Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

Well, it’s spring-training time, and football is over. (Yeah, Giants!) As we turn our attention to the diamond from the gridiron, unfortunately, most baseball fans have the steroid scandal in the backs of their heads, even as players report to camp.

New York’s Newsday ran an interesting article yesterday—Jim Baumbach essentially listed responses to the Mitchell Report by players named therein. This is a little longer than my usual posting, but I found the article very interesting and informative, especially for the fan who cares. So here it is—enjoy!

More players respond to Mitchell Report

Jim Baumbach

Newsday, February 21, 2008

Now that most teams have officially kicked off spring training, many players who have remained in hiding since the release of the Mitchell Report have been asked to defend themselves.

Here’s an updated list of responses from players (active and retired) who were named in the report.

Chad Allen: Hasn’t played in the majors since 2005. Told the Dallas Morning News, “I think a lot of people were surprised to see my name. I made a mistake. I know I am going to pay for it. I did something wrong five years ago out of stupidity. If somebody holds that against me, it is their decision. But I certainly wasn’t going to lie.”

Mike Bell: Retired player, in an interview with the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta, said, “I have a chance to show people that I made a mistake. Things are tough at times, but you just got to persevere through it. I can’t take back what I did, but I can turn it into a positive.”

Gary Bennett: Backup catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reiterated last week that the Mitchell Report is “accurate” with regards to him, saying he bought HGH from Kirk Radomski in 2003 and knew at the time it was a mistake but was willing to go to such lengths to help the healing process of his injured right knee.

Kevin Brown: Retired pitcher told the Macon Telegraph right after the report’s release that he had been advised not to comment.

Alex Cabrera: Signed a $2.2-million deal with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes that includes a clause that requires that he pass a doping test. In a statement posted in the days after the Mitchell Report on the Web site of the Caracas Lions of the Venezuelan winter league, Cabrera said, “I couldn’t have used the substances that are identified. I never had possession of the alleged box that supposedly contained the pharmaceutical drugs.”

Mark Carreon: Former Mets outfielder told the Tucson Citizen in December, “Regarding the Mitchell Report, the following is true - towards the end of my 18-year career, regretfully on one occasion I experimented with a performance-enhancing substance ... One point that should be made. I received a certified letter requesting my response to these allegations merely 24 hours prior to the release (of the Mitchell Report), leaving little time to act.”

Howie Clark: A utility infielder trying to make the Minnesota Twins, he is best known for being the Blue Jays third baseman who was duped by Alex Rodriguez into thinking he was called off a pop fly last year in Toronto. He essentially admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to the Associated Press Wednesday, saying, “The season that I was having, I dealt with a lot of health issues, and I made a wrong decision,” Clark said, carefully wording his admission. “I’m very aware of what that meant. I do accept full responsibility for being involved.”

Roger Clemens: In the middle of a vigorous fight to clear his name of the allegations published in the Mitchell Report. Testified before Congress last week that he never took steroids or human growth hormone. It has yet to be decided if the justice department will investigate him on possible perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering charges. In all likelihood will never play again.

Jack Cust: Appearing at the Oakland A’s fanfest last month, Cust denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs. “I have nothing to hide,” he said.

Brendan Donnelly: He’s on a minor-league invite with the Cleveland Indians and has not been quoted in response to the report since showing up to camp. In a statement to ESPN after the report’s release, he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. “In 2004, I was having multiple physical problems and was concerned about not getting back on the field for even close to the level I had experienced. I made a phone call to Radomski. We discussed Anavar. Upon learning that Anavar was classified as a steroid, I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes, I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him. I never took Deca or Anavar. I do want to fully support the testing program of Major League Baseball, and I support wider testing.”

Eric Gagne: Milwaukee Brewers reliever took the Jason Giambi approach, showing up at camp last week and apologizing for being a distraction but saying nothing more. “I just want to go forward,” he said. “I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through, and all my friends, especially my teammates here with Milwaukee. That’s a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place. I’m just here to help the Brewers get to the World Series, and that’s all I really care about.”

Jay Gibbons: Baltimore Orioles outfielder will serve a 15-day suspension for receiving HGH after it was banned by baseball. At the start of camp, he said, “Embarrassment is a good word. Disappointment. You know, it’s just one of those things where you look in the mirror, and I have no excuses.”

