So the biggest news in baseball, potentially since the Sosa/McGwire homerun record chase (possibly even since the Pete Rose betting scandal) has hit the headlines, and the damage to the game is likely to be massive.
The Mitchell Report, a 20-month investigation on the topic of drugs in baseball, has been released, and the list of names and evidence that it contains is damning.
Read through the report and you’ll find mentions of Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, Andy Pettitte, Sammy Sosa, David Justice, Paul LoDuca, David Segui, Rondell White, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Jose Guillen, Glenallen Hill, Wally Joyner, Lenny Dysktra, Eric Gagne… and that’s maybe 5% of the names. There are copies of checks cashed by suppliers, there are admissions from former players, and a few current ones, there are trainers fessing up to being dealers… it’s disgusting, top to bottom.
Of the Oakland Athletics organization, the following players are named (former Vancouver Canadians listed with year played):
- Randy Velarde (’97)
- Jason Giambi
- Miguel Tejada
- Jose Canseco
- FP Santangelo
- Adam Piatt (’99)
- Jose Guillen
- Jack Cust
- David Justice
- Cody McKay
Yes, Jack Cust (seen above) - current Oakland DH. His story, according to the report, goes as follows:
Jack Cust is an outfielder who began his major league career with the Arizona
Diamondbacks in 2001. Since then, he has played for five teams in Major League Baseball, the Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics.
In 2007, he played with Oakland.At the beginning of the 2003 season, Cust and Larry Bigbie were both playing for Baltimore?s class AAA affiliate in Ottawa. Bigbie?s locker was next to Cust?s. Cust eventually asked Bigbie if he had ever tried steroids. Bigbie acknowledged he had, and Cust said that he,too, had tried steroids. Cust told Bigbie that he had a source who could procure anything he
wanted, but Bigbie informed him he already had a friend who could supply him.
How did Cust respond to the allegations?
In order to provide Cust with information about these allegations and to give him
an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me; he declined.
Even more damning, and far more detailed, is the story of 1999 AAA Vancouver Canadians outfielder, Adam Piatt (seen right). His career stalled in a major way, right at the zero hour as he was due to break through, and this may explain why:
Adam Piatt played as an outfielder with two teams in Major League Baseball forportions of four seasons between 2000 and 2003, the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay DevilRays. In 1999, he was the Oakland Athletics? Minor League Player of the Year.
After [Mets trainer and roid supplier Kurt] Radomski?s guilty plea was publicly announced, Piatt?s lawyer contacted us. We later interviewed Piatt, who voluntarily admitted his use of performance enhancingsubstances. He accepted full responsibility for his actions and said that he had learned animportant life lesson as a result. Piatt should be commended for his candor, for his willingnessto admit that he made a mistake, and for accepting responsibility for his actions.
Piatt was called up to Oakland from the minor leagues in 2000. He said that he
knew nothing at that time about steroids or amphetamines. In 2001, Piatt contracted a viralinfection and lost 24 pounds in ten days. This illness affected his strength and caused extreme200stress. He tried to come back to play baseball in August, but he was unsuccessful. Piatt said thathe worked hard during the off-season to be physically prepared for 2002.
During 2002, hestarted considering using human growth hormone. He researched the subject extensively thatyear.Piatt recalled that he learned of Kirk Radomski through F.P. Santangelo.Santangelo and Piatt were teammates on the Oakland Athletics and on Oakland?s minor leagueaffiliate in Sacramento.
Santangelo described Radomski to him as a personal trainer who was
knowledgeable about dietary issues and as a steroids supplier.Before obtaining any substances, Piatt had several conversations with Radomski.They discussed Piatt?s diet and what Piatt should do and take to get in optimal shape for theupcoming year. Radomski recommended that Piatt modify his diet and work on getting in shapebefore he started using human growth hormone. The conversations were all by telephone. Piattnever met Radomski in person.
Piatt believed he initially obtained human growth hormone and either testosteroneor Deca-Durabolin from Radomski. The substances sat unused for a long time, however, before he tried them. He was more concerned with the possible long-term health risks than with theethical issues.
He also thought about the problems he was having in baseball. A friend on theteam told Piatt that he lacked the bat speed he had enjoyed before his illness. Ultimately, Piattbegan using performance enhancing substances during the 2002-03 off-season. Piatt?s typicalregimen was to take one shot of testosterone per week for three to five weeks. He also injectedhimself with human growth hormone every day until he contracted carpal tunnel syndrome. Hetalked to Radomski about this side effect and then decreased the frequency of his use.
Survey drug testing was conducted in Major League Baseball in 2003. Piatt did
not change his regimen because of that testing. He was tested sometime during the summer.
Piatt retired from baseball in 2004 at the age of 28 because he had lost his love for
the game. He believes that he could have played longer. According to Piatt, the time he usedillegal substances was the only time he did not enjoy baseball. He thought he had "compromisedsomething."
Piatt made some payments to Radomski in 2004, but he said that those were tosatisfy old debts for 2003 shipments. He said he had no need for, and did not use, human growthhormone after he retired. Piatt noted that Radomski never encouraged Piatt to use moresubstances after Piatt said he wanted to stop. Radomski provided eight checks from Piatt, withdates ranging from 2002 to 2004, and totaling $11,550.
Used to be a time when talent was enough. Here’s the Randy Velarde story.
Randy Velarde admitted to us, through his lawyer, that he had used performanceenhancing substances he obtained from Greg Anderson. According to his lawyer, if interviewed,Velarde would have told us he received the "cream" and the "clear" from Anderson in atransaction that occurred in a parking lot during spring training in 2003. Velarde was playing forthe Oakland Athletics at the time, was near the end of his career and was attempting to play foranother year to support his family.
There are a whole load of players named in the report, and I’m sure more will be named in the days or weeks ahead, so I’m not sure whether any of the old Anaheim Angels-system Vancouver Canadians are mentioned, but either way, it’s a tough time to be a ball fan.