The Instigator
iamadragon
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points

Statistics, Performance Enhancing Drugs, and Major League Baseball–II.

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
iamadragon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2009 Category: Sports
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 13,174 times Debate No: 8780
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (7)

 

iamadragon

Pro

Abbreviations:

MLB–Major League Baseball.
PED–Performance Enhancing Drug(s).

Definitions:

Performance Enhancing Drug(s)–substances used by athletes with the intent to improve their performances in the sports in which they engage. [1] With baseball, this usually refers mainly to anabolic steroids. [2] Thus, in this debate, "steroids" and "PEDs" will be used interchangeably. Hopefully, my opponent does not have a problem with this.

Resolution: The statistics of those Major League Baseball players who, in the late 1990s through 2004, otherwise considered the height of the "Steroid Era" by MLB fans, were known users of PEDs or who were almost certainly using PEDs, should still be held as legitimate in assessing those players' talent relative to other MLB players.

A bit of an introduction: As anyone who has any interest in MLB may know, artificial performance enhancement through PEDs has become a huge issue in the last decade or so, mainly because of the huge home run chases of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa that are credited with bringing fans back to MLB and the subsequent revelations and suspicions that the two were using PEDs, and the incredible performances of Barry Bonds in the early 2000s and the large controversies surrounding him and steroid use.

Often, among the outrage from many fans towards those who have admitted to PED use, there are cries to invalidate statistics, under the pretense that these statistics are heavily skewed by illegal means. [3] – there are ridiculous numbers of sources for this; search some combination of "steroids," "statistics," and "strip" or "asterisk" or something and many results will pop up.

My argument: I'm here to say heck naw. The statistics of those players who we now know or are almost sure were using PEDs–Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds–are still accurate in determining how good those players were compared to the rest of the league.

1. A PED's positive effect on baseball playing skills is unknown and likely minimal.

1a. Many of the players using PEDs were actually bottom-of-the-ladder MLB players and minor leaguers. [4]

One can find the names of many of the MLB players on the Mitchell Report anywhere; here's an easy list. [5] On this list, we can see many players who were simply not very good Major League players, as evidenced most strongly by their incredibly short careers. On that list, for example, the names of players active at the time of the report, which was December 2007, is pretty low. Many of the players listed on the report as having used PEDs reportedly used them in the early 2000s but were not active by 2007. This shows that despite their PED use, they weren't good enough to stick around in the Major Leagues.

If PEDs gave a huge benefit to those who used them, why did so many who used them end up being bad MLB players anyway?

1b. The physical gain from steroids, most notably increased muscle mass, is vastly overstated in its importance to playing baseball well.

The key muscle group in baseball is the core–abs, lower back, obliques, etc. This muscle group is the most important in generating torque in both hitting and pitching, and is thus the most important in generating bat speed and arm speed, and thus the most important in hitting baseballs hard and far and throwing sick heat (a baseball fast.) I think it's dumb to cite a source for this, but I'll just pick a couple anyway. [6] (get used to seeing [6]; it has beastly information.) [7]

Another important part of baseball, actually, especially in pitching, is flexibility. [7] A flexible pitcher is able to create more external rotation of the upper pitching arm ([8]), which results in more velocity. [12] I think it's obvious that more arm mass–bicep and tricep mass, which obviously results from steroid use–would inhibit the pitching arm's external rotation and thus lower a pitcher's speed.

The last important muscle group in hitting and pitching is the lower body. Steroids, however, have a much more pronounced effect on the upper body than the lower body, and the upper body is actually quite irrelevant in creating bat speed or arm speed. [6]

2. The increased power numbers in the Steroid Era can be attributed to many other factors.

Many people point to the huge numbers put up by Steroid Era players as evidence for PED's effect on statistics. However, there were numerous other factors contributing to a huge rise in offense. [6]

One of the most notable changes was the "juiced" ball–in 1993, the ball-manufacturing process was changed, and in a 2000 study, it was shown that baseballs in 1995 and 2000 bounced an average of 33% higher than balls from previous eras. [6] [9]

Using a "spliced" power factor, which accounts for the changes in equipment manufacturing, there is NO "power spike" that supposedly occurred during the Steroid Era, as a result of PEDs. [6] I would highly recommend looking at that site, especially the "spliced" power factor graph. It's very interesting.

3. Due to the most likely very high numbers of players who were using PEDs during the Steroid Era, any advantage gained by a player was usually cancelled out by an advantage gained by an opposing player. [10]

In essence, enough players used PEDs to create an "even playing field." If 95% of the pitchers Barry Bonds faced were also using steroids, then aren't his records still legitimate?

How do we know tons of players used steroids? Obviously, we don't have concrete numbers. We do, however, have player's accounts. [10] Some players have talked about the rampant steroid use in the late 1990s and early 2000s made possible by lenient drug policies, and some have suggested the idea of the level playing field. The allegations of "rampant steroid use" are what prompted the initial congressional investigations into MLB's PED problems. [11]

Conclusion: Steroids in baseball were not a significant enough factor in statistical evidence to influence decisions on which players were the best or worst.