Jerry Hairston Jr.: A free agent still looking for work. In the wake of the Mitchell Report, he told the Beacon News ( Naperville, Ill.), “I have no reaction at all. I already defended myself during the season and I feel good about it. There’s nothing new to say. I stand by what I said six or eight months ago.” Last May he told Newsday he didn’t know Kirk Radomski. “I’ve never taken steroids in my life ... I can’t comment on somebody I don’t know anything about. I don’t know the guy. I never even met the guy. I don’t even know what he looks like.”

Matt Herges: Rockies reliever told the Associated Press he feels good now that his secret is out in the open. “I didn’t used to be this way, but I’m at the point where I know what I did was wrong 100 percent, no excuses, not justification, no rationalization. I screwed up and I crossed the line,” he said last week. “ ... If I’m not standing there naked in front of the world with my big secret, I’d still be holding onto it, hiding it. It would still be eating at me. It’s not fun by any stretch holding onto something like that, so secretive, so dirty. I’m grateful it’s out there. I’m freed a little bit, a lot actually.”

Glenallen Hill: Colorado Rockies coach released a statement at the start of spring training that said: “My brief use of performance-enhancing substances embarrassed me, both personally and professionally, and it was something that I did not want to discuss with anyone,” Hill said. “After much thought and reflection, I felt that I owed it to God, my family and the Rockies’ organization to be completely forthcoming and truthful. I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the Rockies’ organization, to my family and friends, and to baseball fans across the country.”

David Justice: Currently taking the year off from the YES Network to rebuild his home, which was hit by the wildfires in San Diego last summer. He insisted his inclusion in the Mitchell Report was unwarranted. “I don’t even know who Kirk Radomski is,” he told the YES Network after the report was released. “If he walked up to me right now and said, ‘Hello,’ I would not know who he was. I want to see the check that shows me paying something to a Kirk Radomski, because I don’t even know who he is. I didn’t pay for human growth hormone, ever.”

Paul LoDuca: Washington Nationals catcher did not specifically admit using performance-enhancing drugs, but apologized for his mistake. “In regards to Senator Mitchell’s report, I apologize to my family, all my fans and to the entire baseball community for mistakes in judgment I made in the past and for the distractions that resulted. I am fully committed to being the best player and person I can be, on and off the field, for the Washington Nationals and the entire baseball community.”

Chuck Knoblauch: Retired and living in the Houston area. In his deposition before congressional investigators, Knoblauch confirmed he used human growth hormone, as stated in the Mitchell Report. He said he did so in part to help cure his throwing yips.

Nook Logan: Recently signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers. “I’ve never taken steroids a day in my life,” Logan told the Natchez (Miss.) Democrat shortly after the report was released.

Kent Mercker: Attempting a comeback with the Cincinnati Reds after Tommy John surgery in 2006. Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what’s in the report is accurate. He admitted last week to using HGH in 2002. “It didn’t help me throw harder or anything like that,” he said.

Dan Naulty: Retired major-leaguer who admits - and regrets – using performance-enhancing drugs. “I’m living proof you can run faster and throw faster and play major league baseball when you’re not supposed to,” he told ESPN. “I took it upon myself to inject this, that and everything else. I was scared to death my entire career. I was cheating. I knew I was cheating. I couldn’t compete without the drugs.”

Jim Parque: Retired pitcher admitted to that he wrote two checks worth $4,800 to Radomski to purchase “a bunch of supplements, some creatine, vitamins, some stuff to increase my red-blood-cell count and some herbs from South America that were supposed to help with my injuries.” Denied buying and using steroids. “Either someone isn’t telling the truth, or steroids really don’t work because I was throwing 80, 81 mph before the report said I took them, and I was throwing 80, 81 mph after I allegedly took them.”

Andy Pettitte: Under contract with the Yankees. Held a news conference Monday in which he apologized for taking human growth hormone in 2002, as stated in the Mitchell Report, and again in 2004 from his father, as he testified under oath. Blamed only himself for taking HGH, describing it as a “stupid” decision. Also testified in his deposition and affidavit to congressional investigators that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 that he used HGH.

Adam Piatt: Former A’s player told the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., that everything in the Mitchell Report with regards to him was accurate. Piatt said he spoke to Mitchell because, “I was going to own up to what I did. I felt like there’s too many people denying.”

Brian Roberts: Second baseman for Orioles admitted trying steroids. In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, he said, “In 2003, when I took one shot of steroids, I immediately realized that this was not what I stood for or anything that I wanted to continue doing. I never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing drugs prior to or since that single incident ... I am very sorry and I deeply regret ever making that terrible decision. My only hope and prayer is that the Orioles, my family, friends and fans that have supported me so faithfully will forgive me.”

