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Nov 6, 2007 

Say It Ain't So, Matty; Three Stars Leaked In Drug Probe


Steroid crusaders finally have someone of consequence to stomp on thanks to the journalistic superheroes at the San Francisco Chronicle and their ubiquitous unnamed sources.

C'mon, Neifi Perez is not going to satiate us.

Jose Guillen, Matt Williams and Ismael Valdez, now join Cleveland's Paul Byrd in a Federal sting of a Florida anti-aging clinic.

Despite unnamed sources, Guillen's surprise release by the Seattle Mariners should have alerted many that something was in the air. In September, the Mariners seemed happy with his production and aimed to bring him back for 2008. After hitting .290 with 22 homers and 99 RBIs, there would be little reason not to resign Guillen, unless the team was alerted of his impending steroid charge.

In hindsight, Guillen seemed to exhibit many characteristics of a player using performance-enhancing drugs. While with Pittsburgh, he was a hot shot prospect with a rocket for a right arm. His star quickly faded and he moved on to Tampa Bay, Arizona and Cincinnati.

According to the Chronicle report, he began using performance-enhancing drugs in 2002, incidentally, that was also his breakout season when he batted .311/31/86.

Guillen has always been known for his explosive temper. His hot head has led to defections from Oakland and Anaheim where he argued with manager Mike Scioscia in the Angels dugout. Might this have been a symptom of 'Roid Rage?

Matt Williams' inclusion in this list is quite saddening. Retired since 2003 and now a Arizona Diamondbacks announcer, the bald pate and quite determination of Williams were hallmarks of those Giants teams that featured Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and, later, Barry Bonds.

Williams, according to the article, he was forthcoming about his use in 2002, saying it was recommended to heal a badly injured ankle.

In the coming weeks and months, this sort of answer might be common place for players with enough integrity to admit their errors in judgement because the use of steroids and performance-enhancers is really a quick way of healing the body during a long, arduous season.

Others like Barry Bonds and numerous athletes in track & field, cycling and other Olympic sports will use the tried and true, "my supplements were tainted" mantra, but even that line is nearing critical mass.

San Diego Padres outfielder, Mike Cameron, already used it last week, but added the caveat that whatever he used it wasn't steroids, but some other illegal drug.

If players like Matt Williams begin to surface as steroid offenders, stories far more shocking than Alex Rodriguez signing $350 million contracts will dominate the off season.

The question that could arise is if the majority of steroid offender revealed in the Mitchell report turn out to be retireed players, will the game really be able to resort to the Draconian measure that are truly needed to clean up the game?

Anything short of a big name star crashing to earth like a Ken Griffey, Jr. or Roger Clemens Major League Baseball will surely portray this scandal as a thing of the past and revert to business as usual.

Baseball players juicing up for inflated multi-million dollar contract would love that, but the public won't.

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