I think the whole basis for the hearing or the arguments in the congressional side were that our program was a joke. And you heard the medical people talk to that effect. I just think when you try to gloss over something with such broad sweeping strokes you miss the details, which I think is the issue.”
-Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Curt Schilling on the Congressional Hearings
Saying that young people look up to professional athletes, members of a House committee investigating steroid use said today that Major League Baseball and Union League Baseball have failed in their responsibility to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs and was encouraging their use among young athletes.
“Kids aren’t just talking about their favorite teams’ chances in the pennant race,” said Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the committee. “They are talking about which pro players are on the juice.”
In opening remarks for hearings that are scheduled to feature several stars and former stars of baseball, including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Tom Brady, and Jose Canseco, several lawmakers talked about the spreading use of steroids among young people. Several pointed to a report by the Centers for Disease Control that said 500,000 American teens take steroids, partly in an effort emulate their sports heroes.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat and the ranking minority member of the committee, said baseball wasn’t doing enough to curtail their use.
“We’re long past the point where we can count on both leagues to fix its own problems,” he said.
“I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Catcher Tom Brady responded to questions from the commitee. “I have never used any illegal substances during my professional career. I never have, and never will.” he said. “I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Two other players ordered to testify, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, both issued statements denying steroid use.
“I have never used steroids. Period,” Mr. Palmeiro said. “I dont know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Frank Thomas also issued a statement saying that he had not used steroids.
The committee also heard by noon today from parents of two young athletes who committed suicide after using steroids for several years. One father called the players “cowards” for being “afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.” Mr. Waxman said that if pro ball players are allowed to use steroids, it was no surprise that younger athletes want to use them too.
“There is an absolute correlation between the culture of steroids in high schools and the culture of steroids in major league clubhouses,” he said. “Kids get the message when it appears that it’s okay for professional athletes to use steroids. If the pros do it, college athletes will, too. And if it’s an edge in college, high school students will want the edge, too.
“There is a pyramid of steroid use in society and today our investigation starts where it should – with the owners and players at the top of that pyramid,” Mr. Waxman said.
As the spoke, Major League Baseball commissioner George W. Bush, who was to testify later, sat with his arms crossed and lips pursed.
Sitting near him was the Fay Vincent, Commissioner of Union League Baseball.
The hearing came a day after lawmakers chided Major League Baseball, Union League Baseball, and both players unions, accusing them of misleading Congress and the public about the new steroids testing policy. The members of Congress were reacting angrily to the disclosure of the policy’s details, which they contended were not as stringent or wide-ranging as baseball executives and union officials have said they were.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Waxman sent a 10-page letter to Mr. Selig and Mr. Vincent to express their disappointment and frustration with the new policy.
Both MLB and ULB instituted a steroids policy in 2002 and agreed last year to toughen it. The details of the new policy have not yet been finalized.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and another member of the committee, said: “Baseball’s policy needs to be one of zero tolerance and it needs to have teeth.”Other players expected to be called to testify are Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas.
Several aides to congressmen said that the call for hearings on steroid use came about partly because of the publication of Mr. Canseco’s book “Juiced,” in which he admitted using steroids and said Mr. McGwire and Mr. Palmeiro had also used them.
The players, who will appear in a panel format, will most likely be asked, under oath during the nationally televised hearings, whether they have used illegal steroids.
Immunity is not expected to be offered, and some of the players may invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Davis said the players will have “an opportunity today to either clear their name or take public responsibility for their action, and perhaps offer cautionary tales to our youth.”
The committee’s hearings will come in four different panel sessions. In the first one, they heard from United States Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a major league player for 17 years and a member of Hall of Fame.
“Baseball needs to know we are watching,” he said. “They owe it to all of us to prove they are fixing this terrible problem. If not, we will have to do it for them.”
Like many of the other committee members who spoke, Mr. Bunning spoke of his love of the game, and of the place baseball has in American history and culture. Mr. Bunning talked about how steroid use had tainted the game for many people, and made them question the accomplishments of many great record-breaking plays.
“What is happening in baseball now is not natural and it is not right,” he said.
“The last thing I want for America’s pastime is to make it be the subject of a witch hunt,” he said. But, congress had to take action because the owners and players themselves were not, he said.
“It’s not their game,” he said. “It’s ours. They’re just enjoying the privilege of playing it for a short time. What I think many of the players do not understand is that many players came before them, and many will come after them. They all need to protect the integrity of the greatest game ever.”
