Thursday, December 20, 2007

Roberts Admits To Use Of Steroids

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, issued a statement Thursday night, admitting to taking steroids, but said he only did it once in 2003. Roberts was one of many current and former MLB players named last week in the "Mitchell Report" an investigation into the use of steroids in MLB conducted by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

Roberts in his statement said that he only took the P.E.D. (performance enhancing drug) once in 2003, and immediately felt shame and remorse. Roberts went on to state that his mindset was that this was not the type of person he was, and never did it again. Roberts implied that he was "narced on" by former teammate Larry Bigbie. He said he holds no ill feelings, towards Bigbie, and basically excused Bigbie naming him as something Bigbie felt he needed to do to extricate himself from a bad situation. Bigbie who played with Roberts in Baltimore spoke with the Mitchell Commission, and allegedly recounted a conversation that the two had in 2004.

Last weekend New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite admitted to taking banned substances, also only for a very short period to help him recover from an injury. Earlier this week Roger Clemens who was prominently named in the report, denied taking any steroids, or banned substances.

Prepare yourself for a winter that will be a combination of the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's coupled with I smoked but did not inhale excuses. The witch hunt that is going on as a result of the names released last week, are eerily similar to the search for Communists back in the 1950's by the former Wisconsin Senator. And the excuses by the athletes who are admitting to it sound like trying to say they are just a "little bit pregnant." In Thursday's "USA TODAY" columnist Mike Lopresti asked for someone, anyone to come out and just admit the truth. Sorry Mike, that was tried earlier this Summer by Jason Giambi, who granted an interview to your colleague Bob Nightengale. Giambi was crucified by the "Powers That Be" in MLB, why would any other player even attempt to clear the air, after they saw how the "One Honest Man" was treated?

© Copyright 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interview With Marty Stanovich

The Game Of Baseball’s Jeff Sack a guest on the Marty Stanovich Show on Pensacola’s Newstalk 1620 on 11/14/07, discussed the fall out after The Mitchell Report and the press conference given by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Part 1:

Part 2:

© Copyright 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So What's Next Bud?

I don't know if you were as disgusted with the "dog and pony" show put on Thursday by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig as I was. This was nothing more than a vaudeville act to get you, the baseball fan in his corner. Hopefully you were able to see through the insincerity that in my opinion oozed through every pore of the former Milwaukee Brewer's owner when he addressed the media after "The Mitchell Report" was released. All of a sudden after at best benign neglect, or even possibly involved in a pro-active way, Selig has hit his "Popeye Mode." He's had all he can stands and he ain't gonna stands for it anymore. Now he's going to become MLB's answer to Roger Goodell and become a tough Commissioner? Sorry Bud, but here's one guy that just won't buy it!

For those of you who were somehow out of the loop on Thursday, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, released his report on his investigation into use of steroids in MLB. It is a 409 page PDF file that I have scanned, but honestly will take me at least a couple of days to fully digest. A list of current and former players were named as allegedly involved with steroids. The list is on this site, you can peruse it for yourself, you maybe surprised at some names listed, you also may be surprised at some names not on the list. Although, I have my own private conjecture on certain players who were left off, I will keep them to myself. I will not drag somebody's name through the mud, based on suspicions.

I was a guest on a Sports Talk Show on a radio station in Pensacola, Florida Thursday afternoon. I brought up the point that if it were not for the "tell all" book by Jose Canseco that MLB players would never have had to testify in front of Congress in March of 2005. Selig and MLBPA Union Chief Donald Fehr also testified. The reason that MLB enacted more stringent penalties for use of steroids, and eventually amphetamines, was Congress told MLB to get their act together. Congress in no uncertain terms, told Selig and Fehr, clean up your house or we will clean it up for you. The time period that is covered by the names in the "Mitchell Report" the penalty for a first time offense was counseling. That was it, no suspensions, no fines, you had to talk to somebody about your problem. Selig can not possibly impose tougher sanctions now than were in place when the infractions took place. The Union would not stand for it, and no way would it stand up in a court of law.

