A Dopey Policy
Baseball's new drug testing program is the laughingstock of
experts who see it for what it is--a toothless public relations
Major League Baseball and the players' association made sure to
pat themselves on the back for including a steroid-testing
program in the labor agreement they announced on Aug. 30. Yeah.
And Communist Russia once boasted of holding free elections. If
there is anything in baseball easier to beat than the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays, it's the steroid-testing plan. "It's not a drug test.
It's an IQ test," said Gary Wadler, a New York University School
of Medicine professor and a member of the World Anti-Doping
Agency research committee. "You would have to flunk an IQ test to
The testing program is the laughingstock of drug experts. The
American Swimming Coaches Association is so outraged at the
policy that it is seeking to have players' union head Donald Fehr
removed from the United States Olympic Committee, calling his
position on the board of directors "anathema to the USOC
antidoping efforts" and saying that he "continues to give the USA
an international black eye." Fehr declined to comment.
Baseball's plan amounts to nothing more than a public relations
attempt to quell fan distrust after an SI investigation into
rampant use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in
baseball. Said Wadler, "They're trying to escape the bullet by
coming out with a sound bite."
September 15, 2002
One veteran player who was close to the negotiations admitted
that the owners "came to us and basically said, 'Come up with
something to make this [image problem] go away.'
"Let's face it," the player went on, "they like all the home
runs. This policy is a small step forward, but it's not going to
change a whole lot."
Baseball will test only for Schedule III steroids, which are
illegal without a prescription. Players can continue to freely
take muscle enhancers such as human growth hormone, which is
clinically used to treat dwarfism, and androstenedione, an
over-the-counter supplement that has the properties of a steroid
because the body converts it into testosterone. Both of those are
banned by the IOC and the NFL.
Unlike those organizations, baseball will not conduct off-season
testing, giving players the green light to juice up for four
months before competition. Testing next year will be conducted
for survey purposes only. Half the players will be tested in
spring training and half in the regular season. Most of the
steroids used by players leave the body a couple of weeks after
use. "You get off the stuff right before spring training, and
then your only risk is which batch of players you're in," the
veteran player said. "Then, once you take your test, you're home
free [to use again]." The NFL tests seven or eight players per
team every week of its season.
"Baseball players will learn to pick and choose when to use, when
to start and stop," said Wadler. "It's really not that hard."
If more than 5% of next year's tests return positive, all players
will then be subject to random testing for each of the next two
years. If fewer than 5% of the tests are positive, only survey
testing will remain in place. Because the union represents 40-man
rosters, that means baseball allows up to 60 players to use
steroids before it even considers it has a problem. That's the
equivalent of two major league teams.
Mets catcher Vance Wilson, the team's assistant player
representative, said even one unannounced test "is going to deter
people from using--definitely." More likely, it will simply force
them to work their steroid cycles around the test. And next
spring, when the usual passel of players reports to camp having
added 20 pounds of bulk over the winter, you'll have every right
to raise an eyebrow when they credit their weight room dedication
for the increased strength. --Tom Verducci
Former phenom Tamir Goodman switches from college ball to Israel
In retrospect, maybe we went a little too far with the whole
"Jewish Jordan" thing. Three years ago (SI, Feb. 1, 1999) this
magazine put that label on Tamir Goodman, described his game as
"enthralling" and reported breathlessly how he played "a foot
over the rim when rebounding or dunking." The Orthodox Jew who
starred for Talmudical Academy in suburban Baltimore was, we
wrote, "built for basketball."
Only, as it turned out, Goodman wasn't built for college
basketball. In September 1999 he reneged on an oral commitment to
Maryland when he felt the school was lukewarm about his playing
ability. He ended up at Towson, where any doubts the Terps might
have had about him were borne out. As a freshman Goodman scored
6.0 points a game, and last year he played in just seven games,
averaging 1.9 points and 2.3 turnovers. His playing days at
Towson ended after he accused his coach, Michael Hunt, of
brandishing a chair at him in the locker room. (The school's
internal investigation found no cause to punish Hunt.) Towson
honored Goodman's scholarship, and he left after finishing spring
Goodman's basketball odyssey continued three months ago when he
signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv to play near
where his mother grew up and his grandmother lives. "This is what
I've been pointing to, ultimately, my entire life," he said.
Only, as it turns out, Goodman isn't quite ready for Israel's top
team. Last month the club loaned the 20-year-old to Givat Shmuel,
a mid-level team in a Tel Aviv suburb. He is considered a
valuable investment for Maccabi because he holds citizenship in
Israel as well as the U.S. (There are limits on the number of
foreign players allowed on a team.) "After a difficult season in
college he needs to be on the court playing," says Maccabi coach
David Blatt. "He's not ready right now to contribute."
"I was expecting to be loaned out," says Goodman, who is lifting
weights four times a week to bulk up his 6'3", 175-pound body.
"It's different from college basketball; the maturity level is
higher." When play for Givat begins next month, Goodman will
likely be more curiosity than contributor, as he's expected to
come off the bench. He'll also be the first pro player in Israel
in a decade to wear a yarmulke on the court and should draw
plenty of fans from Givat Shmuel's large Orthodox community.
