3-5-07 - DREAM - I was living in  house somewhere near a baseball field. I was looking out the window when I heard the crack of the bat against the ball.

The only player I could see was the 3rd baseman.  I saw the ball flying through the air and the 3rd baseman jumped up to catch the ball on the fly.

The 3rd baseman and the ball were on the same trajectory, but neither was getting any closer to the other as they flew through the air.  Finally they were out of sight so I ran to another window so I could hopefully see better.

I had trouble getting through the door because the carpet got caught on the other side and the door couldn't open wide or smoothly.

But I managed to get through the door and saw my Mother and Father's bedroom with a huge TV down the hall.

I ran into their bathroom and stood in the bathtub to look out the window.

From this vantage point, there was a windbreak of trees between me and the 3rd baseman and the ball, but from here I could see home-plate.

The problem now was that where I heard the crack of the bat, a big plume of smoke was coming up and billowing up and out darker and darker.

I started screaming for Joe to come and look and I screamed and screamed at the smoke coming up and finally woke myself up.


Witness: Partygoers cheered as two De Anza baseball players had sex with teen
By Leslie Griffy
Mercury News
Article Launched: 03/12/2007 09:18:59 PM PDT

DNA samples taken from partygoers in De Anza rape case

Monday, March 12, 2007

(03-12) 19:28 PDT Cupertino, Calif. (AP) --

Sheriff's investigators took DNA samples from an unspecified number of people who attended a De Anza College baseball player's birthday party to determine if any of them were involved in the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl, officials said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said some of those asked to sit for saliva swabs were ball players, but he declined to release further details. Wise said some people refused the request.

Eight De Anza baseball players were suspended from the team for violating the athletics department ethics code stemming from the March 4 party at one of the players' homes. Some of the players have hired lawyers.

No arrests have been made, and it's still unclear whether any De Anza players are suspects.

About 50 people attended the house party where the girl allegedly was raped in a side room. Some revelers reportedly tried to stop others from having sexual contact with the girl, and eventually three women took the teenager to the hospital, where she told authorities about the alleged attack.

De Anza canceled three games immediately following the incident but has since decided to resume the baseball season.

Information from: San Jose Mercury News,

  At least 10 people looked on and cheered while two De Anza baseball players had sex with a high school girl at a house party earlier this month, according to a TV interview of a De Anza softball player who attended the party.

Also Monday, the lead investigator in the case confirmed for the first time that the high school girl was sexually assaulted, and Santa Clara County sheriff's officials said baseball players were among the partygoers who had been asked to give DNA samples.

The witness, De Anza softball player Megan Keefhaver, works part-time as an intern for NBC 11 (KNTV), which reported the story Monday. The interview marks the first public account of what happened two weekends ago at a baseball player's birthday party in unincorporated San Jose. No one has been charged with a crime, but the investigation into the alleged rape has cast a pall over De Anza College and the baseball team, which returns to the field Tuesday for the first time since the incident.

Keefhaver said she stumbled on the incident in a room off the kitchen of a yellow house on South Buena Vista Avenue where about 50 people had gathered for the birthday party.

"The people in the room obviously were cheering the guys on or something like that," Keefhaver, who is dating a member of the baseball team, told NBC 11. "But I didn't think of it as a rape situation."

Keefhaver said she didn't know the girl was under 18. Although she did not immediately see the incident as an attack, she said, two members of the baseball team tried to stop the alleged assault but were not successful. Members of the De Anza women's soccer team took the girl to the hospital, she said.

Keefhaver said her boyfriend is not among the players who potentially face criminal charges. She could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon by the Mercury News.

Baseball players are among the partygoers who have been asked by Santa Clara County sheriff's investigators to provide DNA samples to determine if they were involved in the alleged assault, sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said.

Some of the partygoers refused the request to allow saliva samples to be taken, Wise said. The investigation - entering its second week - may wrap up by Friday, Wise said.

