February 7, 2009

Four Sources Tell SI A-Rod Tested Positive For Two Steroids In 2003

Update: I'm putting newer links to news and commentary in comments.

***
SI:
In 2003, when he won the American League home run title and the AL Most Valuable Player award as a shortstop for the Texas Rangers, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for two anabolic steroids, four sources have independently told Sports Illustrated. ...

The list of the 104 players whose urine samples tested positive is under seal in California. However, two sources familiar with the evidence that the government has gathered in its investigation of steroid use in baseball and two other sources with knowledge of the testing results have told Sports Illustrated that Rodriguez is one of the 104 players identified as having tested positive, in his case for testosterone and an anabolic steroid known by the brand name Primobolan. ...

Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than most steroids. ... Kirk Radomski [writes in his recent book] how players increasingly turned to drugs such as Primobolan in 2003, in part to avoid detection in testing. ...
SI also claims -- and this is perhaps a bigger story than Slappy doing roids -- that three major league players have said Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players' union, tipped off Slappy about an upcoming drug test in September 2004. Turning a blind eye to steroid use for years is one thing; assisting players in avoiding detection is quite another matter.

At Shysterball, Craig Calcaterra writes:
Given that it is now inevitable that all of the names who tested positive in 2003 will come out, maybe it's in the union's best interest to release every name now rather than deal with the drip, drip, dripping of names over time. Pull the band-aid off quickly, if you will. ... Doesn't fairness and historical accuracy and all of that demand that we know who else tested positive in 2003?
Here is video of Slappy (three days before the Mitchell Report was released in December 2007) denying ever even being tempted to use PEDs.

Let me add that I fully expect some Red Sox players will be on that 2003 list.

48 comments:

Ish said...

Expecting some of the 2003 Red Sox to be on the list too, I still say... This story made me smile today. I was in a Dunkin' Donuts watching CNN and they ran the story. Wow.

redsock said...

SoSH says the MLB Network is going to town on this. They played a Canseco clip from 2007: "Alex is not who is seems to be, etc."

Also: "Good question to Buster Olney on ESPNews just now, they asked if A-Rod knew he had tested positive, and Olney said that yes, the players were informed."

"Nutball Gazette" said...

You have to expect Several Red Sox and every other team to have player named.
Just for the record I am a lifelong Yankee fan. I truly hope that Derek Jeter never used. I have no reason to suspect him except that it may be possible that every player used duing the late 90s till at least 2005.
But right now if I was a Red Sox fan I would be LMAO.

redsock said...

Nomar, for sure. Nixon would not surprise me. Lowe bulked up after 2001.

Anwyay, players that are not on this particular list still could have been using.

redsock said...

NYDN: A friend close to A-Rod ... [said] Rodiguiez "has turned his phone off. This is a mess. I'm not sure how he's going to take this. He's never had to deal with anything like this before."

***

redsock said...

Sherman, Post:

"They were out. That is what the Yankees will always regret. Fifteen months ago, they were out from Alex Rodriguez. ...

The Yankees initially said they were done with him. Oh, how they will regret not following their initial instinct. ..."

redsock said...

Bonds also apparently took Primobolan (methenelone).

Pepe Lepew said...

Nomar wouldn't surprise me. His productivity sure vanished after mandatory testing. That always makes me suspicious. (I call it the Bret Boone syndrome.)
Still, it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy, the news today. I've suspected him for years.

Benjamin said...

MFY-rooting college buddy: "yes, but honestly? there are 103 other players on that list. who are they, and why was a-rod the only leak? and also, since he got to the yankees he's been tested more times than any other player, and he's always been clean. he's also won two mvp's since 2003 - just saying. i'm not excusing him, but this witchhunt has to stop - either release all the names, or stop."

After that, the conversation devolved into whether Keith Richards obtained an unfair advantage musically from drug use.

redsock said...

since he got to the yankees he's been tested more times than any other player

I thought players that tested positive ended up being subject to additional tests. Which was why Slappy's comment last year or two years ago about being tested "a million times" raised a few eyebrows -- but then he quickly backed away from that statement.

and he's always been clean

You also thought he was clean up until two hours ago.

