The New York Daily News
June 8, 2006
Jason Grimsley doesn't want to be a distraction the way Jason Giambi didn't want to be a distraction. Giambi, one of the BALCO All-Stars, never admitted that his leaked grand jury testimony in the BALCO case was true, never admitted that he used steroids to get bigger and stronger and much richer, just apologized for nothing and was celebrated for that far and wide. Even now Giambi keeps saying he did what he had to do and moved on.
Mostly by hitting home runs.
"I didn't want to be a distraction to my teammates," Giambi, who gets cheered wildly now for hitting the ball as far as he ever did when he was (allegedly) using steroids, said last year.
What a guy. Now Grimsley, whose home got raided and who copped not only to using steroids but human growth hormones as well, says pretty much the same thing. He is a journeyman pitcher at the end of his career, he isn't good enough to play himself out of trouble the way Giambi has, now or ever. But, boy oh boy, he sure is a good teammate. These cheats think that is going to help get them into heaven, even as they will clearly do anything to make more money and get more career for themselves. For the last time, they don't call this stuff dope for nothing.
Here is Joe Bick, Grimsley's agent, talking:
"Anybody that knows anything about Jason knows he's a very good teammate and he told all the players, 'I don't want to be a distraction now.'"
Grimsley shouldn't worry about that. He's through. And you wonder how his fellow members of the Major League Baseball Players Association are going to feel about him if it turns out that a world-class teammate like this named names when the feds came calling.
These are the same union members who have been patting themselves on their backs for the testing program now in place, even as they know that the guy in the locker next to him and the guy in the locker next to him have found something like human growth hormones to stay strong, and ahead of the law.
Maybe these guys thought they were in the clear because they could beat the current testing. Maybe they thought the government would just go away after BALCO. Now they find out differently. I hope it has scared the new wave of cheats half to death. You think Grimsley is the only one using this stuff? You think the government is going to stop with him? Think again.
So it is a pitcher this time. It is a popular pitcher who has pitched in a lot of places and been friendly with a lot of guys. It isn't one of the BALCO boys. It isn't Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Comeback Player of the Year Giambi. It is a pitcher, and you better believe that it is going to bring suspicions about other pitchers out into the open. It is going to make everybody a suspect all over again, especially all of Grimsley's good buddies all over baseball.
We are still putting an awful lot on faith in baseball, and were doing that before Grimsley, who sounds like a Rite-Aid all by himself, got good and busted. We are supposed to take it on faith that even though Giambi (allegedly) took steroids in the first place to get bigger and stronger and much richer, keep up with all the other guys he thought were using drugs to do that, he is now as big and strong and clean as he was before all that.
The other night at Yankee Stadium he hit one off the facing of the upper deck and I didn't think he even got all of it.
Roger Clemens is having the same kind of second half of his career that Bonds is having. He is one of a handful of pitchers who goes against everything we have ever seen in pitching in the history of the world, which means his fastball has gotten better and better after the age of 35, which is when pitchers start to break down. And we are supposed to take it on faith, even as he signs one amazing contract after another as he approaches his 44th birthday, that it's that workout regimen of his, with maybe some B-12 shots thrown in there.
We are supposed to take it on faith that Sheffield went out and spent all that time with Bonds and didn't know anything about steroids, and that Mike Piazza just suddenly aged faster than milk does.
We are supposed to take it on faith that current home run heroes aren't on anything because they've never tested positive for anything. Grimsley didn't, either, at least not after that survey year that has brought us to the testing program baseball now has, one that still does not prevent us from seeing suspects all over the sport.
Now one of the suspects gets busted. When he does, when Jason Grimsley has the feds come to his front door, he apparently started singing like he was on "American Idol" until he got lawyered up.
Bud Selig hasn't collectively bargained for blood testing baseball players. Not yet. Nobody has. The Players Association has fought that the way it fought everything else. But Selig, who got more testing and more penalties out of the Players Association than anybody ever thought he would, has to do something, even if it's preserving samples until a reliable test does come along.
Or finding an entirely new method of anti-doping in a DNA, CSI world, as a way of putting these bums on notice.
Until then the national pastime in the national pastime is all these good teammates staying one step ahead of the testers. If not the law.