Saturday, October 2, 2021




DeScalfani had his best year ever in 2021 after coming to the Giants, reduing his ERA almost a full point  (or 25% improvement ) over the previous full season , at Cincinatti, and over  his career average (4.06).  Now 31, the journeyman pitcher went from becoming a good pitcher to becoming an excellent second man in the starting rotation with the Giants. 


Gausman did DeScalfani even one  better.  He dropped his ERA 1.20, from 4.03 to 2.81 this year with his new team, the Giants, after his move from Cincinatti, which was good enough to make him the ace of the Giants pitching staff! Quite a feat for a guy in his mid-30s . With Gausman, DeScalfani, AlexWood  and Webb, the only holdover starter from last year, Johnny Cueto, could barely make the starting rotation now. Imagine an entire new,top performing starting core in one year made up of mostly players not even on the team last year.! 


Nobody gave the Giants a chance. Everyone thought they would fold - and for good reason.

But, they haven't. In fact, the Giants have their best record, 107 wins, not only since coming to San Francisco but all time! Not just since 1904 but these Giants are the best of all time ! Wow! Great? Resilient? Or something else?

You wonder 'How can a team devoid of any here-to-fore real star power but with a lot of journeyman players past their primes, if they even had a 'prime' - accomplish such a feat until now, late in their careers. (Sounds a little reminiscent of names like Huff, Burrel, Renteria, Ross, Scutaro, etc).   It seems not so strangely similar to  how the 2010-2014 Giants teams won there first (three) world series in 56 years.  

We know for fact the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series winning Giants had seven known PED users on the team (five of whom who had been indicted during or prior to coming to the Giants) - and there were likely more who never got caught. 

Remember, this was the team and era that spawned Barry Bonds, he of the 'cream and the clear' - or what he wrote off as 'flaxseed oil.' It was only three years since Bonds was effectively forced into 'early' retirement - though he was a still productive 42 year old player- following the Mitchell Report on steroid / PED use. Despite appearing nearly twice the physical size before coming to the Giants from Pittsburg where he was a very good player, his unworldly exploits since coming to the Giants at age 30 in 1997 included breaking single season (73) and career homerun records. Yet, Bonds was never convicted of anything in liberal San Francisco other than a single perjury charge for denying the use of steroids which was later overturned in similarly liberal 9th District San Francisco courts.

This year you only had one KNOWN PED player, Logan Webb, having been indicted in his rookie year of 2019, but he's been the 'best' player for the Giants for the latter half of this season. You ask how do players like Webb and Bonds come back to perform so well AFTER PEDs. Well, who says 'after'? Especially in San Francisco, where the science of PEDs was well honed in the labs of Victor Conte and BALCO, you have to be 'dumb or dumber' to get caught using PEDs - especially a second time- according to Conte. And, if one DOES get caught in San Francisco, it doesn't seem to matter like it might in other parts of the country. Bonds has maintained hero status in San Francisco, after being shunned by baseball fans elsewhere. People have become so blase' in San Francisco, there was hardly a mention by media or fan alike when a new Giant indicted PED player, pitcher Gregory Santos, was announced by MLB last month. And, this, supposedly after the steroid era was over.

San Francisco stores like Target and remaining Walgreens are closing
early, at 6 pm, so they'll still have some merchandise on 
their shelves the next day, 19 Walgreens have already ceased operation
Some now call San Francisco the city where 'anything goes,.' especially
clothes right off the shelves, like this guy on bike shows you.

San Francisco is where stores like Target and Walgreens now close early, at 6 pm, so they'll still have some non-pilfered items on the shelves the next day. It's the same city where the mayor, London Breed, can go out dancing without a mask after mandating everyone else to wear one. Or, the leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, can get her hair done without donning a mask, even before or after the cameras caught her at a supposedly 'locked down' salon. This was the same Pelosi who invited everyone to come to San Francisco to shop in Chinatown during the early days of the Pandemic not long after the Wuhan lab of China was caught leaking what they said was a 'bat virus' and allowed their own citizens to travel abroad to places like San Francisco but not within China. Not to say that 'Do what I say, not as I Do' hasn't spread to other cities - it's just that San Francisco seems to be in the forefront, and do it best, and do it more often.

Getting back to this year' edition of 'Make Believe Giants' , you have player after player having 'career' years and younger players outperforming their minor league record. (as below) PEDs may have slowed a bit while baseball took on other forms of cheating - and we say baseball because baseball never really clamped down on cheating while looking for anything to boost the game. We never saw more than a handful , or two, of players actually caught and suspended during any year , except when caught by serendipity like the Biogenesis scandal in Florida or others like the MItchell Report that found a collection. Biogenesis Lab scandal in Florida netted a bunch that baseball never could catch. In recent years we've even seen other forms of cheating such as technological sign stealing that probably gave Houston Astros a World Series win and more and helped Boston and others. More recently there's been the 'foreign substance' scandal with pitchers dominating the sport ; baseball thought they would solve the problem by requiring pitchers show their gloves between innings ; we've seen all of one or two players suspended with substance in their gloves.