The actual benefits players get from steroids is very questionable, considering the number of bad MLB players who have used PEDs without enough of a benefit to even stay in the Major Leagues, and considering the muscle groups utilized in baseball versus those that are enhanced by PED use.

The increase in offense during the Steroid Era was influenced by other factors, most notably the "ball juicing" of 1993. When adjusting for these power factors that were unrelated to playing ability, there is no apparent jump in offense during the steroid era, again calling into question the effect of steroids in increasing performance.

Finally, regardless of the magnitude of a PED's benefit on player performance, any benefit was cancelled or balanced by someone else's benefit. Because most players were using PEDs, their statistics, when compared to each other's, are unchanged. The widespread use of PEDs created a level playing field for MLB players.

I'd like to thank in advance whoever takes this argument, and I eagerly await his or her arguments.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org......
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org......
[3]http://bleacherreport.com......
[4]http://thesteroidera.blogspot.com......
[5]http://en.wikipedia.org......
[6]http://steroids-and-baseball.com......
[7]http://baseballtips.com......
[8]http://www.jssm.org......
[9]http://steroids-and-baseball.com......
[10]http://38pitches.weei.com......
[11]http://www.cbc.ca...... (check the side bar, towards the bottom.)
[12]http://www.hardballtimes.com...
mongeese

Con

First, I would like to point out to my opponent that all of his sources are broken, because he copied and pasted this argument from another of his debates.

Thank you for allowing me to have this rematch.

Now, you seem to have forgotten to include a definition for "legitimate" again, so until you provide an alternate sourced definition, this is the one we will use:
Legitimate - "conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards" [1]

"1. A PED's positive effect on baseball playing skills is unknown and likely minimal."
The known effects of PEDs [2]:
"Reports indicate that use of anabolic steroids produces increases in lean muscle mass, strength, and ability to train longer and harder."

"1a. Many of the players using PEDs were actually bottom-of-the-ladder MLB players and minor leaguers"
This can be explained. The people who couldn't make it to the major league decided that they would cheat to get in. The boost wasn't large enough to get them to the very top, but they made it.

"This shows that despite their PED use, they weren't good enough to stick around in the Major Leagues."
Perhaps their PED use led them to realize that PEDs were messing with their life because of other side effects [3], which led them to quit, and they could no longer stay in MLB.

"1b. The physical gain from steroids, most notably increased muscle mass, is vastly overstated in its importance to playing baseball well."
Muscle mass and strength sound good, but the training is the major part for baseball. Training is basically a wild card, because it can be applied to any muscle group, including the core-abs, the oh-so-important muscle group for baseball.

"Another important part of baseball, actually, especially in pitching, is flexibility."
How many pitchers use steroids?

"The last important muscle group in hitting and pitching is the lower body. Steroids, however, have a much more pronounced effect on the upper body than the lower body..."
This implies that there is an effect on the lower body.

"Using a 'spliced' power factor, which accounts for the changes in equipment manufacturing, there is NO 'power spike' that supposedly occurred during the Steroid Era, as a result of PEDs."
I'll make two comments on this one [4]:

1. Notice how the power factor was going down rather steeply until the "Steroid Era." The slackening of this decrease could very easily be attributed to PEDs, as they seem to be the only factor left in the graph.

2. Notice the one "power spike" between 1986 and 1987.
"Naturally, within each there are jigs, both up and down, from year to year, but they are (saving perhaps the 1986 - 1987 bump that no one seems to understand) relatively small jigs on the overall scale of the graph."
PEDs?

"3. Due to the most likely very high numbers of players who were using PEDs during the Steroid Era, any advantage gained by a player was usually cancelled out by an advantage gained by an opposing player."
And what about the players who actually play by the rules and don't use PEDs? What do you propose?

"If 95% of the pitchers Barry Bonds faced were also using steroids, then aren't his records still legitimate?"
For one thing, the pitchers gain less from steroids.
For another, if the baseball is going faster, and Barry Bonds is hitting harder, this would lead to an increase in home runs, because quick fast balls are the optimal pitch for a home run. That's why they pitch down-the-line fastballs in the home-run derby. Therefore, steroid use on both sides leads to even more home runs, so it definitely can't be legitimate.
Finally, what about the 5% of the pitches that weren't backed by steroids? Those would still interfere with the statistics.

Again, what is to be done for the players who played by the rules?

So, because PEDs DO have an effect, and the playing field isn't COMPLETELY even, and the statistics ARE influenced, the resolution is NEGATED.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://www.drugfree.org...
3. http://www.associatedcontent.com...
4. http://steroids-and-baseball.com...
Debate Round No. 1
iamadragon

Pro

How annoying about the sources. They can all be found here: http://www.debate.org... except for [12], which works in round 1.

About the definition of legitimate: I can provide a new one, but we can also run with yours. Both of them work fine.

Alternate definition: of the normal or regular type or kind. [1]

As we discussed earlier, this debate is about statistical legitimacy. A legitimate statistic is one that can still be used for its intended purpose.

