Jacob Luft
Tuesday April 26th, 2005

Because the world needs another sports blog ...

Say it ain't so, Lenny

Imagine waking up one day and being told your boyhood hero is Jose Canseco and Pete Rose rolled into one. That's how many twenty- and thirtysomething Mets and Phillies fans must feel upon finding out that Lenny Dykstra has been accused in a lawsuit of using steroids and having a connection to gambling during his playing days. You didn't have to be the keenest of observers to suspect Dykstra of juicing, but the gambling allegations are disturbing and ultimately could lead to his being banned from the game.
-- Jacob Luft (2:30 p.m.)

I don't know if Lenny needs to be lumped into the same category as Mark McGwire and Pete Rose, but really, is anybody surprised nowdays when a baseball player admits to doing something illegal?
-- Lisa, New York City (3:21 p.m.)

Len Dykstra was a scrappy, balls-to-the-wall player. Maybe he used steriods, but I will never believe that he bet on the game. And even if he did, what impact can one player make on the outcome of a baseball game?
-- Dave Cash, Philadelphia (4:23 p.m.)

The only reason Dykstra shouldn't be compaired to McGwire and Rose is that he wasn't as good a player as those guys. Not even close. I would suspect that he probably used steroids and I wouldn't doubt if he bet on baseball. Betting is big with pro athletes. Baseball players betting on baseball is probably more common than everyone would think. It is the game they know the most about. It's not a question of how much can one player affect a game, it's the fact that they can affect the game.
-- Patric, Tulsa, Okla. (5:15 p.m.)

You are right on, Patric. When a ballplayer associates with gamblers the way this lawsuit alleges Dykstra to have done, then it creates the appearance that the game is not being played on the level. Baseball can and will survive this steroids scandal, but a gambling crisis could bring the game down.
-- JL (6:13 p.m.)

Dave, "What impact can one player make on the outcome of a baseball game?" How about a starting pitcher? Very smart rhetorical question Dave, very smart.
-- George, Rochester, New York (5:20 p.m.)

Nails was exactly the type of guy who would bet on a game. He was a tough guy with little regard for basic social mores, not because he didn't care, but because he didn't know. Even today, if he were to apologize for past transgressions, he would be doing it because he recognizes that people are dissapointed in him, not because he understands what he did wrong.
-- Will, Philadelphia (5:26 p.m.)

Whether he used steroids or not, Dykstra should not be compared to Canseco. Dykstra played the game the right way and always left everything on the field. Steroids and gambling or not, no one can take away Nails' heart or hustle.
-- Alex, Devon, Pa. (5:47 p.m.)

It's easy to have heart and hustle when you're juiced up and on the take. I never liked Dykstra. He reminded me of a bantam rooster, and now I know it was probably just 'roid rage.
-- Lisa Keenan, South Portland, Maine (6:07 p.m.)

I fit into that twenty, thirtysomething category and I was a huge Dykstra fan and that is not going to change. When he was on the field he played as hard as anyone. This information coming out now should not be a surprise to anyone, though. When you saw the multitude of players bulking up in the '80s and '90s it was just assumed that steroids was involved. Now that the game is too saturated with performance-enhancing drugs, people are choosing to be politically correct about the issue. When I was growing up in Philly, Lenny embodied the city and I will always regard him as one of my favorite Phillies.
-- Michael Iglesias, Georgetown, Grand Cayman (6:26 p.m.)

You people make me laugh. You want to crucify Barry Bonds, but Lenny Dykstra is treated like a saint!
-- Larry, Burbank, Calif. (7:11 p.m.)

Look, Dave. I know a "scrappy, balls-to-the-walls" player! Geez, I forgot his name ... was it Rosy ... or Rose? Of course, he didn't bet on baseball, right, Dave?
-- Brad, Forest Hills, N.Y. (7:21 p.m.)

I understand the concern associated with gambling in baseball. However, I believe that far more important and dangerous to the game is the steroids issue. Pete Rose bet on baseball, most certainly, but he never shaved points or threw a game. He bet on his own team every time to win. Therefore, I don't see his gambling connections changing the outcome of a game in any way, shape, or form. However, any player who uses steroids is outright cheating. That has a direct affect on the game and its outcome.
-- Brad, Forest Hills, N.Y. (7:21 p.m.)

Yeah but what about the games in which Rose did not bet on the Reds to win? How do we know for sure he wasn't tanking those games? That's the rub.
-- JL (10:16 p.m.)

