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Major League Baseball And Little League

For those who thought the Barry Bonds fiasco was an enormous black eye for Major League Baseball, it may soon be overshadowed by the upcoming crisis regarding former journeyman pitcher Jason Grimsley, who was busted by the federal government.

Grimsley, who pitched for seven different teams in 17 years, always seemed to be looking for an edge. When steroid testing began, Grimsley switched to the undetectable human growth hormone, or HGH. HGH, which may only be confirmed by future blood tests, isn’t detectable through the “pee” test. As ESPN’s Jayson Stark put it on Wednesday, Grimsley “was caught, red-handed, with HGH.” This situation is by no means a major deal because of the stature of Grimsley—a well-traveled pitcher who was never really all that good—but because of what it could entail for the rest of Major League Baseball.

When investigators begin to connect the dots, Major League Baseball could be in for a crisis that will make the 1994 strike look like an early-season slump. The worst part about this for baseball is that Grimsley admitted that he changed his cheater’s potion because of the rules that were instituted. Steroids are testable, but HGH is not. Logically, if a major league player still wants to cheat and not get caught, what would that player do?

This crisis will change the dynamic of Major League Baseball for a long time to come, if not forever. If baseball doesn’t get a grip on HGH, then the impact could be devastating. If the players and owners thought the fans were perturbed when the players went on strike in 1994 over money—apparently, they were unhappy about only making $9 million per year instead of $10 million—then the backlash regarding a lack of policy on HGH will unleash a powerful firestorm.

Before the government steps in and shows how inept the baseball owners and the commissioner’s office really is, Major League Baseball has to put its foot down and take a stand. Bud Selig must confront Donald Fehr and the player’s union and make them agree to a blood-testing policy. This isn’t just a move to save face. This could well be a move that will be needed to keep baseball from striking out for good.


Kevin RobertsUConn Graduate Class of 2006 - B.A. in Journalism/Political ScienceTorrington, CT 06790