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I defer to your great baseball wisdom.

Who would have gotton prosecuted in today's climate for playing Ball last century?

I like Bill James a lot, but I disagree with him on several things................as to your question, Sir Boot................................

Ty Cobb would have likely served time for manslaughter, or at the very least, for assault. He beat up fans, he was a racist prick who punched out a black paving crew worker and a black hotel employee and he once beat the living shit out of a butcher who he thought had cheated his wife by selling her spoiled fish. Cobb and his wife were once robbed at knifepoint and Ty chased the guy down an alleyway (what a crazy fucker!). Cobb was fast as hell and he caught up to the guy, tackled him and then proceeded to beat him with the butt of his revolver until the guy's head looked like 10 pounds of raw hamburger.......Ty always assumed the guy either died or was permanently fucked up after that. In today's climate, he would have been caught and been sent to prison because somebody would have shot video on a cellphone and it would be on Youtube in 10 minutes. It wouldn't matter that he was robbed......he chose to chase the guy and beat him and it is very likely he beat him to death. Imagine today if someone like Derek Jeter was robbed, chased the guy and then beat him with the butt of a glock, and the guy either dies or is permanently messed up......!!! The lawsuit would be unbelievable.

Cobb was a big guy for his day, strong as a bull, mean as hell with fire in his eyes. That intensity did not stop when the game was over. But he was also a study in contradictions....he would spike opponents, yet he supported many broke ex-ball players out of his own pocket when they retired (this was before the days of a Player's Union and a pension system for major leaguers). He built a hospital with his own cash. He did a lot of good, but nobody wants to talk about that because it is easier to villify him as a one-dimensional prick. He WAS a prick during his playing career, but he was also a deeply intelligent guy who loved to help young ballplayers and helped Joe Dimaggio negotiate his early Yankee contracts.

Cobb and Tris Speaker were caught trying to fix a game...and both nearly got tossed from the majors but the commish relented. Today? They woudl both be gone. Finished. With heavy fines, banishment from the Hall of Fame and no endorsement deals in retirement.

As for Ruth, he'd have to pay millions today in paternity suits. It had long been suspected that the baby he "adopted" for his wife Helen (kind of like a pet to keep her occupied at the farm in Sudbury so Babe could party in New York, guzzle whiskey and bang hookers until he had blisters on his weenus) was actually one of many he fathered with various women around the country. He would not get away with ANY of that shit today. Think Kobe Bryant times a thousand for moder-day media exposure.

James is full of shit on other points. All we know is that Ruth consumed copious quantities of performance - DETRACTING substances like beer, whiskey, gin, scotch, beer, platters of pig's knuckles, beer, platters of club sandwiches etc. His typical breakfast was a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, a quart of whiskey mixed with ginger ale and a pan full of fried potatoes. damn that sounds good eh?!?! We'll never know if he'd take steroids or not, but I think he would avoid anything that might make his nuts shrivel and mess up his doggy-style gangbang parties. Hell, pretty much everyone drank during Prohibition...it wasn't that hard to get all fucked up, booze was everywhere. Babe was just a giant kid with a (university-tested) ridiculously coordinated body full of fast-twitch muscle fibers and freakish wrist, hand and arm strength coupled with one-in-ten-million hand-eye coordination. He worked way harder than he ever got credit for.

I think in today's media circus, Babe would be loved by most due to his gentle, giant personality. He loved kids and that would win him huge points. But he would have to be far more careful or he'd be Tiger Woods times a hundred. He would be diagnosed by Oprah and "Doctor" Phil as a sex addict. Babe would say "hell, I ain't no sex addict, I just like to bone chicks!" The paparazzi would expose every orgy, every liaison with porn stars and pancake bitches (Tiger Woods wasn't the only married athlete to bang a pancake bitch along with strippers and porn stars).

The big difference that Bill James ignores is the fact that Babe Ruth was a hard-partying, orgy participating, warm-hearted, heavy drinking baseball star who was open about his miserable upbringing and gave a lot of his time to children and those down on their luck. He benefitted from a media that protected him, as their expenses were paid by the Yankees and they traveled with the team back in Ruth's day. Barry Bonds was a ridiculously talented baseball star who chose to artificially prolong his productive years on the diamond with the help of steroids. He is also a surly, selfish prick who lied to a Senate Hearing Committee and committed perjury about his illegal steroid use. Barry, pull your head out of your ass. Nobody believes your trainer SNUCK something into your "nutritional shakes" without telling you about it.

At the end of the day, there is a big fucking difference between Ruth and Bonds. One was a big goofy overgrown kid who grew up in hardscrabble poverty, became famous due to hard work and his natural talent and developed a fondness for guzzling booze, just like 90% of all other Americans during prohibition. Ruth was loved because of his flaws......he would go out and hit two home runs after banging the crap out of two or three showgirls on game-day morning. Bonds grew up the sheltered son of a baseball superstar with Willie Mays for a godfather and fantastic genetics in his hip pocket. He too worked damn hard .....he deserves a lot of credit for that......and he made himself into a superstar......but when he started to fade, he looked for chemical help. BUT....... that is not the issue really.....lots of guys did that. Bonds (and Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro and some others) repeatedly lied to the press, to the Senate and god knows how many other bodies in an effort to hide his steroid use. Look at how people treat Jason Giambi nowadays......he came clean about his 'roid use and nobody gives a shit at all any more. A-Rod finally came clean about shooting steroids, but he tried to cover his shit up for too long so there will be some lasting scars he will have to endure.

One other mistake that Bonds made was publicly attacking Ruth when he was approaching his home run record. If he had been any student of the game's history and had been just a tad bit more media savvy, he would have gone out of his way to avoid saying stupid, untrue shit about Ruth. He said Ruth would not be a star today and wasn't all that great because he never played against blacks. That is pure bullshit. Ruth played all kinds of exhibition games against ***** League All Star teams over a stretch of several years , as did many other major leaguers. This was at the end of his career, in his 40s or late 30s, and he kept playing in these exhibitions after he retired from MLB. Judy Johnson, a star ***** League pitcher, always said the black players would bust their ASSES trying to beat the major league teams (and they did beat them at times), but he said no matter how hard he threw, Ruth always hit him. Judy was alleged to pack at least a 95 mph fastball, and Ruth, in his 40s, owned him in games. Same thing with Satchel Paige. Satchel could blaze the pill at 100+ in his prime. He faced Ruth once, when he was in his 20s and Ruth was 43. Ruth launched a towering blast out of the stadium. Satchel later lied and said he never pitched against Ruth, but Buck O'Neill played in that game. He was on Paige's team and he saw the homer.......he talked about it on ESPN before he died. Suck on that Barry.

Cool stuff.....thanks Boot.

Donny, you're out of your element...
4,500 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Mingo- I think part of the expectation for a ballplayer's behavior back then wasn't nearly as high- they earned decent pay, not the wildly absurd salaries of today. The anachronisms of how these guys are judged based on the times we live in are fascinating to think about. I agree on some psychological level today's moneyball makes lousy behaviour a "fall from grace" writ large and exhaustively documented whereas back then the upstart pluck/lovable rogue might have been a perfect anecdote to a straighlaced law abidin' church goin' short-haired society that prized conformity and community and yet tolerated illegal booze and the ludicrous behaviors of bootleggers and so on.

My wife's family run numbers and booze in South Shore Boston in the 30's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustin_Gang . They were nowhere near as good at it as the Kennedys or the Italians that controlled North shore. Most of them died poor and violent deaths. At least in the big Immigrant cities, crime, elaborate crime, involving great thuggery, was commonplace- antics of ballplayers a welcome diversion...
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