Plain English with Derek Thompson - Bill Simmons on Aaron Judge, How Baseball Ruined Itself, and the Joy of Debating Sports Records


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Today’s episode is about baseball, baseball and records.

And what we talk about when we talk about sports history, This week, the Yankees Aaron judge, hit his 62nd home, run of the year and it is triggered a ferocious.


And I think very very fun debate that has a lot of people very worked up over a deceptively.

Simple question, who is baseball’s true home run King.

So, let’s start with a few simple facts in 2001.

Barry Bonds hit 70, three home runs in 2022, Aaron judge, hit 62, home runs. 73 is more than 62.


Those are facts.

Here’s some more facts, Barry Bonds used steroids, we know this other sports like cycling have stripped athletes of records and championships if they’re caught doping, Lance Armstrong 17, Twitter, France titles, he was stripped of all of them baseball hasn’t shit.

Barry Bonds of his stats?


Because I don’t know how you would do that.

It doesn’t make any sense, but it has kept him out of the Hall of Fame because of his steroid use.

So what do we do?

When we talk about baseball history?

When we talk about bonds and his fellow dopers, like Mark McGwire Sammy Sosa, do we?


Consider their records illegitimate if.

So Aaron judge is the single-season home, run, king, or do we say?

No, you can’t selectively erase history in which case.

Aaron judge doesn’t hold any major record right now.

He’s just a big tall guy who had a very nice season.


Now you might think, okay, Derek, who cares what words we use to talk about baseball.

The answer is I care.

I care very much.

There was a period in my life.

When debating baseball stats in baseball history was literally my favorite activity in the world.

My entire identity as a middle schooler was wrapped up in being baseball, stats guy.


And also a lot of people today, care a lot of adults today care this debate over who is the legitimate single-season homerun King has been hands-down.

The most fun, the most, combative the most ferocious baseball discourse, I can remember in 20 years Today’s guest is Bill Simmons.


This is typically the part of the open where I do like a brief bio of the guests.

I will not be doing that today, bill.

And I talked about bonds, Judge baseball history, the role of Records who the true home run King is, and why these kind of debates are so much, damn fun in the first place.


I’m Derrick Thompson.

This is plain English, Bill Simmons, great to see you.


Great to be here.

I’m so proud of this podcast.

I Remember when we were spit ball on what?

It might look like it.

It’s exactly came out exactly how we hoped, and I think it’s been really valuable.

We love having it.

I love listening to it.

So congrats, thank you so much.

It’s been a blast to do.


And you know, it’s funny I’m thinking back to this is the 99th episode of this show and I’m thinking back to just almost a year ago when we were thinking about what to name the show and I threw out a bunch of names to you and Shawn and Juliet and planning.


This is Them and you were like yeah plain English.

I can kind of see people saying I listened to plain English right in a weird way it like shaped the show.

Like I don’t know what the show would have been if we had named it some other thing but like having that North Star of 0 plain English I guess I should probably try to explain complicated ideas and simple language has it was sort of revelatory for pulling the whole thing together.


So thank you for for really naming it orko, naming it.

Well, it’s worked out great.

The only thing is, I feel like I’ve Lost You On.

My podcast because you’re always doing a lot of the topics, I would have brought you on but that’s fine.

I’m happy to sacrifice by podcast to create an awesome one.

So it’s good to be here.



So before we get into this and debate who the true home run King is, I do want a foreground this entire conversation by saying this is fun like an actual emotional debate about baseball, this is fun.

I feel like I’ve been reading takes about bonds and judge that are like getting my blood boiling and the most Anything here is not.


In fact, the correctness of the takes, it might be the fact that baseball has for the first time in 20 years, had an effect on my blood pressure, that feels good to like get emotionally invested in a baseball debate.

So you’ve been watching the takes fly is Aaron judge, the single-season home run King is he the legitimate home run?


King is he the American League home?

Run King a new statistic or a new category that was basically invented the 30 minutes ago.

The stage is yours.

What do you make of this?

Beautiful Mess.

It is a beautiful mess.

It is fun to hear.

People have actual baseball arguments.


I think this really was, what baseball was baseball is pretty boring.

Baseball is pretty stature of and baseball was about just kind of arguing about stuff.

What picture was better than what picture could this picture of gone or another era.

Like the old, I was mentioned this, but Jeter versus Nomar in the in the late 90s early 2000s when we didn’t have the stats yet, we still really are.


About that.

And I think basketball has replaced a lot of that stuff with the arguments.

Because even though we have the stats and basketball, it’s only five people.

You have an effect on your teammates and there’s no their stats, that quantify it to some degree.

But there’s no way to quantify some of the stuff that happens a basketball and baseball.


We can quantify every single little piece of it, right?

And I think that’s made it less fun.

It’s less fun because the games have gotten longer, I think kids have grown up to not be fans as adults because the games were not the right.

That we know the reasons, but what is happening with this judge thing was one of the things we loved about baseball.


I remember being in cars with my friends and we would, you know, one time I was in the car going to a Mets Red Sox game with my buddy, Gus Ramsey and his dad, while he’s to be my English teacher.

And that was when he came up with my buddy Gus’s dad, came up with the idea of the pyramid because we were trying to rank the greatest players and the next level and I took it and that ended up, I wrote it.


And then that eventually became part of my book, but it was the kind of thing you did with baseball, you are always comparing players to other players and that’s been lost.

Now, you have the second piece that comes in, which is people have become moral, Arbiters, which that ties in all the stuff you care about, right?


Like how the rise of social media, the rise of just people being online all day, the rise of take culture, all these different.

So people come in now off the top rope, they’re like, no, this is the real home run.


This is the non-steroid record.

First of all, we have no idea who’s using a, not using in any sport that were watching down anytime somebody test like tatis.


So, oh my God to taste, I can’t believe it.

Well, that was one of the best parts of baseball and he tested positive.

So for people to think, this is a non steroids are are non HGH are not anything, are we don’t know, we don’t know.

We definitely don’t know him, basketball.

We know the guys in football and basketball are way more durable, and they play way longer and all of us like wow, amazing.


They really were Their bodies, like we’re doing all the same stuff everyone did in the late 90s with like wow, these home runs, these are great nothing going on here.

But my big thing is that bonds, never actually cheated, he cheated, but he didn’t, there were no rules in place.


So if you say, I didn’t get a speeding ticket on the highway when I went 120, but I was speeding and I didn’t get a ticket and nobody caught me.

I wasn’t speeding.

I know that’s a terrible argument but it’s a fact.

There were no rules in.



This was the whole problem.

With baseball, he cheated because McGuire and Sosa became national heroes for cheating.

And he was like, fuck this.

I’m the best player in baseball and I had been the Whole Decade and nobody cares about me.

They’re going to cheat, watch this.

And there were no rules of place.


You made two points that I want to dig into the first is that I totally agree that statistics or analytics ruined baseball and they ruined it.

Maybe in two ways, one they took away an aspect of That sort of impressionistic debate that you could have with people in a car coming up with things like pyramids.