But shit, he said all that and never mentioned the word "Ortiz"? I'm actually impressed.

Kevin said...

While I always enjoy some Yankee schadenfreude, I have to agree that there will sadly probably be some Red Sox players being named in all of this.

I'm just hoping that Griffey doesn't end up being involved in this. That would be devastating.

redsock said...

I guess we all have our players we hope are/were clean.

Pedro for me -- and to a lesser extent Ortiz ("all they'll find is rice and beans") and Manny.

Kevin said...

I'd be willing to bet that at some point now people start referring to A-Rod as A-Roid.

redsock said...

A-Roid

The Daily News and Post websites are way ahead of you!

Pepe Lepew said...

I guess we all have our players we hope are/were clean.

Pedro for me -- and to a lesser extent Ortiz ("all they'll find is rice and beans") and Manny.

Not Ortiz, not Ortiz, not Ortiz...
I have to be honest, at this point, I'm so jaded about sports doping that no one's name would surprise me.

James said...

This is a mess.

Did you read Will Carroll's article on Prospectus yesterday? Awful purple prose aside, it's pretty saddening. Apparently there are a whole lot more steroids that can't be tested for than steroids that can be tested for. At this point, you've pretty much either got to be a moron or get a bad vial of some designer steroid to get caught.

I always figured that list would come out; but I always kind of hoped it wouldn't.

Remember the White Sox all refusing to give samples, so that they'd be default fails and lead to mandatory testing? I wonder if that's counted in the 104...

Jere said...

"this witchhunt has to stop"

not when there are clearly witches out there!

redsock said...

James: No. SI says the 104 came from urine samples, so all 104 came from actual tests.

Tony said...

One certainly has to wonder a lot about this story - the timing of the release, the fact we've only gotten A-Rod's name so far, even the actual veracity of the claims (still not totally proven, in my mind). There's only so much we know at the moment. And, as our peerless leader has pointed out, the Orza thing is a far bigger deal in terms of overall importance to the game and to the player's union. I simply can't get too worked up for steroid stuff anymore - not even an Ortiz revelation would hurt me. Okay, it would, but not a lot.

On the other hand, "schadenfreude" does not even begin to describe how I'm feeling. The Yankees get to kick off maybe the most spotlight-laden season in their history under just about the most inauspicious circumstances possible. But at least the New York press isn't given to blowing stuff up out of proportion...

L-girl said...

Apparently there are a whole lot more steroids that can't be tested for than steroids that can be tested for.

It's my understanding (from Olympics coverage) that that has always been the case. By the time the anti-doping crowd finds a test, the dopers are way ahead of them. There is usually a greater incentive to find new ways to cheat than to find new ways to catch cheaters.

After that, the conversation devolved into whether Keith Richards obtained an unfair advantage musically from drug use.

I think he has an unfair advantage ON drug use. Anyone else would be dead by now.

L-girl said...

Nomar wouldn't surprise me.

I thought that was a given.

L-girl said...

I simply can't get too worked up for steroid stuff anymore

I've never been worked up over it. I think it's curious and a bit quaint that people somehow expected baseball to be different than the rest of the world.

L-girl said...

But at least the New York press isn't given to blowing stuff up out of proportion...

LOL :)

James said...

I was flipping through the channels this morning, and The Longest Yard (1974) was on TV. One of the prison players says something to the effect of (I can even get you steroids, if you want).

If steroids were talked about in a sports movie in 1974, MLB's claim that steroids didn't really get into baseball until the mid-nineties doesn't really hold a lot of water with me.

L-girl said...

If steroids were talked about in a sports movie in 1974, MLB's claim that steroids didn't really get into baseball until the mid-nineties doesn't really hold a lot of water with me.

Yup.

Then there's the fact that MLB is corrupt, self-serving and profit-driven, and we shouldn't believe anything they say, ever.

Jere said...