Asked Monday by NBC 11 whether a crime had been committed, the captain in charge of the case said it appears so.

"Yes, some sort of sexual assault occurred," Capt. Steve Angus said.

After its past three games were canceled, the baseball team is scheduled to play Cabrillo College this afternoon - without eight players who were suspended for violating the athletics department's code of ethics, said De Anza spokeswoman Marisa Spatafore, who declined to specify which regulations were broken.

Many of players have hired attorneys. Those still playing will undergo additional training about appropriate behavior on and off the field, Spatafore said.

Wise said the 17-year-old girl is still reeling from the incident.

"She's doing her best to recover," Wise said. "She's dealing with the aftermath to the best of her ability."

Deputies began investigating early March 4, after the 17-year-old high school student reported to hospital authorities she had been sexually assaulted at a party. The house where the party took place is owned by a trust in De Anza baseball player Steve Rebagliati's family name.

Rebagliati referred all questions to Palo Alto attorney John Cahners, who did not return calls seeking comment.

Partygoers drank until at least 1a.m. at the house, Wise said.

College officials, who had an emotional meeting Thursday with about 10 parents of baseball players who weren't suspended, called the allegations deeply disturbing.

Contact Leslie Griffy at or (408) 920-5945.


Witness: 10 watched sex

Witness: Two De Anza players had sex with girl while cheered on

At least 10 people watched and cheered while two De Anza College baseball players had sex with a 17-year-old girl at a house party, a woman who attended the gathering said in a television interview Monday.

Authorities are investigating the alleged sexual assault at a March 4 birthday party for a member of the baseball team. No arrests have been made, and investigators have not confirmed that any De Anza players are suspects.

Megan Keefhaver told KNTV-TV, where she works part-time as an intern, that she was one of about 50 people who attended the party and stumbled on the incident in a side room of the house.

"The people in the room obviously were cheering the guys on or something like that," Keefhaver told the local NBC affiliate. "But I didn't think of it as a rape situation."

Keefhaver said she didn't know at the time that the alleged victim was under 18.

Members of the De Anza women's soccer team later took the girl to the hospital, she told KNTV-TV.

Eight baseball players were suspended from the team for violating the athletics department ethics code stemming from the incident. Some of the players have hired lawyers.

Sheriff's investigators took DNA samples from an unspecified number of partygoers to determine if any of them were involved in the alleged rape, officials said Monday.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said some of those asked to sit for saliva swabs were ballplayers, but he declined to release further details. Wise said some people refused the request.

De Anza canceled three games immediately following the incident but has since decided to resume the baseball season.

De Anza baseball team resumes play under cloud of alleged rape

APTOS, Calif. The De Anza College baseball team traveled to Aptos yesterday for a game that was anything but normal.

Nearly a third of the team was missing from the roster as they continue to be investigated by Santa Clara County authorities for an alleged incident of sexual assault.

The depleted De Anza team lost three-to-two to the Cabrillo Seahawks, but Head Coach Scott Hertler said he was proud of his players.

Eight De Anza players have been suspended as the investigation continues.

Witnesses say members of the baseball team attended a San Jose house party and cheered on two team members as they had sex with an underage girl.

Information from: San Jose Mercury News,

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Mar 19, 2007 7:10 pm US/Pacific

De Anza Baseball Rape Investigation Continues

Thuy Vu
(CBS 5) SAN JOSE It has been more than two weeks since the alleged sexual assault of a high school student happened at house party in San Jose. But, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office still isn't ready to wrap up its investigation.

"It's really important for us to make sure that we are very thorough before we make an allegation," said Sergeant Ed Wise of the Sheriff's Department. "Because once you make an allegation, you can't take it back."

Some baseball players have given DNA samples. Legal experts say the fact that the alleged victim reported the incident right away will help prosecutors, especially if tests show she was very drunk that night.

