Jose Bautista and the Meaning of the Word “Fluke”

Today, Joe Posnanski wrote a piece about Jose Bautista‘s remarkable 50th home run. Bautista’s the first man to crack the 50-home run barrier since 2007, just the 26th man ever to reach such a gaudy number, and even though he’s already done it it’s still hard to believe. Two months ago, I wrote one of the stupider things I’ve ever written, when I predicted Jose would cool off before reaching the 35-homer plateau. So is his season a fluke? The answer depends on two things: just how much talent he truly has, which he’ll get to display over the next several years; and just what we mean by the word “fluke,” the meaning of which has drastically changed in the years since the Steroid Era, when outlier performances are all too often simply assumed to be chemical-induced.

Roger Clemens exemplifies the compromised history of the Steroid Era, which literally has made it hard for many of us to justify having rooted for many of the greatest players in baseball history. Jose Bautista exemplifies the way that the taint of steroids continues to affect our ability to enjoy the game. If Bautista had hit 50 back in the age of innocence, say, in 1990 like Cecil Fielder did — when the half-century mark was reached for the first time since 1977 and the last time till 1995 — we might be able to marvel at his accomplishment and cheer Bautista as a hitter who had, for one brief moment, either unlocked his entire potential or found the perfect four-leaf clover. And of course Bautista isn’t the only guy ever to have a massive home run spike. Posnanski found 31 other similarly fluky seasons, including Maris’s 61, Bonds’s 73, Adrian Beltre’s 48, and Hack Williams Wilson’s 56. Many of these flukes occurred during the Steroid Era, and in retrospect the word “fluke” seems misguided. But many others didn’t, and the list helps remind us that there have been other Jose Bautistas in the past, who came out of nowhere and went nuts for a while.

But in 2010, it’s harder to enjoy an out-of-nowhere home run performance in the same way, in the way we still enjoy other career years. Take, for example, Ryan Dempster‘s nearly equally miraculous 2008, when the 31-year old failed starter and failed reliever with a 4.82 career ERA moved to the rotation once more and had the finest season of his career, a 17-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 3.41 FIP that netted him a $52 million contract in the offseason. Or the wonderful Andres Torres, whose 5.4 WAR at the age of 32 has made him one of the best stories in baseball, but who might be dogged by a lot more nasty innuendo if he’d come out of nowhere to hit 30 homers instead of just 14.

As Posnanski writes, we’ve always treated home runs differently: “Home runs alone define how many people look at the game,” he writes, calling such a burst of such seemingly obvious insight his “obviopiphany.” And: yeah. Home runs are in many ways baseball’s signal event. They’re the most important counting stat in the game, because they’re so easy to count and so easy to remember. Our national obsession with homers are what caused Roger Maris’s hair to fall out and Hank Aaron to receive death threats, allowed Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire to bring baseball back from the precipice of the 1998 1994 strike and convinced Barry Bonds that he’d never be taken seriously until he hit more homers than any of them.

And they should be the most important counting stat. They have a higher WPA value than any other event on a field. There’s no single more important counting stat on the back of the baseball card. If you were explaining baseball to an alien or a Frenchman, you’d mention homers pretty early on. There are as many slang terms for a home run as there are words for snow in the Inuit language, and that tells you just how important homers truly are: if you really want to know what ballplayers revere, just look at what they nickname. The more different things you can call something (“hammer,” “Uncle Charlie,” “12-to-6,” “hook,” “curveball”), the more essential it is.

Bautista may have picked the wrong era to get hotter than a June bride on a feather bed, but there’s at least one way out of it: keep hitting them. As Posnanski writes, “We have to see how his career progresses from here.” For some reason, most people believe that the lesson of the steroid era is that momentary spikes are due to “the juice,” while protracted success is due to talent. As Posnanski mentions, Carlos Pena never hit more than 27 homers until he was 29, when he hit 46 homers in 2007, but he hits a bunch of homers every year, so 2007 wasn’t exactly a fluke, and no one accused him of acquiring his power through illicit means. So the only way for Bautista to look legitimate will be for him to keep hitting them year after year.

Once miracles are cheaply bought, they are no longer easily enjoyed. I hope Bautista can keep it up, so that we can finally feel at liberty to enjoy his miraculous season.