"The known effects of PEDs [2]:"

I don't think this refutes what I said. Where is this lean muscle mass, and does it help? I addressed what kinds of muscle help and what kinds don't. How does it help them train longer and harder, as in, training which parts of the body? Are these parts important in baseball? Keep in mind, folks, that general athletic ability is far different from baseball ability.

"This can be explained. The people who couldn't make it to the major league decided that they would cheat to get in. The boost wasn't large enough to get them to the very top, but they made it."

Of course, this still assumes that PEDs even help.

"Muscle mass and strength sound good, but the training is the major part for baseball. Training is basically a wild card, because it can be applied to any muscle group, including the core-abs, the oh-so-important muscle group for baseball."

Right, I addressed this. What groups can suddenly be trained better?

"How many pitchers use steroids?"

I fail to see how this was even very relevant, but actually, many do. Take a look at the Mitchell Report. There are many pitchers there. It's a very common misconception that steroids were abused far more often by hitters. I was only providing an additional argument as to why steroids don't help pitchers.

"This implies that there is an effect on the lower body."

Weak. Of course, I'm not going to outright say that there is zero effect. Perhaps there is some, but if there is, it is minimal.

"1. Notice how the power factor was going down rather steeply until the 'Steroid Era.' The slackening of this decrease could very easily be attributed to PEDs, as they seem to be the only factor left in the graph."

First of all, there were other factors, specifically, changes in bats and the shift towards the creation of new, hitter-friendly ballparks. [2] [3]

Second, I barely even understand what you're saying. Power still declined. How can steroids help if power still declined? In any case, a look at the next, much larger graph on that website shows that there is no change in the power levels.

"PEDs?"

This isn't even in the time frame.

"And what about the players who actually play by the rules and don't use PEDs? What do you propose?"

Uh... what? This has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

"For one thing, the pitchers gain less from steroids."

Evidence? Don't try using my argument about the external rotation of the upper arm. That was only an additional reason why arm mass wouldn't help a pitcher. It doesn't help your argument, which concerns magnitude of help.

"For another, if the baseball is going faster, and Barry Bonds is hitting harder, this would lead to an increase in home runs, because quick fast balls are the optimal pitch for a home run. That's why they pitch down-the-line fastballs in the home-run derby. Therefore, steroid use on both sides leads to even more home runs, so it definitely can't be legitimate."

The baseball is going faster? Bonds is hitting harder? Haven't I addressed those? Isn't that the whole point of the debate? I'm showing that those things didn't happen.

"Finally, what about the 5% of the pitches that weren't backed by steroids? Those would still interfere with the statistics."

Insignificantly so, and barely so, because as I've shown above, steroids don't really help.

"Again, what is to be done for the players who played by the rules?"

Nothing, because those who broke the rules didn't have an effect on the statistics.

"So, because PEDs DO have an effect,"

You haven't shown that.

"and the playing field isn't COMPLETELY even,"

Insignificant, even if we assume that steroids help.

"and the statistics ARE influenced,"

You haven't shown that.

"the resolution is NEGATED."

Nope.

[1]http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2]http://just2sportsguys.blogspot.com...
[3]http://sports.espn.go.com...
mongeese

Con

Okay, now my opponent wants to talk about statistical legitimacy.

However, this actually plays to my advantage.

In science, if a variable is accidentally thrown in, and its effect is unknown, it doesn't matter how small or large the effect really is. The experiment's results are invalidated.

If a scientist decides to grow some plants under Condition A to observe the effects compared to plants under Condition B, and he realizes that he used tap water for Condition A, but vitamin water for Condition B, what should he do? Invalidate the experiment. If the effect of the vitamin water is unknown, there's no way that he can publish these results.

Therefore, because not all is known about steroids, we have to assume them to have an effect until proven scientifically otherwise, and therefore cannot accept steroid-influenced statistics [1].

"Where is this lean muscle mass, and does it help?"
Lean muscle is built up all over the body.

"How does it help them train longer and harder, as in, training which parts of the body?"
If you want to run further, you can run further, tiring later.
If you want to do 1,000 sit-ups, you'll do it with less pain, increasing the chances of doing them all before giving up.
Sit-ups, of course, have a major effect on the core-abs [2].

"What groups can suddenly be trained better?"
All of them.

"Weak. Of course, I'm not going to outright say that there is zero effect. Perhaps there is some, but if there is, it is minimal."
So, you concede that there might be a minimal effect. However, even a minimal effect is statistically significant [3].

"First of all, there were other factors, specifically, changes in bats and the shift towards the creation of new, hitter-friendly ballparks."
One of your own sources says, "While steroids were obviously a factor in the offensive explosion of the last dozen seasons..."
So, if this source is reliable, you lose.
If this source is unreliable, your contention about bats and stadiums fails, because your other source doesn't say "bat" or "stadium" anywhere.

