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Props, MLB, for totally eradicating steroids from the majors

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Postby mweir145 » Fri May 26, 2006 3:44 pm

Cooner wrote:my question is whether it's a result of major leaguers having access to the better (read undetectable) stuff as compared to the minor leaguers using the OTC Steroid brands...

Exactly.
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Postby number9 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:07 am

A short HGH article by the former SI writer.

Pee No Evil
Why are sportswriters pretending baseball's steroids era is over?
By Jeff Pearlman
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006, at 5:12 PM ET

It's easy to understand the media's love-fest with Albert Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger crushes baseballs into the outer realms. And more important in the wake of the BALCO fiasco, he has yet to be tainted by evidence of steroid use.

Pujols has 25 homers in 51 games played, putting him on pace to break Barry Bonds' record of 73 home runs in a single season. Both fans and rival players breathlessly praise Pujols as they once did Bonds. St. Louis' marketing department is constantly churning with new ideas for milking the Albert cash cow. And within baseball's press boxes, writers and reporters check their e-mail, drink free sodas, and question, well, nothing.

Two weeks ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Pujols "is being touted as the first P.S. slugger, post-steroids." The paper also categorized speculation that Pujols might be juicing as an "errant rumor." The New York Times followed up with this Pujols quote: "My testing is proving a lot. It's working really good."

Continue Article

Is Pujols abusing steroids or human growth hormones? I don't know. But what's alarming in this era of deceit is that nobody seems interested in finding out. A little more than one year removed from congressional hearings that produced the most humiliating images in the game's history, baseball writers have a duty to second-guess everything. Instead, everyone is taking Pujols' test results at face value. Have we forgotten that Barry Bonds has never failed one of Major League Baseball's drug tests?

In Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue, Tom Verducci, who has done great work exposing the proliferation of steroids in baseball, credulously praised the likes of Pujols and Twins catcher Joe Mauer. Verducci exclaimed that baseball is now "a young man's game, belonging to new stars who, certified by the sport's tougher drug policy, have replaced their juiced-up, broken-down elders who aged so ungracefully. It's baseball as it ought to be. A fresh start." In other words: Masking agents? What masking agents?

Last year, editors at the Post-Dispatch assembled a task force to investigate whether Mark McGwire had ingested performance-enhancing drugs. After a short stretch of fruitless reporting, the effort died. One would think that Pujols—a 13th-round draft pick who has put on 20 pounds of muscle since his debut in 2001—would at least warrant a gander, or perhaps a flight or two to his native Dominican Republic to check out the friendly neighborhood pharmacies. Yet the paper has lifted nary a finger in examining Pujols' background. "Albert isn't an enhanced thug like some of the other suspects," explains Rick Hummel, the longtime Post-Dispatch baseball writer. "He hasn't grown significantly and he's always had a lot of power. So what's there to look into?"

What's there to look into? How about this: For the past decade, baseball has been routinely pulling the bait-and-switch with its fan base. When McGwire and Sammy Sosa engaged in "The Chase" for the home-run record during 1998, we were told the game was being saved, that two great men with selfless hearts were doing the impossible. Oops, it was all a lie. Three years later, we were asked to suspend belief yet again as the 37-year-old Bonds, with a head the size of Jupiter, effortlessly broke McGwire's standard.

Why are journalists so soft in this area? One reason: fear of being shut out. Over the course of a 162-game season, beat writers and columnists work their tails off to develop relationships with players. You grovel. You whimper. You plead. You tiptoe up to a first baseman, hoping he has five minutes to talk about that swollen toe. You share jokes and—embarrassingly—fist pounds. Wanna kill all that hard work in six seconds? Ask the following question: Are you juiced?

After having been duped by the men they cover, America's sportswriters are playing dumb again. One year after being dismissed as a has-been, steroid-using fibber, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi is the toast of New York. Recent articles in metropolitan newspapers have praised the steadfastness and resiliency that have led him to hit a team-high 14 home runs. But where, oh where, are the doubters? At the start of spring training in 2005, Giambi looked smaller than in seasons past. Now, he has muscles atop muscles atop muscles. Yet unlike the San Francisco Chronicle, which dedicated itself (journalistically and financially) to learning the truth about Bonds, none of the New York dailies have assigned an investigative team to the case. The closest we've come is Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who recently wrote a piece titled "Clean Machine—Giambi Says Fast Start Is Untainted." The article dies with this whimper of a quote: "The big thing I learned during all my problems was that I can only control what I can control. I can't stand on a soapbox every day. I am working my tail off."

I, for one, don't believe him. During my six years at Sports Illustrated, I fell for the trick and covered Giambi as the hulking, lovable lug who cracked jokes and hit monstrous homers. All the while, he was cheating to gain an edge. So, why—when MLB doesn't administer a test for human growth hormone—should I believe Giambi is clean?