"I think they are waiting for the toxicology reports to come back to see the extent of her impairment and whether she could have given consent," defense attorney Steve Clark said.

Clark was once a local prosecutor. He says investigators have to be very careful, especially in light of the failed rape prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players. "It was a black eye for prosecutors everywhere and no one wants to make the same mistake," he said.

The Duke case does share some similarities with what reportedly happened in the DeAnza case -- a wild party, lots of drinking, college athletes and allegations of a sexual assault. The gathering was a birthday party for a DeAnza baseball player. One witness told the media two people had sex with the girl while at least 10 others cheered them on.

"If people were cheering or aiding and abetting the commission of the crime, that also is something I'm sure the prosecution is looking at, how wide a net do we cast in this situation," Clark said.

For now, there will be no more cheering at the house on South Buena Vista Avenue where the party took place. Neighbors say the residents moved out over the weekend. The home was known as a party house.

"They peed on the side of my van," says neighbor Olivia Silvas. "They're just destructive." Silvas says she's relieved the residents moved away. "There was a lot of stuff going on in there."

Investigators now say they expect to wrap up the case by Thursday.


Final DNA Sample Given In Alleged De Anza Baseball Rape Case

POSTED: 11:56 am PDT March 22, 2007
The last of 10 people authorities have contacted for DNA samples in connection with an alleged rape in a Santa Clara County home earlier this month has provided a sample to investigators, Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said.

Investigators expect to turn the case over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney either Thursday or Friday, he said.

Some of those who provided DNA are De Anza College baseball players, according to Wise, who would not specify how many team members were among the 10.

According to Wise, the last person asked to submit DNA to investigators complied Wednesday with the request. Several people initially refused to provide the required Q-tip swab that collects DNA from the mouth, he said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case.

The rape allegations emerged in the early hours of March 4 when a 17-year-old girl was taken to a San Jose hospital after allegedly being raped. The rape allegedly took place at a team party at a home in the 300 block of South Buena Vista Avenue in unincorporated San Jose, according to authorities.

Eight baseball players were subsequently suspended from the team, De Anza College spokeswoman Marisa Spatafore said March 7.

Following the alleged rape the De Anza baseball team forfeited three games and has since resumed its season shorthanded.



EDITORIAL/Baseball draft scandal


As widely suspected, the money passed under the table by the Seibu Lions professional baseball team in courting two amateur players was only the tip of the iceberg. It has now been learned that the club also paid a combined sum of more than 60 million yen in bribes to five other prospects in similar attempts to sign them through the professional draft.

Seibu likewise doled out monetary awards of cash up to 10 million yen or gift certificates to a combined total of 170 people in supervisory posts at high school, university and semi-pro corporate baseball teams. The full amount of these shady incentives is thought to exceed 100 million yen.

These facts were announced Wednesday by a committee comprising members from outside the Seibu organization set up to investigate the suspicious money deals. According to the panel's findings, these illicit monetary payments to acquire new players stretched over a 27-year period since 1978, the year the Lions were established. In the world of sports, a domain that prides itself on playing by the rules and competing on sheer ability, it is deeply shocking that a team from its very inception blatantly broke the rules.

As to exactly why such dirty money was handed out, the scouts involved in the actual recruiting process told the committee that they were under the impression that all other pro teams were engaged in the same thing, and reluctantly followed suit.

Pinning the blame for such clear rule violations on others is a lame excuse often used by children. Then again, we can also assume that such kickbacks have not been limited to Seibu, but most likely permeate the nation's baseball world at all levels.

Indeed, this baseball payoff case first came to light through a scouting scandal in which the Yomiuri Giants, Yokohama BayStars and Hanshin Tigers passed similar fishy recruiting funds to a pitcher from Meiji University. This triggered Nippon Professional Baseball to issue a declaration of ethical conduct in June 2005, in which all 12 teams pledged to refrain from payola in any shape or form. As it turned out, however, Seibu kept up these payments even after making the pledge.