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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.

59 Responses to “Jose Bautista and the Meaning of the Word “Fluke””

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  1. Ben says:

    That’s supposed to be Hack Wilson, not Hack Williams, right?

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  2. Bill@TPA says:

    Hack Wilson. Maybe you’re thinking of Hank Williams Jr. and that awesome Monday Night Football song?

    “Many of these flukes occurred during the Steroid Era, and in retrospect the word ‘fluke’ seems misguided.”

    Does it, really? If Brady Anderson suddenly decided to take a bunch of steroids and, as a direct result, hit 50 homers, in an era in which nobody in the game cared whether he took steroids or not, I’d expect him to keep taking them the next year and for the foreseeable future. Regardless of what you think of PEDs or what their effect was, when you see one year that stands out like that, it seems pretty accurate to call it a “fluke.”

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    • I agree; that’s a faulty reasoning process. That’s what I was trying to get at when I wrote, “For some reason, most people believe that the lesson of the steroid era is that momentary spikes are due to “the juice,” while protracted success is due to talent.”

      Thanks for spotting the typo. Yeesh — I’m so lonesome ’bout these typos, I could cry.

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      • Rich says:

        Right, I’d argue that people are looking at it completely backwards. A drastic spike followed by platue is most likely PEDs (who is gonna stop taking them if they got you a year like that?) and a momentary spike more likely is flukey.

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  3. David G says:

    So if he doesn’t repeat his performance next year – and beyond – this year’s accomplishments are less meaningful or possibly tainted? That’s how I interpreted the final sentence, but I do not agree.

    Hall of famers are measured on the strength of their entire career, but single season records and milestones are still an important part of baseball. Fifty home runs is once again an impressive benchmark; however, the average fan may remember the recent onslaught of 50+ HR seasons and not realize how much the game has changed. I think Bautista’s out-of-nowhere season should be celebrated regardless of past or future performance.

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    • B N says:

      Agreed. Plus, I don’t think Bautista is exactly out of nowhere statistically. Let’s assume we have a player:

      1. Has hit on a 25 HR pace each of the last two years, in limited playing time.
      2. Strikes out a lot (25% of the time)
      3. Is hitting HR with an average distance of 393 and 400 ft, respectively.
      5. Has the nickname “Joey Bats”

      I agree, 50 HR is unlikely- as it is for any player. But with him shaving 5% off the K rate and a full season of AB, I’d think 30+ HR would have been the expected outcome. I view this as being a lot like David Ortiz or Carlos Pena- guys who you always knew hit the ball hard, but just started catching up to some more balls.

      While no one saw Bautista coming, given his makeup I’m a bit surprised why people sit around acting all shocked and seeming to be like “Gosh golly, what a fluke!” My reaction was a lot like when Pena hit 46 HR- “Why didn’t I see that coming?” In my opinion, while these outcomes are unlikely, I would say that anybody who can go at a 30 HR pace, hits long HR, and swings the bat a lot shouldn’t be a shock if they hit 50.

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      • B N says:

        Somehow #4 got clipped. It was that he hit a lot of ground balls for a power hitter (%40 and 46% respectively).

        You can pretty much attribute his increased HR total to reducing that value to 30%. Very few ground balls leave the park, I’m told.

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    • Michael Huber says:

      I have a problem celebrating Jose Bautista’s out of context. He has never hit 20 home runs before. It’s not like he’s been an all-star for the past 10 years, hitting .300 and 25 HRs, but suddenly showed a burst of power in one year. Instead, he is a guy that hit 59 home runs TOTAL in 2,100 ABs previously or basically 4 full seasons. I’m not a big rah-rah, sentimental anti-steroid guy. Honestly, I don’t really care whether he does steroids now or not because there are consequences to his actions if the system is working correctly. However, you have to question whether Bautista has determined that his ability to get that one big payday is worth the risk of taking steroids. To me, the point that his future seasons will dictate whether or not this season is a “fluke” is critical. He is performing so far above his mean season statistically that you have to look at where he goes from here. If he hits 30 homers next year, I think you believe this year is less of a fluke. If he regresses to 15, then you have to think something fishy happened. The numbers just don’t add up (see Anderson, Brady).

