In case we were all getting bored while we waited for pitchers and catchers to report, here’s a little bit of good news: More steroids intrigue.
Am I the only one who misses the good old days when the financial scandals happened on quiz shows, the press knew better than to publicize the tawdry details of a president’s affairs and the baseball players letting us down were at least underpaid enough to be sympathetic?
In this latest addition of “Roid Rage,” both David Justice and Doc Gooden deny claims made by former Mets employee/steroid peddler Kirk Radomski in his new book. The claims? That he gave David Justice HGH and Doc Gooden two cups of pee. I’m honestly not sure which one I’d pick given the option.
The bottom line in these cases is that we never really know what happened. It’s one man’s word versus another and all a person has to go on is a gut reaction. And there is nothing less reliable than a gut reaction. (Except maybe Fox News.)
That said, I’m obviously going to give you my gut reaction.
It’s a well established fact that Doc Gooden had a cocaine problem. A fact established by the arrests, the trips to rehab, the positive tests for cocaine and, of course, his admission that he had a cocaine problem. So there’s no real reason for Doc to want to hide any behavior related to his drug use. The fact that a drug addict would want to cover up a dirty urine is hardly newsworthy. And, yet, Gooden vehemently denies the claim that Radomski ever peed on his behalf, saying, "I don't know what he's talking about. I've made mistakes through the years, and I've admitted them, but that never happened. And the way the tests were administered, it couldn't have happened. I've done enough wrong on my own, I don't want to get blamed for something I didn't do."
True, it’s possible that the old ballplayer instinct to “Deny ‘em all and let Mitchell sort ‘em out” may have kicked in. But, seriously, if Radomski’s story was true, I think Doc would have put the issue to bed a lot sooner by saying, “Yeah, I had a cocaine problem, which I wanted to keep from my employers. Obviously, I was never successful.”
But you know what else my gut tells me? That it’s a little weird that the only time David Justice would have purchased HGH from Radomski would have been right after the season had ended. And right before he was going to through airport security. I’m not saying Justice was never on the juice. I don’t claim to know. I’m just saying that the timing and location of their one and only transaction seems a little suspect.
Of course, Radomski does have a check that Justice gave him, which proves, at the very least, that money changed hands. But we’ll have to take Radomski’s word on that one. He can’t like produce the check or anything. But we know he has it. Cuz he told us. Unless, of course, as Justice suggests, Radomski is telling a "bald-faced lie.”
Touché, Justice. That’s harsh.
While we will never really know what happened here, a lot of the verifiable facts in the book were just plain wrong. For one, the assertion that Clemens and Conseco never played on the same team. (They played on not one but three of the same teams.) There was also the claim that the reason Radomski left the Mets was because the Wilpons had bought out the Doubledays and created an unpleasant working environment. (Radomski quit in 1995 and the Wilpon buyout happened in 2002.) Finally, Radomski suggests that Gooden's suspension happened in 1988 following Radomski's refusal to give Gooden a third clean urine. (Actually, that suspension happened in 1994.) The only thing these errors prove definitively is that Radomski had a lousy fact-checker, but it makes us question the veracity of a lot of his other assertions.
Regardless, there’s one thing I can say for sure: Anyone who distributes steroids for a living and, when exposed, is not penitent and humiliated enough to not want to write a mud-slinging book about it? Piece of crapelbon. Period. That’s not a gut reaction. That’s just obvious.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter all that much who’s telling the truth. I mean, either way, we’re left with pretty much the same results. Radomski’s still a scumbag, Gooden still had a drug problem, and David Justice will still be best remembered by history as one of the worst commentators of all time.
I know that’s how I’m going to remember him, anyway.