So basically Selig saying he was going to handle current players on a case by case basis is meaningless. Unless there is solid proof, of these players taking banned substances, after tougher sanctions were imposed, Selig was just full of hot air. This Pandora's box opened on Thursday will not be closed any time soon. Let's see what the Commissioner does next.
© Copyright 2007

Mitchell List Realeased

The Following names are current and former MLB players named Thursday in the George Mitchell Steroid Investigation:
Manny Alexander
Chad Allen
Rick Ankiel
David Bell
Mike Bell
Gary Bennett Jr.
Marvin Bernard
Larry Bigbie
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Paul Byrd
Ken Caminiti
Jose Canseco
Mark Carreon
Jason Christiansen
Howie Clark
Roger Clemens
Paxton Crawford
Jack Cust
Chris Donnels
Brendan Donnelly
Lenny Dykstra
Bobby Estalella
Ryan Franklin
Matt Franco
Eric Gagne
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Juan Gonzalez
Jason Grimsley
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston
Matt Herges
Phil Hiatt
Glenallen Hill
Darren Holmes
Todd Hundley
Wally Joyner
Chuck Knoblauch
Tim Laker
Mike Lansing
Paul Lo Duca
Exavier "Nook" Logan
Jose Manzanillo
Gary Matthews Jr.
Mark McGwire
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Bart Miadich
Hal Morris
Guillermo Mota
Denny Neagle
Jim Parque
Andy Pettitte
Adam Piatt
Todd Pratt
Stephen Randolph
Adam Riggs
Brian Roberts
John Rocker
F.P. Santangelo
Benito Santiago
Scott Schoeneweis
David Segui
Gary Sheffield
Sammy Sosa
Mike Stanton
Miguel Tejada
Ismael Valdez
Maurice Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Fernando Vina
Rondell White
Jeff Williams
Matt Williams
Todd Williams
Steve Woodard
Kevin Young
Greg Zaun
© Copyright 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twins And Red Sox Continue Talks On Santana

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday that the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox are still engaged in talks concerning Twins starter Johann Santana. According to the reports, Boston has offered two different packages trying to entice the Twins. Bo-Sox have put one deal headed up by starting pitcher Jon Lester, the other package would have center fielder Jacob Ellsbury as the center. Minnesota, who lost their center fielder Torrii Hunter to free agency are said to be favoring the deal featuring Ellsbury.

Boston, who won the World Series, would have one of the top starting rotations in all of MLB if they add Santana to their staff. Boston already has 20 game winner Josh Beckett, ageless wonder Curt Schilling, and Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation. If the Red Sox could acquire Santana, the staff would hearken back to legendary starting rotation of the Baltimore Orioles. Boston is almost a guaranteed sold-out game in most opponent's stadiums, where Major League Baseball Tickets become an even more valuable commodity, they could just about sell All-Star Game Tickets with that rotation. They would also have to be prohibitive favorites to be able sell World Series Game Tickets if they acquire one of MLB's best starters.

© Copyright 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Confessions Of A Self Proclaimed Baseball Addict

During the Summer of 2006, a few members of the Cleveland Sports Media were sitting in the Jacobs Field press box, before a midseason Indians game. A friend, and colleague, Justice B. Hill who works for told me he was doing an article on the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Without much thought, I started spouting off the names as if they were members of my family. "Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Babe Ruth" I said matter of factly. Justice looked taken aback, that I, had so easily listed the players. His eyes grew big with surprise, and he told me that he was very impressed. I may have been more surprised than he was! Those names were ingrained in my head, long before I learned my multiplication tables. Who didn't know of Honus Wagner, the Flying Dutchman, whose huge paws scooped up pebbles as he fielded grounders at shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates? Ty Cobb, maybe one of the most vicious, yet equally talented players to ever take the field. A man who sharpened his spikes before every game in order to intimidate opponents. Christy Mathewson,"Big Six" who along with his manager, John McGraw, made the Giants the first New York powerhouse, back when the Yankees, were known as the Highlanders. Mathewson, a cultured gentleman, back when most ballplayers were known as "hooligans" suffered from the effects of mustard gas back in World War One. He returned from Europe, a shell of his former self, and passed away long before his time. Walter "The Big Train" Johnson, one of the most dominant pitchers of all time, who played for the hapless Senators, when Washington, was "First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League. And of course the man who saved baseball, The Bambino, George Herman "Babe" Ruth, the man who set the standard for the modern sports superstar. A man who did everything on a grander than life size scale, he lived his life obsessed by the three "B's" booze, broads, and baseball. If Ruth played today in the Bronx, his off field exploits would be plastered each day on the back page of the New York tabloids. But not back in the twenties, and thirties, when there was a more simpatico relationship between the press and the players. Ruth literally changed the way the game was played. To put things in perspective, lets look at the game's first power hitter, Frank "Home Run" Baker. Home Run Baker's largest home run production was 12 round trippers!! Ruth eventually hit 60 in one year, five times the amount!!

