Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Baseball Can No Longer Hide Its Head Over PEDs While The SF Chronicle Blind To Truth

Very interesting article on Human Growth Hormone, or HGH as it is more commonly known as, on Yahoo by Jeff Passan. Take a look especially at the PDF of the arrest warrant for Jason Grimsley that is provided as a link on this article. Wow, the stuff he said in there!

Basically, once the drug testing in baseball started including amphetamines, the only way athletes can get away with anything regarding PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) is by using HGH, which, at the moment is untraceable via the urine testing method and is only detectable via a blood sample. However, the Players Union has been explicitly against blood testing. I sense an Irresistable Force (drug testing) meeting an Immovable Object (Players Union).

I remember a very interesting article about the difficulties of drug testing in sport by an author I like, Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote "The Tipping Point" and "Blink" (Here is his website, I love reading his articles posted there, it covers a gamut of topics and is very well written, I just cannot stop reading). In this article, titled "Drugstore Athlete", he explains the difficulties the sports authorities have with keeping up with the latest undetectable drug and how there is a never ending cycle of keeping up with the cheaters and ends the article arguing that taking drugs is no less natural than acceptable drugs, like Ritalin or Prozac, and since society accepts augmented humans in a variety of different situations, the athletes only want the same acceptance for their drug use.

Is It Real or Is It PEDs?

I won't pretend to know the answers like all of the media and some baseball fans. I'm conflicted because I see and feel both sides. I believe in the law like most people and so that part of me says that if athletes are doing anything that is illegal, then they should be punished somehow, that their acheivements are false.

However, another part of me sees another picture. Laws are not written on stone tablets. They are flexible and malleable to the changes of society's social standards. 100 years ago, I could have been lynched and had my home burned down and nothing could have been done - even though I was American citizen, born and raised here, I had no rights, no Asians had any rights to sue others, to get justice in the courts. Fortunately those laws were changed because society changed.

Taking another tack, nearly 400 years ago, to be Rubenesque, to be plump was good - why? - because it showed that you have enough money to eat and get fat, it was a sign of wealth. In addition, it was better to be pale because it showed that you didn't need to work in the fields. Then around 40 years ago, things changed to where being thin and tan was good, because only people who were well off had enough time off to get a tan. At this moment, back at least 4 years, we are back to pale because it is not good for your skin or aging, but still loving the thin.

So why is it OK to take some drugs to make you equal to another but not another drug to make the other to equal to you? It is all relative to genetics, each "fixes" whatever is wrong with your genetics and brings you up to the level of other people. However some fixes are considered acceptable while other fixes are not. If I had ADD, that's just genetics, it's OK to take my drugs to make me "normal". However, if my genetic inheritance is a bone thin body, without trying, using PEDs would allow me to compete on a equal basis with players whose genetics allow them to have big bulging muscles. There are surely players who have more natural testoserone than I, so should I be allowed to take some, just to even out nature's bounty?

Add to that the difficulties that Gladwell noted about trying to catch the cheaters. They appear to be at least one step ahead of the leagues' drug watchdogs, even the Olympics, which has a much better system of drug testing than the U.S. but still encountering drug problems. The chemist are creating these designer drugs to keep one step ahead of the testing procedures.

Like I wrote, I don't know which way to go. Should we wave a white flag and just accept that ballplayers take PEDs and allow usage under a strict program under a doctor's care? Or should we swing 'em high all users and take away all these stats? It is not an easy answer either way. For now, I'm keeping my options open.

Chronicle Getting Ridiculous With Their Bonds Blinders

As I wrote in a previous post, the Chronicle are out to get Bonds, perhaps to keep their pipeline of information from the government leak open so that they can get rich off of that information and perhaps write another book of unsubstantiated stories (don't know how else to term the tell-all nature of Bonds former mistress, the whole book is based on her word that Barry did all these things). In a column by Gwen Knapp, the title blares out, "Search Shows Bonds is Not Fed's Only Quarry." The Chronicle is so deep into denial that they should go to Egypt.

Of course Bonds is the target. And the Chronicle is targeting him too, particularly after their title shows that they know the public views them as Novitsky apologists. Else why would they title an article about Bonds injury to his side, "Cause of Bonds' Injury Remains a Mystery."

What's the big deal? They've never had an injury that they didn't know how it happened? Why term it a mystery, just say Bonds didn't know how it happened, not that it was a "mystery". Did you see them put in a bold headline in April, "Schmidt's loss of velocity remains a mystery." Or go back a couple of years in April and write, "Foppert's loss of velocity remains a mystery, high 90's fastball is nowhere to be seen." Or how about for last year, "Edgardo Alfonzo's loss of hitting ability remains a mystery."

