Siberian Baseball

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bill James thinks the Twins are dirty cheaters

I'm not the best person to ask about the Twins teams that won the World Series twice in 1987 and 1991 - my opinions are greatly colored by my own memories from watching the games as a kid and from rosy speeches given by co-workers when we lived in Minneapolis.

I guess that's why it was so shocking when I read Cameron Martin's piece at Bugs & Cranks about Bill James' suggestions that those teams might have been running on something other than team spirit and a little, old fashioned Northwoods hustle.

Kirby Puckett and Gary Gaetti are targeted because they had oddly sub-par seasons in 1984 before finding their form in time for the two championship seasons. I'll need to grab a copy of James' book to see if he's speculating about the rest of those Twins teams in addition to the two stars.

More from Martin:

Maybe I’ve been on Mars, but I’ve never heard Puckett’s name mentioned in the conversation about performance-enhancing drugs.

He’s become an easy target after his death, especially in light of the unflattering revelations about his personal life, e.g., he was arrested for groping a woman in the ladies’ room of a Minneapolis restaurant, but was acquited at trial. Puckett might have had his cheerful veneer pulled back after his playing days were over, but saying a guy died early because he was using PEDs? I mean, this isn’t Ken Caminiti, who was an admitted steroid user. It’s Kirby Puckett, a Hall of Famer. Who else does James think is in Cooperstown via the aid of performance-enhancing drugs?

As long as it's not Ryne Sandberg, I'll be able to continue to sleep through the night. If a guy who looks like his blood type was cheddar can be accused, who's safe anymore?

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