February 11, 2014

Albert Pujols shows how to deal with explicit steroid rumors

First, let me stipulate that I think a lot of MLB writers who accuse other writers of being the "steroid morality police" or whatever are full of it.

Their claims that steroids are no more game-changing than amphetamines, the "greenies" of baseball's 60s and 70s, have been refuted by none other than Jim Bouton, who of course played at the height of that era.

Second, I believe that such protestations are in part a smoke screen for their true agenda, which is a "Big Hall" Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

That said, back to the header.

Jack Clark, a few months back, on a St. Louis talk radio station, shot his mouth off about how he believed Albert Pujols had been taking steroids, and how he had word-of-mouth comment to that effect.
Clark has brought Pujols’ situation up at least twice already on the air. The first time, after Slaten said last Friday that he long has believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark jumped in before Slaten finished his thought and said, “I know for a fact he was. The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”

Clark then talked about a conversation he had about a dozen years ago with Mihlfeld, who has worked as a conditioner with several major-league organizations. (Both men were with the Dodgers then, and Pujols was early in his career.)

Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie’ — threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff,” Clark said on the air.

So, Pujols sued him. (The radio station smartly apologized before a suit could be filed against it, and fired Clark. His co-host, Kevin Slaton, has a long St. Louis history of jerkery.)

And, now?

Clark has issued a public retraction.

Per the story, there's this part, which also goes to Clark's credibility, or something:
In October, Pujols sued Clark in St. Louis County over the comments Clark made during an August broadcast of his local sports talk radio show, “The King and The Ripper.” The program, which aired on WGNU (920 AM), has since been canceled.

Well, out of work, he was even more worried about finances, I'm sure.

That said, most steroid accusations are just a touch more subtle than Jack Clark's. Even Murray Chass' "bacne" comments about Mike Piazza probably don't translate to possible legal liability.

And, some of the rumors are around because circumstantial evidence seems to support them.

I mean, nobody looked at Hank Aaron at the age of 36 and said, "Hey, his head is getting bigger" (that's you, Barry Bonds) or "How is he hitting so many homers at his age?"

That said, while Aaron, unlike Bonds, had no unusually late peak, he did have an unusually long continued period of excellence. Everybody who knows much about him passing Babe Ruth knows he never hit more than 47 homers in a year. He also, after his rookie season, never hit less than 24 until he turned 40, and only twice hit under 30 after his age-22 season until 40.

I'm not saying anything other than "genes" or whatever. It's still interesting.

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