Debating Nomar versus Jeter in a way that wasn’t just totally infused with a bunch of commuter interests.

Me, interacting with humans, interacting with humans, but it also had the second order effect, which is that, I think analytics hurt baseball in a way that it didn’t necessarily hurt the experience of watching, basketball and football.


Because the way that analytics in impacted with baseball is played, is that it created a shift, which took Took away singles from a lot of hitters that encouraged hitters to have more of an angle on their swing people in charge of pitching said, you know what, instead of having one picture, like, go late into a game, let’s have like seven different pictures in a game thrown out of nine miles an hour.


So now batting averages plummet and all the ways that little bitty analytics and sabermetrics, affected baseball, reduced offensive, Firepower, you compare that to basketball and football.

What did analytics do?

It made the NBA A huge three-point game, which increased the total number of points in the NFL.


It’s opened up the passing offense.

So we’re seeing statistical performances among quarterbacks it’s unlike anything we saw 20 years ago.

So you’re right that this sort of conversational level.

Analytics was bad for baseball, but maybe even more importantly this is not necessarily the subject of this show.

I just think it’s in a great Point like the inter the injection of analytics in the baseball made it more boring in a way that I don’t think it necessarily made basketball and football more boring just quickly to respond to that.


Well baseball.

Became math Fray and not in a fun way.

It’s just like who’s the best player I will calculate his War.

Oh, trout had the highest War by far?

He’s the MVP.

It’s like what’s fun about that.

You just at you just planning this me.

I gave I gave a long-winded paragraph and you summarized it in one sentence.


You’re exactly right.

It’s never fun.

It’s not fun for kids.

It’s fun for a certain type of person who’s very, very analytic and mathy and, you know, wants everything to have an answer.

In football, I in football, I think the the statistical revolution has been incredibly additive.


It’s made the made the sport ways, your understand spend it more fun to gamble on.

It’s made it more fun to try to compare teams versus the eye test and everything they have now.

I think has been 100% additive basketball On the one hand, it’s it’s helped us on.


I remember in my book I was very dismissive of some of the stats.

I was just like, I just don’t think you’re gonna be able to quantify Shane Battier.

What he does is what makes him important.

But it turns out we had stats that quantify, and that was my friend.

Daryl, Morey was telling me, I have those stats.

Why do you think I’d trade it for Sean Shane Battier?


There’s like, what if you have the stats, why don’t we have those stats?

And there was this dark era from, I would say, 05, 06 Range, MBA all the way through maybe about 12. 13 where the teams had the stats but we didn’t in the teams, had this stuff that was cutting edge, but we didn’t.


And in the last seven, eight years.

Now we have the stats, we have all the second Spectrum stuff.

We have all these different five-man lineups.

All these different things and they’re really helpful.

It’s like, oh the Celtics, look at this lineup with Robert Williams, Tatum Brown, Marcus Smart, and Grant Williams.


That is way better than any of the five main line up and here’s the data.

But you could also argue.

All right, well what if they’re playing golden And that lineup doesn’t work, and there’s variables to it and baseball, they the variables just died and it just became a right against Lefty, he’s sitting 2005 against lefties.


This guy’s got a, you know, a 2010 era against righties and these two should just go against each other and the right.

He’s gonna lose.

What’s fun about that.

Nothing we need a word that means the Dark Side of Moneyball.

Something has my friend connor-san, I think it’s called it data dulling.


The way that the introduction of data to an industry, it could be baseball.

It could be movies, it could be television, it could be anything the way that the introduction of data to that industry.

Makes the content duller more predictable.

It turns Arts into math.

I absolutely think that is one factor in the demise of baseball as a conversation topic and Obsession for me a point of interest and, you know, television audiences.


It’s a huge part.

I think of his decline.

Well, there’s one other piece with it too.

Baseball was around for an incredibly long time, right?

And going back to the 1800s and the Sayang, Aaron Babe Ruth and all the stuff he did.

It’s still allowed us to compare the different eras in like a reasonable way, right?


You could go back.

I used to play.

What if baseball me and a few friends in the early 2000s we play would make teams and there would be OBP guys from different eras.

There, be great with guys, if there is, and it had its dollar moments, like in the 60s, we had the where they had to raise the because guys like Gibson and Danny McClain were just like really running havoc and it just wasn’t fun.


Every game was to 111.

Nothing 32.

Before 1947, we had really no minorities at all playing baseball got to factor that in, in from, I would say, 89 through 2005, steroids have to factor that and then it goes up a level with the Home Run stats.


And now, we’re in this weird era of like the three outcome era.

And to me I did this, I did my book, like you almost can’t compare the air has as much as compared the people in their specific areas, you know.

So if we’re looking at bonds, you have to compare them to everyone else from 89 to 2006.


And if you’re looking at judge, now who has what 20 homers more than anybody he plays against that’s amazing.

That’s the best case for this might be one of the great offensive seasons ever wear.

His stats are just way different than else’s.

Now, we were in the same trouble with bonds.

His stats are different than everyone else’s, then turned out he was cheating.


I don’t think judge is cheating.

I think people want this to be a good story.

They’re not going to ask questions like we did in the 90s and the nineties bonds.

His head was growing there was there were red flags, I don’t think there are any red flags with judge other than he’s been unusually healthy this year.

But I just think watching this judge saying, I think brought us back to when we love baseball where it was like, this is cool.


Did Judge do it tonight.



He’s coming up.

I’ll flip over.

When was the last time that happened in base body?

The other in the playoffs?

I totally agree.

I want to go back to the 1990s because keeping with the theme of baseball ruining itself, I do think that a part of this story of bonds versus judge involves baseball making enormous catastrophic mistakes the 90s.


Like, I think the way the Major League Baseball people run in baseball.

Yes, absolutely.

She the administration right Bud, selig, Etc.

I’m the way that the administrators treated steroid use the 90s was just about as stupid and incompetent as it gets.

You mentioned the sort of the driving rule where you know, speeding is illegal but maybe no, please reinforcing it.


That is basically what happened in the 1990s Bud, selig issued, a few memos, it stated that steroids are illegal in baseball, but those memos were basically, and FYI, there were no testing policies, there were no state of punishments, so like baseball cared like so much about keeping the sport clean that they had a rule in the books with those surveillance mechanism or enforcement like It was it was a recipe for exactly the disaster that happened.


Like if you said to your kids here’s my credit card number, you’re not allowed to use it but I won’t check if you use my credit card and there isn’t necessarily any punishment if you do like right, do you think your kids are going to use your credit card or not necessarily?

There was no punishment.


There was no rules in place.

They just don’t date a punishment.

That’s right.

Yeah, there was no state of punishment.

There was sort of an implication of possible punishment because there were there were federal laws in the books against steroids but nothing Listen.

I mean this was absurd, you would agree as a matter of tacitly encouraging steroid use and then only later, you know, 15 years later coming down and all these the most successful players of the era and saying, oh, by the way, all this stuff to be kind of tacitly, you know, wink, wink discouraged.


Now, you’re all blackballed from the sport.

