Magowan pledges support for reform
Bonds among former Giants named in Mitchell Report
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants owner Peter Magowan said that the organization accepts its "fair share of responsibility" for baseball's performance-enhancing drug problem -- the basis of former Sen. George Mitchell's much-anticipated report that was released Thursday.The report details Magowan's testimony to Mitchell and his investigators, reflecting the club executive's suspicions about possible steroid use by former Giants star Barry Bonds. Magowan even directly asked Bonds in February 2004 whether he had used steroids. Twelve other players who performed at some point during their careers with the Giants were linked in Mitchell's report to performance-enhancing drug use: David Bell, Marvin Benard, Mark Carreon, Jason Christiansen, Bobby Estalella, Matt Herges, Glenallen Hill, Armando Rios, F.P. Santangelo, Benito Santiago, Mike Stanton and Matt Williams. Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader, was indicted on Nov. 15 on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about his alleged drug use. That development stemmed from the widely publicized BALCO probe, which also implicated Benard, Estalella, Rios and Santiago. Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing substances, although evidence to the contrary was detailed in the book "Game of Shadows." Carreon and Christiansen bought performance-enhancing substances while playing for the Giants, according to the testimony of former New York Mets employee Kirk Radomski. The chronology of Herges' purchases was less specific, but could have spanned his stay with the Giants. The report said that Bell, Hill, Santangelo, Stanton and Williams made their purchases while playing for other clubs. No members of the 2007 Giants or the club's current roster were mentioned in the report. Magowan issued the following statement after the Mitchell report's release: "The Giants supported Commissioner [Bud] Selig's decision to appoint Senator George Mitchell to conduct an independent investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in our sport. We shared the Commissioner's view that an independent and thorough investigation was a necessary step in the overall effort to combat the serious problem of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Our organization has diligently and fully cooperated with Senator Mitchell throughout his inquiry. We believe that Senator Mitchell's thoughtful and comprehensive report will serve as a meaningful tool in the fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The Report clearly demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem. The Giants accept our fair share of responsibility. Our entire organization, from front office to field staff, pledges to work closely with Commissioner Selig and Senator Mitchell to implement the Report's recommendations and to institute whatever reforms are necessary to restore confidence in the integrity of the game." Part of the Mitchell report's sections that deal with Bonds repeat previously reported information about the slugger's ties with Greg Anderson, his personal trainer. Anderson has acknowledged supplying performance-enhancing substances to several players, but has never implicated Bonds.
Shortly after it was reported in September 2003 that Anderson's home was searched in conjunction with the BALCO investigation, Magowan, according to the Mitchell report, recalled asking Giants general manager Brian Sabean whether the team "had a problem."
Said the Mitchell transcript, "Magowan said that what he meant by his inquiry was to ask whether the Giants had a problem with Anderson dispensing steroids; he wanted to know whether Sabean had any reason to know of such a problem. According to Magowan, Sabean responded that he was not aware of any problem the Giants might have. However, Sabean strongly denied that such a conversation occurred."Magowan also told Mitchell that he was in San Diego in February 2004 when he received a telephone call from Bonds to discuss ways to improve the team that season. Toward the end of the chat, Magowan said he asked Bonds, "I've really got to know, did you take steroids?" Magowan related that Bonds told him he didn't know the substances he took were steroids -- but later learned they were. Bonds told Magowan that he took these substances to ease his arthritis and sleeping problems stemming from his father's declining health. The report said that Bonds pointed out to Magowan that he openly took these substances in the clubhouse -- to show he was hiding nothing -- and, moreover, used them for only a short time and that they "didn't work." The report added, "Magowan recalled asking Bonds whether this was what he had told the grand jury. Bonds replied yes. Magowan also asked Bonds if he was telling the truth, and Bonds said he was." The report said that two days after Magowan's interview, lawyers representing him and the Giants called one of Mitchell's investigators to issue a clarification. Said the report, "Magowan's lawyer explained that his client misspoke when he said that Bonds had said, during their February 2004 telephone call, that he later learned the substances he had taken were steroids. According to his lawyer, Magowan could only recall with certainty that (1) Bonds had said he did not knowingly take steroids, and (2) what Bonds said to Magowan during the call was consistent with what Magowan later read in the San Francisco Chronicle about Bonds' reported grand jury testimony." The report cited the Giants' concerns about Anderson rising long before the steroid controversy mushroomed. As early as Spring Training in 2000, former Giants trainer Stan Conte expressed misgivings about Bonds' two personal trainers, Anderson and Harvey Shields, being allowed to roam the clubhouse's restricted areas. The report said that Sabean told Conte to throw them out himself if he objected to their presence.
Anticipating trouble from Bonds, Conte said he'd do this if Sabean backed him up. The report said that Sabean didn't respond to Conte's request, so Anderson and Shields stayed. Sabean told investigators that he didn't remember this discussion with Conte. But Dave Groeschner, then an assistant trainer and now the Giants' head trainer, confirmed Conte's version of events.In August 2002, an unidentified Giant told Conte that he was considering obtaining steroids from Anderson. After warning the player about the dangers of steroid use, Conte informed Sabean of the incident without naming the player -- although he did tell Sabean that he suspected Anderson might be doling out steroids to various Giants. Sabean recommended to Conte that he confront Anderson and Bonds, but Conte declined, saying that it wasn't his responsibility to do so.
Sabean confirmed this sequence of events, adding that he asked Conte if he knew anybody who could "check out" Anderson. A Drug Enforcement Administration agent found no damning information about Anderson. Sabean later told Mitchell investigators that the government should have known whether Anderson was selling drugs illegally and said that he didn't want to risk "outing" Conte as a source of this information, which would have violated "clubhouse culture."According to the report, after the September 2003 raid on Anderson's home was made public, Sabean did not inform anybody in the Giants hierarchy or in the Commissioner's office about his discussions with Conte regarding Anderson. Radomski told investigators that he provided Carreon with Dianabol pills "toward the end of his tenure with the Giants." Carreon played for San Francisco from 1994 through the middle of the 1996 season. Radomski showed investigators a $1,600 check dated July 2, 2002, that Christiansen wrote him, testifying that it was payment for a kit of human growth hormone. Christiansen pitched for the Giants from mid-2001 through late in the 2005 season. The report said that Herges was introduced to steroids while playing in Triple-A with the Dodgers organization in 1999. Radomski told investigators that he sold human growth hormone to Herges two or three times. "His first contact with Herges might have been as early as 2004 and his last sale to him was in late 2005," said the report, which included a copy of a check for $3,240 Herges wrote Radomski dated Nov. 1, 2005. Herges played for the Giants from July 2003 through May 2005. The findings of former Mitchell's report concerning use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball were released at 11 a.m. PT Thursday. Several high-profile, superstar-caliber players were among those named in the Mitchell Report, the product of a 21-month, multimillion dollar investigation that could shape decisions, prompt punitive actions against active players, and usher in the next era of the sport. Free agent Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees, Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros, Eric Gagne of the Milwaukee Brewers and Paul Lo Duca of the Washington Nationals were among the most prominent former and current All-Stars to be mentioned in the lengthy report, which spans 311 pages, plus multiple exhibits, including evidence of signed checks, handwritten notes and shipping receipts. The entire report is available for viewing here at MLB.com. While the report detailed drug use in baseball by naming those accused, the report also contained 19 separate recommendations for the sport to move forward from this point, proceeding after a culture of steroids and performance enhancement grew exponentially in the late 1990s. Mitchell's report named both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association in assigning blame, charging leadership -- from the Commissioner to club owners and general managers -- for allowing the issue to proliferate.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.