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MLB wants to test Bonds, Sheff, Giambi, etc.

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MLB wants to test Bonds, Sheff, Giambi, etc.

Postby Transmogrifier » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:01 am

Wow. I doubt it will happen, though.

MLB Wants to Test Suspected Steroid Users
'Reasonable Cause' Provision May Be Invoked


By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 3, 2004; Page D01


SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 -- Major League Baseball is making preparations to invoke a provision that allows for drug testing of any player suspected of using steroids after a report that federal investigators were told that San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds received performance-enhancing drugs from a nutritional supplements lab.

The report, which appeared Tuesday in the San Francisco Chronicle and was confirmed by The Post, said investigators received information that Bonds, New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield and three other major league players allegedly received steroids from Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

Baseball's drug policy allows for just one random test each year (plus a follow-up within five to seven days), and only during the season. But the "reasonable cause" provision, which has never been used, allows officials to seek immediate testing at any time based on evidence that a player has used steroids within the previous 12 months.

The provision is part of the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The MLBPA did not return calls for comment.

Major league officials have been gathering information in preparation for invoking the provision since several major league players, including Bonds and Giambi, were linked to the federal investigation into BALCO last fall, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the process.

The official declined to say who might be tested, but said baseball would decide soon on whether to take action. "I think it will be days, not weeks," the official said.

Any reasonable cause testing requires a vote of baseball's Health Policy Advisory Committee, which is made up of two representatives from the players union and two representatives from Major League Baseball. The committee appoints a fifth member in the case of a split vote.

Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield were among dozens of athletes to testify before a federal grand jury that investigated BALCO. The other major players to allegedly receive steroids were two former Giants -- Marvin Benard, now with the White Sox, and catcher Benito Santiago, now with the Royals -- and former Oakland A's second baseman Randy Velarde.

In addition, Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski also allegedly received performance-enhancing drugs from the company, according to the Chronicle. Romanowski, who missed much of last season with a concussion, was released Tuesday after the Raiders said he failed a physical.

The players allegedly received the drugs through Bonds's personal weight trainer, Greg Anderson, 37, one of four Bay Area men indicted Feb. 12 on charges of distributing illegal performance-enhancing drugs to athletes from baseball, the NFL and track and field, the Chronicle reported.

The report did not say who provided the information to investigators, or how it was obtained by the newspaper. A separate source "familiar with Anderson" corroborated the information and said Anderson gave steroids and human growth hormone to Bonds dating from 2001, when Bonds hit a major league record 73 homers, the report said.

A government source familiar with the investigation confirmed the account as accurate to the Post.

The information provided to investigators did not explicitly state that the athletes had used the substances, according to the Chronicle.

Anna Ling, one of Anderson's attorneys, denied that Anderson knowingly provided illegal substances to Bonds or any other athlete. "If he ever thought he was doing anything even potentially illegal he would have never been involved," she said.

An affidavit unsealed Feb. 17 alleged that Anderson admitted to authorities last September that he gave steroids to "several" major league players. Anderson's lead attorney, Tony Serra, said last week that Bonds's name appeared on schedules for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but he said the player declined to use them.

Ling said Tuesday that Anderson's lawyers planned to argue that Anderson provided information to investigators while he was "illegally detained, deprived of his right to counsel and interrogated by police for several hours" at his suburban San Francisco condominium. Ling said police received a "coerced confession not based on any truth of facts." Bonds's attorney, Michael Rains, released a statement Tuesday denying the player received steroids from Anderson: "We continue to adamantly deny that Barry was provided, furnished or supplied any illegal substances at any time by Greg Anderson. This latest pronouncement is a complete disregard to the truth."

The news roiled spring training camps in Arizona and Florida while Major League Baseball, which has received criticism from the Bush administration and others for what is widely regarded as a weak steroid policy, sought to convey the impression that it was trying to address the issue.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., Bonds brushed past a reporter in the morning at training camp and declined to comment. Last week, the player volunteered to be tested for steroids daily but refused to answer when asked if he had ever used performance-enhancing drugs. He has previously denied using them.

In Tampa, Sheffield declined to comment directly but told reporters: "Words, speculation doesn't bother me. It's as simple as that. I deal with it. You know I don't like dealing with issues. You know I don't like dealing with controversy. Nobody likes to do that."

Sheffield's attorney, Paula Canny, said: "Gary Sheffield has never knowingly taken steroids or any illegal drugs, for that matter. That is true, that is absolutely true."

Giambi refused to comment. He, like Bonds and Sheffield, has previously denied using steroids or other performance-enhancing substances.

In Manhattan, Robert DuPuy, baseball's president and chief operating officer, said senior baseball officials discussed the steroid issue for two hours Tuesday morning as part of a scheduled staff meeting. DuPuy, speaking at a news conference at which Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) announced that he was introducing legislation to ban steroid precursors, said baseball had ruled out hiring an independent investigator to examine drug use in the sport.

Asked about the impact of the revelation that the National League's reigning most valuable player received steroids, DuPuy said: "We don't like any of our players' integrity being attacked under any circumstances. So are we concerned about the impact this might have on the game? Yes. But we're also not ready to pre-judge anyone as a result of what's come out so far."

The widening scandal has presented Major League Baseball with a host of difficult issues. Subpoenas to hand over the results of last year's drug tests, which were supposed to remain anonymous, have a return date of March 4, sources said, making that the deadline to provide the information to the BALCO grand jury.

Baseball is concerned that the information could become public if the case goes to trial. Baseball officials have concluded that the league has no legal standing to contest the subpoenas, placing the responsibility on the Major League Baseball Players Association to decide whether to file a motion to quash.

It was unclear whether the union had decided to do so. A source familiar with the process said: "I do not believe they intend to file the motion."

In addition, baseball officials have begun to discuss what, if any, action to take if a player such as Bonds were found to have used performance-enhancing drugs while breaking a major league record.

League officials cautioned that the discussions were in their infancy. Sweeney, speaking at the news conference with league officials, said players found to have used steroids should have an asterisk placed next to their names in the record books.

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Postby wrigleyivy » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:14 am

might as well do it and get it all over with. i rather them be guilty or innocent but just find out. i miss baseball. hate the soap opera drama.
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Postby j_d_mcnugent » Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:14 pm

i am not sure if there is any point in testing them right now. they most likely wised up and stopped using them at some point last season and they are probably out of their system by now. in fact it may prove to be counterproductive if they test clean right now. if they could retest the previous samples for thg it would be a lot more productive.

An affidavit unsealed Feb. 17 alleged that Anderson admitted to authorities last September that he gave steroids to "several" major league players. Anderson's lead attorney, Tony Serra, said last week that Bonds's name appeared on schedules for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but he said the player declined to use them.


i like this. bonds was offered them and declined to use them presumably because he is of high character and does not want to cheat. why then would a person of high character continue to associate a person like anderson?
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Postby Madison » Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:15 pm

Interesting. Thanks for the update. ;-D

I expect the union to fight it tooth and nail though. ;-)
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Postby slowkidz » Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:00 pm

j_d_mcnugent wrote:i am not sure if there is any point in testing them right now. they most likely wised up and stopped using them at some point last season and they are probably out of their system by now. in fact it may prove to be counterproductive if they test clean right now. if they could retest the previous samples for thg it would be a lot more productive.


i agree with this...it's almost a moot point now.
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