Dear Diary Fixes Caps-Lock Key

Submitted by Seth on May 11th, 2012 at 8:07 AM


BlueReign / The Diaries / Lattimer

Maybe I was asking for it by demanding more diaries last week but 346 characters in the diary tab, and 108 of them you people caps'ed. That includes the " – x days ago" parts which you would have rendered in 18-point bold if you could have. With all the shoutin' these better be good.

This one's good. It's a sports in general diary about the mindset of athletes and how they can be driven to use performance-enhancing drugs by stephnrjking. He doesn't excuse anything; mostly he demonstrates that strong control by the leagues is an imperative. However I disagree with his assertion that benefits…

PEDs can increase strength. They can increase speed. They can increase endurance (cyclists don't use anabolic steroids, but directly alter their blood chemistry to increase their cardiovascular efficiency to astonishing levels). What are sports if not tests for speed, strength, and endurance? PEDs can give a soccer player the endurance to win a corner in the 87th minute, a baseball player the extra length on a fly ball to hit a home run, or a running back the extra kick to make it to the second level. A basketball player gets extra height on their way to the basket, a hockey player recovers quicker for the next playoff game, a swimmer has the extra wattage to win at the wall.

…incentivize steroid use for football players as much as baseball or cycling. A commenter mentioned soccer, where endurance again is a major factor of success. The reason is because the PEDs that don't show up in a test only give you a marginal edge. In cycling that tiny margin makes a huge difference as you expend your endurance to near its absolute maximum. In baseball it makes a difference because hitting or pitching you will accumulate so many trials that even marginal changes will appear in the stats. Remember what Crash Davis said's the difference between hitting .250 in the bushes and playing in Yankee Stadium: one hit a week. We tend to think of juiced up sluggers hitting copious amounts of dingers, but they started catching guys with the spot checks or investigations and a lot of times it was dudes in their mid-'30s trying to quickly come back from an injury.

MLB in particular compounded their problem by purposely turning a blind eye BCushingafter the lockout. Whether it was because they didn't want to go 20 rounds again with the players union or just got distracted by Mac's dingers, it created a scenario for a lot of guys where you juiced or fell behind guys who did. The numbers of ballplayers at the end of a needle doesn't apply to college football because college football never tacitly allowed it.

In football it's going that extra inch with Al Pacino and whatnot, but the rewards of a little bit extra, if extant, are hard to see. I don't doubt that there are players who use PEDs in college football, but the edge isn't going to show in practice or in stats, making it a dumbass risk to take without the promise of rewards. So then it's go big or don't bother, therefore fewer will bother.

More has gone into educating these guys about the risks of steroids than any generation before them, so I'd imagine they realize the increased risk of injury, which in a contact sport is closer to guaranteeing you'll get injured. I'd be way less surprised if they're taking brain drugs, e.g. Sammy Watkins, because those are widely available on a modern college campus and a full coarse load on top of the amount of study the game requires more concentration than physical endurance.

There's the few guys who go all Steve Lattimer, taking 1,000 to 10,000 times safe amounts of anabolic steroids to turn into starters. Brian Cushing (above, moments after owning Jake Long) had those rumors around him since high school, but only failed a drug test once, after he was in the NFL, and he disputes it. I'm not accusing Cushing—I'm saying if you start growing outside the bounds of the usual athlete growth rate (which is pretty high to begin with) people will notice. Also they test everybody on entry to the NFL. I think the risks for college football outweigh the benefits more than for other sports. I'm sure there's still dumbasses who do it anyway. I don't think you need to hedge your fandom for it.

Two stars. Modder BiSB tried to look at recruiting from the angle of two-stars. The update to this included some rubber hitting road when he showed the draft picks who came from higher stars seemed to have more successful teams than those who came from nowhere, but then Ohio State screws up the 5-star thing by going 7-6 with lots of them. I would guess the reason a 4-star who becomes an NFL player has a better team in college mostly because his team had more 4-stars who'll be future NFL players on it while lots of lower-ranked diamonds share the field with plenty of 2-stars who don't work out.

Etc. Blockhams go green for a week. Not shown: Chalmers (the MSU brother) covering the family home with a spray-painted bedsheet.