Likewise, when I look at Roger Clemens, I wonder: Where's the investigative digging? Like Bonds, Clemens is a larger-than-life athletic specimen. Like Bonds, Clemens is producing at an age when most of his peers are knitting. Unlike Bonds, Clemens does not have journalists breathing down his neck. Instead, the hometown Houston Chronicle has covered his recent re-signing with the Astros as a time for unmitigated celebration. Forget combing through his garbage for vials—I just want the Chronicle to ask Clemens whether he's used. Is the Rocket cheating? Again, I don't know. But doesn't someone have to at least try and find out?

"A lot of baseball writers are drunks or cheat on their wives," says Jose de Jesus Ortiz, the Chronicle's Astros beat writer. "I would never question anybody unless I have evidence. It's unfair to feel that just because of Bonds now we're required to question everyone about their methods."

Is it unfair to pester individual athletes about steroids? Maybe. Is it the right thing to do journalistically? Without a doubt.

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Postby mweir145 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:21 am

Good article, a lot of that is stuff I've been saying on these forums for a while now.

I mean that's a huge question, too. Why do we just assume the players are clean? Specifically in Pujols' case where he was on a record-setting home run pace.

It all comes back to the media.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:32 am

Is it unfair to pester individual athletes about steroids? Maybe. Is it the right thing to do journalistically? Without a doubt.


Is it unfair to pester individual athletes about steroids? No, it's not unfair. It's just rude and doesn't make any more sense journalistically than walking up to Tiger Woods and asking if he's spreading vaseline on his club heads to gain an unfair advantage. It comes from the mindset 'he plays so well...he must be cheating'. I have no problems with journalists digging for information and trying to find the truth - that's their job. But walking up to ball players and just asking them if they're juicing because they're really muscular and hit a lot of home runs? That's not journalism - that's bad manners.
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Postby mweir145 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:08 pm

Another interesting article from today, which basically confirms more of the beliefs I've had:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/ ... ey-ON.html


D-Backs Grimsley implicated in steroids probe

Craig Harris, Joseph A. Reaves and Nick Piecoro
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 7, 2006 06:17 PM


Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley admitted taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs and said that amphetamines were used "like aspirin" in major league clubhouses, according to an affidavit filed by the lead federal investigator in baseball's steroid investigation.

The affidavit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, said Grimsley agreed to cooperate with U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents after Grimsley received a package containing two kits of human growth hormone April 19 at his Scottsdale home.

The affidavit, obtained by The Arizona Republic, comes nearly four years after the IRS began its probe of BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, near San Francisco. The original goal was to investigate a drug ring that distributed steroids and other illegal performance-enhancing drugs to elite athletes.

It is the first time an Arizona Diamondbacks player has been linked publicly to the scandal, which has implicated San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi and others.

Grimsley provided "extensive statements regarding his receipt and use of anabolic steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone over the last several years," the affidavit said.

Grimsley also provided "details about his knowledge of other Major League Baseball players" using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, including several close acquaintances.


An hour before Tuesday night's game against Philadelphia, Grimsley told The Republic, "I have no comment about that and no idea about that."

Jeff Novitzky, the IRS special agent in charge of the BALCO case, filed the affidavit, which also said agents were anticipating the shipment of human growth hormones to Grimsley's home. In a two-hour interview with federal investigators on April 19, Grimsley told investigators:


• Until last year, major league clubhouses had coffee pots labeled "leaded" and "unleaded" for the players, indicating coffee with amphetamines and without. He did not specify how many.


• Latin players were a major source for the amphetamines within baseball.


• Amphetamines also came from players on California teams that could easily go into Mexico and get them.


Names of other players he suspected of using anabolic steroids or human growth hormone were redacted from the document.

In September 2003, the IRS and Food and Drug Administration agents raided the offices of BALCO and at an off-site facility found containers labeled as steroids, testosterone and human-growth hormones, which can make athletes stronger and faster.

No professional athlete has been charged in the BALCO investigation, although Bonds and Giambi testified before a federal grand jury in 2003.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig this spring appointed former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to investigate players who were alleged to have used illegal steroids.

Mitchell's appointment came after pressure from Congress and the release this spring of Game of Shadows, a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who describe how Bonds and other players used illegal performance-enhancing drugs provided by BALCO.

Until 2003, baseball didn't conduct drug tests for steroids. The following year, it began imposing penalties.

Last July, BALCO founder Victor Conte Jr, the central figure in the investigation, pleaded guilty to distributing steroids and money laundering in a plea-bargain deal. He was sentenced to four months in prison and four months of house arrest.

Three others, including Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer, have negotiated deals with federal prosecutors for their roles in providing illegal performance-enhancing drugs to roughly 30 athletes.
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