On this occasion, the Japan pro baseball world should field an investigation committee of third-party members to clear up the facts of this disgraceful situation once and for all. Declaring the case closed because it is old news will only further sap fans' trust. NPB Acting Commissioner Yasuchika Negoro needs to form such a committee immediately, with the individual teams taking the initiative to come clean on past digressions.

Those on the amateur side who pocketed the bribes also deserve a healthy share of the blame. This latest probe turned up cases in which team managers and others from amateur baseball actually demanded monetary awards for their help.

Comments from the Japan High School Baseball Federation, the Japan Student Baseball Association and other organizations about how "surprised" they have been to learn of the scandal, or how they need to wait for "official reports" to comment make it sound like they consider the issue someone else's problem. In that sense, this a good time to determine just how far the flow of improper professional money has permeated into amateur baseball and what degree of damage has been done.

At the high school level, the popularity of the national championship tournaments held twice yearly at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture has led to rampant scouting by school teams of top players from all over Japan. The unbridled desire by both high schools and universities to attract the nation's finest has helped distort the overall scheme of things, and also demands to be scrutinized.

For its annual draft, NPB has decided to abolish from this year the kibo nyudan waku system of allowing notable amateur players to designate their teams of choice. Along with this, the pro teams are also moving toward adopting rules for the penalizing of bribes and other banned behavior. Rule violations should be dealt with severely.

In announcing his investigation committee's interim report, panel head Masaru Ikei, professor emeritus at Keio University, offered the following observation: The problems of money that cloud the entire baseball world, much like bid-rigging, amakudari (cushy private-sector jobs for retired bureaucrats) and other questionable practices, are deeply rooted in the structure of Japanese society.

There is a pressing need to resolve such structural money problems. Without solutions on that front, no reform proposal will win the true trust of fans.

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 6(IHT/Asahi: April 7,2007)




Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jerry Green

Selig cleans up while game faces another untidy moment

The most overpaid man in baseball never reached first base. He never struck out nor left a runner marooned on third. But he sure is a cleanup man.

He is the baseball contributor who canceled a World Series and turned an All-Star Game into a farce. He is responsible for the most dangerous baseball scandal in generations. And he is unable to make up his mind about the most important event that is likely to occur in this baseball season.

His name is Bud Selig. And he is the lord high commissioner of Major League Baseball. His wages for the last fiscal year amounted to $14.5 million, according to Sports Business Journal.

That, for sure, is cleaning up.

Of course, Bud is not yet in the salary bracket of Barry Bonds. And in firm action, his office did sanction the contract that guarantees Bonds $15.8 million this season.

Now, as Bonds creeps toward Henry Aaron's lifetime home run record, Bud continues his hemming and hawing about whether he intends to grace the record-breaking with his attendance.

For $14.5 million, most of us would be able to make up our minds and make a definitive statement.

Aaron's record, 755 home runs, is doomed. It should be gone by midsummer. Bud is helpless to prevent it.

But will he recognize Bonds as the record breaker? Might Selig invalidate the record? Will he scatter asterisks around the outfield as one of his predecessors, Ford Frick, did in 1961 when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's season record of 60?

Since then, Mark McGwire broke that one-season record with 70 in 1998 as Bud cheered a great home-run race that restored Major League Baseball's popularity. Bonds established the current standard with 73 three years later, with considerable silence from the commissioner's office.

The prevailing view is that McGwire's and Bonds' records were tarnished by use of muscle-powering substances. Never really proven. And not illegal in Bud's domain when the home runs were hit.

The irony is that much of Bud's $14.5 million income was the result of the revival of mass public interest in baseball. Mass public interest due to the home-run prowess of McGwire, Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

Plus the nightly video reenactment of their home runs on ESPN, Fox Sports Net and local TV outlets.

It is all a riddle.

Baseball was seriously damaged just 13 years ago by a labor dispute during which the athletes and Bud and his franchise owners were at loggerheads about salaries.