I would say, tassili, would you say tassili discouraged, the test of discouragement to make any sense?

I mean, there was this sort of like wink wink relation, I would say late acidly embraced it honestly You gotta go back to the 94, the strike, baseball dies, we’re all the madness, we’ve ever been.


There’s no internet to kind of put that anger out.

We just kind of had each other and anecdotal conversations and sports 24/7, Sports Radio and newspaper columnist.

There were no real venues for us to completely torch these guys, which they should have been comes back.


The next year, they embrace the Ripken streak.

It’s like member baseball’s American Pastime.

We still have stuff like this guy’s butt.

It didn’t really come back.

The Yankees won a 96.

So while the New York people come back, and then by 97 98, that’s when the numbers started going way up and the Home Run Chase, which there was a moment, which you, I know you remember when somebody noticed the creatine reporter notice, the creatine in McGuire’s locker and it became a huge story not because guire had creatine in his locker and the reporters like what’s this some wires?


Super Shady about it.

The reporter was the one who got shit on and dragged for weeks that this guy betrayed the trust of the clubhouse.

Why are you asking questions?

It was like, we’re all enjoying this.

Fuck this guy.

Why are you bringing this up?


I’m having a great time with my home run.

Chase McGuire, just sit 62 and picked up his son at home plate.

Pick them up in the air as his teammates, mobbed him, you’re fucking with this.

Mike Lupica wrote a whole book about this whole era about the summer of 98.


Verything was romanticized.

Everything did we think the guys were cheating?

They were definitely way bigger.

I went to the 92 that All-Star Game in Fenway and it was like watching golf ball, shoot over the fucking past, like they souped up the balls anyway, but there are five out there going on.


The Mass, Pike, I was in the bleachers.

It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

Did I think the guys were cheating?


Did I care?

No, but it wasn’t till bonds threatened, Babe Ruth and nobody like bonds bonds was a miserable guy.

He was miserable to reporters.

Teammates didn’t really like them wasn’t that much fun to hang out with if you’re watching my TV and when he started approach that record that’s when it flipped and and that was when the what are we doing?


Started there was I thought a racial component to it at the time.

And even now it, where the way that bonds and his performance, in his record Bob’s was going against people who were cheating, it’s not like bonds was just running amok as this line in the wilderness against these weaker victims that didn’t have, they of their.


How many people do you think we’re cheating pitchers and hitters?

Probably way more than we even knew about just as famous YouTube.

Clip of A bonds Gagney at-bat, Eric Agni, gagne.

Sorry, my place is closer.

The closer for the doctor, got it where they go and bonds, it’s his foul ball, like a million feet and then he actually hits a homer on a pitch that got me through, like 102.


And it’s just like, it was like, steroid Batman vs Superman.

They never got any blows his arm out right after, basically, People loved it but the bonds thing I think flipped it.

Yeah I think it’s important because I want to talk a little bit about how we should think about Bonds in history and how that should affect the way we describe.


Aaron judges accomplishment.

I think it’s useful to just do a quick review of The Barry Bonds story.

I’m going to try to do this in like yeah she’s nice but then that’s a warrior.

I want your reaction to this and I hope I get the details right now if I get something wrong a jump right in.

So 98 as you described magical, summer my It’s summer of watching.


Baseball McGuire and Sosa break the Roger Maris record.

Both of them.

Almost certainly reduced.

McGuire later admitted he took HGH and steroids for years Sosa denied taking steroids but tested positive in 2003 at this.

Well, he was also he was growing a second jaw so we were getting suspicious.





There were, there were like, yeah, cow parts coming out of it was like, what’s going on?

There’s a bone that I didn’t know somebody could have their face.

They’re happening right now, what’s up?

So at this point, Barry Bonds is looking at Sammy, Sosa’s s CH oo and McGuire’s, you know?

14th bicep and he’s thinking, okay, if these guys can do it certainly, can I at this point he’s never hit more than 46 home runs in a year, but according to the book Game of Shadows, which played a huge role in Breaking open the practice of this era, this is around the time he starts taking steroids through his trainer.


Greg Anderson, there are a ton of substances mentioned in later investigations, including very famously, the cream, and the clear, which are illegal under federal law.

But not well, I guess not explicitly banned by baseball, which has this sort of wink, wink, still.

As your legal but we’re never going to test them, kind of ruled the time.


No random testing between 2001 and 2004 between the ages of 36 and 39, Barry Bonds has his four highest slugging seasons of his career.

He wins MVP every year by at least one metric.

Oh PS plus, which is a kind of wonky way of doing on base percentage plus slugging, adjusted for League average.


These are the four best seasons in major league history since the 1920s in a row.

One, two, three, four, all Barry Bonds and they seemed even Zero as they were happening.

He was getting on base like 50% of the time.

It was shit that had just never happened before.

So it just it just a brief aside on these four years.


Barry Bonds face the home run record in 2001 in 2002.

He has his best season in ever relative to League average that the single best season of oh PS plus two years after that 2004 pictures were like, you know what?

Fuck this.

I’m not pitching to Barry Bonds, his on-base percentage clears 600, which itself ought to be illegal, he sets the on-base percentage.


His record and he shatters the intentional walk record like Barry Bonds is fucking amazing.

He was getting walked with the bases loaded.

Yes, exactly.

Like the think I’ve always wanted to know is like the HGH actually gave him like super powers.

He had and what we always here with HGH has improved her eyesight.


So if you have great eyesight, anyway, you basically become like you can frequency of feather from 10,000 miles away.

Like you’ve just like, you’re like a superhero, which is what he was.

You could not throw a ball to him, he just wasn’t going to Get it.


I’m going to, I’m about to say, some not nice things that Barry Bonds, but let me pause before I say this, not nice things to say that, like bonds with these steroids was like Thor with the hammer, the same way, like, no one could do no one can do with Thor’s Hammer with or could do with this hammer, it turns him into a super kind of soup.




Super hero like these steroids plus, Barry Bonds did for bonds that which no other player could like soaked out of these steroids, like, it really is absolutely remarkable.

What he was able to do in these four years which of course built on pre-existing Alan he was already the second coming of Willie.



So back to the story, it’s 2003 when the middle of bonds just incredible for years, they lost the World Series, you know, to he was that was he came very close didn’t win, but that was going to be the culmination of all this, but they lost yet.

His trainer Anderson is indicted by a Federal grand jury and charged with illegally Distributing steroids.


This starts looking awfully specific vicious because just as Sammy Sosa now has his jaws and Rec McGuire’s got his ridiculous arms.

Bonds body has completely changed.

Everyone knows that his Sighs has changed.

He’s gone from being, you know, the next Willie, Mays to being some hulking.

Reincarnation of Babe, Ruth this leads to speculation.


That bonds has used performance-enhancing drugs while again, there was no mandatory testing and Major League Baseball, bonds, at the time declares his innocence.

The feds interview him bonds denies initially using performance-enhancing drugs.

They conclude that he’s lying to them.

He’s indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice convicted, by a federal court and that conviction is overruled by the ninth circuit court.


