This needs to be pointed out…
In 2000, I was playing in Arizona with the Diamondbacks. Around those parts it’s no mystery that one Pedro Gomez and I didn’t really like each other. I thought very little of a man who so calmly, and happily, wrote articles that could only be labeled character assassinations.
I cannot seem to find the archived article, but here is a link to a story in the LA Times that referenced one example, this one about my manager at the time, Buck Showalter.
I took issue with the piece due to the immense number of flat-out lies in it. First off, we weren’t required to wear our socks with the “A” showing. We did fraternize with opposing players before games. Buck didn’t do much of the stuff Pedro claimed at the time the article was written. The article alleged some off-the-field personal conduct issues that Pedro had ‘heard’ about. This made him, in my mind, one of the worst forms of life in the media, someone who used his pen to settle a personal score. After the article was written, I vividly remember walking out of the clubhouse and seeing Buck’s daughter in tears after that game.
So I ‘talked’ to him about it and we agreed we just didn’t like each other. Much like CHB, he made reference to the fact that he’d written ‘nice things’ about me when I was traded to Arizona, as if that made it all OK, and that he should be able to slander teammates and coaches I played with because of it.
Now Buck was no saint. He’ll admit that, and all that goes with that. But I loved playing for him. He was always prepared and never out-managed in a game.
I bring all this up to make sure people understand that Pedro and I have never been real friends.
Why write this now? Here’s why. I am reading ESPN tonight and I happen to see that he’s actually written something someone there deems worthy of print. It’s on A-Rod (surprise), and deep in the article is this comment….
How can I be certain of who has and who hasn’t used PEDs? Obviously, I cannot be 100 percent certain. But the beauty baseball possesses over any other sport is its visual splendor. It’s the only sport with which you can trust your eyes.
Most know what we watched from the early 1990s until the mid-2000s was shady. Those sudden spikes in home runs, RBIs, batting average and miles per hour from pitchers had all of us whispering at the time.
Wow, just wow.
During the 2001 season, in the clubhouse, Pedro and I got into a shouting match about players and steroids. In the middle of the discussion he uttered this statement:
“I personally know of at least three, and more likely four guys on this team that are using steroids.”
I asked him how the hell he could “know” that. He said he knew, “people” had told him. I asked him what “people.” He said, “People.” I pushed and asked, “Players?” He said, “Let’s just leave it at people.”
I often times thought of sharing this story with someone from the media just to call Pedro out and see if he denied ever saying what he said to me. In the end it wasn’t worth the time or the effort.
But now this man is going to act as if he was a ‘victim’ of the same thing we all were? Worse yet, so many of these writers and media members are standing on the tallest mountain shouting to anyone who will listen how wrong all of this is, how bad all of it is, and how dare we players sat by idly and did nothing.
These men were privy to the same scenes we were on a daily basis. They saw us dress, and undress, they rolled their eyes the very same way many players did at the guy who ‘worked his ass off’ when he’d really ‘worked his ass on’ and put on astronomical muscle mass in 4 short months.
They saw hitters go from 18 to 40 home runs, pitchers go from 88 to 90mph, to 95-97mph yet we’re the ones who put our heads in the sand? Weren’t these the men and women with the power of the pen?
(For a player it’s far harder than many think to conclude that guy used PEDs. Not every player who increased his velocity by 5mph or hits 20 more HRs cheats. It’s hard, it’s a challenge, but it can be done, some players have and will continue to do that and they’ll do that clean.)
Hell, Pedro said that he KNEW players who did it for a fact. That makes him 100% more informed about users than I am, or ever was. I suspected, I certainly had my own ideas, but I never knew for a fact that ANYONE used steroids or HGH unless they came out since and admitted it.
What makes Pedro, or any member of the media that was so intent on heaping glory and praise on all things Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and others for ‘saving the game’ of baseball in 1997 and 1998, any less culpable?
Make no mistake about it, players cared far more and were far louder than people know. One thing that has come out often in the past weeks is Rick Helling and his consistency in bringing up the steroid issue at every player meeting I was ever in. Rick was adamant about implementation of testing and was never shy in saying so.
In Arizona we openly discussed, as a team, not taking the random tests to intentionally fail and insure that we’d exceed the threshold needed to implement testing. I am not sure if any players actually did it, but there was talk on many clubs of doing just that.
In the end it does fall on us, the players, for not acting sooner. It’s not the union leaders’ faults, regardless of what some people think. At 21 or 22 or older, you’re a grown man accountable for each and every one of your own actions.
But please spare me the daily media insistence on lambasting anyone and everyone in the game for this PED nightmare, while at the same time giving a free pass to journalists. It’s as if they are standing on the sideline looking out on the field and saying, “Wow, I can’t believe what you guys have done to the game.”
There are some who bear every bit as much accountability in this as the innocent players who ‘didn’t speak out’ and ‘turn over’ on their teammates and fellow players.