Baseball Roid Rage
- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Sources tell SI Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003
Rodriguez tested positive for Primobolan and testosterone while with
Under the 2003 survey testing, there were no penalties for a positive
Rodriguez was one of 104 players who tested positive that year
Saturday February 7, 2009
By Selena Roberts and David Epstein
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.
Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive
for performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball's '03 survey
testing, SI's sources say. As part of a joint agreement with the MLB
Players Association, the testing was conducted to determine if it was
necessary to impose mandatory random drug testing across the major
leagues in 2004.
When approached by an SI reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami,
Rodriguez declined to discuss his 2003 test results. "You'll have to
talk to the union," said Rodriguez, the Yankees' third baseman since
his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an
explanation for his positive test, he said, "I'm not saying anything."
The MLBPA issued a statement on Saturday, saying "Information and
documents relating to the results of the 2003 MLB testing program are
both confidential and under seal by court orders. We are prohibited
from confirming or denying any allegation about the test results of
any particular player[s] by the collective bargaining agreement and
by court orders. Anyone with knowledge of such documents who
discloses their contents may be in violation of those court orders."
Rob Manfred, MLB's Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, also
released a statement on Saturday, saying, "We are disturbed by the
allegations contained in the Sports Illustrated news story which was
posted online this morning. Because the survey testing that took
place in 2003 was intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous, we
can not make any comment on the accuracy of this report as it
pertains to the player named."
Though MLB's drug policy has expressly prohibited the use of steroids
without a valid prescription since 1991, there were no penalties for
a positive test in 2003. The results of that year's survey testing of
1,198 players were meant to be anonymous under the agreement between
the commissioner's office and the players association. Rodriguez's
testing information was found, however, after federal agents, armed
with search warrants, seized the '03 test results from Comprehensive
Drug Testing, Inc., of Long Beach, Calif., one of two labs used by
MLB in connection with that year's survey testing. The seizure took
place in April 2004 as part of the government's investigation into 10
major league players linked to the BALCO scandal -- though Rodriguez
himself has never been connected to BALCO.
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. All four sources spoke on the condition of anonymity due
to the sensitive nature of the evidence.
Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is
an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than
most steroids. (A 12-week cycle can cost $500.) It improves strength
and maintains lean muscle with minimal bulk development, according to
steroid experts, and has relatively few side effects. Kirk Radomski,
the former New York Mets clubhouse employee who in 2007 pleaded
guilty to illegal distribution of steroids to numerous major league
players, described in his recent book, Bases Loaded: The Inside Story
of the Steroid Era in Baseballby the Central Figure in the Mitchell
Report, how players increasingly turned to drugs such as Primobolan
in 2003, in part to avoid detection in testing. Primobolan is
detectable for a shorter period of time than the steroid previously
favored by players, Deca-Durabolin. According to a search of FDA
records, Primobolan is not an approved prescription drug in the
United States, nor was it in 2003. (Testosterone can be taken legally
with an appropriate medical prescription.)
Rodriguez finished the 2003 season by winning his third straight
league home run title (with 47) and the first of his three MVP awards.
Because more than 5% of big leaguers had tested positive in 2003,
baseball instituted a mandatory random-testing program, with
penalties, in '04. According to the 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid
use in baseball, in September 2004, Gene Orza, the chief operating
officer of the players' union, violated an agreement with MLB by
tipping off a player (not named in the report) about an upcoming,
supposedly unannounced drug test. Three major league players who
spoke to SI said that Rodriguez was also tipped by Orza in early
September 2004 that he would be tested later that month. Rodriguez
declined to respond on Thursday when asked about the warning Orza
When Orza was asked on Friday in the union's New York City office
about the tipping allegations, he told a reporter, "I'm not
interested in discussing this information with you."
In its statement on Saturday, the MLBPA said, "As we have explained
previously, in detail and in public, there was no improper tipping of
players in 2004 about the timing of drug tests. As set forth in our
letter to Chairman Waxman of the House Government Reform Committee,
in September 2004 MLBPA attorneys met with certain players, but we
are not able to confirm or deny the names of any of the players with
whom we met."
