MLB Asks Miami New Times For Documents Relating To Possible PED Use By Players
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sent "two of his top deputies" in MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred and MLB Senior VP/PR Pat Courtney to “persuade” the editor of the Miami New Times to share documents relating to possible PED use by MLB players, according to Schmidt & Eder of the N.Y. TIMES. The decision “appeared to underscore Selig’s frustrations and struggles" with the issue of PEDs. In an hour-long meeting with the weekly newspaper, Manfred and Courtney “explained how obtaining the records would give them an upper hand in suspending the players.” Miami New Times Editor Chuck Strouse said the meeting was “very cordial,” adding each side left with a “lay of the land in the sense of what the other was thinking.” Strouse later wrote on the newspaper's website describing Manfred as “a charming bulldog with an upstate New York accent.” Strouse: “You could call it a sales pitch, but they made an honest presentation about why this was the right thing to do.” Schmidt & Eder wrote the “dilemma facing Strouse is one that newspaper editors have faced for years: whether to help an outside entity like the government or a company by providing it with documents they have obtained.” Some editors “fear that playing a role in helping one side would jeopardize the newspaper’s impartiality.” Strouse said that as of Friday afternoon, the paper “had not decided if it would share information with baseball’s investigators.” He added that he “hoped to reach a decision within a week.” Strouse: “We have them. We know Major League Baseball wants them. We need to decide what we do with the stuff we have obtained” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/9).
LACKING AUTHORITY: ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote Selig over the past 16 months “probably has been tempted to make some really strong public statements” about PED use in baseball, but he and MLB’s investigative unit “don’t have much power.” Sources said that MLB has been “frustrated with its inability to follow up on the leads it has.” The league has been “working hard to get the feds involved," but it may be that the U.S. government "has simply decided to devote its resources to issues more pertinent to the nation's rank and file than the pursuit of millionaires drugging up to help their bodies recover from the previous night's relief appearance.” But Selig and MLB investigators “really shouldn't lose much sleep if they keeping hitting dead ends.” As always, the “real power lies within” the MLBPA. The “most important change now would be the reduction of the incentive to cheat, and in order for that to happen, the union has to make a change to the rules” (ESPN.com, 2/10).
STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: MLBPA General Counsel David Prouty, promoted to the position last week, said that as part of taking the responsibilities from MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner, he will “oversee the business side of the union as well as being a major force in labor talks.” Prouty is “beginning to discuss tweaks to the new rules on the amateur draft and free agency, which have been areas of concern to the union in their first year of implementation," but the "elephant in the room is the never-ending saga" of PEDs. Prouty believes the testing for testosterone and the yearlong blood testing for HGH "will be more effective in detecting use.” Prouty said, “Most players we speak with want a strong drug program and don’t want anyone cheating in the games. ... There are people out there giving players bad advice on how they might be able to beat the system by using low-level testosterone and masking it with other things and other gimmicks.” In Boston, Nick Cafardo noted other union issues “concern travel and instant replay.” Prouty said of Weiner's ongoing battle against an inoperable brain tumor, “Mike has handled this whole situation with incredible grace and incredible humor, too. That’s the way he’s handled everything. So in a way, we’ve all been inspired by him" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/10).