Best of the Board



Blue had me on the fence on the diary but then add this and it's Diarist of the Week. That became the opening salvo of the Shane Morris Photoshop Thread he started. And did the cropping. Give yourself 200 points sir! The rest of you, click to find Shane joining the ranks of the Photoshop HoF, trolling fascists (and Ohio State, if you see them as not fascists), held aloft the Titanic by Lewan, tempting bulls, flying through space, catlabbing, and doing the Up and Over It hand dance. Hard to believe it's been over a year since he committed.



Michigan Replay / Inside Michigan Football (dramatization).

About the time you're reading this I'll be off to have breakfast with the guy who made Michigan Replay happen (this is a great gig!). To fill in the blanks and refresh my own memories I enlisted the board's help and the result was a LOT of people with fond tales and uncanny knowledge about the weeks when the hosts were in flux. Also: lots of YouTubes of old episodes. Prepare to lose all productivity to the irresistible combination of '70s funk rock and Bo Schembechler doing UFRs. IMF is not a replacement. I don't know what could be.


A new user stumbled upon the thread where Brian told people not to freak out about recruits every time they lean in one direction and fart another, because the recruit at the time was a certain legacy from Columbus with a snowplow business. This led to exhumations of many a dead thread and prediction. Like the banana dancing about peanut butter because the alternative was hiring the guy from Ball St…oh. This then became the great threads of the past, e.g. "Things you're man (or woman) enough to admit."

I followed some of the links and ended up reminiscing more about some of the commenters of yesteryear. I've long wanted to do an article bringing up some of the great threads from BITD, not just the ones that go in the hall of fame but those with five punting Zoltans, or the Paint of a 24th century Michigan Stadium with maize jerseys and planets for video screens that launched Midnight Maize.


A law professor goes over the most recent case of Ohio State and its predilection for lawyerly hypocrisy in defending its interests (as in they act like they're defense attorneys, not that lawyers are all such and what), particularly with how they claim the utter sanctity of student records to fend off investigations but then RIsNEdisclose personal information. I didn't want to delve too deep into the grad student's claims in this is better aired, but there's some good discussion in there about institutional ethics. From a football standpoint, there's a good and evil narrative. From a reality standpoint I wouldn't doubt for a second that Michigan has been two-faced to serve its own needs, if not so obvious about it.

For a case example of how people can justify their actions in their own heads see Terrelle Pryor believing his extra benefits at OSU were the work of divine providence. Emotional problems, remember?

Beating them is the important thing. In college athletics, it's when you lose that people get dissatisfied and everything comes out. Sustained success with sustained ethics only happens if the program uses that as its foundation.

Sam Webb's interview with the 2013 commits who camped at Columbus includes a "Beat Ohio!" cheer.

Image above is umhero getting wwaaaaaaaayy ahead of things.

Your moment of zen:



May 11th, 2012 at 8:35 AM ^

"Remember that one game against Notre Dame at night, and we were down by like 20 points or something and came back and won in the last seconds?  That was awesome. "


May 11th, 2012 at 9:28 AM ^

There was a Northwestern lineman who came back from a injury before the draft and got caught using. Nothing happened to him. In fact, I think he went in the first round. He apologized and that was that. 

Bando Calrissian

May 11th, 2012 at 10:41 AM ^

Isn't it kind of awesome, when you watch those Moeller-era Michigan Replay videos, how he never once looks into the camera?  Eyes fixed on Brandy, coachspeak knob turned to 11...  A thing of beauty.


May 11th, 2012 at 11:17 AM ^

I guess it all depends on whether or not you think HGH is a PED. I think it is. Let's not forget that Tony Mandarich is on the Mount Rushmore of PED use with Jose Canseco (and Roger Clemens?) If you think HGH isn't being used in college football, please explain how the average weight of O-linemen has gone from 270 pounds to 310 in a generation.


May 11th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

I didn't say they don't use. I said it's not rampant. The reason linemen grew is twofold: kids are bigger now whether they play left tackle or clarinet because of nutrition. I think it's something like an inch and a half out of 2nd generation or later us students from the baby boomers. This means the weight that they can carry has grown exponentially.

The 2nd factor is that football itself got into an arms race of largeness. They realized nobody could move the planets so then the defensive linemen had to grow to match. In the college game they couldn't always have big AND athletic so they started choosing big. This led to better pass pro and more passing based offenses with the running game suffering from worse downfield blocking.