      Keep this in mind – Albert Pujols has 41 homers this year. The next closest AL player is Paul Konerko at 37 and he has a history of power generation. I think you really need to question Bautista’s year in the context of league-wide power production and his career performance.

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      • Mick in Ithaca says:

        I think anybody who makes this speculation hasn’t actually seen much of Jose Bautista this year. Last August he made a couple of visible adjustments to his approach at the plate, allowing him to get quicker to balls he’d been prone to whiffing on or popping up. Last September, this new approach led to 10 homers that month. His pace continued in Spring training this year. And we’ve seen the results this season. He’s at or near the Major League top in hitting fastballs, curveballs, sinkers, sliders. He’s not so good with knucklers, splitters and changes. (In other words, his performance is all about timing, and the benefits in that regard that his adjustments have given him.) He’s not swinging at unhittable pitches low and outside, and thus is drawing a ton of walks. He’s not really generating more batspeed. He’s always had very good, above average batspeed (which scouts have noticed since he was drafted) but he wasn’t loading up in time to reach pitches with consistency. Now he is. It ain’t steroids pal.

        I feel confident that the Blue Jays will sign Bautista to a team friendly contract this off-season, and I think he will perform at a high OPS level with significant home run totals for the next few years. On top of which, he’s a very good outfielder with a cannon arm who can also play quite acceptable 3rd base, a position where the Jays are in deep need.

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      • Ryan says:

        Lets just have a look at the numbers in his first season as a non utility player in a system where he got to play every day. THis season he joined 6 other players in the history of the game to hit over 50 homers, drive in more than 100 runs, hit more than 30 doubles and walk over 100 times. In that list are Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Luis Gonzalez( the last to do so in 2001). The award wasnt around for Ruth to win it, he would have, Jimmie Foxx won it in Boston after doing so, Sammy Sosa won it in 98 when he did it, and Barry Sammy and Gonzalez al;l did it in 2001 and Barry won it that time….moral of the story….he just put up one of the greatest seasons in the history of the game on a team with a really young pitching staff, who did a lot better than critics thought preseason. He did it in a division where they play the Red Sox Yankees and Rays 18 times each, and we all know they don’t have any pitchers of quality…yeah this guy really doesnt deserve the award, give it to Cano, who no one would ever know was missing if he disappeared out of the NY lineup with all the other talent ahead of him in the lineup

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  4. Owen says:

    “But in 2010, it’s harder to enjoy an out-of-nowhere home run performance in the same way, in the way we still enjoy other career years”

    Not if you picked him up off the waiver wire in your fantasy league.

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  5. Shauntell47 says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand…

    If he continues hitting home runs, what will it prove?

    I’d rather say that if he stops homering, then that might mean something.
    In this case, it would mean he just had a fluky season, where he got a lot of pitches he could hit.

    If he were juicing, why wouldn’t he hit just as many homers next year?
    Why would he stop taking PEDs if he’s having success w/ them?
    He hasn’t been caught till now, so why would he be scared to continue taking them?

    Just don’t get it…

    Btw, I do think he’s legit, since he’s always had power, even earlier on in his career, just apparently didn’t have the right swing mechanics.

    Toronto seems to be the perfect school to learn how to hit HRs.

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    • TCQ says:

      The more home runs he hits going forward, the higher our true talent approximation will go, which would apply retroactively to his ’10 season. If he hits 15 homers in a full season next year, I’ll have a much different view on how lucky Bautista was in terms of HR/FB% and such than if he’s touching 50 bombs again.

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      • Rich says:

        How do you seperate “true talent” from “true talent + PEDS”?

        I think hes on something. That being said, I think pretty much every player above AA is on something.

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      • TCQ says:

        I tend to think it’s best just to ignore PED’s for the purposes of projection/eval at this point. There are some numbers that have to be taken with a grain of salt around the turn of the century, but beyond that I think the effect that PED’s have is over-whelmed by other variables to such a degree that it generally isn’t worth thinking about. Which is not to say it doesn’t exist, of course.

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  6. JR says:

    “Roger Clemens exemplifies the compromised history of the Steroid Era, which literally has made it hard for many of us to justify having rooted for many of the greatest players in baseball history.”

