I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that this whole George Mitchell press conference and 409 page report released yesterday provided any earth shaking news or dropped any bombs in terms of what we didn’t already know about steroids in baseball.
To summarize Mitchell’s press conference, he basically said steroids and HGH are apart of baseball. Owners, GM’s, managers, etc. all turned a blind eye and should accept some responsibility in how this played out. Mitchell also said that Major League Baseball was slow to react, but has gotten better in it’s testing of steroids and that if baseball wants to clean up it’s game, must commit more money to better testing and resources. No kidding.
As far as the 86 players that were named in this report, most of the names we’ve already heard about. I’m talking about the Balco players, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, the Mark McGwire andro story, Jason Grimsley, etc. We’ve heard these stories, not surprised they’re in there. Basically, the names that surfaced were guys who were veterans that were trying to hang on or young players trying to find a way to latch onto a big league team.
There were no current Royal players other than Jose Guillen who just signed with the team, and no bombs dropped on the Cardinals either.
If you were surprised by Roger Clemens, you’ve got to be kidding. He was certainly a stocky, well built pitcher when he dominated in his 20’s, but look at how his neck, and shoulders have ballooned out in his late 30’s and early 40’s. I’m not surprised he’s in the report although through his lawyer, he denies it.
A couple of other names that came out that you haven’t heard of before, were pitchers Kevin Brown and Eric Gagne. I’m not shocked by those names, because one thing you always hear about steroids is that is helps build muscle, but puts strain on tendons and ligaments and I would think bulking up like that could have a negative effect on pitchers. When you study the careers of Brown and Gagne you can see when their careers flip flopped once they got involved with steroids.
Before former Dodger catcher Paul LoDuca put Brown in touch with Kirk Radomski (the Mets clubhouse manager who reported he supplied several players with steroids) back in 2000-2001, Brown made anywhere from 33-35 starts per year in a four year span from 1997-2002 never pitching fewer than 230 innings, in which he was 35 games over .500 with his pitching record. After that, as he was aging and looking for ways to lengthen his career, he made just 19 starts in 2001, 10 in 2002, 32 in 2003, then injured again and back down to 22 in 2004 and then 13 in 2005. In the report, it stated Dodger management acknowledged they were concerned that Brown was using steroids as a form of treatment. In fact, he may have been doing his body more harm than good. Same goes for Eric Gagne. It was reported that in August of 2004, Gagne received his first shipment of steroids. In 2002 Gagne had 52 saves, 2003, Gagne had 55 saves, then followed that up with 45 in 2004. If Gagne received his first shipment in late 2004, look what happened in 2005, he appeared in just 14 games, and in 2006 it wasn’t any better as he appeared in just two games due to major arm injuries. How does a guy who pitches only 82 innnings each of three years in a row a year all of the sudden undergo dramatic arm injuries? All I’m saying is that when I heard Gagne’s name and read when he started receiving shipments, I wasn’t surprised.
Maybe there was apart of me waiting for these huge superstar names. My anticipation of the report coming out grew when an hour before the press conference Fox News was dropping names like Pujols, Damon, Pudge Rodriquez, Kerry Wood.
It’s a good thing for baseball that nothing new or extraordinary came from this report. It’s time for baseball owners and players to get together and fix this problem. It also solidifies my belief that the elite players, the players kids look up to, the A-Rod’s, Big Papi’s, and Phat Albert’s of the game are playing the game the right way and that Barry Bonds is an even bigger farce.
Cardinals team president Mark Lamping said "This is now out in the open, and we have to deal with some criticism." Let’s hope Major League Baseball hits this issue head on and doesn’t sweep this under the carpet.
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