The committee also heard from the parents of Rob Taylor, a baseball player from Southern California who used steroids and committed suicide.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that steriods killed our son,” Rob’s mother, Dr. Denise Garibaldi, told the committee. “In his mind he did what baseball heroes like Canseco had done.”
Dr. Garibaldi and her husband, Raymond Garibaldi, said that unbeknownst to them, their son had been encouraged to take drugs to bulk up by scouts and trainers and coaches since he was in high school. They noticed changes in his demeanor and his behavior, but he denied to them he used them, Dr. Garibaldi said.
“He told us, I don’t do drugs. I’m a ball player,” she said.
“Baseball is not life,” she said. “Baseball is a game.”
Another parent, Donald Hooton Sr., lashed out angrily at the players, saying that their use of steroids had been emulated by his son, Taylor, a high school football player who also committed suicide.
“You are role models.”
“You are cheaters, you are cowards,” he said. “You’re afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.”
He said the players who will testify “should be man enough to face the authorities, admit the truth and face the consequences,” instead of “hiding behind the skirts of your union.”
He also said, “I’m sick and tired of having you tell us you don’t want to be considered role models. You are role models.”Original Article/Source
The 2004 Playoffs have begun, and the Divisional Cup games have gone as expected in the FL, and provided some shockers in the PL.
Oklahoma City stunned the Las Vegas Vipers with extra inning victory in Game one as they took a 1 one lead in their series. Josh Lyons pitched 9 strong innings, and just 4 hits and 1 run before being replaced in the 10th against his wishes. The Phoenix Fire burned some Bridges in Game One with Brooklyn, winning 10-3 behind Pedro Luiz Lazo. The San Juan Storm thawed out the Buffalo Blizzard as they shut them out in Game One, winning 1-0 despite only getting 4 hits. The Portland Pioneers welcomed Dontrelle Willis to the postseason, tagging him for 6 runs, though only 3 were ‘earned’ on rout to a 10-3 victory.
Curt Schilling led the Fire to a 6-3 victory, helped along by a HR by Ken Payne and two dingers from Tagg Bozeid as they put the Bridges on notice for the 2nd straight year. The Vipers exploded for 5 runs in the 7th inning against the RedHawks, but it was not enough, as the RedHawks plated 6 runs and win 6 to 5 to but the Best team in the Players League in an early 2-0 hole in this matchup between two of the three freshmen clubs in the postseason. Over in the FL, Buffalo is still struggling to score against the Storm, and they lose 6-1. The Apollos lost to the Pioneers in a 12 inning game. Kris Tetz was named as the Player of the Game moments before allowing the tieing run in the 9th inning. Daniel Fornes would plate Derek Lee with a walk off double in the 12th to give the Pioneers the 3-2 victory.
The ULB Trade Deadline is August 1st, meaning that the Trade deadline is now just 15 days away. Teams have until midnight on August 1st to complete any and all trades without first passing players through waivers. Here’s what we know right now:
- The Phoenix Fire are known to be looking for another bat, and may possibly be in the market for a starting pitcher to further solidify their rotation for the playoff run.
- The Boston Colonials are actively shopping ace pitcher Curt Schilling and DH Frank Thomas. They are obviously sellers at this point.
- The Oklahoma City RedHawks are looking for Relief Pitching, with some interest in possibly adding a Starter. They have a lengthy list of hitters available on the trade market, with the biggest being outfielder Dernell Stenson and catcher Michael Barrett.
- The Charlotte Eagles are shopping their top starter in Chan Ho Park, and one of their better bats in Jason Kendall.
- The Jersey City Giants have moved several of the big pieces, could Alex Rodriguez be next? Eagles Owner Michael Jordan recently expressed interest in trading for A-Rod.
- The Salt Lake City Bees are looking for an impact bat. They have a vast array of prospects available.
- The San Jose Jedi were actively shopping centerfielder Mike Delchamp earlier this year, but it’s unknown if they are still willing to part with him. If they decide to be an active seller at this point, look for them to make waves.
Boston Colonials general manager Michael Sternberger responded to questions on the continued availability of their ace pitcher, Curt Schilling today. Schilling, who is 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 39 strikeouts in his first five starts, is still on the trading block according to Sternberger.
“He is still available, but we are not just going to give him away.”