    How is it literally hard? Is there a stone wall in front of our feelings? Are our feelings erect toward many of the greatest players?

    It’s not hard. At all. Steroids were illegal under US law, but not explicitly proscribed by baseball until the end of the Steroid Era. Marijuana and other recreational drugs are also illegal under US law AND were explicitly forbidden by MLB. Yet, that barely enters our consciousness within a couple of weeks of the player getting caught. Do people still root for Lincecum?

    We know that HGH and some of the other steroids do little or nothing to aid performance. We know that no steroid can fix a batter’s eye or his swing pattern. Yet, we continue to, at a minimum, entertain the idea that having used steroids is akin to betting against your team. Maybe even worse than beating your wife (Brett Myers still has fans).

    The only thing the Steroid Era makes it difficult to do is to think of professional athletes as social icons or heroes, which they shouldn’t have been thought of as in the first place. But, it’s not hard at all to think of the things they do on the field, and enjoy them. It’s rather magnificent.

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    • JR, you’re right that I abused the word “literally.” That said, while you may find it easy to root for players who used PEDs, many, many other baseball fans are deeply conflicted. There are a lot fewer happy shared memories associated with McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds — a lot fewer conversations that start with, “Hey, you remember when Sosa hit that ball 500 feet?”

      I’m not saying that it’s rational. But steroid use has tapped into something visceral. The fallout from the Steroid Era has made a lot of individual performances hard to appreciate in retrospect.

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      • JR says:

        I should have made clear that I wasn’t directing that at your writing (except the literal part, because I wanted to make the erect comment). More broadly, people just need to get perspective about what the steroid era means to the sport.

        When you consider that steroids really only help your body recover (and are not a magic home run pill), allowing you to return from injury earlier or gain more muscle – something one does to maximize performance – there’s an argument that it’s less offensive than those who are near-alcoholics or casual drug users – people who seek to put temporary pleasure above maximizing their talent. I guess people might not buy that because everyone is pretty amused by the Dock Ellis LSD no-hitter (myself included).

        Even amphetamines/greenies were worse than steroids because they are actually giving someone a competitive advantage that they didn’t have to work for – take a pill, wash it down with a coffee, and go up to bat blazing without doing anything.

        We no longer sit around and wistfully lament the ’19 Black Sox scandal. I’d just like to read one article that says: a) steroids shouldn’t affect fans’ opinions of players who played in or used during the Steroid Era (unless you’re genuinely upset that they may have cut their life span by 20 years to gain an extra year of performance), and/or b) we’re not going be talking about this in 30 years, so you might as well hurry up and get over it now.

        I understand nostalgia – and I understand that there are elements that would taint players that arose from steroid scandals. If he was still playing, I wouldn’t root for Roger Clemens because he’s a liar who was willing to throw his wife under the bus. Or maybe I still would root for him because I’d forget about the story by the next season. The angst over steroids just seems to stem from over-romanticizing baseball.

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    • scottz says:

      Geez, JR, I bet you’re a blast at kids’ parties.

      There is no such thing as “over-romanticizing” anything, as romance is subjective. What’s the right amount of romance*? If I think it is difficult to cheer unabashedly for Jose Bautista’s accomplishment because previous seasons have indicated that similar performances may have been tainted from my view of what “pure” baseball should be, then that’s what I think. I think what Alex wrote is spot on – steroid use and the Steroid Era has tapped into something viceral in the larger population of baseball fans, for whatever reason. Steroids are much more accepted (or shrugged off) in football, but for many baseball fans, it does matter for reasons that aren’t really calculable.


      *The right amount of romance is an expensive (but light) dinner, a smallish item of jewelry for no identified reason, 2.5 glasses of wine, a small shared piece of dessert, 5 to 17 unscented candles, mood music (subject to choice – commonly Barry White, The Temptations or Al Yankovic) set to 35 decibles, and for some reason, a polaroid camera.

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    • joser says:

      This is literally the most annoying comment in this thread.