Anticipating that the 33-year-old Rodriguez, who has 553 career home
runs, could become the game's alltime home run king, the Yankees
signed him in November 2007 to a 10-year, incentive-laden deal that
could be worth as much as $305 million. Rodriguez is reportedly
guaranteed $275 million and could receive a $6 million bonus each
time he ties one of the four players at the top of the list: Willie
Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762),
and an additional $6 million for passing Bonds. In order to receive
the incentive money, the contract reportedly requires Rodriguez to
make extra promotional appearances and sign memorabilia for the
Yankees as part of a marketing plan surrounding his pursuit of
Bonds's record. Two sources familiar with Rodriguez's contract told
SI that there is no language about steroids in the contract that
would put Rodriguez at risk of losing money.
Arguments before an 11-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena are ongoing between government
prosecutors and the players' association over the government's
seizure of the test results from the Long Beach lab. The agents who
collected the material had a search warrant only for the results for
the 10 BALCO-linked players. Attorneys from the union argue that the
government is entitled only to the results for those players, not the
entire list. If the court sides with the union, federal authorities
may be barred from using the positive survey test results of non-
BALCO players such as Rodriguez in their ongoing investigations.
February 5, 2009
Positive Drug Tests in Bonds Case
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
The government's perjury case against Barry Bonds gained vivid detail
on Wednesday when more than 200 pages of evidence were unsealed. The
pages included documents tying Bonds to four positive tests for
steroids, calendars that prosecutors described as doping schedules,
and a transcript of a recorded conversation in which Bonds's former
trainer is quoted as saying that he injected Bonds with performance-
Three urine samples that were sent for testing in 2000 and 2001 by
the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative showed the presence of anabolic
steroids, according to the documents. A fourth test from a 2003
sample collected by Major League Baseball showed the presence of the
designer steroid THG, the fertility drug clomid and a form of
testosterone not naturally produced by the body.
When tested under Major League Baseball's program, that sample came
back negative for performance-enhancing drugs. But after the sample
was seized in a 2004 raid by federal agents, it was retested by the
U.C.L.A. Olympic Analytical Laboratory, with a different and, for
Bonds, potentially troublesome result.
Not all of the information provided in the unsealed documents is new.
But the documents provide a more complete portrait of the evidence
that federal prosecutors have gathered on Bonds since the
investigation of Balco began in 2002. Bonds is scheduled to go on
trial March 2 in San Francisco on charges that he committed perjury
in 2003 when he told the grand jury investigating Balco that he never
knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds's lawyers filed a motion two weeks ago to have much of the
evidence in the case excluded, arguing that it could not be
authenticated. As part of that motion, the defense lawyers filed the
evidence in dispute under seal, not wishing for it to be revealed.
But United States District Judge Susan Illston ordered that it be
made public and has scheduled a hearing for Thursday about its
"While it may seem damning now, the judge may exclude a lot of the
evidence and it may never make it before the jury," said Carl Tobias,
a professor of law at the University of Richmond, in assessing the
new information about the case. "But with all the attention being
given to the case, the judge is going to have to be extra careful
that the jury she seats has not been prejudiced by this information."
Among the most intriguing sections in the unsealed documents is a
description of what authorities said was a tape-recorded
conversation, made in 2003, between Bonds's former business manager,
Steve Hoskins, and Bonds's longtime trainer, Greg Anderson. Anderson
spent more than a year in prison on contempt-of-court charges for
refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds.
According to a summary of the tape and a partial transcript, Anderson
told Hoskins that he had injected Bonds with performance-enhancing
drugs and that they were not detectable under baseball's drug-testing
program at the time. Anderson also told Hoskins that he had advance
notice of when the drug tests would be conducted.
"I'll know like probably a week in advance, or two weeks in advance,"
Anderson is quoted as telling Hoskins in the transcript. According to
the documents, Hoskins was recording the conversation, which took
place in the Giants' clubhouse, because Bonds's father, Bobby, did
not believe his son was using steroids.
Hoskins and Bonds were childhood friends who became particularly
close after Bonds returned to San Francisco to play for the Giants in
1993. The two had a falling out in 2003 and Hoskins later cooperated
with federal authorities, telling them that Bonds flew into "roid
rages." In the partial transcript, Hoskins is quoted as asking
Anderson if the drugs being given to Bonds were the same "that Marion
Jones and them were using."
"Yeah, same stuff, the same stuff that worked at the Olympics,"
Anderson is quoted as saying.
And, Anderson added for emphasis, Olympians were tested every
week. "So that's why I know it works," Anderson is quoted as saying.
(Jones, an Olympic gold-medal winner, pleaded guilty in 2007 to
making false statements about her use of performance-enhancing drugs
and received a six-month prison sentence.)
