The fellow to the right is Jeff Novitzky, the controversial federal agent who in 2004 led the raid on a drug lab that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled violated the constitutional rights of the baseball players who took drug tests during the 2003 steroid survey. That ruling came after a previous, smaller panel of the same court weighed in. Which itself came a couple of years after the trial court weighed in. In other words, this thing has been dragging on forever.
Forever is about to get longer, though, because now the court is asking Players Association and the government whether an even larger, damn nigh unprecedented panel of appeals court judges should weigh in on the issue. The the court things that all 27 — yes, 27 — judges should hear the case, the thing could drag on for another two years. And that’s before the U.S. Supreme Court gets a chance to weigh in.
From a legal perspective it blows my mind that the court is so uncomfortable with its ruling — a ruling that says that the government can’t waltz into your doctor’s office with a search warrant for a specific patient’s records and walk out with the medical records of you and and your kids and your aunt Tilly and everyone. This seems pretty basic to me, but to the extent I’m wrong and it’s not basic, it’s something that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to rule on anyway, so why not get it to them sooner rather than later?
From a steroids-in-baseball perspective we stand in the same place we have stood for many years now: the court order sealing those test results remains in place, Mr. Novitzky’s seizure of the 2003 testing records currently stands as a violation the constitutional rights of players who took those drug tests, and anyone who leaks information relating to those 2003 test results is in criminal contempt of a federal court order.
But don’t let that stop Mr. Novitzky from continuing to be promoted rather than disciplined and the ignorant from demanding that the names from the famous list Novtizky created be released all the same.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.