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  7. rick11p says:

    Something weird going on in Toronto. Hill and Lind stop hitting homers but Batista, Buck and Gonzalez start. Maybe they just hand out the HGH randomly in the post game spread

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  8. George says:

    First, I’ll never understand why people think that an outlier year in baseball (if that’s in fact what this is for Bautista) is indicative of PED use. Even if PEDs worked that way (they don’t, by the way), why would Bautista suddenly start taking them this season? He just got the urge finally after toiling in college and the minors for so many years?

    This is a pretty good article that expresses my point (and coincidentally, he also cites a Posnanski article):

    Also, why are you using the term “Steroid Era” as if it is in the past? I have no doubt that many players are still using undetectable anabolics, HGH, SARMs, and other PEDs that we haven’t even heard of.

    If you want a reason as to why home runs are down in baseball, I wouldn’t go any further than the balls.

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    • Kool says:

      Thank you. People forget that the balls play a big part in this as well as the stadium among other factors. I bet no one here even knows how much of an effect PEDs have on a player’s performance. Hitting home runs has less to do with power but more to do with bat speed and approach. Also, just because a player did take PEDs and hit many homeruns, that does not mean that there is a correlation. Does anyone even question why PEDs are restricted? I mean, they’re supposed to (not saying that they do much) enhance performance, right? Well, so does exercise, batting practice, etc. What are the long term negative effects of steroids?

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  9. George says:

    One more thing…JR is exactly right.

    First and foremost, I watch sports to be entertained. And that’s exactly what guys like Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, and Sosa did better than everyone else.

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  10. tgaudette says:

    I really liked your article- it was a bit different from the usual stuff I see on the site but it was very well written. Just wanted to say thanks.

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  11. bSpittle says:

    “allowed Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire to bring baseball back from the precipice of the 1998 strike”

    The what now?

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  12. Zack says:

    Alex – great post and comments – Also, JR. Nice.

    (Also, “back from the precipice of the 1998 strike” – I know you know the strike was in ’94 and the McSosa season was ’98. Just a mis-phrasing.)

    Of course Bautista’s season is a fluke. He’s never been this kind of power hitter, and we usually don’t expect power explosions at age 30.

    Most bothersome to me about Bautista is that he hasn’t been a big doubles hitter in previous seasons. It’s not as if he’s just pushing those doubles a little farther out. He’s hitting the ball much harder, much farther.

    His BA is only up a little, but his K% is down and BB% is up. BABIP is down, curiously.

    He’s making much more contact, in and out of the strike zone.

    I still don’t think I care about PEDs, but we all the scorned lover over the PED issue, and I think the excitement over Bautista will be suitably muted.

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    • Ryan says:

      is every one here an uneducated idiot? Take a player with talent out of a system where he is not getting playing time, and put him into a scenario where he gets 500 plus at bats and see what happens. The fact is this guy has joined an elite club that only has 6 members of all who ever laced up their cleats. 50 hrs, 100 rbi, 100 walks and 30 doubles. His production has absolutely nothing to do with his change in swing mechanics, so it must be PED’s. They arent randomly tested 15 times a season , of course not. Give the guy a break for gods sake…the man finally got a chance to play every day, and took advantage…over 60 jacks in the last calendar year, enough said. Earning 100 wals the hard way, next to none intentional. Thats a fluke too…naillinf a 97 mph fastball out, another fluke…bunch of idiots y’all are!

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  13. WilsonC says:

    When people see an outlier/breakout year like Bautista’s this year and automatically assume it’s the result of PED’s, I have to ask why, then, are we even noticing his season?

    There are a LOT of players who hit as well as the old Bautista. Many players with that kind of power are career minor leaguers. If something as simple as PED use could turn a 15 HR guy into a 50 HR guy, we’d have probably 50-100 guys nobody’s ever heard of have the same kind of breakout over the past couple decades.

    The reason we notice it is because it’s not a common occurrence. It’s it was something easy (injecting a drug) it would be a lot more common. The more logical explanation is that the most significant factor is either something hard (relearning how to hit at the MLB level) and/or something improbable (fluke year), and that this is true regardless of whether or not there are any PED’s involved.

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  14. shthar says:

    two things:

    Even Henry Cotto can get hot for one season.