"Second, I barely even understand what you're saying."
If the U.S. were increasing its debt by $5 trillion every year, and suddenly, one year, this rate changed to $2 trillion, we'd still be losing money, but there had to have been some factor to slow this down.

"In any case, a look at the next, much larger graph on that website shows that there is no change in the power levels."
That's because the second graph doesn't show how the slope used to be much steeper, but suddenly evened out.

"Uh... what? This has nothing to do with the topic at hand."
Well, if not everybody is using steroids, then we obviously can't call it an even playing field.
Let's say that we have two players who are identical, except that one used steroids and the other didn't.
Ordinarily, they both would have the exact same statistics.
However, the steroid user ended up with a few more home runs every season because of his steroid usage.
Obviously, these statistics cannot be compared with each other.

"The baseball is going faster? Bonds is hitting harder? Haven't I addressed those? Isn't that the whole point of the debate? I'm showing that those things didn't happen."
Hey, I'm trying to attack all of the steps at once. I have to show that steroids have an effect, and then I have to refute the "even playing field" theory. So, I might as well do both at once.
Well, this looks as if you concede that if PEDs do have an effect, then it would lead to an increase in home runs, so an even playing field would not occur in terms of statistics.

"Insignificantly so, and barely so, because as I've shown above, steroids don't really help."
You concede that steroids might have a minimal effect.
Statistically, with an outside factor that cannot be accounted for, and might have an effect on the results, the results are no longer legitimate.
Because this outside factor has a minimal effect, this effect is not due to chance, because it is correlated with PED usage, so it would be counted as statistically significant.

"Nothing, because those who broke the rules didn't have an effect on the statistics."
Oh, but you conceded that there might have been a minimal effect.

"You haven't shown that."
You conceded the possibility.

"Insignificant, even if we assume that steroids help."
Very significant, because the resolution prompts comparison among all MLB players, including the honest ones.

"You haven't shown that."
Then why did you concede it?

"Nope."
Yup.

Again, because it is conceded that there might be a minimal (but still statistically significant) effect on statistics, the statistics cannot be held as legitimate.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...(statistics)
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...(exercise)
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
iamadragon

Pro

"In science, if a variable is accidentally thrown in, and its effect is unknown, it doesn't matter how small or large the effect really is. The experiment's results are invalidated."

Source? Anyway, the whole argument is that the effect is insignificant.

We're talking about baseball. No one who studies baseball statistics is going to pretend that they're perfect. They're still subject to many, many minor fluctuations–that's just the nature of the game. Thus, we accept these statistics, because they are basically as good as they can possibly be. The argument is that any change due to steroids is non-existent or minimal, and therefore the legitimacy of these baseball statistics is maintained.

"If a scientist decides to grow some plants under Condition A to observe the effects compared to plants under Condition B, and he realizes that he used tap water for Condition A, but vitamin water for Condition B, what should he do? Invalidate the experiment. If the effect of the vitamin water is unknown, there's no way that he can publish these results."

You keep distorting my argument. First of all, these are not plants. Your example already allows a scientist far more control over the experiment than in baseball. Baseball isn't even an experiment. Baseball is a game first, and a potential scientific study second. Second, the difference in tap water and vitamin water for two experiments is HUGE. As I've been arguing, the effect in baseball statistics due to steroids is not even close to the effect in your hypothetical.

"cannot accept steroid-influenced statistics [1]."

Your source says nothing about this.

"If you want to run further, you can run further, tiring later."

How much does that help baseball? The only running in baseball is around the bases, which is pretty insignificant, especially compared to hitting and pitching.

"If you want to do 1,000 sit-ups, you'll do it with less pain, increasing the chances of doing them all before giving up."

Where's your source saying that steroids help train the abs? Your earlier source gave a blanket statement that steroids help training. What training? As my sources have shown ([6], in the first argument), steroids affect the upper body (meaning the arms, upper abdomen, etc.) It seems to me that if steroids affect the upper body, but also supposedly improve training, that they would specifically help upper body training, not total body training.

"All of them."

You need to provide a source.

"So, you concede that there might be a minimal effect. However, even a minimal effect is statistically significant [3]."

Read your source. You're twisting what it says. I quote:

"'A statistically significant difference' simply means there is statistical evidence that there is a difference; it does not mean the difference is necessarily large, important, or significant in the common meaning of the word."

I said there may be a minimal effect, even though I've provided many arguments to show otherwise. If there is a minimal effect, that does not make it significant–or, IMPORTANT–enough to change the statistics. That's the argument.

"One of your own sources says,"

It doesn't matter. The source provides two points that we're focusing on. One is that bats and stadiums changed to promote offense. This is factual. This is what I've cited. Elsewhere in the article, it says that steroids were a factor. That's not a factual statement. I cited a source that provided both factual statements and opinionated statements. You can't disregard the factual statements because of opinionated statements.

"but there had to have been some factor to slow this down."

Ok. I think you're misunderstanding the graph, but regardless, I've shown you other factors.

"That's because the second graph doesn't show how the slope used to be much steeper, but suddenly evened out."

