Wednesday, June 07, 2006

By Blogger

Let's play a game. It's called Google Monkey. First, find a document with redacted names. Second, use Google to figure out which names are which. Let's agree that neither of us shall make any claims on certainty, okay? This is merely a parlor game meant to point out the inevitable futility of redacting names on public documents. Ready? Let's use the Jason Grimsley affidavit posted on The Smoking Gun for our first attempt at this game.


Grimsley stated that during Major League Baseball's 2003 drug-testing program for anabolic steroids, he tested positive. Grimsley stated that [redacted] told him about the positive test.

While this isn't particularly juicy, the name has been redacted and I want to know who it is. The 2002-2006 MLB Basic Agreement (PDF) spells out procedures for exactly how a urine specimen is to be gathered and submitted for testing, but there is no procedure spelled out for how to inform the player that he has tested positive for a prohibited substance. On page 164, Attachment 18.3.G, under the heading "Notification", the Agreement states "HPAC shall immediately notify the Player and the Club’s Employee Assistance Professional of a Player’s positive result from a test conducted pursuant to Section 3.A.2." HPAC is the Health Policy Advisory Committee, responsible for adminstering the drug testing program. It is described starting on page 157 of the Agreement. The members of the HPAC are one physician appointed by the Player's Association, a physician appointed by the Commissioner, an attorney representing the Players, and an attorney representing the Commissioner. According to Wikipedia, the attorneys are Rob Manfred (Commissioner) and Gene Orza (Players). The Royals do not list an Employee Assistance Professional on their website. However, the Employee Assistance Professional is occasionally listed with the team medical staff, so it might be one of the physicians the team employed in 2003. Following all this information, it is likely this redacted name belongs to a physician or is Gene Orza.

Grimsley named, [redacted], [redacted] (whom he stated was [redacted]), [redacted] (whom Grimsley stated was very obvious and had the worst back acne he'd ever seen), and [redacted] as anabolic steroid users. Grimsley also stated that [redacted] had a doctor in Colorado that supplied him ([redacted]) with amphetamines.

This last guy, the one with the doctor in Colorado, requires serious digging, but a little reasoning can narrow the guesswork. First, the name that has been blacked out on the page is short, shorter than "Leskanic" (foreshadowing?). Grimsley didn't play for the Rockies, so it's possible he's speaking from secondhand or somewhat distant knowledge. It's also likely he's speaking about someone on the Rockies, or he's speaking about someone who resides in Colorado. Of course, there is a lot of overlap between the two groups. What is definite is that the player's name is shorter than "Grimsley" in Times New Roman font. I couldn't find a list of ballplayers who reside in Colorado, though there is this list of players born there. The Rockies roster, of course, is readily available online. From browsing the two lists, one name among the current players stands out: Grimsley's old Royals teammate Nate Field, who was born in Denver and, this season, has joined the Rockies. What's more, this cached article from 2002 says he resides in... wait for it... Littleton, CO.

Grimsley also identified [redacted], a former Major League Baseball player, as one of his better friends in baseball. Grimsley stated that knows [sic] [redacted] used human growth hormone and knows [sic] that [redacted] obtained the human growth hormone from the same source that Grimsley obtained his from.

This name is roughly the same length as "Grimsley" in Times New Roman. Do you see where I'm going? Google eventually points us to this article from 2004 that characterizes Curtis Leskanic similarly to the affidavit, saying, "The Royals, stuck in last place in the American League Central, last week released Grimsley's close friend and bullpen buddy Curtis Leskanic." For confirmation of his retirement, we turn, again, to Wikipedia, which says he retired following the 2004 World Series. Again, I make no claims on certainty, but this one seems clearest of all.


Let me repeat, to make it clear: I make no claims on certainty. Mine is an idle mind wandering. There are more redacted names in the affidavit's twenty pages. There are more instances of Grimsley's loose lips. There are more unsavory details. However, it's still just a smattering. This document is, by no means, a sweeping indictment. Rather, it is another shrub upon the mountain of evidence that PED use is endemic in big time sports. When the names are leaked (I have little doubt they will be, considering I am one of many who think Jeff Nowitzky, the FBI agent who filled out the report, is the one who leaked the Giambi/Bonds grand jury testimony to the San Francisco Chronicle), the MSM will jump all over those players and hold them up as cheaters, even though, up to now, reporters have been pretending that the Steroid Problem in American sports has been solved. Castigating [redacted], in this instance, would be a monumentally shortsighted reaction, considering the context.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a law student I can say this is a dangerous practice. But a helluva lot of fun.

10:57 AM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

You can also tell that to this guy.

2:55 PM  

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