If Mitchell has dirt on Bonds, now is the time to reveal it

OTHER VOICES

The Kickoff

April 30, 2007|By NICK CAFARDO | NICK CAFARDO,BOSTON GLOBE

It's a story that never seems to go away.

Steroids. Steroids. Steroids.

If former Sen. George Mitchell, who has been conducting an investigation backed by millions of dollars from Major League Baseball, has something, he'd better get it out there pronto. Because Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record soon, and it will be in the books. Asterisk or no asterisk. It will count.

Maybe it won't be recognized by baseball purists, those who believe that anyone who has been found to use steroids or has come under suspicion should be stricken from public consciousness. But the fact is, he will have broken the record, and anything that comes to light thereafter will be after the fact.

I think at some point in the next 10-12 months we're going to hear a whopper of an announcement from Mitchell, who already has had several months and several sources of information to work with - from BALCO to interviews with suspected players, federal court documents that name players, the confiscation of clubhouse computers, and all sorts of medical information supplied by teams.

If this investigation yields little, I will be stunned. And I would have my suspicions that damaging information is being withheld from the public.

Of course, the players union is going to pull out all the stops to protect current and former players. Chief operating officer Gene Orza had no comment this past weekend on the case of former New York Mets clubhouse worker Kirk Radomski, who pleaded guilty in federal court to supplying major league players with steroids and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Radomski worked at Shea Stadium from 1985 to 1995. His house was raided in 2005 by federal investigators working on a tip that he had been selling steroids to professional athletes for years. He has named athletes to whom he sold steroids.

Every time we see one of these stories, there is anticipation of the other shoe dropping. However, it rarely does. Some names trickle out - such as Jason Grimsley purchasing human growth hormone - but there's rarely a bombshell.

Reportedly, there are up to 23 names linked to Radomski, names of people who sent him checks that he deposited in his personal account from 2003 to 2005. Will we ever see the names? One supposes at some point they will be leaked out. For now, it's amusing to read the comments of former players who were on the Mets during the years Radomski was their "clubbie."

Players are closer to the clubbies than they are to the manager. The clubbie takes care of every whim the player has. He is tipped and over-tipped for things like grabbing a burger and fries or pressing a jersey or finding the best sushi restaurant in town.

But as soon as the word "steroids" comes out, all of a sudden the guy becomes "someone I didn't know really well." Or, oh yeah, "I vaguely remember that guy." Nobody wants to go near him.

Radomski was known as "Murdock" around Shea Stadium, apparently because he looked as buff as a World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler. You'd remember that guy pretty well. Yet all of the remarks concerning the guy were pretty vanilla.

Boston Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan, a Met during that time, told The New York Times: "He was huge. I mean huge."

Magadan also said, "He did his job in the clubhouse. You threw the jocks on the floor and he'd pick them up. He was good at what he did."

I don't know if Jose Canseco was correct that nearly 80 percent of major league players tried steroids in the 1980s and beyond, but it sounds as if there was a rampant problem, and Mitchell likely has heard some incredible stories.

Yet there are many who couldn't care less about the topic. Every time we write about steroids, there are some folks who think it's a stale topic.

A couple of Red Sox players shrugged off the revelations and didn't care because it did not affect them. They even said the media were overblowing it, which is amazing considering the guy reportedly has 23 names and just pleaded guilty.

Nick Cafardo writes for the Boston Globe.

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