Uh, so? The first graph doesn't show that there wasn't any change in power levels. You can't just disregard one graph because it doesn't show the same thing as another one.

"Well, if not everybody is using steroids, then we obviously can't call it an even playing field."

Yes, we can, if the non-using population is miniscule compared to the using population.

"Ordinarily, they both would have the exact same statistics.
However, the steroid user ended up with a few more home runs every season because of his steroid usage.
Obviously, these statistics cannot be compared with each other."

You haven't shown anything to support that the steroid user would end up with more home runs due to his usage. Sorry, but this is the same thing you did in the last debate. You can't just say something is true when it's what we're arguing.

"Well, this looks as if you concede that if PEDs do have an effect, then it would lead to an increase in home runs, so an even playing field would not occur in terms of statistics."

Haha, what? I didn't concede anything there. I said that you haven't shown anything to say that PEDs have an effect. You ALSO haven't shown that pitching faster results in more home runs, which is really a ludicrous claim. If you want to hit a baseball farther, you might do so if the pitch is faster, but a faster pitch would also make it harder to catch up with. You're basically saying that a faster pitch would make it easier to hit home runs, which contradicts uh, everything that common sense can tell us about baseball. So, were your argument even legitimate in that its premises, that steroids increase speed, were correct, the conclusion wouldn't even work.

"You concede that steroids might have a minimal effect.
Statistically, with an outside factor that cannot be accounted for, and might have an effect on the results, the results are no longer legitimate.
Because this outside factor has a minimal effect, this effect is not due to chance, because it is correlated with PED usage, so it would be counted as statistically significant."

You haven't shown any source for this. Understand that these are statistics created from what is first a game, not an experiment, and understand that minor faults already exist. Steroids, IF the effects exist, which you haven't shown, DO NOT create enough of a difference to make these statistics illegitimate. This argument of yours also hinges on your misunderstanding of the source above. A statistically significant change is not necessarily an important change.

"Again, because it is conceded that there might be a minimal (but still statistically significant) effect on statistics, the statistics cannot be held as legitimate."

Refuted above. You've completely misunderstood your sources and distorted my argument.

I'm sorry to say that you seem to be arguing this in the same way you did last time. You don't seem to understand the topic at hand. You keep using semantics or distortion to try and refute what I've said, but you still haven't provided very many real contentions. You haven't really shown that steroids help at all, and you haven't shown that if they help at all, they change the statistics, and you haven't really shown that if they change the statistics, that it's enough to make the statistics unimportant.

There aren't going to be any sources here, but I cited [6] in the first argument earlier in this argument, and I've shown that my opponents sources don't show what he thinks they show, and thus his citations should be considered void.

Vote PRO.
mongeese

Con

"Where's your source saying that steroids help train the abs? Your earlier source gave a blanket statement that steroids help training. What training?"
The ability to train longer and harder. There is no reason that sit-ups would be excluded from this training. All training is included.

"It seems to me that if steroids affect the upper body, but also supposedly improve training, that they would specifically help upper body training, not total body training."
Then why doesn't the source say "upper body training"? Training includes sit-ups. If I can do more sit-ups than you because of steroids, that's an unfair advantage right there.

"You need to provide a source."
I already have. It said "training" for a reason.

"If there is a minimal effect, that does not make it significant–or, IMPORTANT–enough to change the statistics. That's the argument."
Read it again:
"It does not mean the difference is necessarily large, important, or significant in the common meaning of the word."
As long as there is a difference, it is significant. A minimal difference is still significant.

"It doesn't matter...."
You're picking and choosing your phrases?
I quote from the source that my opponent calls reliable:
"While steroids were obviously a factor in the offensive explosion of the last dozen seasons..."
Therefore, steroids were a factor in the increase in offense, and therefore, steroids have a significant effect, and therefore, the resolution is negated.

"Ok. I think you're misunderstanding the graph, but regardless, I've shown you other factors."
Ah, but can you cite when these factors came into play?

"Uh, so? The first graph doesn't show that there wasn't any change in power levels. You can't just disregard one graph because it doesn't show the same thing as another one."
The graph I'm using is the bigger picture. It shows that something suddenly took a very steep decrease in power levels and suddenly almost flattened it. What was this event? PEDs. You didn't counter the example about the national debt.

"Yes, we can, if the non-using population is miniscule compared to the using population."
So, you're going to let the rule-breakers continue on with their illegal, immoral rampage of drugs, while the few who actually maintain the dignity of baseball by refusing to cheat find themselves unable to keep up? Is that what you want to happen to the noble sport of baseball? Have it overrun by cheaters?

"You haven't shown anything to support that the steroid user would end up with more home runs due to his usage. Sorry, but this is the same thing you did in the last debate. You can't just say something is true when it's what we're arguing."
Okay, I have to argue that PEDs have an effect and that the "even playing field" doesn't work at the same time. If I manage to win the first contention, then this contention clicks into place. If I focus everything on the significant effect of PEDs, then you'd concede by Round 4, but then point out that I've said nothing about the "even playing field."