    Brady freaking Anderson

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  15. gabriel says:

    Is there a possibility that Bautista is using PEDs? Of course. But we have a far superior explanation for this breakout season- a modification both to his swing (principally timing, but to a lesser degree mechanics) and to his approach. Frankie Piliere had an excellent article on Bautista’s batting modifications, Bautista himself has incessantly credited his improvement to Cito Gaston & the Jays’ hitting coaches encouraging an earlier start to his swing, and, of course, the Jays have a ‘grip it and rip it’ philosophy. When Bautista has gone through slumps this season, he has attributed it to a failure to get his swing started early enough.

    In particular, the mechanical and timing adjustments explain one major deviation this season: his splits against right-handers and lefties. Prior to this year, his career stats showed a pronounced platoon split. This year, he has a reverse platoon split; starting his swing earlier has allowed him get ahead on right-handers, exactly what you’d expect. So enough with the PEDs speculation. There’s nothing to indicate it, and we have a far, far better explanation for his break-out season.

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  16. cpebbles says:

    Please stop mentioning hGH. Yeah, it’s illegal and against the rules of baseball, but the best evidence indicates it’s about as effective as having Julio Zuleta offer a cup of rum to Jobu so he’ll bless your bat.

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  17. matt w says:

    There are as many slang terms for a home run as there are words for snow in the Inuit language

    This makes baby Geoff Pullum cry. (PDF link; for those who want the nickel version, there aren’t particularly a lot of words for “snow” in the Inuit language(s), so stop saying that.)

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  18. Doogolas says:

    I feel no shame in saying that I enjoyed watching steroid users play. Hell, I don’t even care, I wish they’d just make the things legal and let me see 50HR a year. Nobody in history is truly “clean” anyways. *shrug*

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  19. algionfriddo says:

    I traded my #4 AL pick for him last year in our Strat league. I is so smart I are.

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  20. sc2gg says:

    After the game, Jose had a media session to answer questions, and someone asked him flat out about PEDs. He replied that he had nothing to hide, and won’t shy away or deflect such questioning.

    Bill Simmons later on PTI stated that if he was Bautista, he’d throw down the gauntlet and pee in a cup right at the testing lab in a public spectacle, get tested and approved right there, just so everyone would quit asking questions and enjoy the accomplishment.

    According to his bio and just looking at him, Jose Bautista is 6 feet tall and weighs 195lbs. His head is not a bloated Barry balloon. He has repeatedly stated throughout the year that swing and mentality changes have resulted in success, and numerous columns on this page have backed up his own words.

    Can we just give the guy the benefit of the doubt for once and admit he’s done something good and enjoy it? The dude can mash. Disbelievers, eat your words at the end of next year please! :D

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  21. Ramzavail says:

    I just think its funny that 3 sad organizations passed on him. The Pirates, the Orioles and the Devil Rays (the Rays are the good organization :) ).

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    • mudie says:

      4… you forgot KC. Oh the Royals, they can’t even get the proper respect for making a mistake*.

      *I don’t necessarily think it was a mistake, but it’s more fun if it’s accepted as such.

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  22. Zack says:

    Do we all understand that the world of PEDs is vast and does not exist SOLELY to make guys all burly?

    I know guys are tired of so many threads digressing into PEDs, but it’s the world the players, owners, team staffs, and agents helped create, so they’re going to suffer a little for it.

    This is not guilty-until-proven-innocent – Bautista is just an interesting example. Until this year, wasn’t Bautista exactly the PED prototype? Middle-tier player, some talent, not really growing, and aging fast. Bouncing form team to team… he’s coming up on 30 and not gaining ground on the competition for his job – PEDs would look pretty good to me. He’s making good money, but if he wants the REAL big money, or fame, or to work past age 32, better start doing SOMETHING differently.

    I have read the stuff about Bautista – swing plane, plate discipline, different tactics at plate, etc. Dear God, I hope it’s real, because it IS fun to see a guy break out for a 50-spot.

    But I don’t care if it’s real or not. Some cheat, some don’t, and we’ll never know.

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  23. Mac says:

    This will be my first ever troll comment. This article can be summed up in two sentences:

    Read Joe Posnanski’s 32 Flukiest Home Runs article.
    Almost everything I (the author) want to say about Jose Bautista was said by Posnanski.

