2007-12-13

Beyond BALCO

Today the infamous Mitchell Report was released by Major League Baseball. It is downloadable here in .pdf format. A couple days ago ESPN.com vowed it would be huge.

It's huge.

Roger Clemens? Eric Gagne? Michael Tejada? Andy Pettite? This is not a couple of scrubs here!

On page 143 of the .pdf file this anecdote is related:

On the evening of October 4, 2001, Canadian Border Service officers working at Toronto’s international airport discovered steroids, syringes, and clenbuterol in an unmarked duffel bag during an airport search of luggage that had been unloaded from the Cleveland Indians flight from Kansas City. Ted Walsh, the Indians equipment and clubhouse manager who was present during the search, recognized the bag as one that had been sent down to be included with the luggage by Cleveland outfielder Juan Gonzalez when the Indians left Kansas City. On prior trips, Gonzalez had included bags for members of his entourage with his own bags, and Walsh had the impression that this was the case with some of the bags he sent down to be packed for the Toronto flight. The customs officials requested Walsh to bring all of the luggage except the bag in question to the team hotel as normal, which he did. The Indians resident security agent, Jim Davidson, who was traveling with the team because of heightened security after the attacks of September 11, 2001, met with local law enforcement officers in the hotel lobby. Mark Haynes, the Canadian Border Service officer in charge of the investigation, told Davidson that syringes and anabolic steroids had been found in the bag and that officers were going to replace the bag with the Indians luggage to see who claimed it. Haynes also opened the bag and showed Davidson the hypodermic needles, ampules, and other paraphernalia.
Thereafter, Davidson, Haynes, and other officials watched the luggage as Joshue Perez, a member of Juan Gonzalez’s entourage, claimed the duffel bag. With Davidson present, Haynes and other officers took Perez to an anteroom, where he told them that the bag belonged to Angel (“Nao”) Presinal, Gonzalez’s personal trainer, who would be arriving in Toronto on a later flight. As soon as he arrived at the hotel, Presinal was detained by law enforcement officers. In an interview at the hotel, Presinal denied that the bag belonged to him and asserted that it belonged to, and had been packed by, Gonzalez. Haynes and Toronto police officers then went to Gonzalez’s room to question him about the bag. Although he had been present for the interview of Presinal, Davidson was not invited to attend the interview of Gonzalez. After that interview, Haynes reported that Gonzalez had denied any knowledge about the bag’s contents and claimed that he had sent it down to be included with the team’s luggage at Presinal’s request. According to Davidson’s account of the incident, during further questioning Presinal admitted that he had packed the steroids but claimed that he carried them for Gonzalez, whom he helped to administer them. Davidson reported that Presinal also claimed to have assisted several other high-profile major league players in taking steroids. In our interview of him in 2007, Presinal denied that he made any such statements. He asserted that he has no knowledge of the involvement of any player in Major League Baseball with anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing substances.
The next day, Davidson and Toronto’s resident security agent Wayne Cotgreave
had a conference call with Kevin Hallinan of the Commissioner’s Office’s security department and members of his staff. Hallinan said that the matter would be handled from the Commissioner’s Office in New York. Although Hallinan told Davidson that his office would investigate the matter, there is no evidence that such an investigation ever was conducted beyond a search for Presinal’s Cleveland address. None of the eyewitnesses whom we interviewed during the course of our investigation was contacted by anyone about the incident until a news report about it appeared in July 2006. Davidson was never asked to perform any follow-up work with respect to the matter.

Update, 7:08pm: Toronto itself has a couple players named in the report. Troy Glaus, who would have been a Diamondback at the time, is one of them (and no big surprise). Also named is Toronto pitcher and Sportsnet commentator Gregg Zaun. Er, Gregg Zaun?
Kurt Radmonski, the former Mets clubhouse attendant who provided information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids case, told Mitchell he sold Zaun Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol back in 2001 and provided a $500 cheque from the player.

The report also says that former Montreal Expos catcher Luis Perez told the commissioner's office that he personally provided steroids to Zaun and seven other major-leaguers.
Gregg Zaun this past season had a .242 batting average, a .411 slugging percentage, and a 98 OPS+. He hit 10 home runs and 24 doubles in 331 at-bats. In 2001 he had a .536 SLG with Kansas City, his highest ever -- his BA was .320 with 6 homers that year in just 125 at-bats. Still, Gregg Zaun? How bad would he be without steroids?

(The Globe and Mail has a list of named players in the report here.)

1 comments:

Billy said...

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