With the games stopped, Bud canceled the 1994 World Series.

One asterisk for the 1994 season.

The 2002 All-Star Game was to be a showpiece in Bud's old stomping grounds of Milwaukee. It turned into a tragi-comedy. Tied 7-7 after 11 innings, the American and National Leagues had used all their pitchers. Instead of permitting some pitchers who had exerted themselves for one inning to return to the game and play it to a decision, Bud called the whole thing off.

Then he issued a postmortem reprinted by Bud's statement, to wit:

"Nobody wanted to play more than I did, but I have to balance the hopes and concerns of the fans against the welfare of the players and the game. And every so often you get caught in a really difficult and sensitive situation. This is why they have a commissioner, because somebody has to make those decisions."

So it was Bud's brainstorm to make a decision that a baseball showpiece would have no decision.

One more asterisk for the 2002 season.

Such wisdom continued as the musclemen of baseball continued to hit homers by the dozen and ESPN continued to show them for the entertainment of America.

Persistent rumors floated all the while that many of the musclemen were juiced -- that they were bolstering their muscles with steroids.

Alas, Selig and baseball decided to ignore the steroids issue while the situation festered -- and meddling U.S. government pests became more and more curious and, finally, involved.

Sports Illustrated deeply detailed the accusations that Bonds had cheated with a variety of naughty stuff, and critiqued Selig's inaction in its March 13, 2006 issue.

"With Kafka-esque logic, Selig has argued that because there were no steroids tests before 2003, there is nothing to investigate," wrote SI's Tom Verducci. "But of course there were no tests because the owners and players didn't want them, and public opinion and the threat of congressional intervention had yet to force their hands."

Thus, baseball employed a commissioner earning his millions by deciding not to decide.

We are currently receiving daily updates in the countdown to the erasure of baseball's most glorified record. Bonds creeps toward that record Henry Aaron established so historically and so gloriously three decades ago.

And shhhhh, Bud Selig creeps toward another $14.5 million, or more, while maintaining his silence.

Bonds is hugely unpopular away from San Francisco, his home base. He is condemned in ballparks across America as a cheater. He is condemned by journalists and fans across America as a slugger whose home run output has been unethically enhanced.

Mark McGwire was turned into a victim when the bulk of the voting sportswriters denied him entrance to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile the commissioner of baseball sticks to his guns -- golden silence and wishy-washy decisions. What happens to Bonds when he surpasses Aaron with No. 756? Bonds' record and McGwire's totals are to be forever considered tainted, tarnished.

Unfairly, I say.

It is Bud's fault, more than anyone's, that Major League Baseball did not have an anti-steroids rule until 2003.

How does anyone break a rule that doesn't exist?

When Bonds and McGwire were at their most productive, steroids were no more a violation of MLB's rules than push-ups.

Jerry Green is a former Detroit News columnist. His Web-only column appears every Sunday.



Commentary Selig showed no leadership about Bonds

Staff Writer

Published April 8 2007

The news items came about a day apart near the middle of last week. Separately, neither story was enough to attract much attention. Together, however, they further emphasized the confounding state of major league baseball.

First the news came that commissioner Bud Selig earned more than $14 million last season.

The next day Barry Bonds moved within 20 homers of tying Hank Aaron by smacking his 735th career home run.

That left us to ponder these two highly-paid men, their impact the game and how they will be forever linked.

Bonds will, in all likelihood, break Aaron's career home run record later this season. It will be an odd, actually downright uncomfortable, moment for baseball because Bonds' name has been mentioned predominantly in major steroid-related cases in the last several years, including his alleged connection to the BALCO scandal.

Aaron's record of 755 home runs is probably the greatest record in sports. He has held the mark since passing the immortal Babe Ruth 33 years ago. It wasn't pretty back then, either, because so many people in this country weren't happy to see an African American break Ruth's record. Aaron later spoke of the numerous death threats he received before hitting his record-breaking blast.

