Friday, April 15, 2005

The Taint Of Steroids

The Duke University Chronicle looks at their school's baseball program and allegations that its head coach, Bill Hillier encouraged to his players to juice.
Although the University and several players said steroids are not currently a problem in the program, two players who have since transferred, Aaron Kempster and Grant Stanley, both told The Chronicle they injected themselves with steroids during the summer of 2002.

“It was a nod and wink kind of thing: You need to get bigger, stronger, faster by any means necessary—wink, wink,” said Kempster, who attempted suicide in his dorm room in November 2002.

Of the three current and 12 former players interviewed over the past seven months, several confirmed that players on the baseball team used steroids while they were on the active roster. Six estimated that between four and 12 teammates took performance-enhancing drugs at some point.

Their story has a Nats-related component, though.

Larry Broadway, the team's top hitting prospect was student at Duke. And the article takes some swipes at him, without having any sort of conclusive evidence.
Larry Broadway was a .324 hitter in his three seasons at Duke before becoming the school’s highest Major League Baseball draft pick since 1976. Players described Broadway, now a top prospect for the Washington Nationals, as the leader of the team, emotionally and on the field.

Several players also said his weight gain from a 200-pound freshman in Spring 2000 to a 222-pound sophomore to a 230-pound junior led them to believe steroids were being used, but none of them saw him using steroids.

“I could never figure out why it was Larry would be hitting change-ups off the plate opposite field for home runs,” said one current player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I was like, ‘This guy must be inhuman.’”

Broadway, who left Duke for the minor leagues in 2002, said he never used steroids. He said he gained weight and strength through an intensive workout program combined at times with high protein shakes Hillier told him to use in order to get bigger and advance his career. “There’s no denying that me gaining weight, working out and eating right helped me stay healthy, helped me perform, helped me improve my draft status and hit it harder and for more power,” Broadway said. “Hard work paid off. Just because I gained weight doesn’t mean I did steroids.”

I don't know one way or another, but it does seem silly to throw his name out there, solely on the SUSPICIONS of an anonymous player. It'd be one thing if the anonymous player had SEEN him injecting, but this is completely different. And it reeks.

For all we know, Larry has passed every steroid test he's had since playing in the minors. He's shown up clean and, at a minimum, is playing clean now. While it's conceivable that usage in the past may have helped him get to where he is now, his talent level has enabled him to stay there. Accusing him, or at least painting him with the same accusatory brush is garbage. And it almost reeks of a little bit of jealousy too.

I hope the hinted-at, but not-quite-stated allegations aren't true. And I hope none of us have to read this mindless speculation anymore either.

4 Comments:

  • Also, jeez, college freshmen are scrawny.

    I weighed somewhere between 170 and 180 when I got there, I think (I'm about 5'11"). By my junior year -- which is probably when I was in the best shape of my life -- I'd put on weight and was up to 205, all muscle. And I did it by *gasp* working out, not taking drugs.

    It's not that hard to add serious muscle when you're in your late teens/early 20s, if you put your mind to it.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/15/2005 2:43 PM  

  • Yuda, that's a good point that I wanted to make before my train of thought got derailed!

    Hell, look at a high school football lineman, and then look at a college senior. It's night and day.

    I guess they don't know much about growth spurts and the growing process there at Duke?

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/15/2005 2:45 PM  

  • Sheesh. Go back and read baseball annuals from even 15 years ago. They used to call this "filling out."

    By Blogger Basil, at 4/15/2005 3:46 PM  

  • Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

    By Blogger Billy, at 5/06/2009 10:33 AM  

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