My Childhood, was filled with reading of the exploits of early baseball players. Rabbit Maranville, the slick fielding shortstop, who might have been the Omar Vizquel of his day. Tris Speaker, the consummate athlete, both at the plate and on the field. Legendary managers, like the Giants' McGraw, a former player who was one of the toughest competitors to ever walk the planet. His polar opposite Connie Mack, who managed and owned the Philadelphia A's, looked like a bank president. Each day he took the field in a formal black business suit and tie, the baseball patrician. Pitchers like Cy Young and Grover Alexander, (who was portrayed on the screen by Ronald Reagan, probably the best piece of acting that Dutch ever did.) The Dean brothers, Dizzy, and Daffy, the "Gashouse Gang" from St. Louis, which featured Tinker, to Evers, to Chance, one of the greatest infields of all time! Guys like Mel Ott, Hank Greenberg, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, and Pie Traynor.

Reading about the color line finally being broken thanks to Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey,and maybe the bravest player to ever lace them up, Jackie Robinson. Robinson, agreeing not to allow the denigrating behavior from Caucasian ballplayers to get under his skin, opened the door for the mass exodus of great African American players to enter the game over the next few decades. Players such as Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, currently the game's leader for most home runs in a career. The starcrossed Roy Campanella, who had the potential to become the most prolific catcher of all time, seeing his career end playing for the Dodgers, when he was crippled in an auto accident.

The New York Yankees could populate an entire wing of the Hall of Fame just by themselves. Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Joe Dimaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, just to skim the surface. The Cleveland Indians, with players like Lou Boudreau, Mel Harder, Larry Doby, Al Rosen, and a man I actually have the pleasure of knowing, Mr. Bob Feller. The man from Iowa, pitched his rookie season in the Bigs as a high school junior!! The great Latin players, who started to come to the majors in the fifties. Athletes like Cookie Rojas, Louie Aparaicio, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Juan Marichal, the flame thrower from the San Francisco Giants, who almost ended Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro's career, when he hit the backstop upside the coconut with a Louisville Slugger.

My first time in a major league ballpark was in 1961. It was a Sunday afternoon doubleheader (yes they actually SCHEDULED doubleheaders back then, believe it or not!) My beloved Boston Red Sox were hosting the Kansas City A's. Neither team was good, the Bo-Sox would end up in sixth place that year in the American League. The A's mired in tenth (yes, one division, ten teams, no playoffs, boy how times have changed!) I didn't care about the standings, I was about to see my heroes, up close and in color, as opposed to the black and white image we saw on TV. I remember like it was yesterday, going into the bowels of the stadium, which reeked of stale beer, tobacco, and peanuts. At first I was disappointed, this dump was Fenway? That feeling vanished within seconds as I left the tunnel and approached the field. At that moment, I would experience for the first time what would occur each and every time I went to the place. Author John Updike,in a quote that has become immortal,put it best, "Fenway Park, is a little lyrical bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus like the inside of an old fashioned Easter Egg." His description was perfect, it literally took my breath away, and still does, when ever I approach the field. I never get that experience in any other ballpark, maybe like with love it's because it was my first.

1967 was the "Summer Of Love" in San Francisco. Bostonians, were on a different kind of high, this one was caused by inhaling horsehide fumes. It was the year of "The Impossible Dream" a song from the play "The Man From La Mancha" a play that was sweeping the country, just like the boys from Fenway were sweeping the Bay State. The Red Sox who had been non-factors in the American League since the early fifties, were battling for the pennant. The same team that had finished one game out of last place the year before, was led by a fiery young manager named Dick Williams, and two players. Jim Lonborg, won over twenty games that season and was the ace of the Boston pitching staff. But the man who carried the club on his shoulders, was the team captain, Carl Yastremski. Yaz as he was universally known around New England, had the single greatest season that I have ever witnessed. He won the league's triple crown, the last player in either league to accomplish it, and was the A.L. MVP. Yaz, along side young players like centerfielder Reggie Smith, second baseman Mike Andrews, and the "Boomer" George Scott, the first baseman who was always looking for "Taters" his euphemism for home runs. This scrappy charismatic team took the region by storm, and made Boston the baseball crazed city that it remains to this day.

