Hearings could be a positive

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

It was reported earlier this week on ESPN and many other news outlets that Congress is planning on holding hearings to get to the bottom of the steroid issue and make athletes go on record with official testimony as to whether or not they used some form of anabolic steroids.

So far subpoenas have been sent to Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Donald Fehr, head of the Player's Association; Rob Manfred and Sandy Anderson, executive VP's of the League; and Kevin Towers, general manager for the San Diego Padres. What was interesting is how the congressional committee views Barry Bonds' involvement in the steroid scandal.

"The committee, which has no interest in Barry Bonds, also demanded a variety of documents and records of baseball's drug tests," said the Associated Press in a recent story.

Not interested in Barry Bonds?

Are you kidding me?

That should be the first person they get. Look at him now compared to when he was with the Pirates. The guy has swelled so much his hat size has increased two times. When you are 38 years old that shouldn't happen. But, maybe the members of the House Government Reform Committee aren't interested in hearing about players who are actually on the "Juice."

Instead, maybe they'd rather scrutinize baseball's past instead of looking to the present and doing something that could really make an impact on players who have been questioned about their usage.

"It's important that Americans know the facts on baseball's steroid scandal," said Rep. Henry Waxman in a statement issued following the subpoenas. Consistent with our committee's jurisdiction over the nation's drug policy, we need to better understand the steps MLB is taking to get a handle on the steroid issue, and whether the news of those steps – and the public health danger posed by steroid use – is reaching America's youth."

Think about it. Aside from Curt Schilling, name one thing that the group of athletes that were subpoenaed has done that's been newsworthy in the past five years. Better yet, name one thing noteworthy Jose Canseco has done in the past five years, besides attempt to write a book.

My point exactly.

It's good for the game that Congress has stepped in and is trying to finally doing something, and while some people are still questioning the motives behind it, the findings could help shape and mold the game for years to come.

It could also rewrite some record books. If Sosa and McGwire are both called to testify and are asked the question of whether or not they used steroids or illegal performance enhancing substances during their epic 1998 home run race, can you imagine the shockwaves that will be sent out when they both answer yes?

It would be an even bigger tremor to the proverbial earthquake if Bonds was asked that same question. But he would probably make an excuse about using flaxseed oil and wondering why it added an additional 50 feet to every one of his homers since he started using it.

So far Jason Giambi, Ken Caminiti and Canseco have been the only Major League Baseball players to come out and openly say they used steroids. While Giambi has never stated the "s" word, he has pretty much walked the topic around the block about what it was, how he started and what's happened since he allegedly quit using it.

Caminiti had other issues but was the first person to blow the whistle on the steroid issue in a Sports Illustrated story.

Canseco is just doing whatever he can to turn his 15 minutes of fame into 30. What's sad to me is that I used to look up to this guy and the way he played the game – the hustle, the enthusiasm, the strength – and then I grew up and realized how much of a head case this guy had become.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Sometimes it's with a whimper and sometimes it's with an epic crash.

It's that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the sports editor of the Greenville Advocate. He can be reached by phone, 382-3111 or via email: griffin.pritchard@greenvilleadvocate.com.