In an article that the San Jose Mercury wrote the same day, they report that the lawyer for Jason Grimsley, the now former baseball player who was caught with HGH, claims that the IRS agents were all over Grimsley to get him to implicate Barry Bonds, to try to get someone to say into their hidden mike that Bonds was a user. I will quote from this article:

"It was a specific effort to target Bonds,'' attorney Edward F. Novak said.
"We were told that Jason's cooperation was necessary to their case.''

He first cooperated with authorities but when he balked at helping further, he "was outed by the feds'' when he refused to cooperate with the investigation of Bonds, according to Grimsley's lawyer.

And if the Chronicle writers are still reading, if they still think Bonds is not the target, don't how to make my point any clearer:
"They asked him specifically about Barry Bonds,'' Novak said. "Jason said he didn't know Bonds well and didn't know if he did or didn't use drugs.''

Novak said investigators then asked Grimsley whether he knew anybody on the Giants whom he might get to confide about Bonds, who is now second on the all-time home run list.

Grimsley, according to Novak, told investigators that "baseball players don't go around talking about who is using and who isn't.''
"They asked him specifically about Barry Bonds." So how again about how Bonds is not the only quarry?

Even, sad to say, Mark Purdy, in the SAME newspaper (his editor hung him out to dry on this one), also states that Bonds is not the only target with his column, "Bonds still a big player, but hardly the only one." The Mercury had been pretty good about being on the fence with Bonds, or as much as they can but still stay in support of their fellow journalists, and perhaps also friends, at the Chronicle, who have been flinging the mud at Bonds at the Chronicle. But really, Grimsley was used and abused by the IRS agent Novitsky, who, in their effort to implicate Bonds and get him on perjure charges, will apparently turn over any stone to get to Bonds.

Which makes it pretty clear that Bonds cannot even be using HGH, as some Bonds detractors have been saying, he cannot keep that big a supply and with the IRS watching him like a hawk (how else did they catch Grimsley? They are looking under every stone, and I mean every, because Grimsley is about as low on the totem pole that is baseball to go after.) How can he get any, probably anybody in contact with Bonds is probably being followed and their activities recorded.

He basically lost any future supplies of any PEDs once he testified at the Balco Grand Jury, clearly the investigation targeted him, he was the only one they reneged on their offer to show Bonds' lawyer what they had. And yet he hit all those homers late in 2005. And while 2006 hasn't been Bonds-tastic, he is still on pace for 20-30 homers, which I think would become the record for a 41/42 year old MLB hitter.

And again, I'm no Bonds apologist. He has shown over and over again that he can be a jerk when he wants to and a sweetheart when he wants to. And at minimum, based on his illegally released grand jury testimony (what's the point of the secrecy if any government schlub can just release it without consequence? This is not about bringing down a corrupt president, it is, at its core, about a game of entertainment that many people, including me, take very seriously, but at its heart is still a game, of little consequence to those in the world (and that's a vast majority), Bonds is not the leader of the free world, he is just a great baseball player) it sounds like he used some PEDs that he thought was some ordinary ingredients.

Give me clear evidence and I'll join the lynch mob probably. For now I'm not satisfied. Disgruntled mistress looking for money? She wouldn't embellish her story now, you know, to SELL HER UPCOMING BOOK? Disgruntled friend/henpecked employee trying to use his connection to Bonds to boost up his ego and sell a little PED? He wouldn't lie to his potential buyer now, would he? That wouldn't be right, it would be tricking the buyer into buying something thinking that it was the same stuff that helped Bonds out. He wouldn't lie about that, he's such an upstanding guy, that illegal drug dealer, he's not a liar.


  1. "it sounds like he used some PEDs that he thought was some ordinary ingredients."

    Say you are at a buddy's house, he pours you a glass of something purple, says it's grape juice. Your response, "Whatever." You have three glasses - get stopped by the cops driving home.

    When they ask if you've had anything to drink, you say "Grapejuice." They give you the test. You blow 1.8 and are arrested for DUI.

    Your defence is that your friend told you it was grapejuice.
    People think you are a liar or an idiot.

    And you are convicted.

  2. Yes, I agree. My point of the paragraph, probably because I wasn't clear enough, was that at miniumum, Bonds appear to be guilty of unintentional usage.

    To me that is different than intentional usage - which I don't think there has been enough proof yet - and something I can forgive. Intentional use is harder to forgive, but if the McGwire/Sosa hoopla made the green-eyed monster roar, then I can understand the competitiveness that drove him to use and probably can forgive that, though I would have to think about it more. If he has been intentionally using since forever, then I couldn't forgive that.

    But that probably applies to most of baseball, particularly if you include amphetamines, so my view is that stats over the past 60 years since WW II has been tainted by greenies, just like the past dozen or so have been tainted by steroids.

    And it looks like they are here to stay, you either get used to it or you go to neighborhood Little League or PONY League teams and watch them play, because any competition above them are probably tainted by drugs in one way or another. This is a choice most fans will have to make, the innocent little game we played when we were kids no longer exist at the major league level and it probably hasn't since the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.



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