The Sox won the pennant clinching on the final day of the campaign against the Minnesota Twins. But they actually had to wait and see if they would advance to "The Show", or would have to play a one game playoff against Detroit. If the Tigers, defeated the California Angels, a showdown would be forced. But the fates were kind to New England, and the Tigers went down to defeat. Boston would take on the St. Louis Cardinals, ironically their opponent the last time they went to the series in 1946. The Sox had lost that battle, leaving them without a World Series championship since 1918. I experienced the type of excitement only an eleven year old seeing his team in contention for the first time could feel. However my elation increased tenfold when my dad, told me that he had tickets for the two of us for Game Six. The next few days were a blur, I wasn't guaranteed to be going to any game. If either St. Louis, or Boston won in five games or less, all I would have was a useless ticket as a memento. But again the fates smiled upon me as the two teams took the field for game six, with my dad, and me, sitting on the first base line. The Sox sent Gary Waslewski to the mound, a journeyman, who was getting his fifteen minutes of fame. Waslewski did not get the victory, but the Sox did, by the score of 8-4 with reliever Johnny Wyatt getting the "W". I was higher than a kite, convinced that my club would win the final game and the series.

In the next 24 hours, my eleven year old heart was broken for the first time. Hall of Fame Legend, Bob Gibson, the nastiest right hander I have ever seen on the mound, was pitching for St.Louis, the Sox went with the guy that brought them to the dance, Jim Lonborg. Unfortunately, Lonborg's magic had started to run out (it vanished completely that winter when he broke his leg in a skiing accident, he was never the same pitcher.) Gibby and his team sent Boston to defeat, and I had to learn about keeping a stiff upper lip, and being a gracious loser. Concepts that were completely foreign to an eleven year old.

Boston would be in contention every year for almost the next decade, but never getting back to the big dance. Instead the American League was dominated first by the Detroit Tigers, who won it all in 1968, with 30 game winner Denny McClain setting the pace. The Orioles were the big boys the next few years, with the the Robinson Boys, Frank, and Brooks, the man who looked like a wall with a face first baseman Boog Powell, and the most dominant pitching staff in the last 40 years. Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally, and Jim Palmer were a virtual machine mowing down all American League foes in their path. They lost the series, in 1969, to the Miracle Mets. However they won it all the next year, defeating the Cincinnati Reds. Although, I had liked the "Birds" earlier, by the time they went to the series in 1971, I wanted to see them go down to defeat. Pittsburgh Pirates superstar, Roberto Clemente, almost single handily kept me from being disappointed. The most graceful athlete, I have ever seen on a diamond took his club to the promised land, defeating the Orioles in seven games. Unfortunately, Roberto would not grace the planet much longer, dying on a humanitarian aid trip to Nicaragua, his plane crashing on New Years Eve 1973.

Boston had let Dick Williams go as manager, and he resurfaced with the Oakland A's. For the next three years, that team not only dominated the game, but American culture also, as guys like Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom, Reggie Jackson, and Joe Rudi became household names. But the A.L. East would come back to win the pennant in 1975, as none other than the Boston Red Sox, still led by Captain Carl, but now augmented by young stars like Freddie Lynn, Carlton Fisk, and Rick Burleson brought back "Pennant Fever" to Boston. The Sox took on Cincinnati, and again made it to the seventh game, before losing what many baseball historians call the greatest World Series of all time.

Although I have a different perspective of baseball now then as a child, or even as a young man, I still love the game. Being a member of the Sports Media, I try to remain at least outwardly unbiased. I, have learned first hand that baseball is a business first, and seeing behind the scenes has taken away some of the glamour that I had earlier believed to be there. But, to me it is still the perfect sport. Yes, the NBA is like a video game, where as Baseball is more like a chess match, but don't we have room for both? Yes we have found out recently that some of our so called heroes, have feet of clay, but that has been going on since the days of the Black Sox scandal. The game is bigger, than any one player, or for that matter any one era. In some ways baseball has come a long way between the times of Rabbit Maranville, and Omar Vizquel. In some ways it hasn't changed at all.
© 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Little Steinbrenner Says Santanna Deal Probably Will Not Go Down

Hank Steinbrenner son of George, and the man who has seemingly become the face of the New York Yankees since last season ended, said the Yankees attempt to get Minnesota starter Johann Santanna is probably dead. Reports out of New York Tuesday, say that "Little Steinbrenner" imposed a a deadline for a deal with the Twins for the pitcher, According to the reports, the two sides could not come up with a workable deal. Steinbrenner said the deal was now probably not going to happen. Reportedly the Bronx Bombers had offered the Twins Melky Cabrerra, the New York centerfielder, and starter Phil Hughes. Allegedly, the Twins wanted more for Santanna who will become a free agent at the end of the 2008 campaign.
© Copyright 2007

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  • From Cleveland, Ohio, United States
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