F.P. Santangelo: Retired player who is currently hosting a radio show in Sacramento admitted using human growth hormone but disputed report’s allegations he took anabolic steroids and testosterone. “I don’t know where that came from,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “I never did any of that. But I did growth hormones. I was at a point of my career when I took it - twice - because I panicked. I didn’t want my career to end. I can’t justify it and say it was right, because cheating is wrong, but I admit, I did it.”

David Segui: Retired major-leaguer who is currently living in the Kansas City area. Has admitted to using steroids and refuses to apologize for it, saying he knew exactly what he was doing when he was doing it. Still takes HGH on a prescription.

Mike Stanton: A reliever with the Cincinnati Reds who initially denied his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs but now refuses to comment about it. Also involved with the Clemens-McNamee case; McNamee testified under oath that Stanton saw blood on Clemens pants after an injection in the Yankee clubhouse and commented about it. When contacted by Newsday and asked about that, Stanton said, “I’ve been advised to no comment.”

Miguel Tejada: Houston Astros shortstop refused to take questions about the Mitchell Report or the FBI’s investigation into his connection to steroids. “I can’t really talk about that situation,” he said. “Right now, I just want to talk about baseball, because that’s really my focus.”

Ron Villone: A non-roster invite in the St. Louis Cardinals’ camp trying to win a spot in the bullpen. Two days ago he said the Mitchell Report included “inaccuracies,” but he refused to elaborate, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fernando Vina: Currently a baseball analyst on ESPN, he told the network, “In 2003, I did use HGH. Was it right? No. Obviously, it was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it. I never used steroids.”

Gregg Zaun: The Toronto Blue Jays catcher has what is easily the most entertaining defense, telling the National Post in an e-mail he gave Jason Grimsley a $500 check to pay off a bet but left the name blank. He thinks Grimsley wrote Kirk Radomski into the name portion and simply used that check to buy performance-enhancing drugs.

Notable players who have not responded to accusations in the report:
Manny Alexander
David Bell
Larry Bigbie
Jason Christiansen
Matt Franco
Jason Grimsley
Todd Hundley
Hal Morris
Denny Neagle
Todd Pratt
Mo Vaughn
Rondell White

Anthony Rieber contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

Ah, now I’m finally getting a chance to blog again after our move to the Seattle area. The new house is still a mess, but the computer is up and running and the Internet connection is set. So here we go!

First, a huge thanks to Ed for keeping the site going while I’ve been out of the loop. And a great article covering the Super Bowl a few days ago! Miss ya, Ed!

Some big things have happened in sports since the last time I blogged—Roger Clemens and other former Yankees testifying before Congress, Shaq traded to the Suns, Pau Gasol traded to the Lakers, and (on a much more serious note) Vikings starting defensive end Kenechi Udeze diagnosed with leukemia and Panthers forward Richard Zednick having his carotid artery cut by a skate in a bizarre hockey accident (he had lifesaving surgery and is stable).

But I have to be true to myself today and write about the New York Giants again. I know it’s been over a week, and I know Ed covered the Super Bowl already, but I still can’t believe they won, especially against the mighty Patriots machine! As a lifetime Giants fan who has managed to watch at least 13 games a season for the 10 seasons I’ve been away from the East Coast, I am just beside myself! How ironic that when Michael Strahan was holding out of camp at the beginning of the year, I said it would serve him right if they went ahead and won a ring without him. I qualified that by saying I didn’t think the Giants were anywhere near winning it all this year. Shows how much I know!

Shows how much all the experts know, too! Just a tiny fraction of sportswriters and broadcasters chose the Giants to win this game. Not that I blame them. I thought that Big Blue had a chance to win but would come up short in the end. And that’s almost what happened until “Easy” Eli Manning, so cool under pressure, led his team on the biggest drive in Giants history, beating Tom Brady at his own game and taking the Giants to a winning touchdown in the final minute that will live forever in NFL lore. There were a few notable plays on the drive, but none was bigger than the now famous “Great Escape” by Manning, when he somehow got away from the entire Patriots defensive line and threw 32 yards for David Tyree, who caught the ball against his helmet amid tight coverage and set up the final scoring reception by Plaxico Burress.

The play of the Giants’ defensive front four was nothing short of spectacular and cannot be overstated. They kept the Giants in the game into the fourth quarter and harassed Brady like he had not been harassed all year. Not that I like anyone to be hurt, but it sure was great to see every time Brady hit the turf—and it must have been gratifying for the Giants, as well, especially since no one gave them any chance.