"If you want to hit a baseball farther, you might do so if the pitch is faster, but a faster pitch would also make it harder to catch up with."
So, it might lead to an increase in home runs, but a large decrease in singles and doubles, which would actually explain the power levels.

"You're basically saying that a faster pitch would make it easier to hit home runs, which contradicts uh, everything that common sense can tell us about baseball."
Why do you think they throw fastballs in the Home Run Derby?

"So, were[sic] your argument even legitimate in that its premises, that steroids increase speed, were correct, the conclusion wouldn't even work."
Yes, it would. By physics, the faster ball would fly further.

"Understand that these are statistics created from what is first a game, not an experiment, and understand that minor faults already exist."
The other minor faults don't break the rules.

"Steroids, IF the effects exist, which you haven't shown, DO NOT create enough of a difference to make these statistics illegitimate."
By the definition of "statistically legitimate," any difference would be significant, as long as it is a difference.

"A statistically significant change is not necessarily an important change."
And what difference does that make? A significant outside change that makes the player seem better than he actually is invalidates the statistics.

"Refuted above. You've completely misunderstood your sources and distorted my argument."
No, you've misunderstood what statistical significance is.

Again, to explain how the resolution is negated:

1. My opponent's reliable source says that steroids have made a difference on offensive performance.
"While steroids were obviously a factor in the offensive explosion of the last dozen seasons..."
http://sports.espn.go.com...

2. Any effect that makes a difference is statistically significant.
"A 'statistically significant difference' simply means there is statistical evidence that there is a difference..."
http://en.wikipedia.org...

3. The effect of steroids is statistically significant.
(Steps 1, 2)

4. The effect of steroids has changed the statistics of players to no longer reflect their natural ability.
(Steroids aren't part of a player's natural ability.)

5. If the statistics of players no longer reflect their natural ability, then those statistics are no longer legitimate.
"In the world of statistics, this would mean that the statistics are not skewed by factors outside of the player's own natural ability."
http://www.debate.org...

6. The effect of steroids makes the players' statistics no longer legitimate.
(Steps 4, 5)

The resolution is negated. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
iamadragon

Pro

"The ability to train longer and harder. There is no reason that sit-ups would be excluded from this training. All training is included."

Of course there's a reason. If I have strong biceps but weak quadriceps, I should be able to do many bicep workouts but not many quadriceps workouts. As I've shown, steroids affect the upper body. As you've shown, steroids give the ability to train longer. It naturally follows that unless otherwise stated, this training is restricted to the upper body, because that's the part of the body that steroids affect. As I've shown, the upper body doesn't help in baseball.

"I already have. It said 'training' for a reason."

And you're assuming that it just applies to all training, but there is no reason to think so. If steroids affect the upper body, like I have proven, then if a source just says "training," it's logical to conclude that it only refers to upper body training. You need to provide a source that says steroids SPECIFICALLY help training the abs and lower body, or else you concede all of these points.

"As long as there is a difference, it is significant. A minimal difference is still significant."

Statistically significant DOES NOT MEAN it is important. Just because it's statistically significant, does not mean it's important enough to make the statistics UNABLE to reflect a player's true natural ability.

"You're picking and choosing your phrases?"

I'm picking factual phrases. You're picking opinions.

"Therefore, steroids were a factor in the increase in offense, and therefore, steroids have a significant effect, and therefore, the resolution is negated."

NO. Can't you see what you're doing? I quoted a fact from the article. You're just quoting something it says as an opinion, and trying to pass it off as fact. You're basically saying that "oh, this article says this outright, so it must be true." If one article says that 2 2=4, and then ALSO says that all non-Caucasian people should be murdered, does that mean I can't cite the factual 2 2=4 part without agreeing with the later opinionated part that non-Caucasian people should be murdered.

"Ah, but can you cite when these factors came into play?"

It says in the ESPN source, [3] in the R2 argument. "Of the last dozen seasons." The article was written in 2005. So, about 1993-2005. That's exactly my time frame.

"The graph I'm using is the bigger picture. It shows that something suddenly took a very steep decrease in power levels and suddenly almost flattened it. What was this event? PEDs. You didn't counter the example about the national debt."

Uh, I'm not going to counter that example by quoting it because you used it as a clarification. I already countered the argument above. I said there were other factors. Bats. Stadiums.

"So, you're going to let the rule-breakers continue on with their illegal, immoral rampage of drugs, while the few who actually maintain the dignity of baseball by refusing to cheat find themselves unable to keep up? Is that what you want to happen to the noble sport of baseball? Have it overrun by cheaters?"

This is a completely irrelevant argument. Complete straw man. I hope that everyone who reads the debate sees this complete appeal to emotion. We aren't talking about whether they're illegal. We aren't talking about whether they're immoral. Oh, if it's a rampage, aren't you helping my point that the overwhelming majority of players used PEDs? Thanks for conceding that point. Where have you shown that those players would be "unable to keep up"? You haven't. Where have you shown that it would be "overrun"? You haven't. You're falling into the same arguments you did last time. Stay away from that.