So I’d love just to know So before we move on to how we should talk about this era, what your reaction is to that history, whether there’s like little parts of that history that you didn’t remember or things that you want us to, you know, carry as we move forward to talk about him versus judge.


So you could go backwards into like the late 70s which is when I really think steroid started in a whole bunch of different sports especially football and some baseball to in the Home.

Run stats get weird back then like the code word was Nautilus.

So it was like oh he started big Nautilus, Program over the winter.


My thing is, I don’t know when all this stuff started, but I know and we noticed was, Brady Anderson in 1996, when he went from 18 homers 250, he used to be in the Red Sox.

We traded him in the, I think it was the Mike boddicker trade, but he was like a, he’s just like a speed.


Outfield guy.

I think his probably highest home run total baby was like 16, 18, that definitely not higher than 20 many at 15.

He was jacked.

He looked like, you know, like a somebody that was coming out of Gold’s Gym and a tank top.

And that was, when all of us were like, hmm.


Now, the late 80s 80s, were another team, could say, Co and and McGwire ironically.

But Thomas Boswell wrote.

The thing about Canseco, we’d always on steroids or whatever.

He said anybody would notice, what do I do?

How can you?

But then Canseco comes out later.


Oh yeah, I was definitely on steroids.

The point is, I think you could argue steroids was around since the mid 70s with in the Olympics and football, this different thing we weren’t aware.

Of it until probably mid late 90s as fans and then it became one of those.

Do I like the guy or not situations, like I’ll give you an example.


Let’s say a famous NFL quarterback somebody mailed HGH to his house and the famous NFL quarterback, got caught because the things were there, but then they said it was, it was actually for my wife.

Pretty sure you’re talking about my favorite quarterback.


This happened to Peyton Manning, you can look out.

I know, uh, Milto’s house though During a time when he was trying to rebuild tape from a neck thing and it was like no that was for my wife and guess what we did.

And by the way God I like Peyton Manning to was like that.

We all like Peyton Manning fuck.

It was probably for his wife but we moved on with bonds.


It was like now this guy we let’s get them and that was the mentality.

People did not like bonds.

I look at bonds.

He was the best outfit I’ve ever seen.

In person.

I’ve seen, I think every I haven’t seen some of the guys in the 25 and under guys, but the guys from like the mid-70s on, I’ve seen everybody in person and bonds and Rickey Henderson were the ones.


Like those would be the first to.

I would start talking about if you were like sitting at a bar with me.

Like, tell me stories about great baseball players, its on person, I’d mention those two first.

He was an incredible defensive outfielder.

I’ve never seen in person.

Somebody play Left Field like that.

It was it was really weird just the way he used the geography of left field.


How close he would play and he always knew where he was he’d the best arm, he’s fast and then to watch him transform into the greatest, power hitter slash on bass guy ever.

You know, I that was weirdly memorable, the whole arrow is memorable and I think that’s why people love the judge thing, we like to think of athletes as superheroes.


I think it’s swung so far the other way, and I felt that I wrote, I sent you the ESPN magazine piece.

I wrote, I think it was like January 2007 because it was about whether McGuire be eligible for the Hall of Fame.

And my thing was like, he should get in the Hall of Fame.

He his stats, put him in, put it on his plaque.


Instead of us, getting all precious about who belongs to doesn’t belong and then you do what do we do with?

Ty Cobb, the worst guy of like the first 30 years of baseball and who allegedly fixed a game and was a racist and all these things like so I just I could feel it in the early 2007.


We’re getting a dangerous game here for you to decide where the moral Arbiters of justice and I think that’s where we’ve landed.

You go to the Hall of Fame.

Now, Clemens isn’t in their wires, not in there, so says not in there.

All the great guys from an error.

Most of them aren’t going to be in there.


So what’s the point of the Hall of Fame?

It’s a fucking Museum.

It’s not the Pulitzer Prize.

I want to distinguish between the Hall of Fame and the single-season home run record because the Hall of Fame.

I think bonds obviously deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.


McGuire obviously deserves Roger Clemens.

These people obviously deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

I mean, Bud selig, the guy who is arguably responsible for this mess is in the Hall of Fame.

He got 93.7% Suburban, he’s in the Hall of fame’s, oversaw the all this damage she was like the worst if he was a president we would say.


He was the worst president of all time.


If people who close their eyes did nothing let this happened.

Wink wink.

Maybe tacitly encourage it to happen.

Suddenly woke up, and then presided over the reputational destruction of their Sports cast out.

The best players in baseball, just sent them to outer space.


Totally iii’ them ruin certainly, I’ll speak personally, my interest in the game because I don’t like watching cultural products for the best.

People are the ones who are most punished.

He’s in the Hall of Fame.

I think these people look, the Hall of Fame, is the Museum of baseball, Barry.


Bonds is arguably the most talented.

Are in the history of baseball, here, you make.

The key point is a, mm, yeah, it’s a museum.

It’s supposed to be a place.

You take your family, your kids, whatever.

And you learn about baseball, how do you learn about baseball?

Not learn about Barry Bonds.

It’s fucking stupid.


But imagine if we opened a steroids Arrow wing, it be better than the status quo.

It would acknowledge that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens exist.

But where do you draw the line?

Like they do.

The other bad people go there like is it bat the bad?


Inside, what is it?

So this is this is this is where I think the steroids are.

Oh, truly was a thing that you can draw a circle around it and pluck it out of History.

Here’s a statistic before 2020 to there are six occasions to date.


When a player hit, more than 61 home runs or you can say, six times, when a player hit more than 62, home runs because judge has 62 Bonds in 2001 McGuire and 98 so 798 McGuire Nine Sosa 2001 Sosa 99.


That’s four years.

Baseball is 120, 130 something years old six times that home runs per year happened over 62, all happen in this, four year, period, marred with behavior that was technically illicit and we know that it was illicit and we know that these players took illicit or illegal.


Well, the legality of it is like my is I know that these drugs I did like a little bit.

I did research on this, the Bugs, aren’t legally approved by the FDA, they are illegal their distribution, I believe is illegal, they’re not approved by the FDA and that’s why the federal government was coming in to punish people for the distribution, the degree to, which their use is on a per case.


Basis, illegal is something that I don’t necessarily think I cannot can comment on it, didn’t talk to like, a doping lawyer but these guys that Balco the you know, bonds trainer is these guys were punished by the federal government and Estimated by the federal government, something about or lots of and distribution of these drugs was illegal.


Well, let me ask you this, if you I don’t know, you have your competitors in your field, you have to list them, they can all fuck off.

But let’s say some drug came out and it was like a combination of Adderall but it also like just stimulated, the reading side of your brain and all the sudden 45 your competitors were just writing some of the best shit we’ve seen in the last 50 years and you’re sitting there.


Derek Thompson.

You’re like, Mmm.

Is this a drug illegal?

Not technically are there ramifications on my body?

Actually there might be a little bit.

Like you might, you know, your balls might shrink a little bit.

You might have some hard problems later, but short term, probably not a lot of damage and then it becomes a case of would you do it.