Nobody should be shocked that Lenny used 'roids, but I'm still appalled. I'm appalled he hasn't been pointed out earlier. Without him, the '93 Phillies would have been nothing, and they were my favorite sports team of all time, and now its all just a lie.
-- John, Philadelphia (8:41 p.m.)

I'm an expatriot living in Taiwan (home of all those Little League World Series champions of the past) and I can tell you that gambling almost destroyed the game here. Every game was seen as being "staged" and the fans stayed away in droves.
-- Mike DeNeef, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (8:56 p.m.)

When will someone take into consideration the thousands of players like myself who did not take steriods to enhance our chances to play major league baseball? If in fact Lenny Dykstra took steroids he will deserve all of the negatives that come with it. I am absolutely shocked by the majority or responses. I would have been a hell of a scrapper too if I benched 200 more pounds and could have hit a ball 4,000 feet farther. Wake up.
-- Scot Brunke, Plano, Texas (9:36 a.m., Tuesday)

Brad from Forest Hills says Rose betting on baseball is OK as long as Rose bets on his own team. Now suppose on the last day of the season the Reds, having already clinched a playoff spot, are trying to get out of the game healthy. But Rose has bet on the Reds. Now he's going to keep his starters in longer. He may even bring in his best closer to preserve a lead instead of resting said closer for the playoffs. The manager's job is to have his roster ready to win the World Series. A manager betting on his own team can jeopardize that by this type of scenario.
-- Scott Hanselman, Santa Monica, Calif. (1:26 a.m., Tuesday)

Revenge of Neifi

Dusty Baker has never needed any excuses for wasting at-bats on Neifi Perez over the years. Now the Cubs manager has the ultimate rationale: Nomar Garciaparra's ghastly groin injury. Chicago ranks seventh in the National League in runs scored with 84. Expect that ranking to drop quickly thanks to Perez, who hasn't posted an on-base percentage above .300 since 2001 -- his last season with the Rockies.
-- Jacob Luft (2:30 p.m.)

Speaking of Nomar, what do you think of the speculation that his injury is steroids-related? I heard he laughed off a Boston Globe story about it.
-- Mike, Atlanta (3:22 p.m.)

Dusty is clearly overrated as a manager. But the Cubs' struggles are not all his fault. Injuries and the failure of GM Jim Hendry to procure a closer have played a significant role in the Cubs' downfall. Neither of these things excuse the total lack of fundamentals, the lack of productive outs, horrible baserunning and suspect defense that continually plague this team.
-- Nick, Des Moines, Iowa (4:13 p.m.)

Nomar gets a groin injury and not one Mia Hamm joke?! I'm disappointed!
-- Keeter, Chicago (5:42 p.m.)

Cubs fans are finding out what Red Sox fans have known for a while now: Nomar isn't built for the long haul. Whether or not that justified Bob Ryan's comments in the Globe the other day is questionable, but Nomar denies using steroids.
-- Lisa Keenan, South Portland, Maine (6:19 p.m.)

I agree with your second point, Lisa. Randomly speculating on which ballplayers have or haven't been using steroids can turn into a bad ripoff of a Monty Python skit ("She's a witch!") real fast.
-- JL (6:21 p.m.)

I've always thought big-name managers were a waste of money in baseball. Wouldn't most third base coaches do just as well as Dusty Baker?
-- Jake, Vancouver, B.C. (6:51 p.m.)

Managers aren't overrated, but I believe on-field strategy isn't nearly as integral to winning and losing as broadcasters and sports writers want you to think. A manager has two main jobs -- get his players ready to play and deal with the media. Baker has averaged 90.5 wins for the past eight seasons, so he must be doing something right. That being said, Jake, you are not alone in your low opinion of Baker.
-- JL (10:25 p.m.)

You say that the Cubs' scoring will go down with Neifi Perez in the lineup, but he seems to be doing a lot better than what Nomar was doing before his injury. Perez has more home runs and more RBIs.
-- Michael, Indianapolis (1:56 a.m., Tuesday)

Perez has had a nice start, posting a batting line of .396-.418-.604 after 53 at-bats this season. But he is no spring chicken. In more than 4,000 career at-bats, his OBP is .302. Don't be that guy who overbids for him in your fantasy league.
-- JL (10:18 a.m., Tuesday)

Continue(April 14) Kerry Wood: Overrated | Most feared closers?

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