Even though Strahan can be a doofus in the public eye, he deserves his ring, having been the Giants’ best and most consistent player for the past 10 years. I wonder how former Giants linebacker Jesse Armstead felt seeing Strahan on the winning side of this game. I am also thrilled for Amani Toomer, who has been a Giant for a decade and holds most of the team receiving records. As such a steady player for so many years (and a class act, as well), he, too, really deserves this championship. As a side note, Strahan and Toomer, the only two veterans remaining from the Giants’ Super Bowl loss in 2001, did a terrific job at keeping the team focused on winning the prize. Their previous experience showed them that it’s not good enough to just get there. This team of All-Joes beat the All-Pros at every step of the playoffs.

I guess I have to take back any mean things I said about Tom Coughlin. He did an outstanding job coaching the whole season and for one game made Bill Belichick look like a lot less of a genius than everyone says he is. And Tiki Barber? I don’t care what he says, there must be a certain part of him that is torn up inside over retiring a year before the Giants won it all. But as much as I admired Tiki for his individual play, this year proved that Manning could not develop as the leader of the team as long as he was overshadowed by Barber’s overblown personality and ego in the locker room.

These kind of wins just don’t happen for this franchise, so I am still shaking my head and trying to understand that it really happened. Hopefully, General Manager Jerry Reese will be able to keep the team together for years to come, and the Giants will have a few more rings in the near future. They have some bright young guys and some others who are just settling into their prime, and it’s possible they can actually get better. With Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora as pass rushers, the Giants should be okay up front defensively even if Strahan decides to bow out on top during this offseason. Ahmad Bradshaw looks like a great running back, and the tandem of him and Brandon Jacobs piles up yardage. Corey Webster seems to finally have come into his own and can play alongside Aaron Ross in the defensive backfield for seasons. And as long as Eli stays healthy, he gives them what they need from a star franchise quarterback—the chance to win every game.

Also, even though Yankees fans can be insufferable, both Patriots and Red Sox fans have been trumping Yankees fans in that department lately, so I’m glad to see Boston get taken down a notch for a change after its recent dominance of the New York–Boston rivalry.

Congratulations to the Giants—ownership, front office, coaching staff, and players! Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch would be proud!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Night Lies

I think this story is hilarious. This kid had everybody believing he was being recruited by top football schools. It was a little lie that got bigger and bigger and finally spiraled out of control.

I have experienced some of these situations with my baseball interviews. I am a member of The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and interview retired major league baseball players as part of my affiliation with this organization. I also post the interviews here on Broo and on my baseball web site,

Many times, guys will tell me that they played major league baseball, or know someone who did. But, when I check out the information, I find out it’s not true. Maybe they played semi-pro or college ball, or possibly even at the minor league level. But, they never played in The Show and it’s sad to think that they’ve been lying to everyone for so long and that it’s not true. Usually, I just say thanks but no thanks on the interview and leave it at that. I don’t feel right bursting their bubble and/or destroying their fantasy.

Why do people do this? I don’t know, it’s probably because they’ve dreamt of achieving something great in their lives and have fallen short, so creating it in their mind is the next best thing. It’s sad and in a way, I feel a certain sense of compassion for these folks.

But, you do have to give this kid credit. He really had some juevos to take this as far as he did. And he actually had a lot of people believing him for quite a while.

Here is the story as it appeared yesterday on

A northern Nevada prep football player who had claimed he was duped into believing he was recruited to play at a Pac-10 school admitted Wednesday he made up the story.Kevin Hart, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman for Fernley High School, offered a broad apology in a statement he issued through the Lyon County School District. Hart said he had wanted to play football at a Division I school "more than anything."