"If steroids were talked about in a sports movie in 1974, MLB's claim that steroids didn't really get into baseball until the mid-nineties doesn't really hold a lot of water with me."

Yeah but baseball wasn't about bulk in the 70s and 80s, just look at the players. They had different drugs then. A baseball player probably wouldn't want steroids back then if you did offer--"why would I want drugs for weightlifters?"

L-girl said...

Greenies, amphetamines, etc. Not to bulk up, but certainly other performance-enhancing substances. All the players over a certain age talk about it.

redsock said...

Schilling at NYYFans:

Q: I'm not sure if AROD should sue, but the Union certainly ought to. So much for the confidentiality agreement. If the list is not officially released, I'd totally ignore it as unproven. If it is released, the Union should sue for a contract violation. Why should the players agree to any program that is as shoddily policed as is the MLB drug program?

Schilling: Bingo. Look the confidentiality part is inconsequential to the positive tests. These guys are nailed, and more are likely to be outed.
But we stated back then, I know I did as a rep, our complete and total distrust of the owners. You do NOT attach 'owners' and 'confidentiality' in the same sentence. These guys outright lied to our faces when presented with documentation that they were misreporting their clubs earnings in everything from concessions to TV revenue, we knew this wasn't going to work.
That being said, I feel like they just need to list the 104 players, and let the chips fall, and move on.
As far as 'leaks' and why there are no Sox, I can't answer that other than it appears the leaks are from federal agents or people on the government side of things.
I have a feeling we're inching up to seeing them all at some point. Someone will go for the dollars here because I'd be stunned if they hadn't gone through the positives and matched up every 'anonymous' number to the players name.....

***

Q: In all seriousness, Curt, how would you feel if it came out that one of your 2001 or 2004 teammates tested positive? I'm sure you may have an idea about some, but I mean actual proof? Would it diminish the achievement, especially if it were a key member of the team (say, driving in the WS winning run?)

Schilling: I don't know. It's going to happen, it has to happen. I have no idea which or when it will, but it will.

****

Q: I was going to say... Curt... what if YOU were one of the positive tests?

Schilling: I won't be, I can't be. I've never used anything resembling a steroid in my life, ever. I've always said 'this is not a body, this is a cruel family joke". Smart ass I know, but I cannot have tested positive, I've never used either.

Q: Ugh, that's the same thing Alex said... Not saying I'm doubting you, but how can we trust anyone anymore?

Schilling: You're right, at this point you can't.

redsock said...

SoSHer Smiling Joe Hesketh:

"NESN is hardly covering themselves in glory with this story. They broke the news with the little update from the studio, but naturally showed all the ARod highlights with him in a Yankees uniform, which was deliberately misleading because the report references the 2003 season when he was with Texas. That's not stopping NESN from allowing the careless viewer to think that he's been doping with 'roids his entire time in NY."

redsock said...

Sam Borden, LoHud Blog:

"Selena Roberts is on the MLB Network right now, answering questions from Bob Costas about the SI story. Among other things, she said that she gave A-Rod every opportunity to refute the story and traveled to Miami to talk with him in person on Thursday.

Thursday.

That means Rodriguez knew that SI had uncovered his positive test two days ago. Yet The Journal News has learned the Yankees knew nothing about the story until this morning because Rodriguez did not call them to let them know what was coming.

Why didn’t he let the Yankees know? No one knows for sure. But it’s hardly a stretch to think he wasn’t interested in answering the obvious questions that everyone – you, me and surely Yankees officials – would want answered.

***

redsock said...

More Borden:

"The [Orza] tipping issue is a particularly-scandalous aspect of this entire story, essentially implying that there was a cover-up in place to keep high-profile players from testing positive. Who knows how often Orza or other union members were helping players get a heads-up on when tests were coming? It will be interesting to see both how MLB reacts to that (remember, MLB and the Players’ Association are two different and opposing organizations), as well as the players themselves. If you’re a player who DIDN’T get tipped, aren’t you a little angry right now?"

****

9casey said...