Players have always been and remain ahead of baseball and there may be even more cheating than ever, today. Between various newer forms of getting advantage. Yet, it seems little has come in punitive action from the Commissioner's office. Between the various newer methods of cheating and the old tried and true ones back there may be as much or more than the 'upwards of 50%' of players Victor Conte told us were using PEDs. Yet few and fewer of them are being caught and dealt with , it would appear. Rarely, other than the Mitchell Report, have we seen any big name players apprehended. It's always the 'no names' and even if someone like a Alex Rodriquez or Melky Cabrera is caught they now seem to be like teflon and bounce right back and continue their careers, many performing as well or even better - no doubt on something bigger and better , and more disguised , than before.

Meanwhile, many have become used to new baseball with all its enhancements and changes. Younger fans have known nothing else. And, it seems to be the same teams, usually in more liberal cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Boston and even Houston. Of the 15 players who have been suspended for PEDs since 2019, 11 of the 15 have come from those four teams - all with two or more players having been caught. And you know what they say... For every player caught there are problems at leasts several more who aren't. With out going into specifics, most of those caught were only caught because they chose to use older, more detectable forms of PEDs.

WHO ARE THESE 2021 GIANTS, ANYWAY? Let's Look at Some and Their Unlikely Feats

- Lamont Wade Jr -Who he? From out of nowhere…
He never hit more than 11 homers in a full season (majors or minors,) and has 18 w Giants playing part time with about one in  every 16 at Bats , only 331 at bats ( Babe Ruth -like numbers) . At this rate he'd have 40-60 homers if playing a full season

De ja vu all over again? Is 2021 2014 upside down? Remember?...

Thairo Estrada  raised his average almost 25 points, from .250 to .273 since coming from the           New York Yankees to the Giants .  And, though a small sample size, Estrada , like Wade Jr. hit       homers at a Ruthian pace, 7 in 121 at bats or approximately 1 in every 16 at bats. No wonder the Giants hit more homeruns than other teams with players like this - and this only a year after the Giants hit among the fewest homeruns in baseball. And, Estrada's OPS was 200 points higher than his two year average with Yankees!

Logan Webb– a known commodity having been suspended already. And Logan Webb with his outrageous sliders you may remember was already a member of the ‘dumb and dumber' having served a PED suspension as a first year Giant. No doubt he’s since gotten some tips from the Big Boys how not to get caught so he can once again throw those near unhittable pitches.

Logan Webb - If the PEDs helped him in 2019, something REALLY helped him this year as he lowered his ERA over two full points in one full season. from 5.47 to 2.93 while striking out more than a batter per inning.

The Giants added Webb to their 40-man roster after the season.[10] He began 2019 with Richmond. [11] On May 1, 2019, Webb was suspended 80 games for testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid.[12][1]

 Darren Ruf - from .796  to .930 OPS while raising his average 20 points at advanced baseball age (35)

As you can see above, Ruf has been all over the place - your prototypic journeyman with years and years in the minors, and Japan. He once hit 14 homers for the Phillies back in 2013, but, like the Brandons, he's found some new new energy - enough to hit his best-ever major league total of 16, and in in just 258 at bats. Yes, we're talking Babe Ruth again -or maybe  we should  be saying Barry Bonds-like power. Wow, another one! But wait, there are more....

–  BRANDONS Crawford and Belt -same old story but moreso-
Just keep getting higher numbers as they get older, ala Barry Bonds at advanced ages-with telltale injuries (e.g. obliques) along the way. Even with all their injuries and missed games, they're hitting homers at a higher rate than ever. Usually when homers are up , batting averages are down, but not this year with the Brandons. Even with the Giants moving the fences in a bit, We're talking better than double the homers for both and a better than 20% rise in battering average - seven years later! :

BRANDON CRAWFORD:  If someone asked you in 2014 what Brandon Crawford would be hitting in 2021 you'd probably laugh because you 'd figure he would be retired after another sub-.250 season, despite his team winning the world series.  He wouldn't still be making those plays seven years later, would he?- and that average wouldn't be above .200, would it?  What team would even want him at those prices? Well, here it is, 2021 and Crawford, 34, is having his best year by far,  with 24 homers and flirting with .300, up nearly 70 points  and more than double the homeruns from his last full season of 2019. The amazing thing is that it's not just an isolated player   but the two remaining World Series   holdovers (other than Buster Posey) the Giants COULDN'T EVEN TRADE back then now having a Buster Posey-like year, maybe better than Posey and three years older! Let's take a look at the other Brandon...Belt....