At the same time there was a sea change in training. The players now have Olympic-level regimens for gaining strength and muscle mass. This wasn't as much the case a generation ago when they simply had much less science behind their training. I guess "generation" is the wrong cutoff though since the changes happened largely over the coarse of the 1990s. The spread offense reinvigorated the small lineman paradigm but they still need to be big enough that they're not thrown like a ragdoll into their QB's nether regions by Ogbu.

I remember some stupid people during the early RR years started trying to paint Barwis as a PED pusher, solely based on his record for getting players in such great shape (and out of spite for the new regime) but when you looked at the players there was more weight lost than gained. BG and Will Johnson and T Taylor et all didn't grow massive pecs and biceps--they lost their bellies and gained strength in their hips and shoulders. The big difference was in exercising better, not more. It was about knowing more about muscle science and how to make them twitchier.


May 11th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

I was mainly disagreeing with this portion of your post:

"However I disagree with his assertion that benefits…

PEDs can increase strength. They can increase speed. They can increase endurance (cyclists don't use anabolic steroids, but directly alter their blood chemistry to increase their cardiovascular efficiency to astonishing levels). What are sports if not tests for speed, strength, and endurance? PEDs can give a soccer player the endurance to win a corner in the 87th minute, a baseball player the extra length on a fly ball to hit a home run, or a running back the extra kick to make it to the second level. A basketball player gets extra height on their way to the basket, a hockey player recovers quicker for the next playoff game, a swimmer has the extra wattage to win at the wall.

…incentivize steroid use for football players as much as baseball or cycling."

There is an incentive to get bigger in football. Left tackles taken in the first round make millions of dollars. A 6'3", 270 pound left tackle is not getting drafted by the NFL. HGH helps you get bigger. There is no incentive to get bigger in cycling. Additionally, how many cyclists make first round NFL draft money? If anything, their incentive to cheat is less because the rewards are smaller.

I think the reason that HGH use isn't a bigger story in football is that it requires a blood test to detect, and so far, the colleges aren't crossing that privacy line.


May 11th, 2012 at 3:51 PM ^

... the "future" difference between a three-star meh recruit and a four-star with some buzz is pretty substantial, but the talent gap between them is small.  There are enough of those guys, year after year, that marginal differences would add up.

Another factor that you're overlooking is that you're sort of assuming that most players are rational actors i.e. I shouldn't do steroids in college because the NFL will test for them and I won't get what I want.  It's not clear to me that you can make that assumption about guys we've collectively decided aren't rational enough to vote, but are useful enough to put under enormous pressure to perform.

That argument seems stronger when we back up a level and talk about high school sports - and those guys move on to colleges where there's more pressure, more talent required ... and likely easier access.

I don't know if I should compromise my fandom for this - not that concussions aren't doing a grand job for that already - but I don't think you can say that college football shouldn't have a steroids problem because the incentive structure doesn't rationally justify it.


May 11th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

Actually my model is based on them being irrational actors. Rationally there is a case to be made similar to what ST3 made above. However the key is the UNCERTAINTY of it working.

If I told you there was a 97% chance of getting 10,000 MGoPoints if you spread a lie for me, but there's a 10% chance you will get caught and lose your account, you would probably do it. If I told you there was a 60% chance of getting 3,000,000 MGoPoints if you spread a lie for me, with the same 10% chance of getting caught, do you do it?

The statistical resolution says one thing. Your human brain is saying "don't sell your credibility for just a 60% shot at it." The size of the reward is not as important to a person as the likelihood of getting it. We have a bias to protect our status quo, not take the right gamble, and this inherent irrationality is most helpful in allowing us to make correct moral decisions. This is where the reality of human psychology is able to tell Ayn Rand to shove it--people don't act in their own best interests but what they think is in their best interests, and the difference between those is a strong and innate instinct to follow the social code.

It's exactly that kind of irrationality I am counting on, and I think it's a pretty good bet. 

(this is my answer to ST3 above as well)


May 11th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

    I remember seeing flyers all over central campus when I was in undergrad ('88-'92) advertising Ayn Rand meetings. I never went to one, but I always wondered what that was all about. Fast forward ~20 years and Ron Paul is running for President and he has a kid named Rand, so what the hell, I read Atlas Shrugged. While there are some interesting ideas in that book, at the end of it, I had to ask, "What about the children?" I also had trouble with the ~130 page speech that John Galt gave on the radio. That was a bit extreme, not the actual content so much, just the fact that someone could talk that long.

