|Steroids in Baseball|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on December 07, 2004
On Thursday, December 2nd, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi was in front of a Federal grand jury. The most telling words of his testimony were the ones that follow:
“Did Mr. Anderson provide you with actual injectable testosterone?” US attorney Nedrow asked Giambi.
“Yes,” replied Giambi.
“OK. And this injectable T, or testosterone, is basically a steroid, correct?”
“Yes,” Giambi replied
“And did he talk to you about the fact it was a steroid at the time?” Nedrow asked.
“Yeah, I mean, I -- I don't know if we got into a conversation about it, but we both knew about it, yes,” Giambi told the grand jury.
“And he started talking about that it would raise your testosterone levels, you know, which would basically make it a steroid ... or maybe he said it's an alternative of taking an injectable steroid. That might be a better way to put it,” he said.
So finally a baseball player has come clean about taking steroids. Giambi has failed to hit up to expectations the previous two seasons due to injuries such as knee problems in 2003 and a benign tumor in his pituitary gland in 2004. And perhaps because he wasn’t on the juice. Coming into this year, Giambi was noticeably smaller, which he attributed to his new offseason dieting program of not eating so many cheeseburgers. He continually told reporters that he had lost only four pounds, which was probably not very convincing. When asked if he used steroids, Giambi adamantly responded that he didn’t use them, which turned out to be a lie.
On Friday, December 3 2004, it was widely reported that Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids, but that he didn’t know that the “clear,” drops placed under the tongue and the “cream,” which is rubbed onto the body were steroids. How strongly people believe him is not very doubtful, as probably very few will.
Now that Giambi, a once superstar, and Barry Bonds, labeled the greatest player of our generation, have used steroids, what do we do? What does this mean for our National Pastime? For one, it could be time to work on a more stringent drug testing plan, as MLBPA (the Player’s Union) is playing with fire right now.
Bud Selig released a statement about steroids, but did not mention Giambi or Bonds by name.
“As I have repeatedly stated, I am fully committed to the goal of immediately ridding our great game of illegal performance-enhancing substances,” Selig said. “The use of these substances continues to raise issues regarding the game's integrity and raises serious concerns about the health and well-being of our players.”
The commissioner continued to have his field day with the situation by making the MLBPA look even worse.
“I am aware the Major League Baseball Players Association is having its annual meeting with its Executive Board of player representatives next week,” Selig said. “I urge the players and their association to emerge from this meeting ready to join me in adopting a new, stronger drug testing policy modeled after our minor league program that will once and for all rid the game of the scourge of illegal drugs.
“This once again demonstrates the need to implement a tougher and more effective Major League drug-testing program,” Selig said. “I have instructed Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, to look into this situation and to continue working with the (union) to have a drug-testing program that mirrors the very effective policy we currently have in the minor leagues.
“I will leave no stone unturned in accomplishing our goal of zero tolerance by the start of Spring Training and am confident we will achieve this goal.”
For the sake of the game, I hope that Commissioner Bud Selig can get what he wants from the player’s union and implement a stronger drug testing program. The National Pastime needs to do an about face and clean up the game. Donald Fehr, this means you have to do something that will help baseball, not just the paychecks of the players in the game.