For the first time ever, I think, this is a blog that was provoked by something that I have seen on this site. This was something that may seem to make sense, but it's just simply wrong. The story can be found here. Check the comments to see why I'm writing this.
This is how the story goes: There was a little blurb in the Denver Post on Sunday that mentioned that Garrett Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki, and Chris Iannetta will have to step up their production for the Colorado Rockies this year, due in part to the fact that Todd Helton won't be playing nearly as much as he normally does. Helton was diagnosed with a degenerative back condition last July, and it caused him to miss most of the 2008 campaign. What is the first response in the comments section of the T&R that this appeared in?
"In other words, Helton is off steroids, and his aging body won't allow him to play a full season" - Cousin Eddie
The conversation just went on from there, and most everyone was in agreement with Cousin Eddie. Look, I understand the skepticism, but the fact is, there are some guys that played in the steroid era that did things the right way. Todd Helton is one of those guys. I've never been in the training room with Helton, or any MLB'er for that matter, so I can't say that I know with 100% certainty that he didn't take steroids or HGH. I can, however, tell you that I know with 100% certainty that Todd Helton never took steroids or HGH. If you think that he did, you are simply wrong.
Much of the reason for this sentiment amongst the commenters on this particular T&R centered around the fact that Helton experienced a dramatic dropoff in weight, homeruns, and batting average in the 2005 season, as well as the fact that he was diagnosed with a degenerative back condition in 2008. The thinking amongst these commenters is that he has a back problem, so he MUST have been taking HGH to deal with it. That's logically fallacial, and it's simply not true. When a couple of other commenters dared to disagree with Cousin Eddie, he talked about "looking at history" and "uneducated fans" and "how some people come on here and write posts that give an indication that they personally know the player and are completely knowledgeable about their training habits". His thinking was that Helton's dropoff that coincided with the 2005 season, which is perceived to be largely the end of the steroid era, and the revelation about the back condition in 2008 mean that Helton must have taken steroids. Cousin Eddie, I hope you read this blog. I'll tell you exactly why you're wrong.
First off, like I said before, that thinking is logically fallacial. The argument simply doesn't follow. I'm not on here to talk about logic and Philosophy 110, though. Here are some facts for you to consider.
Todd Helton has never been a homerun hitter. That's something that you have to observe for yourself in order to believe, but he simply hasn't been. He has always been a line drive hitter, and the stats would indicate just that. He has always been concerned with his batting average more than anything, and he collected over 35 doubles in 10 consecutive seasons from 1998-2007. In fact, throughout his career, he has averaged 46 doubles per season, and that includes 2008 when he had only 16 doubles in 299 at-bats before going on the DL. The argument that his statistical dropoff - from .347/32/96 in 2004 to .320/20/79 in 2005 to .302/15/81 in 2006 - indicates that he stopped using steroids during that period seems to make sense on the surface. It's wrong, though. There's no other way to describe it.
Helton never spent one day on the disabled list prior to 2005. Early in that season, he went on the DL with a strained calf. It only cost him 8 games that year, but calf injuries are always nagging, and they cost hitters at the plate. They will always rob you of power, and there's not sufficient time during the season to completely rehab it. The fact that he didn't climb to his previous totals would indicate to me that there were no steroids or HGH, but let's dig deeper. In 2006, he missed 18 games, and he had his second stint on the DL. That wouldn't indicate a reason for the dramatic dropoff that he incurred, but the reason for the DL stint does. In April of 2006, while on the DL, Helton was diagnosed with an illness known as "Acute Terminal Ileitis", an inflammation of the Ileum, which is part of the small intestine. It is essentially a less intense form of Crohn's Disease, and in fact the illness was first diagnosed as Crohn's Disease. It caused him to lose an awful lot of muscle, and he hasn't been the same since, with the exception of his double totals. It all culminated in 2008 when he was diagnosed with the back condition.
In no way do these ailments indicate that Todd Helton was ever on steroids or HGH, and to think that he was based on these facts is foolish, and it's unfair to Helton, the player and the person. Furthermore, if steroids are going to keep Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire out of the Hall of Fame, then Helton's career .328/310/1116 with at least three seasons left, all while clean during the steroids era, should put him in the Hall of Fame. There's no way to prove either side of the argument. However, like I said before, I can't say that I know with 100% certainty that Todd Helton never took steroids or HGH. I can, however, say with 100% certainty that Todd Helton never took steroids or HGH.