I’m really tired of New Yorker Max Kellerman telling LA sports fans what is and is not the truth about teams, athletes, and sports in general. The unabashed yankee fan and nouveau-Lakers’ fan regularly spends his radio time explaining to US what is wrong with the Dodgers and the Angels, what the Lakers need, and how great usc is and what a non-entity UCLA is. I’m really sick and tired of it all.
Most of that will wait for another time. Today, we’ll focus on baseball, and in particular, his pontificating about steroid use in the major leagues.
On this morning’s show, he expanded on one of his favorite themes – how players such as Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista have to be using illegal steroids in order to be performing as well as they are. His rationale for these statements is sadly lacking any basis in fact.
As to Braun, his constant argument has been that Braun never put up numbers as good as last season, when a drug test – a drug test administered counter to MLB rules that was thrown out by an arbitrator – purportedly revealed steroid use. Have you EVER looked at Braun’s yearly stats, Max? I think not. If you had, you would know that Braun hit 33 home runs last season, a total exactly in the middle of his major league season totals, with prior season numbers of 34 and 37 above, 25 and 32 below. His RBI total of 111, was right about at his average of 106. His batting average was his all time high, .332, but only a few points above his previous highs of .320 and .324. Where did he greatly exceed his best season numbers, Max? Why in stolen bases, beating his prior high of 20 by 13, for a total of 33. Isn’t increased speed the antithesis of steroid use, evidence that rather than “bulking up” as is the purpose of “juicing”, he rather matured in various aspects of development, including speed, not something one would see as an effect of steroid use? Oh, and then there are this year’s numbers, when he is being watched by every baseball eye in the country. All he is doing this year, is having his best season every, with 2/3 season totals of 29 homers, 74 RBI and a .311 avg. And, oh yea, 19 stolen bases.
As to Jose Bautista, Max’s arguments are even more skewered. His sole evidence for Bautista using steroids is his increased production, and Max knows how to bend those numbers real well. He frequently talks about how Bautista went from 12 home runs a season to 50 and how steroids can the the only reason. Well, first of all before hitting 54 in 2009, Jose had had only four seasons where he actually had any major league playing time, and he had more than 400 at bats in only one season. Playing part time in the other three seasons, he hit 13, 15 and 16 home runs in 336, 370 and 400 at bat seasons. Playing every day and coming to the plate over 500 time a season can sort of help increase stats, can’t it Max? By the way, Max, how come you keep saying he’s also hitting .350 when his averages have consistently been in the .240-.250s except for one career high season of .302 and the mighty .260 he hit in 2009 when he hit those impossible 54 home runs?
Max made his most ridiculous argument yet this morning, stating, for real, that NO player in the history of baseball, playing in the same stadium, has greatly increased his home run totals from one year to the next without using steroids. Huh? Outrageous. Just as a couple of examples, what about Rico Petrocelli in the 1960s, long before steroid use? After hitting 13, 18, 17, and 12 home runs as the Red Sox shortstop, Rico followed those seasons with totals of 40, 29, and 28. They were different ballparks, but a few years later, after hitting 31 home runs over parts of four seasons, and then spending a year in Japan, Cecil Fielder left that home run hitters’ paradise of Toronto and moving to Detroit, hit 51 home runs, followed by 44, 35, etc. Max, did the great Roberto Clemente start using steroids in 1966 when, after 10, 17, 12, and 10 home runs seasons, he suddenly hit 29? All in Pittsburgh? Did Roger Maris use steroids when he went from 19 and 16 home run totals to 39 and 61, 50-plus years ago?
Bottom line: How come Bautista never tested positive if he’s been using for so long now?
Oh, and by the way, Max, get your ethnic backgrounds correct: Kevin Youkilis is not Greek, he’s Romanian.