7 years:
2001: 108. not bad, not exactly stellar. let's call it "Byrdesque."
2002: 127. we'll call that "Gibsonesque."
2003: did not play (TJ surgery)
2004: 110 (19 games)
2005: 113
2006: 93. the year he stopped receiving HGH. whoops!
2007: 100

alright, alright, i'm cherry picking here, and there are a lot of factors at play. most notably, of course, is that they put a new ligament in his arm in '03, which for most guys, results in a livelier fastball. but his old ligament seemed to be working fine in 2002, the year he started receiving shipments of HGH.

now i'm really going to bowl you over: word on the streets is that HGH doesn't enhance athletic performance. this has been talked about for more than a year now, but NO ONE EVER MENTIONS THIS CAVEAT when they talk about "cheating ballplayers." i was at Fenway the other night and some meatheads were chanting "H-G-H!! H-G-H!!" at jason giambi - completely embarrassing because everyone knows that giambi's drug of choice is anabolic steroids. although he DID have a pituitary tumor in 2004, so i can only assume that these meatheads were in fact licensed endocrinologists familiar with giambi's case file.

so i tricked you!! you all thought that this article was going to be some sort of forensic statistical investigation, a CSI: sabermetrics that would prove once and for all that Paulie Byrd, he of the game four 2007 ALCS domination, is nothing but a lying, cheating, whore of a man who needs to pump drugs in order to throw a baseball 60 feet. (yes, 60 feet - that's another way he cheats. he moves the rubber six inches closer to the plate on days he pitches. asshole.) well, if you thought that, you were wrong. i don't think HGH helped him at all. i don't believe that he took it on a doctor's orders for a pituitary tumor, especially given WHERE he obtained the drugs from, although i do think that he thought it would help his performance...which, of course, means he DID cheat. or at least he tried to cheat.

so why the sudden spike in Byrd's performance for 2002? well for one thing, he's not as bad as i'm letting on here. yes, he doesn't have an overpowering repertoire, he lacks an "out" pitch, and he has trouble sniffing 85 on the JUGS. on the other hand, he has awesome control, to the tune of a 1.5 BB/9IP ratio, good for second best in the AL that year. (sidenote: he led the league last year with a 1.31 mark.) plus he has that funky old-schooly delivery, a novelty, to be sure, but a novelty that can mess with a hitter's timing. maybe, just maybe, he put everything together for one glorious run for a glorious KC team in the glorious summer of 2002. (Royals' record that year: 62-100.) it happens sometimes.

but read up, spread the word, and help destroy the disinformation that is the HGH hoax. the next time Steven K. Phillips (the 'K' stands for 'Kazmir') or John F. Kruk (the 'F' stands for 'Fatty') refer to HGH as a "PED," you go right up to your television, look it in the eye, and say "you mean PUD." (performance un-enhancing drug.)

wait! before you go, that ad hominem attack i promised you!! Paul Byrd is ugly. not Julian Tavarez or Randy Johnson ugly, but at least Nick Swisher ugly, if not worse. also he is a self-righteous churchy-churcherton who basically uses his status as a christian to justify that taking HGH is not cheating. also, he plans on writing a book about his being "born again." it will be titled "The Free Byrd Project," which has nothing to do with Skynyrd and contains other puns on his name. the third chapter is titled "Why I Became a BasePaul Player." i have nothing against people who want to write books but come on, could you be any more self-important? because who wants to read about a journeyman pitcher who barely strikes out 5 batters per 9 innings? oh that's right, you do. otherwise you would have closed this window a long time ago.

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