June 07, 2006

Baseball's Drug Issue to Get A Lot More Messy

Since the word BALCO became a household term, the idea of baseball's sluggers being juiced, and jacking out ridiculous amounts of home runs has been part of the public mindset, with hitters like Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi being some of the leading examples. Yet approximately half of the positive drug tests in baseball so far have belonged to guys who don't hold bats at all - the pitchers, including some very mediocre pitchers who apparently were looking for a little more zip on their fastball, or accelerated recovery from injury. And in the last few days, one of those mediocre pitchers, Jason Grimsley of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has become the center of the latest developments that threaten to break the steroid case wide open.

Following major league baseball's adoption of rigorous drug testing for players, chiefly aimed at eliminating steroids and amphetamines, players who were on the dope had to change their drug of choice to one that is both undetectable and effective - the human growth hormone (HGH). According to an affidavit released today, Grimsley ordered HGH to be sent to his home, and as the package was tracked, federal agents arrived on the scene demanding he cooperate or be arrested. According to numerous reports, Grimsley not only openly discussed his own drug use - from HGH to steroids and amphetamines, but also named names, and given that he's played for a host of teams in the last decade, he named a significant number of abusers, whose activities are no doubt now being investigated as part of the broad federal case against illicit drug use in sports.

Subsequently, Grimsley requested his release from the Diamondbacks and left the team today, as to not draw further attention to the team. His agent says the move effectively ends his mediocre career.

As chronicled here previously, as an avid baseball fan, I always had hoped, naively, that the steroid allegations against boyhood heros Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and others were not true, yet the evidence is overwhelming, and Grimsley may serve to extend the case from a known few to a much larger list that could dwarf the famed Black Sox scandal of 1919 with its reach. We'll have to wait and see who these folks are as the names are uncovered over time, but I assume we'll see the rapid installment of some very high priced lawyers to keep their high paid clients out of court.

Listening to ''Knuddelmaus'', by Ulrich Schnauss (Play Count: 14)

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