Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Steroids....Major League Baseball in Denial

USA Today reports Major League Baseball will investigate alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds and other players, and plans to hire former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to lead the effort. Selig's decision to launch the probe, first reported Wednesday by ESPN, comes in the wake of Game of Shadows, a book by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters detailing alleged extensive steroid use by Bonds and other baseball stars. The commissioner has said for several weeks that he was evaluating how to respond to the book. No matter what the findings of an investigation, it would be difficult for baseball to penalize anyone for steroids used prior to Sept. 30, 2002, when a joint drug agreement between management and the players' association took effect. Baseball began drug testing in 2003 and started testing with penalties the following year. Game of Shadows details alleged used of performance-enhancing drugs by Bonds for at least five seasons beginning after the 1998 season. reviews the book in the following excerpt:
Mark FaIiarr-Wada and Lance Williams are investigative reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle who tell the complete story of BALCO and the investigation that has shaken the foundations of the sporting world. They reveal how an obscure, self-proclaimed nutritionist, Victor Conte, became a steroid svengali to multi-millionaire athletes desperate for a competitive edge, and how he created superstars with his potent cocktails of miracle drugs. xxx They expose the international web of coaches and trainers who funneled athletes to BALCO, and how the drug cheats stayed a step ahead of the testing agencies and the law. The authors detail how an aggressive IRS investigator doggedly gathered evidence until Conte and his co-conspirators were brought to justice. And at the center of the story is the biggest star of them all, Barry Bonds, the muscle-bound MVP outfielder of the San Francisco Giants whose suspicious late-career renaissance has him threatening Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.
The disturbing matter here is baseball's initial reluctants to investigate drug issues and it's refusal to take on the baseball union who wants a complete "hands off" attitude towards the problem.
When Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa bulked up and "broke" the home run records of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris we were all put on notice but the celebration was overpowering and clouded realistic thinking. Baseball was still growing itself out of a previous season ending players strike and needed a quick fix while players bodies were growing at a spectacular rate.
I'm a huge Cubs fan (please excuse my addiction) and I sub-leased office space in Lake Point Tower in Chicago during the second half of the nineties. My office resided on the 55th floor, the same floor Sammy Sosa took up residence while with the Cubs. I saw Sosa frequently and it was obvious he was growing in proportions by leaps and bounds. This wasn't from heavy weight routines in the gym. McGuire was caught with creatine, purported as a "nutritional" supplement.
Similar to McGuire and Sosa, Barry Bonds has bulked up over the years and his skull has the characteristics caused by steroid use. A simple check of old photographs and current ones will provide enough evidence of the enormous difference these players have physically evolved.
McGuire left the game while he was on top. He also had injury problems and probably didn't wish to become involved in testing so he would have to eliminate any drugs from his use, which are supposed to enhance injury recovery.
Once Sosa was caught with cork in his bat he probably backed off any steroid program he may have been involved in. Injuries started taking their toll on him, he was traded and Sosa's numbers have never been the same.
As more investigations have taken place and Bonds name resides at the top of the scandal list it seems evident Mr. Bonds injuries are taking a toll on his ability to recover quickly after years of few if any missed games. Now Bonds is having season ending problems. People often wondered how Bonds increased his ability to hit homeruns, even as he aged.
The more Bud Selig and Major League Baseball attempted to wish this drug problem away the more the problem haunts them. I only hope the records fall out of the books. This has become baseballs X-Files, and as they say, "The Truth Is Out There." We only wish baseball didn't ignore it for so long.

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