Most most people wouldn’t do it.

But when you put competitive people with real money online, where it’s like, if I do this, not only do I succeed at my job, but I’ll make way more money.

It’s hard for me to see how some people wouldn’t say.

All right, I’ll do it for a couple years which is what happened.


I absolutely believe that his behavior and the behavior of McGuire and Sosa was understandable from a human psychology perspective.

It was understandable.

It might have even been at the margin.

Reasonable it like it like a wise person might have said look not knowing the future but see like doesn’t care about steroids.


Look look over at the Commissioner’s Office you think they care about steroids their memos don’t Mention anything about surveillance, they mentioned nothing about punishment.

It’s his mealy-mouthed and milquetoast, you can possibly get the league.

Doesn’t care.

All they want is ratings.

They want fans and butts in seats, they won’t care.


I’m just doing what the rest my competitors are doing even if it’s illegal, it nonetheless creates an ERA with a bubble of homerun accomplishments that is unique in the history of baseball and a part, I think of being a baseball historian or just a person who talks About the sport.


Yeah, is recognizing that this era was unique, the only six times that anyone hit over 62 home runs.

Just happened to be in those four years.

And so when we talk about baseball history and when we talk about records, I think it’s fine.

If one way that we talk about that record the record of single-season home runs is to acknowledge this historical aberration created by the way by this brief introduction of drugs that violated federal law.


So we can say and I think we should say who is the A person who hit more home runs to anyone else in baseball history.

The answer is simple.

It’s there’s no dispute it 73, Barry Bonds 2001.

That’s the answer to the trivia question, but this is the English language.


These are records, we could just make them up, we can make up new categories.

And if I think reasonable people can say, here’s a new category that recognizes the existence and historical uniqueness of the steroids era, it’s called, I don’t know, the clean single season.


Run record, but we don’t know if it’s clean.

What if, what if judge fails the test like next week?

He feels a test next week and he did, he doesn’t keep it, but for now he hasn’t failed any test.

But what if somebody didn’t fail a test who wasn’t clean?

I just that’s the point.

And how do we know how long the steroids Arrow was?


As I mentioned before, like, I think people think it was just late 90s early 2000s.

I don’t think it was, I think it was way longer than that and I just think for whatever reason, the everything crested in this short window.

But like You know, Mike Stanton had fifty nine homers a couple years ago or Giancarlo Stanton I guess because yeah I was I still call Mike because I remember when I got his baseball card when he was like yeah I don’t know late.


I mean so much of this I’ve talked about this before but the NBA and I don’t know if they’ve changed his role in the last couple years.

But this was definitely role that they had for a long time and I know for a fact and I know all of the I’ve heard it from different people.

For drug tests a year during the season that was in the CBA.


And there was a running thing in the league where after the fourth test, it was like my, oh, I did my fourth test, tonight’s gonna be a big night.

Tonight’s the night, I’ll smoke pot.

I’ll do whatever.

But I know, you know, I’m going out till 4:00 in the morning.

The other thing is, they weren’t testing during the playoffs.


So if you’re a really good basketball player and like, let’s say HGH, which is the best recovery drug by all counts, it allows you especially if you’re playing You know, four games in seven days or whatever and playoff games much harder.


As you know, I just find it impossible to believe that no great basketball star over the last, like, 25 years didn’t use HGH and other stuff during the playoffs when they weren’t testing.

So should we put that are under suspicion?

I don’t know like that.

That’s why I think this is this gets really dangerous.


I think we’re in a good spot with this people.

Bring up that bonds record.

There’s a comma.

And then they, and then how you handle that, couple words after the comments, how you feel about it?

And, for us, it’s like bonds, at 73.

That’s the most anyone’s hit, definitely cheated and that’s it.


And I think that’s inherent, I don’t think we need to do anything crazy other than that.

Nobody knows bonds, had 73 are I should say nobody thinks bonds had 73 and did it naturally have no help?

So, that’s what it is.

I think what you said, two things.


I definitely agree with With number one, I think you.

And I and I think just about every reasonable person.

Agrees that 73 is the record. 73 is the record that is in the record books.

It’s on baseball-reference and then the Baseball Almanac that this isn’t like a Lance Armstrong situation where his Tour de France wins were literally taken away and are expunged from the record like the record books, a 73, that’s it.


We’ve also acknowledge though, is that It’s perfectly fine to want to explain the difference between bonds, accomplishment and judges accomplishment.

As far as we know, in fact, most people do contextualize it, whether they say, it’s the clean record, it’s legitimate record.


I don’t like legitimate record.

That gets a little bit too close or it’s the record period.

Also bonds, we know took the cream in the clear and a bunch of other stuff and was associated with Falco.

I just feel like there’s a lot of anger.

And a lot of fun anger I should say.


Again, it’s fun that were debating.

This, there’s, there’s a lot of passion about how exactly we contextualize This Record.

When we all fundamentally agree that Aaron judge, has hit more home runs than any person whom we don’t have pretty clear information, having been on steroids, like that is an accomplishment that we can give a category 2.


Well, I think we did with judge we did, we made up this American League record thing that I love that.

Remember another American League record, what are the other American League records, who is the American League record for strikeouts stolen bases?

I have no fucking clue.

Stolen bases in a season, I don’t know, but probably would’ve been was Ricky Henderson with probably Ricky.



Sounds great.

Thanks to the mall or the other one.

I loved was the Yankee team record because really people cared with the judge saying that he passed Ruth and Gehrig and and and Marys.

And that was symbolic in a lot of ways.


Maris’s thing, lasted.

Sixty years.

Yeah, I think one of the things that I think is really important with this, that ties into even the discussion we’re having now None of these guys that either got caught or suspected of doing something.


Every just said, yeah, I did it.

There are no rules all them could say.

Yeah, when you said Lance Armstrong, this made me think of this.

Lance Armstrong wasn’t just that he cheated.

He was the biggest fucking asshole on the planet about it.

He berated reporters.


He threatened to sue them.

And, you know, like, when he is painted that 3430 bottom, which I thought was really well done and that that many people watched it because people, they don’t like Lance Armstrong.

They don’t want to forgive Lance Armstrong.

He was a prick for too long.

And I think the common denominator with a lot of the baseball guys were not only, did they do whatever they did but they’re adamant, they weren’t doing it and they were defensive and angry about it.


So the bit And then when push came to shove, they had to admit, either they did what McGuire did and it did, the I’m not here to talk about the past and they were just cowards bad it.

And I think that really colored how we felt about that era, it’s bad enough to cheat.

It’s another thing to be a dick about cheating.


I totally agree with all that and I think that, you know what, a my concluding thoughts here.

Is that on the one hand?

I am again.

So happy to have a subject in baseball that I can feel passionately about in the community blood pressure, on the other hand, it’s just very clear to me, especially given everything that you said about the way that the baseball Administration that MLB Administration fought about and planned around steroids 1990s and the media don’t rule it.


Don’t leave out the media with that.

The media was terrible during this time it would say a little more about that.

Well they just nobody was asking questions.

