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Bryant Gumbel accuses Bagwell, Nomar and Pudge of using steroids

Jan 21, 2010, 1:24 PM EDT

Gumbel.jpgI don’t have HBO so I missed this, but apparently on Tuesday night Bryant Gumbel ended his “Real Sports” show by reading an open letter* to Mark McGwire, taking him to task over his apology.  While it was silly because it (a) was premised on the notion that anyone should care what Mark McGwire thinks steroids did for him; and (b) assumes that, while he was a private citizen in California this past decade he had any obligation to explain to anyone what he did or did not take in his career, the criticism was nothing new. 

What was new, however, were the names Gumbel named at the end of the letter:

“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.”

So there you have it. Gumbel is now the first person to publicly accuse Jeff Bagwell and Nomar Garciaparra and Pudge Rodriguez of steroid use (correction: Pudge was named by Canseco in “Juiced”).  Would it shock me if any of them have taken steroids? No. But unless Gumbel is prepared to actually explain (1) how he knows they did; and (2) why, if he does know, he’s just now coming out with their names, I do hope he’ll spare us the sanctimony over people like McGwire waiting so long to “come clean.”  In other words, put up or shut up Gumbel.

In other news, I am waiting for comments from all of the writers who took the blogger Jerod Morris to the woodshed last year for writing that it was possible, based on a statistical pattern, that
Raul Ibanez had used PEDs.  Gumbel is just accusing without any evidence, so he’s even worse, right?  And if your answer is “well, we know Bagwell, Pudge and Nomar took ‘roids, so this isn’t so bad,” why the hell haven’t you reported it yet?

*If I were made dictator of the planet, one of the first things I’d do is to make the practice of “open letters” punishable by death.  You wanna say something to someone, write them a letter. You want to tell your readers or viewers what you think of someone else, tell them what you think.  Open letters are lazy-ass gimmicks with allow the writer to smugly pretend that they’re giving someone advice when he’s really being a passive-aggressive condescending prick. They’re the literary equivalent of “hey, I’m just sayin.'”  How about this: just say it.    

102 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ross - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    “You sound like an ignorant monkey when mentioning steriods with these players who didn’t even know how to spell the word steriod.”
    Apparently neither can you. Also, before you flail around like a spastic weasel, please do a little research on when steroids and other PEDs were available.

  2. Materialman80 - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    I would say it’s probably……….True!

  3. scatterbrian - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    “You sound like an ignorant monkey…”
    You sure about that? Ever heard of the East German Swim Team scandal in the ’76 Olympics? That occurred right around the time Jackson and Foster were playing. Google it! Also check out the link above from (Not That) Tom. The truth is a pretty interesting thing.
    I’m not sure how to take your spelling comment. Were you trying to be funny by misspelling “steroids”? Or are you suggesting the inability to spell a word would stop guys from using? Because that would really put a damper on the manufacturers of androstenedione, nandrolone, stanozolol, clomifene, deca-durabolin, etc. Maybe that’s why they called amphetamines “greenies” back in the day. Way easier to spell.
    Trainer: Here dude, take this. It’ll make you bigger and stronger.
    Player: Sounds great! What are these called?
    Trainer: Steroids.
    Player: How do you spell that?
    Trainer: Not sure, actually. But look at these pecs and tell me that’s not something you want.
    Player: I don’t know, sounds fishy. I’d like to know how to spell steroids.
    Grandpa Fred: Well you don’t spell it, son, you eat it.

  4. bh0673 - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    “My problem is that the media gets to have it both ways: completely ignoring steroids for years on the one hand, but crucify players for not “coming clean” earlier on the other.”
    Craig you hit the nail on the head, everyone ignored it the media, the fans, the owners and even poor Bud and the rest of MLB. We all loved the home runs, the power pitchers, attendance was up, the game had the country’s attention and all that after the Strike of 94 hurt the game as much as it did, we had a reason to watch again. I do remember the media and the fans love affair with Sammy Sosa and Mark Maguire’s homerun race in 1998. We all turned a blind eye and now want to condemn.

  5. Voice Of Reason - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    I dont think someone of Gumbel’s background would just come out throwing accusations about players without having some sources. Gumbel knows he could be sued for slander, so he must know some stuff that hasnt gotten out.Personally I think the list of 103 needs to be exposed and then we all move on. Whoever isnt on the list deserve to be left alone. In this country Its suppose to be innocent until proven guilty,right O.J.?

  6. bh0673 - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Gumble is pompous you know what and I do remember some comments that cam out of his mouth that made me wonder if he was a racist as well. I have no respect for him, will not watch him and don’t take anything he says as gospel.

  7. Aarcraft - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Its great that the “voice of reason” is calling for the violation of 103 people’s constitutional rights.

  8. Rays fan - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    “And were steroids even available 30,40,50 years ago? I would tend to doubt it!”
    Google Sports Illustrated, steroids, timeline & you’ll see that steroids have been around since 1889 (120 years ago). There was an article on this very topic also just a few days ago.

  9. micelken - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    I love my pet cat. It is furry.

  10. Rays fan - Jan 21, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Thank you!! It’s especially important to remember that the Hall of Fame voters have to be BBWAA members for at least 10 years. In other words, the latest any voter for the most recent HoF class could have become a baseball writer was 1999–while McGwire was still playing, before Bonds broke the HR record & before the BLACO story broke. The vast majority were writers during the 1998 season. I’ve yet to hear any of them “come clean” and explain why they did not investigate despite the rampant rumors of steroid use.