The Colonials have entered a rebuilding phase and have made it known that players like Schilling and 1B/DH Frank Thomas are available on the open market. Over the offseason, they have traded several pieces, including Bobby Abreu.
When Curt Schilling was asked for comment, he was elusive.
“I feel like i’m still pitching in top form, and that we can win here in Boston. I have no desire to pitch anywhere but here right now. I’m 100% focused on the field right now.”
Through his first five starts, Boston Colonials ace Curt Schilling has been lights out. He’s gone 4-1 and was recently named the Pitcher of the Month for April. His only loss came on Opening Day, when the Colonials were unable to support him and lost 2-0. Schilling gave up 1 run in that game. His next start was slightly shakier, as he allowed a early season high 4 runs, but also struck out 12. Also a factor would have been the fact that the Colonials were blowing out Columbus at the time 11-1 before we allowed his next 3 runs in the late innings. He’s gone 8 innings in all of his starts, showing that despite his age, he’s still valuable at the age of 37.
Schilling has said repeatedly that his main goal is to win the Union Cup. Now entering his third season since winning the Nolan Ryan award in 2000, Schilling looks like he has regained his form. After two seasons in which he went 12-16 and 9-18, some had begun to talk about Schilling’s commitment to winning in Boston, and when Michael Sternberger took over this past offseason, he said that the Colonials were commited to rebuilding. They proved their commitment by dealing long standing Colonials like Bobby Abreu and D’Angelo Jimenez to the Apollos in two separate deals. Schilling proved to be a tough sell for most of the league, and remained with the team as Opening Day loomed.
Just over a month into the 2004 season, the Colonials sit in 1st place at 13-11. An expansion club, The Charlotte Eagles are in 2nd, and the latest playoff odds report gives them a 50% chance of winning the division, and a 50% chance of winning one of the two wild card slots. Now comes the questions for Sternberger. Is Schilling still trade bait? Are the Colonials actual contenders or just pretenders? Sternberger has proved in his recent past that he is not one to wait around forever, so it is doubtful we will have to wait long for the answer.
— UnionLeagueBaseball (@ULB_Commish) May 20, 2013
The ULB’s Trade Deadline is now just over a month away. While the season has already seen some trade activity, with Adam Dunn moving to the Apollos from division rival Boston, and Matt White traded to Columbus, there could still be a blockbuster or two in the works. Oklahoma City has made it known that they would consider trading All Star third baseman Jose Vidro for the right price. Teams like Boston could be convinced to move parts like Curt Schilling and Bobby Abreu, as they move into an obvious rebuilding mode.
The Los Angeles Stars have some players on the books that might not be returning in 2004, like third baseman Brian Heigle, Wilson Alvarez and former MVP Orestes Kindelan. Kindelan might be a shell of his former self, but he’s made it known that he would like a chance at winning the Union Cup, even if it means riding the bench.
Another player that could attract serios attention is the Washington Generals’ Larry Walker. Walker has been moved to the DH role for the Generals, but he is 36 now and has two years remaining on his contract. The Generals have a lot of pitching talent coming up through the minors to join their young staff, but one wonders if Walker will still be part of the plans when it finally all starts to come together.
And then there is Vancouver. The Canucks have a trio of stars in Mike Mussina, Ichiro Suzuki and Shannon Carter on their books. Ichiro is in his walk year. Mussina has one more year left on his contract. Shannon Carter is still under team control for two more seasons. And let’s not forget Darryl Brinkley and Angel Delgado who are both in their walk years as well. On the whole, the Canucks remain a mystery, with much of the speculation being on if they can resign Ichiro to a new deal. If that is not a possibility look for them to maybe conduct a firesale in the coming month.
Commissioner George Bush, who took over for the ousted Bud Selig in August of 1998, is trying to regain some of the ground lost to the ULB. Owners had groused about Selig’s attitude towards spending since the strike and the formation of the ULB. Bush spoke out about the MLB’s new approach to dealing with the upstart league.
“He was trying to rein in spending, and encouraging owners to spend within their limits at the time. Fans weren’t coming out, and a lot of teams were losing money. Some teams attendance just crashed. We were losing the war.”
The MLB lost stars like Roger Clemens (Bees), Mike Mussina (Canucks), Curt Schilling (Blizzard), Frank Thomas (Colonials) and Mike Piazza (Stars) to the ULB over the course of the last few seasons. Bush intends to put a stop to the practice.