None of them and that, and as soon as they haven’t and then I was like, oh my God, I can’t believe this happened.

It’s like you guys were covering these guys every day.


Nobody questions.

The guy found the creatine and Meguiar’s Locker.

You’re like, oh, what a dick.

Can’t believe you portrayed it.

Like, so I feel like they were at least a little complicit.

Yeah, well, I was just thinking that in a way, the fact that we have to fight amongst ourselves about this record does seem Downstream of the fact that people like Bud selig, didn’t like do Their business, when they had to do their business.


They allowed these problems to Fester.

They allowed this confusion to happen.

They punish these people long after the records were set their actual Legacy punishment isn’t to have the record books change.

But rather to have the Museum of baseball, the official register of baseball history, keep these people from being included in baseball history bizarrely and that leaves it to us to you know, the sort of 2022.


Commentariat to say well how do we talk about bonds accomplishments?

Because on the one hand, And you look at baseball-reference, this is clearly the greatest hit of the 21st century and maybe the greatest baseball player ever.

On the other hand, these accomplishments are on the back of all sorts of drugs that were tacitly allowed.


But also wink, wink ignored by Major League Baseball.

And now we had to decide how we talk about the legitimacy of a of his accomplishments.

It’s like baseball, didn’t clean up its mess.

And now our vocabulary has to do the rest of the work.

I’ll say this, I have been a baseball fan, my whole life and I still watch Red Sox games.


I do lately, I haven’t because they suck and it makes me mad.

But the single most fun, stretch of baseball in my lifetime hands down was like late 90s through 2004 and you go back and you look at the Beats from like the Yankees winning the World Series in 96 or cheater is a rookie that weird Florida, Cleveland Series in 97 where Cleveland comes so close and they blow it 98 the the Home Run Chase.


All of that that happened 99 kind of the peak and that peak of Pedro, the All-Star game at Fenway with Ted Williams.

The Yankees now trying to put together a little mini Dynasty, red sox-yankees, heats up that year in a real way that was awesome 2000, Yankees going for for the records are going crazier and crazier Bonds in 2001 and you go all the way through to the Bartman and, and Aaron Boone in 2003, which is the greatest ALCS NLCS.


Combo, just, holy shit.

We’ve had.

And then 0 for the Red Sox, win the World Series every year was some sort of new groundbreaking thing.

And it was awesome when we’re out and we’re all watching arguing about it.

And then that started to fade, I think, over the last 18 years, and what you said is, like part of the reason, this is such a great argument.


It’s everybody has a different opinion on it and it’s hard to say who’s right?

I don’t know if I’m right I don’t know if you’re right and I’m sure there’s people who would listen to pieces of things that we said it.

Like can’t believe he said that.

That’s Insane.

What are?

Oh my God, that’s so wrong.

But that’s the thing.

We don’t get to do that with baseball anymore yet to do with the baseball playoffs.


He be like, I think the Astros are going to beat the Yankees, what the heck is absolutely?

And we could argue about post, season matchups, and that’s really all we have left.

The Otani thing, judge me the MVP.

There’s gonna be a whole nerd case for a tiny that the combat combination thing he’s doing He’s clearly the best and most important most valuable player we have.


This is crazy.


Judge it’s so tiny.

Judge is the MVP.

His team is second best team in the American League.

He carried them on his back.

He’d one of the great offensive seasons ever and he’s the MVP of the American League, but a tiny might win.


I don’t think he’ll win, I think I think judge will win with the 62 and Otani have a poster might make people feel like you know, autonomy has his and judge has his and they’re the two.

Most exciting players in the American League.

What you said is so interesting though, because I am 36 years old.

I got into baseball in the middle of the 1990s.


I don’t ya, perfect time.

You’re not, you’re not gonna like hearing this.

I got an A baseball because my uncle lived in New York, introduced me, the baseball, the 1995 1996 season and I fell in love with the rookie named Eric in 96 and so I have to do, I know that I heard you talking about, okay?

Yeah, yeah.

And so I, yeah, I’m a, I’m a big Yankees fan and that, that stretch from right that 96 to 2000 for, it’s just so special for me.


And I feel like there’s a whole generation or microgeneration of like Millennials who there isn’t their entire relationship with baseball.

It’s just wondering why don’t I, like, baseball as much as I did in 1998?

Like well, yeah, a 9 2001 and then that’s the relationship.

Like, why don’t I care about Mike Trout?


Why don’t I watch more Aaron judge games.

And it’s just lovely.

Lead to finally have a debate that we can throw our entire body into.

Well, you know, the last piece of that is I just think baseball became so localized.

And what that same stuff we have with baseball is now like I’m on a Red Sox, text thread, and I have Red Sox, friends, my life.


And we just really talk about the Red Sox.

We would never be like, whoa, where does this Dodgers team rank for you?

Like get manned and the all-time teams whose the vet?

Like we just wouldn’t, but in basketball, we would be Like, if, you know, if the warrior started out again, like 30 and for be like, wow, this is just a dynasty down.


We’d have all these things and baseball just doesn’t work like that.

It’s really about your team and then you kind of know what’s going on, but you don’t really have to care.

It’s October and part of that is because the records have been pretty much rendered meaningless.


And the steroid, there is a big, big part to blame, which is why people get so mad about it.

Oh, yeah, that’s right.

No, I hadn’t really quite put those two things together because I was, I was Holding in my head.

At the same time, I’ve heard over and over and agree with the fact that baseball has become hyper localized.

But I think you’re right, that it’s partly because the national discourse in baseball was about statistics.


People love to.

I know when I was in Middle School, I love talking about baseball stats, most RBIs mutant runs most Talent base, hit Wilson 190 was like, oh my God, yeah, I hear you Wilson.

That’s what was fun.

And that was the national discourse.

And once the statistics had the stink of Steroid on them, then it killed the national conversation and it meant that if you’re going to be in the sport, you’re going to be into it because you’re in the zip code, where the sport is relevant, not because you have purchased into this National conversation, so I agree.


I think, I think that in a weird way.

This conversation is a reflection of what drove the 20-year decline of the of National Baseball did explain, this Ray Lewis had the deer antler spray thing in the 2012 playoffs member.


He got caught and and, It’s pretty clear.

They was doing something and whatever became a huge story.

I remember making a ton of jokes about it, my column, and on my podcast.

What away.

Nobody cares.

Very Lewis is on TV.

Did Ray Lewis cheat, it kind of seems like he cheated People didn’t care.


So that that’s the piece with the with bonds and some of these other guys like it’s like, this weird disappointment in the people versus like the expectation of like of course, he course, he did that he has to play football, you got to be big when you play football and baseball, they were being held to this weird moral standard that I never same thing for Clemens, You know II don’t understand why it was baseball only, but it was, and I think it’s something new with the America’s pastime and you watch the movie 8-man out and like, the 1919 Black Sox and like, don’t taint baseball, don’t besmirch baseball, baseball is our one thing, you can’t ruin it, and then it got ruined and I think it made people mad.


Yeah, to me, it’s a couple things.

