Commissioners and Controversy
Kirk Radomski's "Bases Loaded"
In his book "Bases Loaded", Kirk Radomski reinforced his central role as the informant that gave the Mitchell Report traction. Based on his story and statements made by players, HGH use is rampant in Major League Baseball. That obviously means that there were and are other significant drug suppliers working the MLB rosters.
Radomski attributes MLB players increase in steroid curiosity and use to Major League Baseball's attitude toward the obvious display of steroid us during the McGwire and Sosa home run race. It was clear that McGwire was using performance enhancing drugs. Simply stated, andro was discovered in his locker. As for Sammy Sosa, explaining a weight swing from 160 pounds to 230 pounds without the use of steroids would be an impressive story in any language.
When asked about McGwire's andro use, Bud Selig, responded by telling reporters, "I think what Mark McGwire has accomplished is so remarkable, and he has handled it so beautifully, we want to do everything we can to enjoy a great moment in baseball history." (page 224)
Apparently, Selig's comments reassured players and Radomski that baseball's leadership would continue to ignore steroid use in Major League Baseball. When the owners' and the commissioners' attitude were coupled with the power of the Player Association, players felt comfortable asking steroid questions of Radomski and eventually using him as their supplier.
Radomski points out that it was clear that guys like Sosa were using steroids, but sportswriters didn't want to " write about it because they needed to maintain the cooperation of the players to do their job..."(page 227)
It's also pointed out that agents were clearly aware of their client's steroid use. The agents didn't mind. In fact some agents suggested that their clients contact steroid suppliers especially prior to the final year of a contract. Agents had the opportunity to capitalize on the players' performance by reaping huge contract commissions on big time contracts signed by steroid users.
Radomski points out that many of the steroids controlled here in the US are readily available over the counter in other countries south of our borders. Sosa and others probably obtained their anabolic steroids during the off season. Radomski pointed out that players would bring enough product into the country at the beginning of the season to last them for a couple months. At some point during the season, they would connect with visiting family members to obtain the next batch of steroids. This process of drug transporting was common place.
The point that I made in an earlier article had some light shinned on it in this book. Radomski was convinced that every owner and the Commissioner, Bud Selig, were completely aware that steroids were being used during their watch. But they looked the other way and hoped nobody would bring up the subject. The way they saw it, as baseballs continued to fly out of major league ball parks, baseball was separating itself from the labor strike of 1992.
Apparently, random drug testing wasn't as random or unannounced as the public was led to believe. Players knew they were going to be tested days prior to the tests. Once testing became part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players switched from steroids to HGH because they knew there was no test available that could verify HGH's use. Even with the switch to HGH, foolish players were still testing positive in the not-so-random tests. The results forced Selig to suspend drug testing temporarily during 2004. It was the only action that would make it possible to show a decrease in positive steroid testing that year. In his statement to Congress, Selig initially lied about the facts surrounding the decrease in positive tests during 2004. He had to supply Congress with an explanatory letter explaining why he had forgotten to explain the actions he had authorized.
If you believe Radomski's story, it is clear that Selig is the same underhanded, manipulative, power hungry, glory hound that helped to push Faye Vincent out of the commissioner's office. Selig is the figurehead of a money-hungry group of baseball owners who will go to any length to deceive the public into believing they have the integrity of baseball as their base motive. Baseball's hierarchy only considers their bottom line, nothing else.
In this book, Radomski paints an ugly picture about the underbelly of Major League Baseball. Lying, cheating and deception are apparently the standards by which most behavior can be measured. Making illegal bets before a game, hiding corked bats at the plate, covering up pitchers being 'serviced' by sluts in the bullpen, covering up adultery, and use of recreation drug before, during and after games are situations that are brought up in "Bases Loaded." If you've read other books on baseball, you aren't surprised. These aren't revelations. They are simply a reinforcement of stories that have made public since the late 1940s. Players have been cheating on their wives and doing drugs, especially 'speed', for decades. Nothing new here.
An excellent point is made by Radomski when drawing comparisons between players who admit their steroid use and others who continue to deny. Look at Andy Petitite's and Jason Giambi's current situation and that of Clemens and Bonds. Two were honest enough to come clean and apologize. The other two are probably going to jail because their ego won't allow them to admit their shortcomings. For them, there are more records to be broken in the prison yard.
Through the entire book, Radomski defends his distribution of steroids and HGH. He claims that he simply assisted his friends by supplying information and product that they requested. He also believes that Major League Baseball should be thankful to him for supplying safe products to players instead of some of the junk that was being used.
Radomski's book is an easy read. It doesn't expose any new names. It won't be considered Earth-shattering. It is an opportunity for one man to set the story straight from his perspective. I believe Radomski accomplished what he set out to do. He showed that Major League Baseball is ethically shallow and that the majority of its employees are simply ego-driven jocks who wouldn't know a moral value if somebody shot them in the ass with it.
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