We've come a long way since then, but baseball once again has a public relations problem. The time you can't blame society. It's self-inflicted. And you have to look no further than the commissioner's office for the culprit . . . you know, the guy "earning" $14 million per.

Selig has handled the Bonds mess in the worst way imaginable. He has helped contribute to the cloud of doubt that hangs over Bonds by insisting that MLB won't make a big fuss when Bonds breaks the record. Selig has seemingly gone out of his way in recent months to authenticate Bonds' sullied reputation.

Now, that would be all fine and dandy if Selig was going to parlay that attitude with disciplining Bonds in some way for his connection to the steroid scandal. But Selig has done nothing. He has apparently done nothing for a good reason: The Players Association would fight any suspension because Bonds has never tested positive or been proven guilty in any way.

And that's where the commish has, well, shall we say, failed to earn his money.

Selig either should have suspended Bonds in some way, or have tried dilligently to tout him to save the game for what promises to be one ugly moment, especially if Bonds breaks the record on the road.

By suspending Bonds, or at least disciplining him in some way, baseball would have at least been consistent with popular opinion. Selig could have attempted to invoke the "Best Interests of Baseball" clause to do this. Then, when Bonds hits No. 756 to a chorus of boos, baseball could have somewhat avoided a major embarrassment and the head honcho could have said, "Well, at least I did everything I could do."

But if Selig wasn't going to hand out any disciplinary action against Bonds, he should have gone the opposite route and promoted the Giants' slugger. He should have spent the last year imploring us every day to accept that Bonds has never failed a drug test and that there isn't a shred of evidence proving Bonds' guilt in any steroid scandal.

Perhaps if the highly-paid commissioner had handled it in such a manner, the public reaction would be somewhat improved now and the game would not be on the verge of suffering a terrible black eye when Aaron's record falls.

Remember how the Yankees deftly handled the cases of Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, who certainly appeared guilty, but never tested positive or were proven guilty? Everyone seemed to get past those cases quickly and now Giambi and Sheffield are as popoular as ever. The same could have happened with Bonds had Selig handled it better.

But the way Selig dealt with it -Êno punishment, but also no show of support -Êwas the worst thing that could have happened.

For $14 million, baseball and its fans deserve one of the following from their fearless leader: Either a no-doubt-about-it asterisk next to Bonds' name after he breaks Aaron's record, or a no-doubt-about-it new record-holder who is accepted by all. Selig could have given us the former with a suspension or some sort of severe punishment, or the latter by providing the kind of pat on the back the Yankees gave Giambi and Sheffield.

Instead we are left with a worst case scenario: Bonds -Êfree of punishment, but full of suspicion -Êbreaks the game's most cherished record and gets booed mightily in the process, and the sport becomes a laughingstock.

For $14 million, baseball deserves better.

Emery Filmer can be reached at

Copyright © 2007, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.




Baseball’s Own March Madness

Scandals have become a regrettable part of MLB tradition, and this 2007 season looks to be no exception.

By Mark Starr
Updated: 5:14 p.m. PT March 22, 2007

March 22, 2007 - The season hasn’t even begun yet and baseball has already provided a refresher course in its tarnished modern legacy. We are seeing the beginning of what is potentially another major drug scandal as well as another confessional chapter for a baseball legend who has turned out to be as inveterate a liar as he was a gambler—and no better at it.

The latest drug scandal hasn’t yet yielded a treasure trove of celebrities like the BALCO scandal, which sent superstars like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Marion Jones parading before a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Still, when a bust of a mail-order pharmacy operation—part of a widespread federal investigation into illegal, performance-enhancing drugs—kicks up alleged customers like John Rocker, Jose Canseco, Evander Holyfield, an NFL team physician and a swarm of pro wrestlers, it grabs my attention.