The ramifications of this story can be historical...This can blow up this union from the inside out...

Tony said...
I simply can't get too worked up for steroid stuff anymore -



Really some say the greatest player in History used steroids to gain advantage and earn millions...That doesn't get you worked up..I'm not sayin I wouldn't do it if someone told me I would earn 500 million dollars, all I had to do was a few cycles.It maybe hard to say no....But what this story tells you is that 600+ ballplayers didn't take steroids , they should be the story..

Zenslinger said...

This thread is a very nice compilation of sources, showing a lot of angles on this.

Here's mine:

A-Rod's reputation will suffer for this, but it will not destroy him unless he does something stupid (a la Clemens). At this point, there is a fair amount of steroid-news fatigue among fans, and it sticks out like a sore thumb that the other 103 need to be named.

Although I respect A-Rod, I do dislike him. But I am not up in arms or even ankle deep in schadenfreude about the news. At this point, it does seem unfair to single him out. I'm disappointed that (uh, if) he took steroids. But it just seems like such a broad pool of offenders. After all, we're a nation (or perhaps a species) of competitive people and drug users. As L-Girl said, do we expect baseball to be much different?

I would not get worked up that he lied about it, either. I mean, since this thing started everyone's been asked so it would be on the record if it ended up being untrue. Contrary to Western morality, which tends to hypocritical absolutes, I don't think one can expect people to willingly confess this kind of thing.

NewJerseyYankee said...

Too late to turn back now, all he has to do is say"Ok test me everyday" then go ou and hit 80 homeruns, its the only way out

charlie pioli said...

Yes I hate A-rod on the field (especially when he's playing the sox). He's a whiny little bitch most of the time, but he was also about to be the best baseball player of all time stat-wise.
I'm happy that this report will quiet his pompous Yankee ass, but then again I'm a little sad to see the greatest player of my generation get tarnished.
The sport of baseball has gotten out of control!

L-girl said...

Really some say the greatest player in History used steroids to gain advantage and earn millions...That doesn't get you worked up..

I include myself in Zen's excellent answer to this.

But what this story tells you is that 600+ ballplayers didn't take steroids

It most certainly does not tell us this.

redsock said...

Really some say the greatest player in History used steroids to gain advantage and earn millions...
&
he was also about to be the best baseball player of all time stat-wise

I swear I am not picking on 9casey or charlie, but why in the world do people say this?

He's a great player, but come on. Bonds is a better player -- and he was better even before the juice. Mays was way better. And don't even get me started on Gehrig or Ruth.

Has anyone looked at Pujols's stats lately?

***

A-Rod's 10 best player comps, right now:

Manny Ramirez
Mike Schmidt
Mickey Mantle
Gary Sheffield
Sammy Sosa
Chipper Jones
Ken Griffey
Eddie Mathews
Jim Thome
Frank Thomas

Similar Batters through Age 32:

Hank Aaron
Mel Ott
Jimmie Foxx
Ken Griffey
Mickey Mantle
Frank Robinson
Eddie Mathews
Vladimir Guerrero
Willie Mays
Rogers Hornsby

Pepe Lepew said...

A-Rod's reputation will suffer for this, but it will not destroy him unless he does something stupid (a la Clemens). At this point, there is a fair amount of steroid-news fatigue among fans, and it sticks out like a sore thumb that the other 103 need to be named.

I agree. Look at Giambi, Pettitte, Ankiel, etc.
What people can't seem to stand, rightly or wrongly, is when people are caught and deny it to the bitter end. That seems to be a bigger sin to a lot of people than the original doping.

9casey said...

redsock said...
Really some say the greatest player in History used steroids to gain advantage and earn millions...
&
he was also about to be the best baseball player of all time stat-wise

I swear I am not picking on 9casey or charlie, but why in the world do people say this?




I agree , like I said some say the greatest, not my opinion.He also is still young.....



redsock said...
He's a great player, but come on. Bonds is a better player -- and he was better even before the juice. Mays was way better. And don't even get me started on Gehrig or Ruth.


