Friday, March 18, 2011

BORT Triple Play: 3/18/11

Highlighting three posts, articles or stories you should be reading this week...

1. Crawdaddy of Camden Depot continues to examine the effects of hGH and steroids in sports by, you know, checking studies done by doctors and scientists instead of sportswriters and congressional leaders. In other words, people who might actually know something.

Somewhat blind assumptions, halo effects, and mob mentality tend to shape an uninformed perspective more so than what experts say is likely or know to be true...a study that surprised me was a study that consisted of telling participants various surprising facts.  These facts were differentiated in that some were attributed to "experts" and others were just given.  Participants were more likely to accept surprising facts from non-expert sources.  So . . . maybe there is a fourth effect, which is perhaps a societal suspicion of scientific literature, which I think would be largely due to a misunderstanding of the scientific method.  People often want definitive answers and there are awfully few laws in science.  Anyway, this is going on a tangent.

However, with all that being said . . . that players are using something to give them a competitive edge is a great reason to investigate on the efficacy of the treatment.  Sometimes lacking a full comprehension of something does not prevent someone from discovering something new.  What many baseball players have become are alchemists.  Alchemy had its usefulness as it encouraged the works of many, such as Isaac Newton and Paracelsus.  It also fostered some silly beliefs such as all things could be turned into gold.  So, it may be that baseball players and others have actually hit gold on hGH.

Craw goes on to summarize and draw together some studies on the effectiveness of hGH and PED's and comes to a more informed conclusion than 99% of baseball writers, fans and sanators on this issue. If only people were more apt to resist the hysteria surrounding this issue, they might learn that hGH (at least) is not the bogeyman it's been made out to be.

2. Continuing to highlight BORT contributors, The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel did a Q&A with Dan from Camden Crazies about various Oriole subjects yesterday:

Baltimore is blessed with a bunch of talented sports bloggers who bring their unique perspective to the conversation. I often link up to these local writers in my morning Coffee Companion posts, but instead of just exchanging anti-social links with them, I have decided to be slightly less anti-social by exchanging emails with them in a somewhat regular feature called Blogger on Blogger.

Although I've seen bloggers highlighted by The Sun before, I can't recall a long form forum like this before. Vensel asks good questions and Dan, as he always does, gives thorough, thoughtful, informed answers. I like the format. I'm not sure it has legs in the long run but it's a good feature and one that I haven't seen in mainstream Oriole coverage before.

3. Andrew_G of Camden Chat wonders why the Orioles can't seem to get something going with their international scouting.

One of the criticisms of the Orioles off season this year has been that their increased spending efforts on the major league roster prohibits them from spending more money on amateur players. A lot of the regulars on this very website have scoffed at that notion, and with good cause. The $8 million that Peter Angelos is paying to Vlad Guerrero was obviously not being taken out of what he plans on paying for the newly drafted Orioles this summer. There is no reason to believe that the budget for the roster and the budget for the draft are directly related in the Orioles set-up...

Of course, Andy MacPhail will be the first person to tell you how important spending on the draft is and that the Baltimore Orioles, over the past three years, have spent more on draftees than all but three teams (which unfortunately includes the Boston Red Sox). It would be a huge surprise to see the Orioles spend even a penny less on the 2011 draft than they did in 2010...

There is, however, another story to tell about amateur spending that isn't nearly as kind to Andy MacPhail and the Baltimore Orioles...

It will be interesting to see how MacPhail's strategy plays out and Andrew delves into that quite a bit. He is spending in the draft and that may yet bear fruit but as I've said and as Crawdaddy has also shown this week, there can be merit in even moderate spending internationally, even if you don't want to jump into the high stakes bidding.

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