Brandon Belt - Like Crawford, despite missing a good chunk of the season, Belt is having his best season, by far, with a whopping 29 homers (in just 380 at bats) and .274 average - at age 34! Unheard of! Even during the World Series years, Belt never hit more than 17 homers - and in many more at bats 

That's but a sampling of mostly crop of Giants 2021 hitters and what you may see in the 2021 World Series from the National League. Wouldn't it be interesting to see the Houston Astros face the San Francisco Giants?  Next time we'll feature more pitchers like former no-names as  Gausman and DeStafani, Doval and That would really rank up there for AI, or something like that. See chapter 2 to follow soon

Jose Alvarez, yet  another 'oldie' newcomer at 32, has become a 'goodie' for the Giants , rivaling his best year with a 2. 37 ERA&

Its hard to find  a Giant on his year's roster who hasn't improved over their past records- and yet most at advanced ages or at least stayed about the same like 
Yastremski and Dickerson, who had their breakout, career years last year with the Giants.

Camilo Duvol far outdid his minor career, too during his short stint with Giants. He sports a 3.00 ERA and 37 strikeouts on only 27 innings! 

But DOMINIC LEONE was even better .
He might not have had the strikeout 
Ratio -a mere strikeout per inning, 
 but he more than halved his career ERA! 


We're  just reporting the facts, as shown in above statistics. Let the numbers speak for themselves in showing why the San Francisco Giants are still the top team. Though we've honed in on the Giants , there are certainly other teams that have a number of players over-performing but with the Giants it's almost everyone of them with players who, based on historic age-related success, shouldn't be performing nearly as well as they are. You could call it a 'fluke' if it were one player, but it's many. In fact, it's hard to find any players who haven't out-performed the previous full season and/or their career numbers. 

If it's not the shorter fences, alone, Could it be that the Giants just have a really good coaching staff now?  Well, that's possible, even though pitching coach  Andrew Bailey and others are in their first seasons ever coaching at the big league level and usually need some seasoning. But, we feel it's largely something else.

  There would be just too many coincidences and past history to determine otherwise. You've seen the numbers. Keep in mind that the Giants are among the top four teams with the most PED-indicted players since 2019 and we know of at least one player, Garrett Brohius, then a 27-year-old Giant farmhand at Salt Lake City some years back who told his story of how  Giants scouting had encouraged him to use  PEDs to help his flagging career. When GM Farhan Zaidi come to the Giants he spoke of rebuilding a team of young, talented players based on analytics. That didn't seem to work, what with Giants' last four years of sub-.500 ball. Now the Giants have the OLDEST team in baseball. So, perhaps it was play B that seemed to bring the Giants success ala 2010-2014 by inexpensively acquiring former PED players, 'black market' or 'renegade'  players other teams didnt want who were willing to do most anything to jumpstart  flagging careers ala the seven KNOWN PED players who were largely responsible for putting the Giants 'over the top' in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with their first (3) World Series victories in 56 years. Call it desperation. 

Call it what you will.  Put it all together, with some more reference articles, below, and YOU help determine  how a Giants team of  mostly journeymen players / rejects could suddenly lead the league in homers and most victories in baseball.  RESILIENT? Or, something else. 

Jose Alvarez, yet  another 'oldie' newcomer at 32, has become a 'goodie' for the Giants , rivaling his best year with a 2. 37 ERA&

Its hard to find  a Giant on his year's roster who hasn't improved over their past records- and yet most at advanced ages or at least stayed about the same like 
Yastremski and Dickerson, who had their breakout, career years last year with the Giants.

Camilo Duvol far outdid his minor career, too during his short stint with Giants. He sports a 3.00 ERA and 37 strikeouts on only 27 innings! 

But DOMINIC LEONE was even better. 
He might not have had the strikeout 
Ratio -a mere strikeout per inning, 
 but he more than halved his career ERA! 

MLB and PEDs

While MLB may cite the minuscule proportion of failed drug tests as evidence of its drug policy’s success, critics of the testing regime believe the continued use of both conventional and “designer” drugs by players only serves to prove that many players remain able to stay one step ahead of detection, even in the “post-steroid era.”

Tom Verducci quoted a former major leaguer in a column for Sports Illustrated last year as saying, “I think we are back up to large-scale use again,” adding that without the “nuclear option” of a lifetime ban for a first offense, “it still seems to be worth the risk.” >

More References

How Many Baseball Players Are On Peds Today?


Plenty of ways to get away with PEDs that aren't easily detectable,

like those that Lance Armstrong used and many ballplayers who don't seem to have a Problem staying ahead of the testing curve (the MLB players union is so strong t he players seem to always be ahead of the owners And are currently challenging one popular drug ,DHCMT, that is said to stay for months or years in ones system but may be more dstectable, AND resulted in at least one recent 80 game suspension.

Baseball Players Are Testing Positive for a 50-Year-Old East German Steroid. They Can’t Explain  DHCMT

The players’ association has proposed to MLB that a player’s urine sample should register with at least 100 picograms per milliliter of DHCMT before the test counts as a positive

Tony Clark, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, shook hands with Chris Colabello before an exhibition game in a 2018 photo, not included here.

Jared Diamond


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