Sox Machine Live!: Swept away in Pittsburgh

The Rundown:

  • Jim shares his notes visiting the Charlotte Knights, Winston-Salem Dash, and the Kannapolis Intimidators.
  • Recap the Pirates series trying to figure out why the starters are having such a tough time in the first inning.
  • Discuss the idea of Yolmer Sanchez playing in the outfield
  • Preview the Rangers series
  • With Robinson Cano suspended for PEDs should MLB’s stance soften to allow star players to stay on the field

To listen, click play below:

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Great show, as always. You guys are as good at coming up with tag lines for the podcast/the 2018 season as the Sox are bad at baseball.

I have to say, I’m with Josh on the whole PED thing. I’ve mellowed on it considerably as I’ve gotten to the point where, if there’s an active player within a year or two of my age, people start talking about putting him out to pasture. It tends to make me more sympathetic, especially when you’re talking about stuff that just helps a guy stay on the field in his mid 30s, as opposed to completely re-landscaping his body in his mid 20s. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely comfortable with the idea of widespread PED use. I think a lot of Sox fans will be with me on Sosa and ’98 tainting it forever, at least a little bit, but there’s a lot of money and effort going into anti aging treatments, and the state of the art might one day allow players to practically extend their primes well past what any of the game’s greats were able to enjoy, and we’ll all either have to bury our heads in the sand, or adjust our expectations.

Changing the subject abruptly and entirely: Would it be worth it for the Sox to go after Swihart?

Jim Margalus

There are ostensibly contending teams in greater need of MLB catcher bodies (Twins, Mets, DBacks). Then again, the Red Sox are getting awful production from their catchers, which makes Swihart’s lack of action stranger there.

Long story short, it makes sense to ask, but doesn’t seem like the Sox should get in a bidding war.

Trooper Galactus

PEDs do a lot more than just keep a guy in his mid-30s healthy. There are a large number of cases one can point to across all sports which bear this out. Probably the best I can think of offhand is Vitor Belfort, who just had his retirement match with the UFC over the weekend. The guy was largely a faded force by the time he was in his 30s, but then he got a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Testosterone Replacement Therapy, at which juncture he suddenly became a bigger, stronger, more ripped fighter than he was in his 20s (and he was pretty big, strong, and ripped then). Once TRT was banned, the physical change was immediately noticeable and the dropoff in performance drastic.

Personally, my stance on PEDs has not softened. There were clean athletes getting screwed over, if not cost their jobs, by the cheats. The idea that steroids and other PEDs were not a major contributing factor to the home run explosion 20 years ago is disingenuous at best in my opinion. Years from now, sure, maybe the landscape will change, more will become accepted, and the playing field will be level. But that doesn’t change that the players who used PEDs before were perfectly aware that what they were doing was wrong.

As for Cano, he doesn’t generate any sympathy from me. The guy is making tens of millions of dollars every year. And while there might be a legitimate medical reason for him to have used the diuretic detected in his system, it should not be a difficult task for somebody of his means and with the resources available to him to pass everything he puts his body through a quick check to verify it’s okay. Even if he didn’t actually use any PEDs, it was stupid of him to put a known banned substance in his body.


I’m completely with Trooper on this topic. It’s possible that me not being American affects my stance, but I’ve never understood the “entertainment” aspect. No athlete (or at least very few) devotes their life to sports with the goal of entertaining, but rather to be very best they can be. When some athletes decide to take shortcuts for a better payout, there’s no way that this can be an acceptable decision. I, as a fan, will inevitably be somewhat entertained (or I wouldn’t be watching?) but the focus for is always the win rather the entertainment value

The general world of sports cracks down harder on PED’s today than ever before. I’m having a hard time seeing MLB going the opposite direction and becoming more lenient on PED’s as we progress in to the 20’s or 30’s.


Yep…Nothing I can add to Trooper and others arguments against PEDs except maybe the case of the beloved Barry Bonds. Bonds despite being a horse’s ass was the most talented baseball players of his era without PEDs . When he saw the fuss made over the hour run totals being put up by the chemically enhanced McGuire & Sosa he could, not with his elephantine ego, resist the temptation to juice himself. I often thought that Frank Thomas made it into the HOF on the first round was because he resisted the temptation to cheat. Keep the ban on PEDs and do not punish the ballplayers that play by the rules.