Number one, it’s that People didn’t like we don’t really care about like total, tackles like the record for total tackles or like tackles in the game.

So Ray Lewis is contribution was wrapped up in his team’s success.


So there was no individual record.

That was besmirched by the fact that he sprayed, whatever good plan thing was on his shoulder.

They did when it was, although they did win the Super Bowl.

But it was a, it was a team Victory.

And so, no, individual record was disparaged.

I also think that it’s just My experience a baseball in the middle of the 2000.


So 2000 and like five, six.

Seven was holy shit.

All those accomplishments are fake.


What do I do now?

That was a message that wasn’t just driven by baseball itself.

He was driven by baseball, coverage was driven by ESPN.

It was given by the federal government that hauled Sosa and Rafael palmeiro and all those guys up in front of the Congress and said, you know, did you use this stuff?


And then they had to say, give their embarrassing non-answers.

So the televisual representation of baseball for A while was your heroes are fakes.

But yeah, what would be the equivalent be for the NFL?

I can’t like if if it turned out that like, you know, Brady and Mahomes and, you know, Josh at like my favorite quarterbacks, it turned out that they all were using some drug I haven’t heard of right and like four years, four years.


They were not only blackballed by their sport, like bonds didn’t get us a contract when he was 41 42, when he was still, very, very good baseball.

They were, they weren’t just blackballed by the sport.

They were hauled up in front of Congress and they had to wear awkward.

Oh, suits and then got screamed at by the representative from Viola.

Like that’s what the experience of baseball became for me, and that, that sucked.


It just, it just sucked to have that rug torn out from under my feet.

And well, let me ask you this, if the NBA, if one of the biggest stars in the league failed in HGH or steroids test, If you’re Adam sober, do you throw in the trash can?




I think not only because it’s the first thing that came to mind, but also because I think I want to be ethically consistent.

If you’re going to enforce this stuff you have to enforce it.

The reason baseball got into trouble is because it had a rule on the books that was in keeping with federal law, that it refused to enforce and refused to surveil.



And therefore, tacitly encouraged, I’m sorry to keep using this phrase over and over again, but therefore, basically gave the green light to all these players to To cheat in a way that they could be punished or investigated by the feds for years and years.

So if you’re at a and you don’t, if you have silver and you don’t have and you don’t enforce that law, then I would be worried that you create the exact same scenario where you say, okay player X you can do this player.


Why you can do this five years later, 70% of The League is on an illegal substance and you’ve got the federal government opening up a new, Mitch report that’s thrown driver at all these people, you love and basketball.

Spoiler actually, totally totaled.

So you and crack down right away.

Yeah, because I it’s a fun discussion, not fun, but it’s a juicy discussion because you could also argue he’s like, ooh, let’s get rid of this.


This would be bad for the sport.

It’s such an individual brand driven League that just to bring that element in and opening that door.

I don’t know.

You can have to know, like, he would be, at least smart that the Punishing side, I’m on certain about, but what I’m sort of convincing myself of is the importance of the surveillance side.


If you’ve got a lot of stars who are cheating, you have to figure out before, Washington does.

Yeah, good point.

Washington figures out before you get a hold in the situation, your sport becomes C-SPAN like that, right?

The danger that it’s no longer.


The ESPN Sport is the C-SPAN Sport and a weird way that sort of like, pendulum swing between ESPN and C-SPAN is a part of what I think killed baseball for me.

And that’s why I’m glad you brought up the ceiling Point earlier because it’s crazy, that he’s in the Hall of Fame, he shouldn’t be.

It’s crazy that he doesn’t blame for any of this stuff.


You know, if you’re, if you’re the teacher and the fifth grade class, and the kids are shooting bow and arrows at each other, do you get blamed?

Yeah, it just he, there’s no accountability with that guy and there’s no accountability owners.

All that cared about, was the interest and the ratings, and people come to the ballpark.


And every year there was some sort of story.

That lasted six months and they basically sold their souls for it in some ways.

But I don’t even, I really don’t think anyone expected.

How - it would get in that 01 .07 wrench and how people would react and I don’t know their maybe there’s some way to tie in just how America has changed and evolved over the last 50, 60 years but I just think it in a different era.


I just don’t think people would have gotten this upset about it.

Kind of in the 21st century, we reach the people just getting upset era.

People looking for reasons to fly off the handle and being disappointed.

And I do feel like that was a small piece of it.

I remember being upset when I was like, I didn’t want bonds to get 70.


I didn’t want to pass, you know, any of those guys because it was clear as cheating.

But I also didn’t like him and so that that’s where it ties into that when you don’t like the guy, you become even more judgmental.

Yeah, I think in modern sports I don’t want to come off as being too Persnickety about you know drug use.


Generally I actually am relatively less safe are libertarian on the general issue but just from a strategic standpoint, I think that the lesson of the 90s for baseball for other leagues is if your players are violating a federal law and you don’t do anything to clean it up.


You’re creating a scenario by which the feds are going to have to clean it up.

It up and they’re going to make you look ridiculous.

And they’re going to make that entire eras achievements look besmirched in a way that’s going to make fans of yours.

For just feel a little bit like toe-curling, Lee, icky about all the fun that they had and it’s not what you want to feel.


When you watch sports, you want to lose yourself in the accomplishment and think that the people who are doing things, you could never do our semi magical.

You don’t want to think that this isn’t Magic.

It’s actually like Downstream of a chemical that was, you know, applied to a bicep illegally.


There are there.

Never happens. 95 2004.

She’s never happens.

It’s basically like the 80s.

What do we look like now with baseball?

So then you different.

Do you think baseball lost fans?

Because that I would say, the one thing that would look, different is the context of the records.


I think we would care about way more and and also those guys would have broken.

Maybe one of them would have come close might have been McGuire.

I don’t know if II might guess would be.

None of them would have come close.

Maybe they would be in the 50s close to 60 61 but if none of them passed in a moment, Like the judge thing becomes so much bigger.


It’s like, oh my God, this guy might hit 62, home runs, nobody’s done that before.

So I do think if the stuff doesn’t happen, I do think people care about baseball more because we would still care about the records more, which we don’t.

I think she thinks happened or at least two things happened.

I think baseball got boring.


I think the data dulling and the Dark Side of Moneyball and I don’t think it’s all the shades happening anyway.

Yeah I don’t I don’t think it’s all, you know, seven pitchers throwing 100 miles an hour launch angle, three true outcomes.

All of that I think has very little to do with the steroid era and it all might have been coming.


Anyway that’s on its own track.

Yeah but what we would still have I think is the Circa. 93, 1994 sense that these records are precious and it’s fun as hell to talk about them because we mean something.


And even though it’s not necessarily appropriate to compare statistics across era, who cares?

It’s fun as compared to just across era, these are numbers and it’s fun to like have debates with number games, that was just a part of what I loved about baseball in the Little League Dugout McLean.


Virginia is talking about Hank.

Aaron versus Willie Mays and And Juan Gonzalez versus who are you do?

Can’t get Cameron a while.

I’m gone forgot about him.

