This could be nothing more than a passing fart in the wind from a guy who loves to talk, but it could also be the beginning of something ugly. Here’s hoping it’s the former.
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher, and avowed non-performance enhancing drug user, Curt Schilling told ESPN radio that, late in his career, he was encouraged to juice by members of the Boston organization.
“At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in in which it was brought to my attention that [using PEDs] is a potential path I might want to pursue,” Schilling told Colin Cowherd.
Schilling said the conversation occurred in the clubhouse and involved “former members of the organization.”
“They’re no longer there,” he went on. “It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation. Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great. It caught me off guard, to say the least. That was an awkward situation.”
“Former” members of the organization could include a long list of folks – players, coaches, training staff … and front office types. Schilling wouldn’t identify what “type” of member of the organization they were, though. Because it was just an off-the-cuff suggestion to Schilling, it wasn’t necessarily coming from a person in a position of authority.
But, at the same time, it’s hard to imagine he was just talking about some random back-up catcher. Instead, it sounds like he’s referring to someone who had at least some say in his training methods, preparation, and status within the organization.
To say plainly what you’re fearing: it is plausible that the person(s) about whom he was speaking were a part of Theo Epstein’s inner circle, including many faces who’ve since joined the Cubs, such as Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, or Epstein, himself.
Do I think that’s the case? Eh, not really. There’s such a huge swath of a people about whom Schilling could have been speaking – and that’s assuming Schilling isn’t lying or embellishing – that I wouldn’t say I’m concerned that there are implications here for the Cubs’ front office. And do these guys really seem like the types to so wantonly and brazenly discuss/suggest PED use in front of large groups?
I have a feeling Epstein and/or Hoyer will be asked the question, though. And, of course, they’ll deny that they’ve ever supported any such thing, and will say they never had any knowledge of those things going on at the time (we’ve since learned that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, for example, were connected to PEDs during Epstein’s tenure with the Red Sox). And that might very well be the truth.
Still, it’s an icky situation.
UPDATE: In an interview that just took place this afternoon, Jed Hoyer adamantly denied that he or Theo would have had anything to do with encouraging PED use.