Eh, already Bonds got his reward – millions more dollars than he would have earned playing clean and a tainted home run record.

If he wanted to be a hero and a hall of famer, he could have played clean. He made his choice.


The amazing thing about Frank was that nobody ever accused him of juicing, and he was an SEC football player. Seems like he’d be the FIRST to get accused.


I’m fine with PEDs if the collective bargaining agreement is OK with it or doesn’t care about it. But the players fought and bargained for these rules; if the vast majority of the players don’t want the rules then they can fight to have them removed instead of lying to the paying customers about it.

Trooper Galactus

On the rare occasions I got a UFC PPV, I never bought because of Belfort, and especially not during his TRT heyday. Everybody knew exactly what he was doing, and the damage it made him capable of inflicting on his opponents was obscene.

Trooper Galactus

And while I liked the Belfort highlight reel as much as the next guy, once his TRT exemption became widely publicized I started to legitimately worry for his opponents. The guy was a freak athlete before doping, and TRT turned him into a nigh-unstoppable monster. After his loss to Anderson Silva, his body noticeably morphed into comic book levels of ripped, and he went on a 5-1 tear where every win was a stoppage, including three in a row by head kick (number of head kick stoppages prior to that for Belfort: 0). His only loss was to the similarly juiced Jon Jones at a higher weight class on relatively short notice. As soon as TRT was banned, he got utterly demolished by Chris Weidman, and his entire body looked comparatively deflated come fight time. I don’t root for these guys, and I’ve long since lost any interest in spending time and money watching juiced up monsters in any sport tear into outmatched clean opponents.


Josh. You are dead wrong on PED’s. They do kill people. And the guys who take them willingly cause a domino effect on other guys who don’t want to die young, but have to take them to keep up. Ask any doctor who has treated athletes since the ’60’s. You wanting people risk their lives so that you don’t feel “robbed” over a playoff series is, IMO, pretty messed up.

Trooper Galactus

Hell, just look at the list of pro wrestlers deceased before their 50th birthdays in recent years. Granted, there’s a lot of things involved, but steroids is definitely a factor.


You’d be shocked at the # of ex pro athletes who have had heart or liver transplants, or have died while waiting for them. The common factor is steroids.
Doctor to Green Bay Packer waiting for heart transplant: Did you guys know how harmful these drugs were?
Lineman: We knew they couldn’t be good. Given another option, I never would have taken them. But when you show up to training camp and the guy across from you is suddenly 30LBS heavier and throwing you around like a rag doll, what can you do?

Trooper Galactus

I wouldn’t be shocked. The effects are well documented.

Lurker Laura

Tommy John surgeries and CTE are very different. Pushing one’s body to the limit vs. putting PEDs into it are very different. Teenagers and professional athletes are very different. Throwing all of those issues into the same bucket muddles the argument.

Lurker Laura

I just think there’s a flaw in “teenaged athletes are pushed too hard” = “professionals should be allowed to take PEDs.” I may not disagree with the last statement. But it’s not a correlation from the first statement.

Trooper Galactus

I don’t see how you can lump these situations together, Josh. This is the difference between the innate nature of a sport and people trying to cheat to get an edge. People didn’t cheer on Lance Armstrong despite him doping, they did so because they didn’t know, and once the extent of his cheating was revealed he went from beloved to reviled in a flash. The Russian athletes were allowed to compete because the IOC is a total joke to begin with, and nobody outside of Russia gave any credence to anything they accomplished. We cheer for athletes and watch sports because we recognize what athletes put their bodies through, the rigors of competition, and, in some cases, the inherent danger of competing. People rebel against athletes who test positive for PEDs because their accomplishments become artificial; as attributable to a drug as it is to hard work and unfair to people who are still relying on their innate talents alone.

Trooper Galactus

I think the larger issue for the White Sox is not that they are losing fans, but that they aren’t creating new ones. The World Series win in 2005 was their chance to get a bigger piece of the market share, but they’ve spent every ensuing year frittering away that opportunity and now there’s a whole generation of kids who have no memory of any real hype around this team.