    Regarding the "social code," I don't think there is one all-encompassing code that we all live by. An 18-year old kid's idea of right and wrong is not the same as someone who has gone through more life experiences. My high school had a section out back called, "The Hill" where the stoners went. Their social code was to get high and feel good. I don't see how that is much different than taking PEDs to play better so you feel good. When you are 22 and realize you need to pass a drug test to be employed, your actions change. Let's not forget we are talking about young adults who often don't consider the long term effects of their actions.


May 12th, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

Explicit social mores are the weakest ones. The social code of stoners on the hill wasn't established repetitively since they were little kids. It's far harder for a person to do something immoral than you might realize. It takes self-justification, and even then there's psychological damage to doing something you know to be wrong. Marijuana doesn't have the drawbacks that steroids have, nor is it nearly as big of a deal to be caught with it.


May 12th, 2012 at 9:40 PM ^

That assumes the average 18 year old thinks that PED use is immoral. I don't think that's the case. I listen to too much sports-talk radio, and a fair number of callers don't think there is anything wrong with steroid use. Plus, if you are pumping iron in the gym and find out that other guys are using, that lowers the barrier to you using.

I think the health risks far out-weigh the benefits of improved performance, but I know that not everyone thinks the same way that I do.

I'm not an expert on this, but I'm fairly certain it takes a blood test to detect HGH use, and the high schools, colleges, and NFL aren't doing that. Thus, huge linemen (and 250 pound linebackers) proliferate.


May 29th, 2012 at 6:54 PM ^

If we are using the average talk radio caller as our baseline for humanity, then the battle to the trogolodytes is lost and we should vacate to an island with that asshole who made all that Facebook money.

Rick's American Cafe

May 12th, 2012 at 9:14 AM ^

1) Your argument about "better nutrition" and "better conditioning" as being the perfect explanation for an explosion of freakishly large athletes sounds suspiciously similar to what people were saying about Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, etc... in the late 90's.  "Oh, Big Mac isn't on 'roids! He just lifts weights harder than anyone... in the history of baseball. It's totally legit!"

2) And to say the benefits of PEDs are minimized in football?  Come on, man... it's a game based largely on strength, size, and top-end speed, which are attributes affected most directly by steroids/HGH.  Why do you think the NFLPA is so emphatically opposed to HGH testing?

3) PEDs are now considered an issue in cycling because it's a sport that actually is trying to clean itself up, and is not afraid to publicize when they catch a drug cheat.  They report on themselves, it makes it into the news, and so everyone assumes cycling is the dirtiest sport ever.  And it is dirty, to an extent.  But you have to remember that the doping controls present in cycling make the drug testing in football look like a total joke.  If football had the same standard of self-policing and self-reporting that cycling does, I suspect American football would quickly be known as the dirtiest sport in the world, by a long shot.  (emphasis on "suspect"... obviously we don't know unless the high level of rigorous testing is actually done).   


May 12th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

1) Biiiiiiig difference between the example you gave and what I said: it's not just one or two football players who are larger, or even just football players. America is an inch and a half taller than we were a generation ago, and if you can correct for the added obesity we ought to be about 20 lbs. heavier too. That's includes offensive tackles, offensive comedians, and cellists, men and women. Better nutrition in childhood leads to taller adults. I'm not talking about protein shakes that athletes drink while building muscle--I'm talking about the milk and the fruits and the vegetables and (ironically) fatty foods we ate since we were tykes, and that we were the beneficiaries of lower poverty levels and cheaper food, and seldom missed meals. We were also the beneficiaries of govt. programs like school lunch that got us to eat what nutritionists said we should be eating. Obviously it's not everybody, but not everybody is playing left tackle either. Kids just got bigger, starting with those born around the mid-'70s.

2) Talking amounts. Small levels can improve your comeback time from injury, improve your batting average slightly, or raise your enduance levels a little. They're not going to have a dramatic enough effect. If you're going to take enough to noticeably change your body structure and musculature in a short period of time, that presents its own problems. Lots of people try pot; few people try ecstasy, because there's no such thing as doing just a "little' bit of ecstasy. Since there's a small middle ground, the total number of abusers will be less.

3) College football tests. Surveys have found between 1% and 3% of college football players used. It's more prevalent in the NFL, for obvious reasons, though they test too.