"If I manage to win the first contention, then this contention clicks into place."

You haven't come close to winning that first contention. You'd have to show that steroids have an effect, and that the effect resulted in a few extra home runs.

"So, it might lead to an increase in home runs, but a large decrease in singles and doubles, which would actually explain the power levels."

You still haven't provided any evidence that it would lead to an increase in home runs. Your whole argument here lacks any basis in fact.

"Why do you think they throw fastballs in the Home Run Derby?"

Because they're straight, and because they're easy to throw, and because the hitter will know what's coming. This is a horrible argument. Do you realize that there has, for all time, at every level, been an emphasis on throwing hard? Seriously? Do I even have to explain this? Throwing hard is good. Throwing hard is good because it makes it hard to hit. Faster pitches are harder to hit.

"Yes, it would. By physics, the faster ball would fly further."

First of all, quit with your [sic]s. It's called the subjunctive tense. "IF your argument WERE legitimate." The IF clause creates a subjuntive mood, which means one uses "WERE" instead of "WAS." Second, I'm not talking about the physics. I'm saying that a faster ball is harder to catch up with. You haven't shown anything that says a faster ball is hit for home runs more often that a slower ball.

"The other minor faults don't break the rules."

IRRELEVANT. The rules don't matter.

"By the definition of 'statistically legitimate,' any difference would be significant, as long as it is a difference."

Sorry, but you've just misunderstood your source. The source OUTRIGHT SAYS that a "statistically significant" difference IS NOT the same as a "significant" difference.

"And what difference does that make? A significant outside change that makes the player seem better than he actually is invalidates the statistics."

You haven't shown it's significant IN TERMS OF MAKING THE STATISTICS ILLEGITIMATE. Statistically significant means that something exists. It doesn't have anything to do with the importance of any change, if the change even exists. You haven't provided any source regarding the invalidation of statistics.

"No, you've misunderstood what statistical significance is."

I have not. Read your Wikipedia source.

Let me refute my opponents points by numbers:

1. No, because I cited a factual statement from the article, and you're citing an opinionated statement.

2. Statistically significant does not mean that it is significant enough to change the statistics.

3. No, because you haven't shown that steroids have an effect.

4. You have not shown this.

5. You have not shown this.

6. No.

Ladies and gentlemen. I offered this debate to mongeese once, and he didn't understand the argument. I have offered this debate to him again. Fortunately, he cut down on his number of straw man arguments. However, this time, he did not provide any sources that actually backed up his contentions. He did not show that steroids affected a player's performance, misinterpreting his own source. Then, his other arguments were easily refutable, and often based off nothing. His arguments regarding the even playing field either reflected a lack of understanding of baseball (specifically, his arguments about the fast pitches being easier to hit for home runs). His arguments about statistical significance displayed a lack of understanding of what statistically significant means. His own source says that statistical significance does not equate to actual significance, meaning importance.

I have refuted all of his arguments. The resolution has been affirmed. Vote PRO.
mongeese

Con

"It naturally follows that unless otherwise stated, this training is restricted to the upper body, because that's the part of the body that steroids affect."
Ah, but who has the burden of proof? You.
Also, you said that the core-abs is the "key muscle group," which implies that there are other groups that make a difference in baseball. All statements you made assuming that any effect made to the upper body does nothing are irrelevant because you never really proved them to be irrelevant.

"Just because it's statistically significant, does not mean it's important enough to make the statistics UNABLE to reflect a player's true natural ability."
We're talking about comparisons. If two guys would have had the exact same batting average, but one guy's batting average went down because he weighed more, and therefore couldn't reach first base as quickly, I win.

"I'm picking factual phrases. You're picking opinions."
However, your factual phrases do not eliminate steroids as a factor. They only show that it could have been a combination. The guy you cited though so. Why can't you? You have BoP, after all.

"If one article says that 2 2=4, and then ALSO says that all non-Caucasian people should be murdered, does that mean I can't cite the factual 2 2=4 part without agreeing with the later opinionated part that non-Caucasian people should be murdered."
It would obviously mean that the narrator is unreliable, and you should get a more reliable source to confirm that 2+2=4. There are plenty out there.

"It says in the ESPN source, [3] in the R2 argument."Of the last dozen seasons." The article was written in 2005. So, about 1993-2005. That's exactly my time frame."
Your factors don't exclude steroids. They could have all worked together.

"Uh, I'm not going to counter that example by quoting it because you used it as a clarification..."
"Other factors" does not mean "only factors."

"This is a completely irrelevant argument..."
Where have you shown that steroids have no effect? You assume that they have no effect, and you have the Burden of Proof, and the BoP alone loses you this debate.

"You haven't come close to winning that first contention. You'd have to show that steroids have an effect, and that the effect resulted in a few extra home runs."
Extra home runs?
Because guys who use steroids weigh more, they would be slower. Therefore, they would score fewer singles, and perhaps more home-runs. However, the fewer singles would be a significant change in statistics. Even the negative effects mess things up.