I am suprised you didn't mention Williams....no war, amazing to think of what his stats would have been...


A- Rod is a fraud always has been always will be.....they showed transcripts of his 60min interview, he mentioned in '07 how he never needed steroids that he never felt overmatched.

L-girl said...

What people can't seem to stand, rightly or wrongly, is when people are caught and deny it to the bitter end. That seems to be a bigger sin to a lot of people than the original doping.

It's true. It's very common in the US (and maybe other places, I don't know) that if people will admit they did something wrong and put on a credible show of contrition, the public will forgive all kinds of things. But act too tough or invincible or deny it in the face of evidence, and you're finished.

I wonder why that is. And more so, I wonder why more people can't get over themselves to say and do the things that will get them back in good graces.

redsock said...

I thoguht of TSW after I hit publish. He was an insane hitter (.388 at age 38!), but too one-dimensional. Nothing special in the field and not much of a base-runner.

SB:
TSW: 24 (and 17 CS)
Mays: 338
Bonds: 514

Benjamin said...

I wonder why that is.

I assume it's because of the prevalence of Christian fundamentalism down here.

But lying about a transgression is more offensive than merely committing a transgression in two important ways: first, it's cumulative with having committed the transgression in the first place; and second, the offense feels more personal (as an insult to the listener's intelligence, as an undeserving invitation to lend undue credibility, etc.).

L-girl said...

the offense feels more personal (as an insult to the listener's intelligence

That's a good point.

Still, lying about a bad deed is not worse than the original act itself. Think of any criminal misdeed. Isn't the act itself worse than the subsequent lie to try to cover it up?

Zenslinger said...

Living in Japan during the Lewinsky scandal, I noticed how all my students couldn't believe the outrage in the US over Clinton's lie. Their attitude was, "Of course he's going to lie in that situation! Who wouldn't?" I don't think it's just a matter of US religious fundamentalism, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. It's more "fundamental" than that. In Japan, at least, morality is more relative, which has some downsides but I think is more realistic.

Interesting to read Mike Greenwell's thoughts on all this.

L-girl said...

I noticed how all my students couldn't believe the outrage in the US over Clinton's lie. Their attitude was, "Of course he's going to lie in that situation! Who wouldn't?"

I was thinking of that, too. "But he lied!" Everyone acting so shocked.

And the whole thing around "showing remorse" in court - people convicted of crimes getting lighter sentences if they "show remorse" - which could be an act, or a function of how articulate or expressive they are - and people who for whatever reason can't express remorse (which doesn't mean they don't feel it) being punished more harshly for the same deed. I find it very strange, and wrong.

I agree that it's not down to fundamentalism. It may have something to do with Christianity, but it's more basically American than fundamentalism - more widespread.

And totally off-topic

I noticed how all my students couldn't believe the outrage in the US over Clinton's lie.

Then there was the French/European response: whoever heard of a president who didn't fool around? What is your problem?

* * * *

This is a great gamethread but I can't seem to concentrate on the game.

Pepe Lepew said...

I noticed how all my students couldn't believe the outrage in the US over Clinton's lie. Their attitude was, "Of course he's going to lie in that situation! Who wouldn't?"

I think Nixon's a good analogy, too. I believe if he had come out early in 1973 and said, "yes we were involved in the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters. It was wrong, it was stupid and we apologize," the whole Watergate thing would've essentially blown over and he would be remembered today mostly as a great president for his handling of China and the Soviet Union and Watergate would've been a minor blip on the screen.
Thankfully for us, Nixon was a Dick!

L-girl said...

he would be remembered today mostly as a great president for his handling of China and the Soviet Union and Watergate would've been a minor blip on the screen.

The really sad part is, that's how so many people do remember him. What's a few million Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians after all.

But you're right. Circling the wagons and denying everything imploded his presidency.

"What a crazy country!" /dr nick riviera

Benjamin said...

I probably should have said "evangelical Christianity", not "Christian fundamentalism". Or maybe something else.