Of the athletes named so far, the most interesting situation may be that of Gary Matthews Jr., a 32-year-old centerfielder who was allegedly sent human growth hormone (HGH) in 2004. Until last season, Matthews had been a fringe ballplayer aspiring to the stature of journeyman. During seven seasons in the majors, Matthews hit .249 with only 57 career home runs—and had already been with six different teams. But last year with the Texas Rangers, Matthews skipped right past journeyman into stardom. He hit .313 with career highs in home runs (17) and RBIs (79) and he parlayed that performance into a $50 million, five-year deal with the Angels.

Angels’ owner Arte Moreno was more than a little perturbed when his latest star acquisition was linked with performance-enhancing drugs—and even more distressed when Matthews balked at addressing the issue. I can only imagine the thoughts that ran through Moreno’s head, as they would have anybody’s. Did I buy a pig in a poke? If I did, what might I be stuck with at $10 million per year (and what are my options to get out from under)? And, oh yeah, where’s the outrage from Matthews?

The team and the league would probably have liked Matthews to emulate Giambi’s public apology to fans during spring training a few years ago. Giambi’s performance—mocked by sports commentators at the time because he refused to say what he was apologizing for—apparently now stands as baseball’s gold standard for mea culpas. And why not? Giambi quickly settled back into his career without the kind of eternal shadow that haunts Bonds’s. What they got from Matthews, instead, was 16 days of silence. Finally, he issued a brief, written statement that included a succinct, if hardly comprehensive denial—“I have never taken HGH.” It left open a lot of other possibilities. Perhaps he was simply a collector. Regardless, the Angels management took no time at all to embrace the response, saying in classic neo-speak that they believed there would be no further problem in this matter if there is no further problem.

That’s certainly a big “if.” These federal investigations, as we have witnessed in the BALCO case, tend to linger. There is no indication that Matthews is the target of any investigation. (HGH wasn’t even banned by baseball until the 2005 season, and there still is no effective test for it.) Still, if Matthews doesn’t sustain his 2005 form, he may be in for a very rough time of it. Moreover, when any player takes 16 days to respond to allegations that he received mail-order HGH, fans are entitled to their suspicion. If the long, sorry history of athletes and drugs has taught us anything, it is to expect, at best, obfuscation—“I’m not here to talk about the past”—and, more often, lies.

Not that baseball needs any reminders about the art of prevarication. Because when it comes to lying, Pete Rose continues to put on a Hall of Fame clinic. With his latest offering, in an interview with ESPN, Rose has now gone from “I didn’t gamble on baseball” to “I didn’t gamble on my own team” to “I bet on my team every single game.” The latest incarnation of his sordid tale is a desperate attempt to transform degeneracy into a misguided act of loyalty. What’s remarkable is how Rose apparently keeps lying and somehow manages to keep the affection of fans, too. When there have been discrepancies between Rose’s story and the Dowd report, baseball’s official investigation into Rose’s gambling activities, the latter has always proved to be the accurate version. And it is clear that Rose, as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, only bet on his team selectively. Baseball has cut him adrift and it’s past time for fans to show him the gate, too.

Still, Rose is nothing more now than a carnival sideshow. The incessant drumbeat of drugs remains center stage, a continuing threat to the well-being of baseball. Baseball may not be the only sport facing fallout from this latest scandal, but it is the one that can least afford to be lumped with professional wrestling. Certainly not in the event of what will likely be a historic season—one with the specter of drugs hovering all over it.

Baseball can certainly point to its positives—lots of fannies in the seats, hits on; and new ties with leagues in other countries. But all are overshadowed by the game’s inability to lay the drug issue to rest. The death last week of former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn reminded us of how unsettled the modern game is. Many in baseball never forgave Kuhn for not being in attendance when Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed career-home-run mark. Now, 33 years later, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig may never be forgiven if he does attend the game in which Bonds surpasses Aaron. Staying away is probably Selig’s best option, but given the magnitude of the occasion, that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.