America’s Pastime takes another hit

Jason Grimsley and the HGH caper The last thing that major league baseball needed on the heels of Barry Bonds surpassing Babe Ruth on the home run list was another 'performance enhancing drug' scandal. The ...

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Jason Grimsley and the HGH caper

The last thing that major league baseball needed on the heels of Barry Bonds surpassing Babe Ruth on the home run list was another 'performance enhancing drug' scandal. The recent incident involving former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley has taken it to another level. No longer are we skeptical of just the superstar players. Now we have to also look at thirtysomething journeyman with marginal statistics.

An affidavit filed this past week in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix revealed that federal investigators performed a 'controlled delivery' of two kits of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) that were delivered to the Arizona home of 38 year old (then) Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley on April 19th. They went to his home on that date, confiscated the HGH and questioned him at another undisclosed location about baseball and performance enhancing drugs. Grimsley informed the investigators that he has been using steroids, amphetamines, and HGH. He named many other players that also were using these drugs, but the names were redacted on the documents that were made public. Grimsley admitted that he started using HGH when baseball put rules into place in 2004 concerning suspensions if a player tested positive. HGH is not detectable by performing a urinalysis, which anabolic steroids are.

Grimsley also informed the investigators that amphetamines were prevalent in the game, going so far as to describe that clubhouse coffee pots were marked 'leaded' (with amphetamines) and 'unleaded' (without). This allegation goes beyond the realm of the users doing their business on their own time in their own homes. If clubhouses are open with this, team officials are going to have a harder time pleading ignorance.

These court documents were made public after the investigators executed a search warrant at Grimsley's home, in which a team of 13 performed a six hour search. Results were not made public. The Diamondbacks subsequently released Grimsley, apparently after he requested they do so.

Taking a look at Grimsley's career numbers, it is a wonder what they would have been if he didn't have 'the upper hand.' He broke into the majors in 1989 with the Philadelphia Philles. Bouncing around over the years, he also played with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles before signing with Arizona this past off season. 42 wins, 58 losses with a 4.77 ERA lifetime stats are not exactly glaring.

If Commissioner Bud Selig is serious about cleaning up the game, then this may give the 'steroid witch hunt' a totally different target. The likes of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and Canseco are one thing. But players, especially pitchers, with marginal numbers are a little surprising. Who is clean if a guy such as Grimsley has been involved for years using three separate drugs?

As the names and allegations continue, then only person to look honest now is Jose Canseco. When he wrote his tell-all book, the baseball people dismissed it as a disgruntled former player that was trying to drag some other players down with him. But was he just the tip of the iceberg?

Speculation will persist on an even larger scale than it already does. The only way for baseball to completely rid itself of performance enhancing drugs will be to implement the necessary testing to reveal all of the banned drugs. The penalties already in place are a good start; although the number of minor league players being caught using steroids has been high even with suspension staring them in the face. George Mitchell, who was tabbed by Selig to perform an independent investigation into the issue, may find out that the problem is much more wide spread than anyone initially suspected.