Posted: Wednesday June 7, 2006 6:34PM; Updated: Thursday June 8, 2006 12:00PM
Jason Grimsley threw only 22 innings for the Orioles last season, posting a 5.73 ERA.
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Selig's clubhouses have been rife with drug suppliers. Here Selig consistently has been negligent, beginning with how he has chosen to this day to ignore charges by Jose Canseco that team trainers gave players the names and telephone numbers of steroid dealers. You had the Giants giving carte blanche to Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer who entered a guilty plea in the BALCO case. Now you have Grimsley saying outside equipment representatives supplied amphetamines, that "Latin players" supplied greenies in bulk, that Southern California players imported them from Mexico and that personal trainers for players, including at least one who might have worked for or in cooperation with a major league club, hooked up players with steroids by the "boatfull."
Selig has his own sort of border problem. To attack the drug problem Selig needs to administer the clubhouses more closely. Go back to the Pittsburgh drug trials of the 1980s, which revealed how cocaine easily made its way into the clubhouse through such lax security even the caterer was dealing drugs in the clubhouse. Then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth made clubhouse security an issue after that. Selig should instruct his drug investigator, George Mitchell, to start pulling on the threads of team doctors, trainers, personal trainers and anybody else with inside access to the players.
Jeff Novitsky is the best thing to happen to Mitchell. Without subpoena power, Mitchell has little hope of extracting the candor that Novitsky, the federal agent, got from Grimsley. Now Mitchell can start to follow the leads from Novitsky's work. As one baseball source said, "It won't be long at all" before the names Grimsley gave Novitsky, which are blacked out in the affidavit, will become public. You can bet many sets of eyes have seen the original copy.
The steroid-testing program is working. No, it's not perfect, but let's remember this: Grimsley was by his own account in the affidavit a serious user of performance-enhancing drugs, but when the tougher steroid penalties kicked in, he junked the steroid habit and stuck with HGH, for which baseball does not test. HGH does work. It can help with muscle recovery, lean muscle mass, energy capacity and other performance-related benefits, but it doesn't pack the same punch by itself as it does with steroids, which have a greater impact on strength and muscle endurance.
Baseball players can be idiots. Grimsley told his Arizona teammates after the story broke that he was toast. And here's what pitcher Terry Mulholland told reporters, though wire reports did not mention whether he did so with moist eyes: "He expressed to us that he had too much respect for us to allow this to bring us down. He's that kind of guy.''
Right. Grimsley is the kind of guy who for years can pump his body full of illegal chemicals, he can rat out other players, he can be a disgrace to himself and the game, he can turn himself into the most toxic non-person in baseball who won't get another job, and yet Mulholland wants you to believe he is some kind of team player who asked for his release -- he didn't quit, mind you, so that he still gets paid -- because he has "too much respect" for his teammates. Yeah, he's a guy's guy, that Grimsley. Totally unselfish.
And you wonder why there aren't more players like Corey Lidle and David Wells who call out the drug cheats in baseball? You wonder how these lambs among the players can plead to the press, "Nothing's been proven. Leave [fill in the blank] alone. He works hard"? Maybe it's because there are too many Grimsleys in the game who don't dare be critical of others when they are keeping their own secrets.