Baker says suspicions like communist witch hunt

Updated: February 25, 2004, 9:42 AM ET
Associated Press

MESA, Ariz. -- Dusty Baker thinks suspicions over which baseball players are using steroids smacks of a McCarthy witch hunt.

"I hate steroids. I knew Lyle Alzado," the Chicago Cubs manager said Tuesday, referring to the NFL star who died of cancer after admitting to several years of steroid use.

While Baker said, "I've got my own ideas about guys around the league," he said all players are being tainted.

"It's like McCarthyism or something. They're looking to see who looks like a communist," he said.

"I'll probably get in trouble for that, too, but that's how I equate it," Baker added. "Oh, he lost weight. He gained weight."

Baseball has been under a cloud of suspicion for steroid use for years, as players got bigger and offensive numbers sky rocketed. Anonymous survey testing last season showed 5-7 percent of the tests were positive, and Barry Bonds' personal trainer has told federal agents he gave steroids to several baseball players.

Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, was among four men charged this month in an alleged steroid-distribution ring. All the men have pleaded innocent and no athletes have been charged.

Bonds and Jason Giambi appeared in December before the grand jury investigating the case. Both have repeatedly denied using drugs, and did so again on Monday when they reported to spring training.

Asked Monday about the allegations against Anderson, Baker said he didn't know anything. That prompted criticism by some members of the Chicago media.

"Who am I? The FBI? I ain't the FBI. I'm not the DEA," said Baker, who managed the San Francisco Giants for 10 years before coming to the Cubs last season. "Because I was the manager, does that mean I know what guys are doing when they get away from the field? Does that mean I'm supposed to know everything in every situation in every town about everything? Nobody knows that.

"I've never even seen steroids," Baker added. "I don't even know how you take it. How am I supposed to know who's doing this and who's doing that?"

Sammy Sosa brushed aside questions about steroid use in baseball later in the day, saying, "I don't really know and I don't want to know. I know myself, I know who I am and that's it."

Baker said he didn't know enough to have an opinion on steroids in baseball or the league's drug testing policy. But he did say he's most concerned about drug use among young players.

"I'm concerned about the amateur guys," he said. "Are some of the guys being forced, in their minds, to do it to keep up with the guys that are doing it? I'm concerned about who's going to come up with spleen problems 20 years from now. Or heart problems. Or brain cancers.

"From a guy that had cancer, I'm concerned not about the sport as much as I am about a guy's life and his family later on. Because nobody knows the repercussions of what's going on and what's happening until later."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press