Quoting Bill James (if not Jose Canseco), the Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley writes, “baseball players who dabbled in steroids in the late 20th century will be viewed as pioneers”, and while I’m not quite ready to put Ken Caminiti up there with Jackie Robinson, Bickley may be right when he promises, “all the objections and horrified reactions will be rendered meaningless noise.” Even so, careful with outing the hometown team, Dan. After all, that’s Ken Kendrick’s job!
Twice in this space, Luis Gonzalez professed his cleanliness regarding those 57 home runs in 2001. Mark Grace said he was very proud of the choices he made in his career – and besides, steroids scared him.
“They make your (testicles) shrivel up,” Grace said a few years ago. “And I don’t want anything to do with that.”
Yet Matt Williams was pulled out of a net in the BALCO scandal, and while he said he was experimenting with human growth hormone only to heal from an ankle injury in 2002, he never explained why he allegedly paid $11,000 for three more shipments of HGH in 2004 and 2005, after he retired.
In retrospect, there is no shortage of suspicion for some of the feats and players during the Diamondbacks’ championship run. And one guy you’d never expect – Randy Johnson – opened an unexpected window during an interview with Sports Illustrated:
“I’m not denying I went to GNC and all that stuff,” said Johnson, who once endorsed Champion Nutrition, a company also linked to Mark McGwire and androstenedione. “I took a lot of different things that, you know, maybe at that time, maybe early enough if I would’ve been tested, who knows? I could have been taking stuff had they tested me back then. Maybe I would have tested (positive for a banned supplement). I don’t know.”
Welcome to baseball, where nobody knows anything anymore.