An All-star List

Orioles among dozens linked to steroids in report

The report

Baseball is criticized for slow response

December 14, 2007|By Dan Connolly and Childs Walker | Dan Connolly and Childs Walker,Sun reporters

NEW YORK -- Former Sen. George J. Mitchell unveiled his 409-page report on steroid use in baseball yesterday, naming two current and 17 former Orioles among dozens of players and delivering a stinging assessment of the league and team officials who allowed a drug culture to take over the game in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Among the Orioles named in the report are All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts and recently traded shortstop Miguel Tejada. The other current Oriole is outfielder Jay Gibbons, who accepted a 15-day suspension last week for his alleged participation in an Internet steroid operation.

The report also features a detailed description of steroid use by pitching great Roger Clemens and mentions home-run king Barry Bonds and Clemens' longtime New York Yankees teammate, pitcher Andy Pettitte. Mitchell found evidence that players from all 30 major league teams had used steroids.

"The use of steroids in Major League Baseball was widespread," Mitchell said. "The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective."

Much of the buzz leading up to the report's release centered on which stars would be implicated, but there were few big-name players cited who hadn't already surfaced in media reports or court proceedings. Part of that had to do with the lack of cooperation from union members who were contacted - something Mitchell and Commissioner Bud Selig lamented yesterday.

Donald Fehr, the president of the players union, said the union advised its members to seek independent counsel before talking to Mitchell's investigators, but he added: "Ultimate decisions always were made by the individual players."

All but six of the players named in the section on specific performance-enhancing drugs were implicated by the interviews of two men: former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski and former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee.

The exceptions included the popular Roberts, which came from a former Orioles teammate, Larry Bigbie. He said Roberts admitted injecting himself several times in 2003, but Bigbie did not see Roberts take the injections, he told Mitchell. The revelations about Tejada came from Adam Piatt, a former Oakland Athletics teammate who said he sold testosterone to the All-Star shortstop in 2003, Tejada's last season in Oakland.

Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons were previously mentioned in a Los Angeles Times report that alleged the three were named as steroid users by ex-Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley in a 2006 federal affidavit. Also mentioned in that September 2006 article were Pettitte and Clemens.

Bigbie, who is now playing baseball in Japan, told Mitchell he met Radomski through David Segui, a former Orioles teammate who told The Sun this week that he and Radomski have been friends for 13 years and that he had purchased steroids from Radomski.

Mitchell obtained checks made out to Radomski from various players, including Grimsley, Bigbie, Segui, former Oriole Jerry Hairston and new Washington Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca.

Mitchell's 30-minute statement stressed needed reform in an already strengthened drug policy but suggested only the most egregious offenders mentioned in the report should be punished for past practices.

He offered 20 recommendations to improve the sport's drug program, with the most crucial being the creation of a Department of Investigations led by a senior baseball executive who would work with law-enforcement officials in cases involving players.

He also suggested the sport make its drug testing more transparent to the public, turn the program over to an independent agency, beef up its educational efforts and eliminate the 24-hour advance notice clubs previously received for supposedly random tests.

Selig, in a news conference after Mitchell's, said he has already eliminated the testing notice.

"Those recommendations that I can implement independently, I will do immediately," Selig said. "There are other recommendations that are subject to collective bargaining. I am also committed to those recommendations, and we will be reaching out to Don Fehr and the players association in the immediate future to urge him to join me in accepting them."

In a third news conference, Fehr said because the union did not receive an advance copy of the report the way Selig did, he had not had an opportunity to study the suggestions.

Mitchell called the game's current testing policy, which expires in 2011, a "good first step" but said it "falls short of the current best practices in drug enforcement." Some members of Congress were much harsher, criticizing Selig and the policy in light of the report.

Citing a lack of leadership and oversight in baseball, Rep. Cliff Stearns called for Selig to step down. Sen. John McCain, among the first to ask baseball to begin drug testing, asked the union to "step forward to help save the reputation of the game."

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