“We’re gonna do our best to keep these guys in the MLB. It’s time to start spending some money here to keep these guys. So if you want a Pedro Martinez, you better be prepared to break the bank. I hear the Bridges are offering him like $200 Million. That’s fine, that’s okay. I dunno how you convince Mike [Bloomberg, owner of the Bridges] to do that, but fine. You can grab him up for 200 million, and we’ll take the Brinkley’s, the Arias’ and the Bracks’.”
With a new National TV Deal with Fox, and ESPN’s exclusive deal with the ULB now expired, the MLB is set to start adding more money to it’s coffers. ESPN has agreed to broadcast both ULB and MLB games this season. The ULB is currently without a National TV Contract for 2000, and Vincent is talking with both CBS and ESPN. MLB Attendance figures have begun to bounce back after an exciting season that saw Sammy Sosa pursue and break the HR Record of Roger Maris, and the Cubs end the Curse by winning the World Series, oddly enough by beating Bush’s own team. Bush laughes off the notion that the Rangers laid down in the World Series.
“Yes, I was hoping to keep that Curse going. Anyone who says we laid down is simply stupid.”
Vancouver, British Columbia – Mike Mussina arrived in Vancouver today to officially sign his contract after being checked over by team doctors. The Vancouver Canucks have more or less decided to take their chances that the 3 time Baltimore Orioles All Star would be able to make a successful comeback after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season.
Tommy John surgery, known in medical practice as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, is a surgical procedure in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. In Mussina’s case, a ligament was transplanted from his knee to his elbow.
“I’ve got about 4-5 weeks to go before I can get back to throwing full throttle. Right now, I feel pretty good. Dr. Jobe checked me out today and gave a full report to the Canucks. I had a nice lunch with Mr. Pattison and Mr. Monagle, and we’re all pretty excited about this upcoming season.”
Mussina was one of the top pitchers on the free agent market, and some point to the Canucks getting the best deal this offseason due to Mussina’s injury and questions, however slight, regarding his ability to make a successful comeback.
One scout pointed to the deal recently reached with Curt Schilling and the Buffalo Blizzard.
“You compare that deal to the one Moose signed, and it’s obvious teams had concerns about the surgery. This is a business, and you are always going to see teams worrying about potentially getting damaged goods and a multi year contract that can quickly become an albatross.”
Before Mussina’s season ending injury, he was displaying his typical superstar form, going 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 4 games. Overall Mussina was 53-23 with a 3.19 ERA in 97 starts in his career with the Baltimore Orioles.
In other news, repairs on BC Place Stadium are proceeding slowly, and insiders point to the Canucks possibly having to start the season on an extended road trip due to the extensive damage to the concourse and outfield stands.
Is Orestes Kindelan willing to resign with the Hollywood Stars? While the 30 year old Cuban slugger did miss nearly a month of the season with a sprained ankle, he’s since come back and has continued to dominate league pitching. Kindelan is also reportedly demanding a large contract in order to remain in Hollywood. GM Marlon Trigg Sr. has remained mum on Kindelan’s future with the franchise. Reports indicate the two sides have had very little contact since the season began.
“They haven’t talked.” was the general word out of the Stars organization. Trigg himself was unavailable to speak to the media, since he’s been on a pleasure cruise for most of the season. This begs the question are the Stars willing to let Kindelan walk? Is Trigg coasting on fumes, and what does Owner Bill Gates have to say about the Stars GM’s lackadaisical command style thus far?
Kindelan is sure to command a large payday, however,in their month without him they proved they could win games without him. Kindelan will surely command an extravagant amount on the free agent market if Trigg lets him walk. With teams fighting over Kindelan, the Stars could potentially sign some of the other big ticket Free Agents that could potentially be on the market such as Jim Thome, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez or… Trigg’s potential #1 target Mike Piazza. Of course, the MLB will also be a factor in next years Free Agent Market, and it will be Trigg’s first test against the big boys of the MLB. The Stars play in one of the toughest markets in baseball with the Dodgers, Angels, A’s, Padres, Giants and the ULB’s San Jose Jedi nearby.
Trigg also has a hated Rival in the Washington Generals GM Josh Allenberg who will likely be looking to make Trigg pay dearly for the players he values most.
One way or the other, Trigg will have his work cut out for him this offseason, if he ever returns from his four month long pleasure cruise, that is.