Goodman says he is happy and considers his move as much about his
culture as about basketball. "The time to come was now because of
everything that's going on here," he says. "I wanted to put in my
two cents to help Israel." --Chris Ballard
$1,624.02 Amount paid by the winning bidder on eBay for the
chance to serve as a reporter for USOpen.org for one day at
tennis's 2003 U.S. Open.
7,316 Height in feet of Australia's Mount Kosciuszko, which was
scaled last week by Erik Weihenmayer, 33, who became the first
blind person to climb the highest peak on all seven continents.
600 Pairs of Adidas football shoes donated to Tampa-area high
schools by the Buccaneers after the NFL mandated that all teams
$1 million Cash Don King paid Lennox Lewis to give up the IBF
heavyweight title, allowing King to promote a fight to fill the
$2.98 million Compensation given by Germany's government to
relatives of the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian gunmen
at the '72 Olympics, in Munich; the families had sought $29 million.
20,000 Homer Hankies handed out by the Twins last Friday, the
first time Hankies had been distributed since 1991, as Minnesota
broke the A's 20-game winning streak with a 6-0 victory.
60,000 Fans--many chanting "Jo Kuk Tong Il! [United
Fatherland!]"--at Saturday's scoreless soccer match in Seoul
between North and South Korea, the nations' first meeting in 12
ARMS AND THE MASCOT
After much public debate, host Wisconsin allowed West Virginia's
Mountaineer mascot (left) to wield his musket during Saturday's
game despite a school policy against firearms on campus. Good
thing. As former Mountaineer mascot Brandon Flower says: "It
would be hard to picture the Mountaineer without his gun. It
would be like he wasn't wearing buckskins." Some other college
football mascots might also look a little naked without their
a Pistol Pete
OSU's big-hat cowboy carries a double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun
and a Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum revolver (loaded with blanks).
All Petes take a gun safety course as part of their training.
Athwart his trusty Appaloosa, Renegade, Florida State's
headdressed mascot, opens each home game by spiking his flaming
spear at midfield.
c Scarlet Knight
Rutgers's armored mascot brandishes a three-foot sword and
regularly jousts with Army's similarly equipped Black Knight.
ABE LEMONS 1922-2002
Remembering the Quipper
Quick with a joke, slow with a game plan, Honest Abe did it his
At halftime of a 1968 NIT game in which Duke was thrashing
Oklahoma City 49-28, Chiefs coach Abe Lemons told half his
players to switch from their blue jerseys to white ones. Then, to
the amazement of the Madison Square Garden crowd, he had them
scrimmage on the court. "Fellas," Lemons said, "all I want you to
do is hustle a little, so they don't boo us right out of town."
The ploy was unorthodox (the Chiefs still lost), but then, so was
Lemons. In 35 years at Oklahoma City, Texas and Pan American,
Lemons--who died on Sept. 2 after a long battle with Parkinson's
disease--won 599 games and an NIT title, but he is perhaps better
remembered for recruiting a circus giant as a publicity stunt and
hiring a magician to enliven pregame pep talks. Often compared to
fellow Oklahoman Will Rogers, Lemons espoused a philosophy all
his own. "What's an education?" he said in 1985. "It's good for
the average guy, but if somebody hands a poor kid $2 million to
go around half-naked bouncing a ball, then he'd better take it.
Then, if he wants a diploma, he can always buy a college and put
his name on it, like Oral Roberts."
Lemons employed two offenses: the GMA, or "general milling
around," and the Daylight Offense, as in "the first guy who sees
daylight after he crosses midcourt shoots." Nor did he believe in
opponent scouting reports. ("They tie knots," he said, assessing
the University of Windsor.) But he got results. In the early '70s
he won with unheralded Oklahoma City teams that featured several
Native Americans, whom Lemons, in his drawl, called "Endins." "I
have to remember not to puff my cigar around my Endins," he said.
"I might be cussin' in smoke signals."
WHY YOU DON'T NEED TO REMEMBER HIS NAME Because he goes by
Commissioner of Tailgating.
WHY HIS TITLE MAKES SENSE Each football season since 1996 the
Commish, 54, has logged 30,000 miles in his Monaco Signature
coach, visiting about 50 of the nation's finest stadium parking
lots. A bachelor, he likens tailgating to "an old-time community
social where all sorts of folks come together," and he rarely
enters a stadium. "I know my place," he says. "You don't see NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue outside tailgating, do you?"
WHY SERIOUS 'GATERS SHOULD INVITE HIM TO HELP OUT AT THE HIBACHI
Cahn founded the New Orleans School of Cooking (which he's since
sold) and has prepared king salmon at a Seattle tailgate and
Cuban pig in Miami. He always wears the home team's colors, and
he can spin a good travel yarn--like the time John Madden
invited him into the Madden Cruiser for a pregame bite of
HEAVEN IS Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. "They know their
barbecue, know their football, and they have a lot of porta
potties out there."