    I mean, thanks for rewriting Joe’s article. I liked the bit you added about placing Bautista in the context of the Steroid Era. And hey, bringing Torres and Dempster into the conversation as comparables added some depth to your (er, Joe’s) argument.

    Other than that, well, it’s a good thing you cited Posnanski FIVE times. That means we can’t call it plagiarism. All these supposedly original thoughts, and hey, conveniently there’s this other article with all the facts to back them up for you. Way to go buddy. I can’t wait to here your take on 32 great Sports Illustrated covers.

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    • joser says:

      I don’t know, I often enjoy pastiches or remakes more than the original. I liked “The Magnificent Seven” better than the “Seven Samurai” and preferred “Ran” over “King Lear”; “Star Wars” was more fun than “The Hidden Fortress” and “Clueless” much more enjoyable than “Emma.” I think I even preferred “Rent” to La Boheme. (Though I think I liked the plot of “Major League” better when it was about hockey and starred Paul Newman.)

      And some of us don’t read Mr Posnanski regularly so this also offers a nice reminder to do so (and an introduction for those who may never have read him at all).

      But hey, this is a late response to an admitted troll comment so…. whatever.

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  24. Brandon says:

    With very little empirical evidence to support the claim that steroids = more home runs, I can’t understand how a writer from such an open minded website would suggest that Bautista’s numbers are at all tainted or are required to be duplicated in order to not pin it on the juice.

    First, Bautista has been tested TWICE this season. He’s been clean both times.

    Second, do we remember Alex Sanchez. 5’10”, 160lbs. Yea, he tested positive for roids and has a career high of 2 home runs.

    It’s simply lazy journalism to use the steroid tag. It was previously, and it is today.

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    • Actually, I wrote — or at least intended to write, and I apologize if my meaning was unclear — the opposite of that.

      Nowhere in this article do I allege that Jose Bautista used steroids. Instead, I stated the fact that many people seem to view the very fact that he has hit many home runs as inherently suspect. This is a problematic belief for a number of reasons, but it’s emblematic of the largely uninformed way that the steroid issue has been generally treated in mainstream discourse.

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  25. Jim Lahey says:

    I have to believe that anyone who is pulling the ball as much as him is due for an uptick in homeruns. (and strikeouts / lots of ground balls)

    50 HRs and they’re all to left field. Amazing.

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    • Kasi says:

      Funny enough his strike out numbers have dropped. Unlike the rest of the Jays hitters he has figured out how to unleash his power numbers without hurting his walk rate, OBP and his strike out rate. Look at Lind or Hill for players who have not quite taken to the same approach.

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  26. TxPistolPete says:

    Bautista’s season, swing adjustments or not has FLUKE written all over it. That is assuming you consider PED’s to be categorized as FLUKE. I would say it should be called CHEAT. Maybe Bautista isnt’ juicing, time will tell. I just hope to goodness that he’s being tested out the wazoo, because from a logical subjective viewpoint the fact that he is hitting 50 and a crop of consistent power hitters in both the AL and NL are nowhere close is incredibly suspicious.
    And yes, queue Brady Anderson…

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    • Ryan says:

      again thgis is his first season playing fulltime getting consistent at bats…you try and hit 40 plus homers and drive in 100 when you play 2 games then sit 2 then play 1 then sit 3…a guy with playing time like that might get 16 hrs and drive in 63, oh wait he did that, imagine what he could do with 500 plus at bats when he plays every day and is given the confidence by a manager that he has a fulltime gig for the first time,,,nust be drugs, then again you’re all idiots …

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  27. Mark says:

    He isn’t missing pitches. It’s his contact that astonishes me. That and the bat speed he generates when he turns on a pitch. This might be a dumb thing to say, but having watched him this season you’d think it’s repeatable. Not 52 HR and counting repeatable, but .260-.270 with 40+ HR. He’s a good player. Steroids or not, with that swing, balls are leaving the park when he connects. He’s not brute forcing balls out of there.

    Don’t forget he hit 10 home runs last September, too. He made significant changes to his approach at the plate at that time.

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  28. The Magic Jack is a great VoIP device. Never had any problems with it! Saved a ton of money.

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