"You still haven't provided any evidence that it would lead to an increase in home runs. Your whole argument here lacks any basis in fact."
You haven't provided any evidence that it doesn't. Let's go with the BoP. Which is on you.

"Because they're straight, and because they're easy to throw, and because the hitter will know what's coming..."
In that case, they'd throw change-ups. Why fastballs instead? Because they're fast. It's physics.

"Throwing hard is good. Throwing hard is good because it makes it hard to hit. Faster pitches are harder to hit."
In that case, pitchers would have more strikes. Steroids don't have any effect on a player's reaction time, so the playing field wouldn't be even. It would be lopsided, and all of the statistics would change up or down in some way.

"First of all, quit with your [sic]s. It's called the subjunctive tense..."
See my evidence locker for why this is incorrect.
http://www.debate.org...

"You haven't shown anything that says a faster ball is hit for home runs more often that a slower ball."
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A fast ball bounces off of the bat with more power.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"IRRELEVANT. The rules don't matter."
Yes, they do. Playing by the rules is considered to be natural ability at using the rules to one's advantage. Breaking the rules is not.

"Sorry, but you've just misunderstood your source. The source OUTRIGHT SAYS that a 'statistically significant' difference IS NOT the same as a 'significant' difference."
Yes. It says that any difference is statistically significant so long as it is consistent. That goes my direction, not yours.

"You haven't shown it's significant IN TERMS OF MAKING THE STATISTICS ILLEGITIMATE."
If a guy is weighed down by his steroid use and is called out at first more often, his number of singles is no longer correct. Although, you've never shown anything about the statistics being legitimate in the first place.

"1. No, because I cited a factual statement from the article, and you're citing an opinionated statement."
What makes it an opinion? You never established that.

"2. Statistically significant does not mean that it is significant enough to change the statistics."
Actually, that is basically what statistically significant means. Read it out loud. Statistically significant effects have significant effects on statistics.

"3. No, because you haven't shown that steroids have an effect."
You haven't shown that steroids don't have an effect.

"4. You have not shown this."
The rest of his step rebuttals seem to count on the above points being rebutted, so...

"He did not show that steroids affected a player's performance, misinterpreting his own source."
I could say the same about you, except with the lack of an effect.

"Then, his other arguments were easily refutable, and often based off nothing."
Your arguments don't even exist.

"His arguments regarding the even playing field either reflected a lack of understanding of baseball (specifically, his arguments about the fast pitches being easier to hit for home runs)."
Not only does this sentence need another clause, but I never said that fastballs are easy to hit. They just fly further.

"His arguments about statistical significance displayed a lack of understanding of what statistically significant means."
My opponent seems to be looking in a mirror.

"His own source says that statistical significance does not equate to actual significance, meaning importance."
All I've needed is a statistically significant source. I don't need it to be important. I need it to be statistically significant. After all, this is a statistical debate. Nowhere have I said that it was actual significance. You've just assumed that it takes actual significance, which it does not.

"I have refuted all of his arguments. The resolution has been affirmed. Vote PRO."
He's forgetting something again. He thinks that by refuting all of my arguments will win him the debate. He is wrong. He may be able to attack my arguments, sure. But after that, we have nothing. He has not affirmed the resolution. He has only tried to stop it from being negated. As the Instigator and PRO, and having said nothing earlier, he has the Burden of Proof. Because he has never affirmed the resolution, vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tribefan011 8 years ago
tribefan011
Nice, appeal to authority...
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
I'm just going to trust wjmelements here, because he's the only guy I can vouch for the sanity of.
Posted by tribefan011 8 years ago
tribefan011
Why can't you come to terms with the fact that you lost? You did better in this debate, but that's not saying much. Read up some more on baseball and statistics, and you may be able to argue against the resolution. However, you did not prove him wrong in this debate. He affirmed the resolution. You lost. Deal with it.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
Or a sanity vote.
Posted by tribefan011 8 years ago
tribefan011
I guess it was a sympathy vote.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
"[O]r worse...."
Sanity has struck!
Posted by patsox834 8 years ago
patsox834
I assume you're just kidding, wjmelements? That, or mongeese is paying you, or worse....
Posted by iamadragon 8 years ago
iamadragon
Hah, what a horrid RFD.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
RFD:
B/A: TIED (I don't care...)
COND: CON ("This is a completely irrelevant argument. Complete straw man." "This is a horrible argument.")
S/G: CON (http://www.debate.org...)
ARG: CON (Burden of Proof)
SRC: TIED (15-12)
Posted by iamadragon 8 years ago
iamadragon
Thanks patsox834. Saying something is questionable, but small, even if it exists, falls under "not important."
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
iamadragonmongeeseTied
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Vote Placed by Steven123 8 years ago
Steven123
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Vote Placed by Agnostic 8 years ago
Agnostic
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Vote Placed by untitled_entity 8 years ago
untitled_entity
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Vote Placed by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
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Vote Placed by patsox834 8 years ago
patsox834
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Vote Placed by tribefan011 8 years ago
tribefan011
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