Jason Grimsley is 38 years old; he should not be a household name. He’s a Major League pitcher who has tossed close to 1,000 innings over a 16 year span (his career ERA is almost 5). Grimsley pitched for seven different teams and recently asked the Arizona Diamondbacks for his release. In the course of a career, that one can only call horrifyingly average, Grimsley earned about 9 million dollars as a Major League Baseball player.
Big fucking deal, right?
Not so fast; Grimsley is being investigated by the FBI in connection to a (possibly) major steroid scandal (he was caught purchasing a year’s worth of HGH). Grimsley isn’t the first low level Major Leaguer to be connected with Steroids, nor is this his first run-in (he tested positive back in 2003); but he may be the first “caught” player to have named names. And the fallout of this could be enormous and grim (grimnormous, if you will).
Grimsley broke the oldest code in the holy bible of Major League Baseball; he ratted out his peers. Facing the heat of a federal investigation, Grimsley (allegedly) crumbled and spoke. The named names have since been redacted, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re leaked.
So as Major League Baseball fans worldwide try to ignore Barry Bonds as he surges toward immortal records, we are offered this; no-name Jason Grimsley and his sad, sad story (in a way, this is the best thing that ever happened to Bonds). There are two major issues that will stick to the MLB landscape when the atomic bomb’s worth of information goes off (and after the dust and smoke of the mushroom cloud clears too).
One (and this is already happening) is the HGH issue. Although HGH is a “banned substance”, Major League Baseball doesn’t test for it. They might as well “ban” Kit-Kats and coffee while they’re at it. The question that will inevitably come is; if a crappy reliever like Jason Grimsley was willing to risk his career in 2006 (the so-called post steroid era) by purchasing and taking HGH, who’s to say that the brand name athletes (Bonds, Giambi, etc.) ever stopped? Those players, the high end ones, have a lot more money than the Jason Grimsley’s off the world; and money can keep dark closets locked up for a long time.
The second, glaring aspect of this case is the unfathomable scope of steroid use. Allegedly, Jason Grimsley’s steroid history is long and complicated. In other words, he wasn’t some casual user. He combined a myriad of illegal substances for an extended period of time; he knew what he was doing.
If Jason Grimsley was a hardcore steroid user (to the tune of a 4.77 ERA), just how many players were using. Maybe the question is who wasn’t using?
I am always shocked when these so-called clean players defend Barry Bonds; but now, maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe they all have a dark side. At the very least, they seem to realize that the steroid scandal is bigger than we could ever be prepared for; so they protect the (openly) dirty players to protect the game.
Major League Baseball is certainly at a crossroads; we all thought the steroids era was coming to end but it looks like it’s only the beginning. All of this bad press makes me think of guys like David Wells. Love him or hate him, but he’s lambasted Bonds and the like since the beginning. Yeah, he’s fat and he’s old; but at least he’s honest. I’d take a 100 ball players like Wells over one super-processed, chemical machine.
And that’s the worst thing about the Jason Grimsley scandal; I don’t know what to think anymore