DIED Of complications from Alzheimer's, Frankie Albert, 82,
college football's first T-formation QB. A tailback for a
Stanford team that won one game in 1939, Albert moved to
quarterback in coach Clark Shaughnessy's newly installed T the
next year and led Stanford to a 10-0 season, including a 21-13
Rose Bowl win over Nebraska. His bowl performance--he threw a
40-yard TD pass and kicked three extra points--led Huskers coach
Biff Jones to say, "That kid had too much pass, too much kick,
too much noodle." Albert played seven years with the 49ers and
coached them from 1956 to '58.
ATTACKED In a Manhattan diner, Yankees pitcher David Wells. At
about 6 a.m. last Saturday, Wells, who had defeated the Tigers on
Friday night, was sitting with a friend when he was allegedly
confronted by 27-year-old Rocco Graziosa. Police say Graziosa
disparaged Wells's late mother and hit Wells from behind, causing
him to fall into a table. Wells lost two teeth, and Graziosa was
charged with assault.
INDICTED Kings forward Chris Webber, on charges of obstruction of
justice and making false statements to the grand jury
investigating former Michigan booster Ed Martin. In May, Martin,
who pleaded guilty to money laundering, said he gave Webber
$280,000 in cash and gifts when Webber was at Michigan (SI, April
1). Webber denied the charges.
SWEPT The entire motocross season, by Ricky Carmichael, 23, the
first rider to win both legs (or motos) of all 12 races in the
250-cc (big bike) class. Said Carmichael, "If I don't win another
race, I've accomplished a lot."
OFFENDED Fans at Fenway Park on Sunday, by Styles's I Get High,
which Boston's Manny Ramirez asked to be played as he came up.
The song contains a 12-letter profanity and was pulled after an
ump alerted the team between innings. Says team spokesman
Charles Steinberg, "Far be it for me to try to understand the
psychology of what motivates a batter."
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
SATURDAY 9/14 NBC 2:30 PM > No. 7 Michigan at No. 20 Notre Dame
The good news about Tyrone Willingham's first two games as Irish
coach: two victories. The bad: an offense that hasn't scored a
touchdown. Five of these teams' last six meetings were decided by
seven points or fewer.
SATURDAY 9/14 ABC 3:30 PM > No. 10 Washington State at No. 6
Maurice Clarett was the first true freshman in Buckeyes history
to start at tailback on opening day, and he already has five
touchdowns in two games.
SATURDAY 9/14 FOX 4 PM > Mariners at A's
Even after winning 20 in a row, the A's haven't sewn up the AL
West; nine of their last 15 games are against the teams nipping
at their heels, Anaheim and Seattle.
SUNDAY 9/15 ABC 1 PM > Formula One Grand Prix of Italy
From its home turf in Monza, Team Ferrari, the Yankees of Formula
One, will try to continue its yearlong domination. Michael
Schumacher has won 10 of 14 races, and he and Rubens Barrichello
have finished one-two six times.
TUESDAY 9/17 HBO 10 PM > Real Sports
One segment's on minor league baseball owner Mike Veeck, who
recently locked out fans of his Class A Charleston RiverDogs to
set a record for lowest attendance. Watch, and you'll see the
acorn didn't fall far from the tree. Mike's nutty father: Bill.
>> DON'T MISS
MONDAY 9/16 > ABC 9 PM
Eagles at Redskins
Looking for his second win, Steve Spurrier leads his vaunted Fun
'n' Gun passing attack in its regular-season prime time debut
against an Eagles secondary led by Pro Bowl cornerback Troy
Vincent and hard-hitting free safety Brian Dawkins.
--Courier Keeps Mum
It's not a good time to be a basketball traditionalist. First
the U.S.'s NBA stars were disgraced at the World Championships.
Now comes Street Ball: The And1 Mix Tape Tour, an eight-part
documentary that debuted last week and airs on Tuesdays at 11
p.m. on ESPN2. The series follows the And1 team, a street hoops
version of the Harlem Globetrotters, on a 24-city tour last
summer, and delivers a primer in the world of "pass last"
basketball as players with names like Sik Wit It and Main Event
showcase their moves in front of boisterous crowds. The
program's strength lies in interviews with the team members, who
hold out hope that their trick shots and dribbling wizardry will
get them to the NBA. Maybe, given what we learned about the
state of the league in Indy, they might have a shot.
The players weren't the only ones who showed their emotions at
the U.S. Open. CBS announcer Dick Enberg, 67, was
uncharacteristically enthusiastic throughout the tournament, and
he sounded positively giddy when he chirped, "Brilliant!" after
Andre Agassi ended a lengthy semifinal rally against Lleyton
Hewitt with a running forehand down the line. When analyst Mary
Carillo asked Enberg why he was shaking his head after the
exchange, he replied, "I'm just pleased to be here watching two
human beings playing at this level." Corny, sure. But Enberg
The USA network's Jim Courier deserves credit for knowing when
to keep quiet. During a break in the third set of Pete Sampras's
quarterfinal blowout of Andy Roddick, SI heard a USA director
ask Courier, who was providing courtside coverage, if he wanted
to say anything on air. "This is an ass-kicking," said Courier.
"I have nothing to say." --John O'Keefe
"The first guy who sees daylight after he crosses midcourt
shoots." --REMEMBERING THE QUIPPER, PAGE 30