Makes You Wonder How Bad Some Of These Guys Woulda Sucked Without Help

The day after the Mitchell Report came out, I was sitting in my office and overheard one of the older women in my office commenting on it. And it amused me that she said what she said (paraphrasing):

"You know who I was surprised about? Lenny Dykstra. I just never would have guessed he was using steroids."

Really? I mean, I understand she probably doesn't follow the sport closely enough but, seriously, come on. People knew Lenny was doing something fishy back in the early 1990s! He went from a spindly little leadoff hitter for the Mets to a guy who hit for power and looked like a thick meathead for the Phillies. Maybe it was just the cheesesteaks. (Incidentally, I love the fact that Dykstra was called "Nails" because of how tough he was, yet he only played basically ONE full season in his career.)

Anyway, I got to thinking about those players named in the Report and, obviously, we can all look at the good-to-great players and see that they might have been even better because of their substance abuse (i.e., Bonds, Clemens, Giambi, etc.). However, there were a lot of names of crappy players on there, and I thought it'd be fun to take a look at some of them and, just for fun, project what they might have been without the extra help they got.

Larry Bigbie - a career .267 hitter who's never been fully healthy and who has 31 homers in more than 1200 at-bats. Without Substances Projection: Mortgage broker.

Tim Laker - a career .226 hitter who has never gotten into more than 64 games in a season and whose career high in homers is 3. Without Substances Projection: School bus driver.

Josias Manzanillo - pitcher from '91 to '04 who appeared in 267 games, going 13-15 with a 4.71 ERA. Without Substances Projection: Gardener

Matt Franco - Played for three teams over eight seasons, hitting .267 with 22 HRs and 117. The HRs and RBIs are career totals not averages. Without Substances Projection: Cab driver.

Chuck Knoblauch - Took HGH, starting in 2001, followed soon after by major throwing problems, including hitting Keith Olbermann's mother in the stands with an attempted throw to first base. (Olbermann's mother was not playing first that day.) Without Substances Projection: Able to throw to first base from 65 feet away without injuring others.

FP Santangelo - Light-hitting dude who racked up 21 homers and 162 Ribbies in parts of seven seasons, while hitting a sizzling .245. Without Substances Projection: Hockey coach in hometown of Livonia, MI.

Todd Pratt - Catcher who somehow hung around the majors from '92 to '06, never playing in more than 80 games and having a career high of eight homers. A .251 hitter. Without Substances Projection: The taking-it-too-seriously guy on your rec-league softball team.

Chris Donnels - Who? .233 career hitter, with 17 HRs and 86 RBIs over parts of eight seasons. Without Substances Projection: Porn star; more well-known than as a baseball player.

Paul Lo Duca - Seasonal HR totals besides 2001: 0, 3, 2, 10, 7, 13, 6, 5, 9. HR total for 2001: 25. Whee! Career highs in HRs, RBIs and Batting Average. Hell of a year, Paulie. Without Substances Projection: Pizza dough tosser in Brooklyn.

Bart Miadich - Another "who?" Guy pitched in twelve games in '01 and '03 for Anaheim, never getting a decision but putting up a sparkling 6.75 ERA. Yet he was a "frequent purchaser of testosterone and Winstrol." Wow. How frequent could it have been? Without Substances Projection: Fluffer.

Adam Riggs - Played in 61 games between '97 and '04, smacking three homers and driving in ten whopping runs. He also hit a blistering .216. Without Substances Projection: Working at a rubber plant in Akron, OH.

Paxton Crawford - 5-1 between 2000 and 2001 as a 22-23 year old for the Boston Red Sox. Never played in the majors again. Without Substances Projection: Socialite at Massachussetts-area country clubs (come on, look at that name).

Jim Parque - 31-34 with a 5.42 ERA in his career. Without Substances Projection: Margerine seller. (Come on.)

Hey, Remember That Awful Big Ten Officiating?

Making Promises We Probably Can't Keep