  11. Lee Farmington farmington NM - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    I’ve noticed Anderson Cooper has Bulked up any one going after reporters and anchors who use PED ROIDS ? and how are we to trust someone who reports News while “Juiced up” Yet not a single
    CBS NBC ABC has asked A/C if he is juiced Lora Logan who had an
    extremarial affair is still giving the news yet Tiger is hounded
    “Just asking”

  12. GOOFUS - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM


  13. June - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    We have freedom of speech here and you think an open letter should be grounds for the death penalty? Oh yeah, and what do you do for a living–sell your opinion Nooooooooo!!

  14. Shark Man - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    I love your comment on open letters! Absolutely right. Open letters are for wusses who want to bitch about something and not be held responsible for what they say. Say it and take the heat or shut the hell up. Even if I disagree with you I can at least respect you.

  15. Mitch - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Wasn’t pudge’s named leaked with the steriods list of 2003?

  16. whocaresanymore - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    I read in Ted Williams’s book he drank milkshakes from high school on so he could bulk up (he was too skinny). Now I know how he hit so many homers and over .400 — bovine steroids, the ultimate PED. Ted was way ahead of the curve once again, but he didn’t come completely clean; he probably thought no one would make the connection. Ha, you’re busted Ted. Someone better tell Dumbell so he can flail on him too at the end of his next HBO show.

  17. whocaresanymore - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    I read in Ted Williams’s book he drank milkshakes from high school on so he could bulk up (he was too skinny). Now I know how he hit so many homers and over .400 — bovine steroids, the ultimate PED. Ted was way ahead of the curve once again, but he didn’t come completely clean; he probably thought no one would make the connection. Ha, you’re busted Ted. Someone better tell Dumbell so he can flail on him too at the end of his next HBO show.

  18. John - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Tell me. Why would anyone care about anything B. Gumbel has to opine about anything. Is he suppose to be intelligent? I thought he was just a newscaster looking for adulation.

  19. Larry - Jan 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    John, you gave the clown the perfect answer. Good job!

  20. - Jan 21, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    You don’t have HBO????

  21. SkullLeader - Jan 21, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Is anyone besides me feeling more animosity towards the self-righteous players who keep publicly condemning the steroid abusers? Curt Schilling, Jack Clark, Carlton Fisk. Yes, we know you played the game the right way and players who didn’t are apparently worse than child molsters… but SHUT THE **** UP already.

  22. Houston Ben - Jan 21, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    GUMBALL’s is an idiot!!! I hope someone sues his A** off! my wife & I have been friends with the Bagwell’s for many years. His power came from the gym over time and his batting stance (which created ‘xtra torque’ or xtra power in the speed of the swing). The last 5 seasons of his career were spent in pain as he sacrificed his right shoulder for Drayden’s baseball business venture.
    If JB was doing steroids, his friends would’ve known and as for the shoulder injury it became quite obvious he could spit farther than he could throw. In Bagwell’s case any Doctor could’ve-would’ve prescribed steriods to treat his shoulder injury before any talk of a ban if it would help the healing process.
    Lets all try not to forget that MLB is big business-big money so don’t act suprised when team owners-management puts a little pressure on a player to get back in the game asap, especially if they can hit or throw a 95mph strike!
    I’ll bet most of the 103 names on that list had injuries they were dealing with but I’m also sure that a few used steroids for performance enhancement and not for an injury.

  23. bresh - Jan 21, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Gumble said what he did because he had a near death experience with cancer (to him anyway), and found a set of balls. I agree with everyone who posted “Where were you in the 90’s Bryant, and why didn’t you investigate it then?” Because I had a multi million dollar contract with CBS, and didn’t want to become an earlier version of Dan Rather…friggin candy a$$.
    Steroids has tainted EVERY professional sport in america. Thats after illegal drugs first decimated them. Amphetimines were the drug of choice in the 80’s-90’s (along with Cocaine). Alcohol has long been a problem in baseball. Just look at Miguel Cabrerra…
    Players will continue to look for an edge, and with DNA research and genetic reasearch continuing to evolve, how long will it be until an athlete gets a treatment or something that alters him genetically? How the hell do you test for something like that? Those will be the questions people ask 100-200 years from now…

  24. fisher - Jan 21, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    didnt mcgwire hit like 40 plus jacks his rookie and sophomore seasons. and all the reports i have read those years came before the steriods. the juice showed up after his first season ending injury i do believe.
    media+seling+mlb= garbage.
    ridiculous to believe owners didnt know about the PEDs. MLB knew about it. but baseball was going nowhere fast until mac and sosa showed up hitting bombs. chasing maris’ record and america fell in love with baseball again. i remember where i was and who i called when i saw the record breaking homerun. these guys saved baseball. and people knew. but nobody was gonna bite the hand that was feeding them at the time. then some highschool kids die and get busted with steriods and the witch hunt was. but they waited for all these stars to finish(so they could suck the money out of their popularity) and burned them. took them out back and shot them like a broke down horse. get over it i grew up in a small town in texas and plenty of highschool athletes still use PEDs. make the ones that are safe like HGH legal. if it helps these guys recover faster from traveling across the country, playing day in and day out and playing a sport that most players dont truly take full offseasons until they are veterans so be it.

  25. john pileggi - Jan 21, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    It was the “Steroid Era”, and we can say, based on evidence, admission, and sometimes unfair speculation, that a great deal of juicing went on. Knowing “who” and “when” and “how many” is helpful in Hall of Fame balloting, but it really does not change anything. The best perspective I have gotten from all this is an increased appreciation for Roger Maris. No one else got to 61, before or after steroids. The feat itself, and the pressure that he endured (with no known drugs to take the “edge” off) seem even more incredible now. The guy should be in the Hall of Fame to offset the record he lost.

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