Although the results of the three urine samples that Balco tested in
2000 and 2001 do not have Bonds's name on them, prosecutors say they
can be connected to handwritten notes seized at Balco and Anderson's
home in 2003. Those notes display the names of Bonds and other
individuals and numbers that, prosecutors say, correlate to samples
that Balco sent for drug testing. Prosecutors contend that the three
tests show Bonds tested positive for two steroids methenolone and
nandrolone in November 2000 and February 2001.
But in their 28-page motion to exclude evidence, Bonds's lawyers
said: "It appears that as to every proffered test result, the
government can attempt to link Mr. Bonds to the sample in question
only through purported hearsay statement of Anderson."
In all, five pages of handwritten notes are attributed to Anderson,
and in disputing them, the defense states: "The notes are barely
comprehensible. Their author(s) are unknown as are the time and
purpose of their preparation."
The defense lawyers said the notes were indicative "of the
government's zeal to convict Mr. Bonds by any means at all." They
also said the doping calendars, which the prosecutors say Anderson
created so he could monitor Bonds's use of drugs, should not be
The fourth positive steroid test cited in the documents does not
involve Anderson or his notes. Instead, it stems from the anonymous
drug tests that were conducted by Major League Baseball in 2003, the
first year of steroid testing on the major league level. There were
no penalties for positive results, and not even the players were
supposed to know how their tests came out.
Bonds's urine sample did not produce a positive test under baseball's
guidelines. But in a raid in 2004, authorities seized the samples and
test results of Bonds and the nine other players who had testified
before the Balco grand jury. Two years later, the U.C.L.A. laboratory
that retested Bonds's sample concluded that it contained the designer
steroid THG, known as "the clear"; clomid, an anti-estrogen drug used
to stimulate natural testosterone levels; and the presence of
testosterone not naturally made by the body.
Baseball did not test for THG in 2003 and did not begin testing for
clomid until the 2007 season. Why Bonds did not test positive for
testosterone in 2003 is not clear.
When Bonds testified before the Balco grand jury in 2003, he said
that he had used the "clear" and the "cream," a lotion with
epitestosterone and testosterone, but did not believe they were
performance-enhancing drugs. He said he believed the "clear" was
flaxseed oil and that the "cream" was a balm for arthritis. He said
he used the "cream" sparingly.
The New York Times reported last week that federal authorities had
detected a steroid other than the "clear" and the "cream" in a urine
sample from Bonds. The documents unsealed Wednesday said that
testosterone had been detected in Bonds's 2003 sample, but did not
say whether the source was the "cream" or another anabolic steroid.
"You cannot tell from a urine analysis whether a person has used the
cream or has been using other sources of testosterone, like gels,
patches or injectables," said Dr. Gary I. Wadler, an antidoping
expert and member of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The documents also included a 2006 letter from Commissioner Bud Selig
to Bonds notifying him of a first-time positive test for
amphetamines, which does not result in a suspension. The test result
does not appear to be directly related to the perjury case.
January 16, 2009
Steroids Dealer Testifies Before Clemens Grand Jury in Perjury
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
WASHINGTON Two blocks from the steps of the Capitol, where Barack
Obama will be sworn in as president Tuesday, and four blocks from
where Roger Clemens testified at a Congressional hearing last
February, a federal grand jury met Thursday to hear evidence that
could help lead to Clemens's indictment.
The grand jury, in United States District Court, is investigating
whether Clemens committed perjury when he told the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform last Feb. 13 that he never used
When Clemens and his chief accuser, Brian McNamee, testified that
day, the proceedings were broadcast on national television and
attended by reporters from around the country.
The scene was far different Thursday morning, with only a handful of
reporters present in the courthouse when Daniel P. Butler, the deputy
United States attorney overseeing the Clemens case, pushed himself in
a wheelchair through the lobby. His destination was an elevator that
took him to the third-floor room where the grand jury was meeting
behind closed doors.
"I can't say anything," Butler told reporters.
Minutes later, Kirk Radomski, the convicted steroids dealer who led
prosecutors to McNamee, arrived at the courthouse to testify before
the grand jury. He wore a shiny black jacket with a gold zipper. He
departed several hours later, escorted by a United States marshal and
declining to answer questions. He did not appear to have a lawyer
How much Radomski can contribute to the investigation is unclear,
because he does not appear to have direct ties to Clemens. But Butler
will be crucial to the proceedings.