I just, I just I just loved having these debates and I feel like there’s just something that killed it.

Grown-up Bob Gibson’s record, they are a record there.


That was another one, where there was a comma and then your dad say, you know, that was the, the little Mound error, whatever they whatever they called it back then, but it’s still the record and it was still and we knew nobody was going to approach it.

We knew nobody was going to approach Sai Yeung. 500 of them wins.


Because that was back in the day, were you like pitched every day and that just factored that era?

So I think the, eventually the steroids Arrow will be like that where we think like well that happened because of this, and there would be some sort of conclusion to it Rickey Henderson.

I think he has received the most with stolen bases 130.



By far yet.


But that was an ERA where people stole basis like crazy and it was before the Nerds came in and were like, wait a second.

If you’re only if you’re batting like 50% on steals, that’s actually terrible for your offense, your cost yourself.


This Betty runs during like whoa, we are and they and that stopped.

But there is this era where it was like.

So and so had 40 stolen bases and got caught 22 times.

And that was like, great.

Now not great.

So I think every era has its own thing that you just have to have the caveat on.


Don’t you think every era wants to believe in?

This is kind of true across cultural Industries.

Whether it’s sports, or entertainment, if there’s a A possibility.

They might be living in the Golden Age.

People enjoy thinking, I might be watching if I’m watching weekend of football with Pat Mahomes Tom Brady, Josh and Aaron Rodgers.


I might be watching the greatest quarterback of all time.

He might be on my television and in basketball people enjoy feeling like weight could LeBron do, it could yanis.

Do it is, is when by Yama the greatest basketball player and the history of the game, right?


Enjoy the, possibly, the answer is in fact, yeah.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.


The first first date, And we’ve had he’s going to succeed.

People, enjoy thinking.

This might be it.

I might be present at the Golden Age.

Oh yeah.

I’ve been writing about this forever.

It is the you want to brag about that.


You were there for this great thing?


You know, and it, and you could really feel with LeBron and when he won and 2016, probably, that’s it.

He’s the greatest here it is.

And it’s a close, the book.

Yeah, it’s like, well, Jordan did 16 and he saw it last year with Curtis, like, that’s it, great, a shooter.


Ever close.

The arguments ever gonna happen again will never see this.

They love to do that.

I did it with Pedro in the late 90s and by 99 Point yet that was the best pitching season.

Every I was like this will never be topped.

He went into Yankee Stadium, the best baseball team of the last.

I don’t know, 50 years, they’re going to win the title.


They already winning through one hitter and September struck out 17 is that it was the best team we had that whole decade and he just went in, like, freaking Clint Eastwood.

So, yeah, I feel good about that one and I guess I just do Just have to bring it back to baseball and started.

Keeping Millennial.


Sadboy about the sport but like I do just feel like I’m not in the Golden Era.

This isn’t it?

I don’t know what this is but it’s not the Golden Era.

Mike Judge or Mike Trout is incredible.

He’s not the best.

He’s he has like three at-bats total in the playoffs.


Like he can’t be, he can’t be the goat.

So high Otani incredible.

He plays for a team, that’s what you know, forth in its division.

Like he can’t be, he’s not, he’s not a meaningful.

Oh great.

A player.

That is baseball’s fault, though.

They have to get him off the Angels.


If I were emperor of baseball.

I was at that.

It’s a business decision.

Now, get this guy off the angels and put him in New York, like just it’s done.

It’s a wrap, we have to do this, make it out, put them on the Red Sox and he has to be one on.

One of the five big Market teams, it’s not the Angels, you’re wasting, it’s not like yanis can go to Milwaukee and become one of the biggest stars in the world because it doesn’t matter in the it matters a baseball.


It’s like I’m it’s like a pow Gasol.

Raishin, like, we gotta get this guy out of breakfast.

She’s going happens, let’s get them out.

Have to II.

Think I think that, to a certain extent, that’s, um, that’s a really important thing for a cultural industry for cultural product to have, is the promise that it’s in the Golden Age.


And I would say, basketball is the one that probably is, grasping on that right now because they have the most good players they’ve had in my lifetime, the League’s like fucking loaded, you’ve all these under twenty five stars, you still have the LeBron generation still kicking around and then you have the guys, In their absolute prime now, like yanis and Joe, catch things like that.


And the league is loaded, so when people make that case, it actually might be true that the we have the most basketball Stars right now than we’ve ever had.

I agree with that.

I think we do and it’s one of the reasons why in a very weird way, not a weird way, at all.

I think basketballs totally replaced baseball for me as the sport in which even when I don’t pay attention to the local teams, I am.


Deaf so invested in the National narrative because it’s so suffused with greatness that I feel like I’m in the Golden Age.

I want to know more about it on a day-to-day.

Basis the storylines the the drama I’m in it and I want to stay in it.

This would be a good part to that we should do on my podcast we try to figure out the golden age for each sport, the Golden Age feet sport, you know, we could expand it and how long has a golden age?


Is it Four years, six years, for kids for baseball.

It’s probably that 98 2004.

I would say it was like the golden age for baseball.


You could say it was maybe 96 to 04 probably 98 04 so that’s seven season.


So maybe it’s like a 70s golden age.

I would have said initially for the NBA would have been 84 to 90 one, which was just awesome.

And you can even stretch it, 84 293 but bird and Magic read into MJ like Just out of control.

So good.


But I think I have a chance to match that now, but it’d be fun to go through each.

Yeah, each sport we said that could be good.


It could be.

And I actually, you know, also maybe I didn’t have to do that sort of across across entertainment culture, you know?

Like, you know, bring on Shawn.

What’s the like a serious?

What’s the magic of movies?


Which that we there’s lots of debate about the Golden Age of Television would say, the 70s Sean would say mid-70s yet.


God has already had Pacino’s.

Yeah, I know you also have jaws and you have Star Wars And you the Innovation from probably 70 to 79, or 72 to 80, whatever, he’ll know, all the dates, but because it’s about Innovation, right?


And basketball.

The Innovation was the three-point shot.

So that’s another one.

We have to take the records and everything from 2013 on its becomes a different sport.

Really, by the end of that decade.

And now the sport that they’re playing.

You can’t compare.


So, when Draymond says, the 86 Celtics would never be able to play against us or whatever team.

I’m not sure he’s right or wrong, but I know the Warriors are playing a different sport.

It doesn’t factor in the part that the 86 sell tanks would have adjusted to.

The better way to play the sport, which is right now because three points are worth more than two.


So they would move the guards back.

They’ve you shop more threes, and it’s a whole thing.

But that’s, that’s why this basketball thing so much, Fun.

Because we’ve reinvented and made the sport more fun without compromising it.

I love it II.

Love the idea of Golden Ages.


I think she’s fun.

You can, you can absolutely Count Me In good series, that could be.

Yeah, that’s a good.

Maybe that’s a good spin off miniseries or something.

Well, if that will talk off, let’s talk online.

Bill Simmons, thank you very very much pleasure.

As always, thank you for listening.

Plain English is produced by Kevin manzi.


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