"When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High School, the involved universities and reporters covering the story," Hart said.Lyon County sheriff's detectives had been unable to corroborate Hart's claims that he had been duped by a man he paid to help promote him to college football programs.Lt. Rob Hall said Hart had not informed detectives of his confession, and they would continue to investigate to see if Hart had broken any laws, such as filing a false police report.Hart first spoke with deputies Saturday, a day after he announced at a school assembly and a news conference that he would sign with the University of California, Berkeley.At the announcement ceremony, Hart, with Fernley coach Mark Hodges at his side, said he talked with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford many times, and that "personal experience" led to his decision to choose the Golden Bears over Oregon, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.But the announcement was questioned almost immediately, and on Monday officials with California and the University of Oregon said Hart was never recruited.Hall said Hart had claimed that the alleged promoter he paid was named Kevin Riley, and that he believed he was from Las Vegas. Hart, however, was "unable to provide any phone numbers, addresses," or other contact information for the purported recruiter, Hall said."Initially, we thought if this was in fact a hoax or something Kevin came up with, maybe he was trying to put his name out there and create some interest," Hall said."Or maybe he just thought it was going to be and when it didn't happen, rumors started and it just got bigger and bigger and he didn't know what to do. That's why we want to sit down with Kevin and talk with him to get his perspective about what happened, where did it start, when did it start," he said.Hall said detectives will forward their investigation to the district attorney's office to decide whether prosecution was warranted.Tedford said Wednesday he had never talked to Hart and the Golden Bears never recruited him."It was total news to me, and it's unfortunate that that whole situation is what it is," Tedford said."I've talked to other coaches who have had people saying they've committed to their programs who they're not even recruiting, and it just seems like this thing is getting so big and egos are getting so involved ... people want to have an identity or whatever. To get to that magnitude that I read about is really kind of unfortunate," he said.Oregon coach Mike Bellotti also said Wednesday the Ducks did not recruit Hart, and that he had been contacted by law enforcement authorities."Whatever happens, it's a shame," Bellotti said.On Tuesday, school district administrators said an internal investigation showed that none of the universities once thought to have pursued Hart - including Nevada, Washington and Oklahoma State - had contacted Hart.Superintendent Nat Lommori and Assistant Superintendent Teri White, in issuing the statement the day before recruits across the country sign letters of intent to play for college programs, said they wanted to relieve concerns prospective recruits to those schools might have because of the Hart matter.The school district's investigation was continuing, White said.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cheaters Never Prosper

If football gods exist out there, they’re surely smiling today. The New York Giants, a team no one believed in, beat the New England Patriots yesterday in the Super Bowl by a score of 17-14. A boring game for three quarters, this one will go down in history as one of the best ever.

It will also be remembered as the day when the brash braggarts, the cocky prima donnas, the princes of the NFL, got their come uppance. If revenge is best served cold, yesterday was a chiller. Bill Belichick and his group of elite athletes were outplayed and overmatched. The king is dead. The dream is over.

New England will not be talked about in the same breath as the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, great NFL dynasties all. The Patriots came off like big-headed trash talkers and the Giants left us with a happy, warm feeling. It was a karmatic snap-back of the highest magnitude. It was sweeter than candy and more fitting than a good pair of shoes. Okay, enough with the corny adjectives.

Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Pats. The day before the game, The Boston Globe published a report that New England cheated again back in 2002, when they videotaped the St. Louis Rams’ final practice prior to the Super Bowl. If you don’t know, a walk through is where a team goes through all of the plays and formations that they plan to run in an upcoming game.

If indeed the Patriots taped that practice and used the information they gleaned from watching it, they would have had an undeniable advantage. It would be like knowing the end of a movie or the punch line to a joke. As it was, New England beat the Rams in that Super Bowl, even though St. Louis was heavily favored.

Although Patriots’ officials vehemently deny the charges, the whole thing stinks. It also tends to ring true, since we already know for a fact that the team is not above cheating and videotaping is their preferred method. The most ironic part of it all is that The Boston Globe broke the story – New England’s hometown newspaper. Maybe they’re as sick of Belichick as everyone else is.

Then, there was the cocky attitude of the Patriots before, during and after the game. You would think that a team with their record of dominance would be a little humble. Not these clowns. They were talking smack the week before, throughout the game and afterwards during the post-game press conference. Tom Brady made a snarky comment before the game during a press conference, when he implied that the Patriots would score a bunch of points against New York’s defense. Rodney Harrison dissed them, and then Randy Moss made some disparaging remarks about the Giants’ secondary – a secondary that had just shut him down.

And then the capper had to be when Bill Belichick left the field early at the end of the game. That really showed a complete lack of class. If a player did that, he’d be fined and possibly suspended. The bottom line is that Bill Belichick thinks he’s above it all. He could care less what anyone thinks. Belichick is the epitome of a selfish, egocentric bore – the man has shown that he’ll cheat to win and then when he loses, he acts like a four-year-old.

And that’s why the whole affair was wonderful to watch. It was the choke job of the decade, if not the century and a pleasure to experience from beginning to end. At least that’s my take on it. I guess if you’re a Patriots’ fan you’d probably see it a little differently.