Tuesday, April 05, 2005

2 Iowa Cubs Nabbed, Suspended in Minor Leagues' Steroids Crackdown

While clowns in the front office of the Iowa Cubs were wasting their time dreaming up phony stories on April Fool’s Day and no doubt again raising prices at the concession stands at “No-Name Ballpark,” two of the players listed on their roster were learning the harsh realities of minor league baseball’s drug prevention and treatment program.

The players – relief pitcher David Cash and second baseman Jesus Medrano – were among 38 minor leaguers suspended for testing positive for steroids.

Seven of the 38 were from the Cubs’ organization. No wonder the parent ballclub wins a World Series just once every century.

Both Cash and Medrano were suspended for 15 days—the mandatory penalty for first-time violators. Medrano, who was labeled by scouts as a “borderline prospect with great speed and light hitting,” has already been released by the Cubs.

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee said Cash was informed of his suspension Sunday. He told the newspaper that he had yet to be told the identity of the substance that showed up in his urine and denied knowingly taking anything that could have resulted in a positive test.

Cash, 25, formerly played at Modesto Junior College and the University of California. His suspension will begin when he’s physically able to play. He’s rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery last May.

The right-hander’s last full season was in 2003 at Class AA West Tennessee, where he worked out of the bullpen. He’s not considered much of a major league prospect.

In the minor leagues, all players are randomly tested at least once a season for amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, opiates, PCP, Ecstacy, alcohol, steroids, ephedra and androstenedione.

“The only thing I’ve done differently this year, since I was coming off Tommy John surgery, was to take two supplements supposed to strengthen ligaments and tendons,” Cash told the Bee. “I bought one at a local GNC-type store and another thing off the Internet that was suggested to me, but nothing illegal.”

He now suspects one of the supplements contained an ingredient that could have metabolized into a steroid, and if that’s the case he’s ready to take the blame.

“They tell us every spring to not take anything we’re not completely sure about,” Cash said. “They have guys test positive each year just from taking some over-the-counter stuff.”


Well, I guess Roy Williams and his North Carolina basketball team showed ‘em.

They won the NCAA Final Four championship, the Big Ten championship and just about every other kind of championship with last night’s 75-70 victory over Illinois.

Although I was hoping Illinois would win the title, it didn’t surprise me at all that North Carolina did.

I watched on TV when the Tar Heels raced past Iowa, 106-92, in November at the Maui Invitational. And that was the Hawkeyes’ fourth game of the season—when they were at their best. Don’t forget, November is when Steve Alford’s teams peak.

I watched on TV when North Carolina thrashed Iowa State, 92-65, in the NCAA tournament. After that game, I wrote, “The North Carolina team that steamrolled Iowa State, 92-65, in Charlotte is obviously the best in the NCAA tournament. Heck, maybe even the NBA. If the Tar Heels don’t win the collegiate championship, blame coach Roy Williams. That’s why they pay him all those millions of dollars, isn’t it?”

Before beating Illinois for the title, North Carolina stopped Wisconsin (88-82) and Michigan State (87-71) of the Big Ten in the NCAA tournament, and won at Indiana, 70-63, in a regular-season game.

I’d say that’s Big Ten domination.

It was just a matter of time before Williams won the Final Four title. The guy can recruit [remember when he came into Iowa and went back with Raef LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison?] and he can coach. I saw too many of his teams at Kansas win big-time.

More often than not, North Carolina outran, outshot and outjumped its opponents. The only time the Tar Heels had any kind of problem was when they got lazy. That happens occasionally to all basketball players. But a lazy Tar Heel was much better than a lazy Fighting Illini last night.

That’s why North Carolina is No. 1.


By the way, Dick Vitale has Iowa picked as the No. 12 team -- that’s nationally, not in the Big Ten – on ESPN.com for the 2005-2006 preseason.

But you and I know it won’t take Steve Alford long to screw that up.


Mike Krzyzewski is saying he did nothing wrong in appearing in that Duke University promotional video/recruiting tool that masquerades as an American Express TV commercial.

Well, what did you expect him to say—that his appearance in a video that is shot at Cameron Indoor Stadium and talks about his strong values should get him suspended for three years by the NCAA?

I fully expect Coach K to next appear in a Burger King commercial while wearing a Duke letter jacket, saying, “I’m not a basketball coach flipping burgers. The purpose of my appearance is so I can donate the proceeds from this ad to the Duke medical school, which is pitting Burger King against McDonald’s to see whose hamburger causes coronary heart disease quicker.”

Vol. 4, No. 330
April 5, 2005