I used to subscribe to the HBO family of networks when Curb Your Enthusiasm was on, but I dropped the package shortly after the show’s season wrapped up a couple months ago.
Another show I watched frequently on HBO was "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." I’m not a huge fan of Gumbel, but Frank DeFord and Co. often would report on very interesting stories. I specifically remember DeFord’s piece on former Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who is dying from cancer.
Well, I found this morning through a series of linksthis post by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. He saw the newest episode of the series, and in it Gumbel uses his "final word" to call out those who used steroids or who have been believed to have used.
The typical cast of characters is called out by Gumbel, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.
Gumbel hopes the players learn what went wrong with Mark McGwire‘s admission of steroid use, should any of them opt to come clean.
But toward the end, he says:
"In closing, guys, please feel free to share this letter with Bagwell, Nomar, Pudge and all those others who went from hitting homers to power outages overnight. Tell ‘em fans are ready to accept what happened. Tell ‘em we’re ready to move on. Tell ‘em that most of us get it…even if they, like you, still don’t."
Pudge would be Ivan Rodriguez, and that’s no big surprise. But Jeff Bagwell and Nomar Garciaparra? What does Gumbel know about them?
Would I be surprised if either used? No, of course not. I doubt many players who used steroids would surprise me anymore.
But I’m reluctant to throw out accusations like that. To my knowledge, there’s never been any evidence of either Jeff Bagwell or Nomar Garciaparra having used steroids. I can’t recall any accusations or any mentions in the Mitchell Report.
It seems Bagwell’s power numbers were pretty consistent before his final season, when he was plagued by injuries at the age of 37 and never played again. But is that enough to suggest he used?
And isn’t Garciaparra just an example of another player who can’t stay on the field? Should every player who is banged up year-in and year-out be accused of juicing?
The short answer is "no."