Friday, December 14, 2007

Did Juiced Yankees Steal 2000 ALCS from Mariners?

The Mitchell Report outlining the dark period of baseball history now and forever after to be known as “the steroid era” leads any right minded baseball fan to ask themselves whether the Seattle Mariners were on a level playing field (pun intended) when they lost to the Yankees in the 2000 American League Championship Series.

Apparently five steroid using Yankees players played a major role in the defeat of the Mariners in that series which lasted six games. The Mitchell report names starting New York Pitchers Roger Clements, Andy Pettitte, Jason Grimsley and Denny Neagle and three position players David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch and Glenallen Hill.

One Mariner, third Baseman David Bell is named in the report and played for the Mariners in the 2000 series. If Bell was using steroids at the time it did not appear to help him because he only hit .222 in 15 plate appearances with 0 RBI.

But, much of the alleged steroid use by named players outlined in the Mitchell report swirls around the 2000 season and the Yankees. Pitchers Clements, Pettitte, Grimsley and Neagel along with Justice, Knoblauch and Hill are named. Apparently former Yankee and Clement's personal trainer Brian McNamee provided much of the evidence about the players in question to Mitchell. Here a excerpt from the report:

“Clemens hired McNamee to train him during portions of several weeks in the off-season. McNamee also trained Clemens personally for one to two weeks during spring training and a few times during the season. McNamee served as the Yankees’ assistant strength and conditioning coach through the 2001 season.388 McNamee first learned about Kirk Radomski through David Segui during the 2000 season. Also that season, McNamee obtained Radomski’s telephone number from Jason Grimsley. McNamee wanted to buy a Lexus, and Radomski had a connection with a Lexus dealer. Radomski recalled that Grimsley was a frequent customer for performance enhancing substances, and he produced nine checks written by Grimsley to Radomski during 2001 and 2002 and fourteen checks in total.

According to McNamee, during the middle of the 2000 season Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin that McNamee had obtained from Radomski. McNamee stated that during this same time period he also injected Clemens four to six times with human growth hormone he received from Radomski, after explaining to Clemens the potential benefits and risks of use. McNamee believed that it was probably his idea that Clemens try human growth hormone. Radomski instructed McNamee how to inject human growth hormone. On each occasion, McNamee administered the injections at Clemens’s apartment in New York City. “
Clements, Neagle, Pettitte, and Grimsley pitched a total of 26.7 innings combined in the 2000 ALCS series of 53 possible innings that could have been pitched. Pettitte won game 3 and Clements won a pivotal game 5 in Seattle. Roger the Rocket tossed a complete game 1 hit 15 strikeouts performance in game 4. Definitely a sign that he was “on” that day. Pettitte’s one win consisted of a 6.7 inning 4 hit outing and 2 strikeouts. Neagle pitched 2 games of 10 total innings and lost both. Grimsley had one scoreless inning of relief.

Position player David Justice led the Yankees with 8 RBI in the series. He had a .538 slugging percentage. If I remember correctly he had several key hits. Chuck Knoblauch scored 3 runs and had 6 hits and 2 RBI in 23 at bats.

The Mitchell Report is apparently only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the allegations of steroid use in baseball. Much of the report is based on hearsay evidence. So I guess we will never really know what the true extend of the problem was and still is with baseball and steroids. But the report certainly will make true baseball and Mariner fans wonder about who really was the better team in the 2000 ALCS. It also will forever taint the outcome of that series and the personal records of the players involved.

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