Like the deputy United States attorneys in San Francisco who have
presided over the major steroid cases in the last six years, Butler
is not a political appointee. As such, he will presumably remain on
the Clemens case regardless of whom the new administration selects to
become the next United States attorney for the District of Columbia
Butler, who has been a prosecutor for more than 25 years, lost the
use of his legs in 1977, when he was hit by a car while racing a
bicycle. He later participated in the Paralympics as a swimmer and
won a gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly at the 1996 Paralympic
Games in Atlanta.
In addition to investigating Clemens, Butler is also considering
whether to seek an indictment of Houston Astros shortstop Miguel
Tejada on charges that he made false statements to investigators for
the same House committee that heard Clemens's testimony. According to
a person briefed on the matter, a grand jury has been convened to
begin hearing evidence regarding Tejada. The person spoke on the
condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his
access to sensitive information.
A lawyer for Tejada did not immediately return a telephone message
seeking comment. In a telephone interview Thursday evening, Butler
declined comment on the matter.
Like Clemens, Tejada was referred to the Justice Department by the
Oversight Committee on suspicion that he made false statements about
his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The committee said that in 2005, Tejada told investigators that he
had never used steroids. At the time, the target of the committee
investigators was not Tejada but his Baltimore Oriole teammate,
Rafael Palmeiro, who at a nationally televised hearing in March of
that year insisted he never used performance-enhancing drugs. He
tested positive soon afterward.
What complicated matters for Tejada was the release of the report by
George J. Mitchell in December of 2007. The report linked dozens of
current and former players, including Tejada, to the use of such
According to the Mitchell report, one of Tejada's former teammates
with the Oakland A's, Adam Piatt, told investigators for Mitchell
that he had provided steroids to Tejada in March 2003. Pictures of
canceled checks written to Piatt from Tejada for $3,100 and $3,200
were included in the Mitchell report.
Tejada was the American League's most valuable player in 2002 with
the Oakland A's and signed a six-year, $72 million contract with
Baltimore after the 2003 season. He was traded to the Astros the day
before the Mitchell report was released.
As Thursday's grand jury proceedings unfolded, McNamee and his
lawyers were preparing to travel here for a Friday meeting with
Butler, although McNamee is not yet expected to testify.
But McNamee was talking elsewhere, stating in a video interview with
the Web site Sportsimproper.com that he believes Clemens will end up
in prison for committing perjury. "I believe he'll probably be
wearing a uniform, but it will be one of those orange jump suits with
a serial number on it," McNamee said.
McGwire's Brother: "I Introduced Mark to Steroids"
By Cameron Smith
January 22, 2009
Occasionally, the blogosphere really does break the biggest news.
That appears to be the case in the latest significant steroids
development, where slugger Mark McGwire's younger brother, Jay, is
now claiming that he introduced Mark to steroids in a memoir
manuscript that he's shopping to publishers. In the details contained
in the excerpts that have been leaked to the counter-cultural sports
blog deadspin.com, Jay McGwire even claims that he was the first
person to inject Mark with steroids, at least until a girlfriend took
over the responsibility.
There are too many juicy excerpts to get into all of them, but here's
our choice pick among them.
"I directed him to androstenedione testosterone booster, which is non-
hormonal (which is why it can be sold legally and is not affected by
the 2004 Anabolic Steroid Control Act) and works naturally with your
body. "Andro" increases strength and aggression while promoting
reduction of body fat and a leaner look to the physique....[U]sing
andro allowed Mark to avoid all the potential adverse side effects
that could occur from using anabolic steroids, such as water
retention, hair loss, and liver, heart, or kidney stress. In
addition, he wouldn't have cholesterol problems or testicular
atrophy. And there were no problems with the law."
"Who knows what might have happened if I didn't get Mark involved
with all the training, supplements, the right foods, steroids, and
HGH. He would not have broken any records and the Congressional
Hearings would have gone on without him. Maybe Barry Bonds wouldn't
have ever gotten involved with the stuff, either. Mark McGwire might
have gone silently into the night long before breaking Roger Maris'
home run record. But that's just not the way it went down, so we'll
never know. But at least I feel better about setting the record
Also discussed: Mark McGwire's irascible 'roid rage and his pleading
the fifth. It'll be interesting to see if anyone can drag more
comments out of Jay McGwire, because something tells us this is the
last we'll see of this book proposal.