So who else has spent the day searching the Internet far and wide for those blanked-out names in the Jason Grimsley affidavit? There's some fascinating speculation going on, none of which I can really vouch for the journalistic integrity of, but this is the InterWeb, where journalistic integrity goes begging. Speaking of which, Jay Mariotti's latest column strongly implies that the names are already common knowledge "behind the scenes." But consider the source. If you don't have the time to troll the blog scene like a minesweeper this evening while watching the Mavs and Heat (BA's pick: Dallas in six), my guess is the site with the inside track to be the first to name names is Deadspin. So bookmark that site, my fellow vultures.
All right, what do we think about this? I doubt anybody wants to hear it, but I'll go ahead and say it: this is the best possible thing that could have happened for baseball's long-term future at this point. Much as they colluded to keep the steroid epidemic under wraps in the nineties, baseball media insiders and the MLB establishment itself were moving quickly to declare the performance-enhancing drugs era "over." This is patently absurd. Baseball presently has no provisions for testing for human growth hormone. If you were a steroid user who built your career on chemically augmented slugging or suspiciously speedy recovery from pitching injuries, what possible drawback would there be to switching over to the latest and greatest in injectable magic? Indeed, much of the more responsible reporting on the steroid crisis has pointed out that the most savvy users had moved on past the drugs that MLB now tests for before these tests even began. Sensing the fatigue surrounding the Barry Bonds story and assuming that the pressure from the government was off, MLB was moving way too quickly towards declaring the problem solved. It hasn't been. In a sense, it never will be. The drugmakers will always be one step ahead of the drug testers, and the temptation to cheat will always get the best of some players. The steroid era will never be over, at least until we make the switch over to robot ballplayers.
Jason Grimsley's run-in with the law is such a shocking story that it forces MLB to abandon its back-away-slowly tactics. Fans are exhausted of hearing innuendo and speculation, but concrete proof is another thing entirely. Stories about anyone besides Bonds using steroids are relatively welcome as well. The implications of what's going on with Grimsley are immediately obvious to observers within the game and without. The government isn't letting up. MLB has to be vigilant to the degree of militance to keep the progress they've made from becoming an outdated joke. But maybe, just maybe, the stakes have finally risen for steroid cheaters. Maybe MLB can't move quickly enough to test for everything that comes from a test tube. But if you get caught by the feds moving this stuff, you could go real live no-fooling prison, where you can do all the weight training you want.
Isn't it nice to read a news story where the U.S. government is the good guy? How long has it been? Seems like forever.