Friday, January 11, 2008

Rice Admits To Not Using Steroids, Hopes It Will Help His Hall Of Fame Case

Cooperstown, NY (Jan. 11) - Retired slugger Jim Rice showed up at the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday, armed with a detailed confession that he did not take any steroids, human growth hormone, or any banned substances during his playing career -- hoping that coming clean about his cleanliness will sway voters on next year's ballot.

Rice missed Hall inclusion by only a few percentage points this year.

Jim Rice, shown at a minor league game last summer, waves with a hand that injected nothing unusual or illegal into his body

"I'm hoping that by coming out and admitting, once and for all, that I put nothing into my body that I didn't know about will exonerate me," Rice said in the shadow of the Hall's front steps. "I am finally going to come clean, including all the non-gory details. My freedom from steroids and other substances has been a burden on me that I am finally able to remove."

Rice, who hit 382 home runs, had 1,451 RBI and a career BA of .298 in an era that spanned from 1974-89, has missed Hall election by slim margins in recent years. He's convinced that his being less-than-forthcoming about being steroid-free has contributed to voters' skittishness about his qualifications.

"I've never fully disclosed how clean I was," Rice said as he signed autographs and occasionally glanced wistfully at the Hall of Fame building. "That was obviously a mistake."

Baseball proprietor Bob Costas sympathized with Rice, but expressed pessimism about the former Red Sox player's chances to get elected.

"I think it's wonderful that Jimmy Rice is finally telling all about how he abided all laws and rules that baseball had," Costas said. "Clearly we needed confirmation of what we already believed to be true, and this (written confession) provides that." Still, Costas added, "I think some voters are put off by the fact that Rice took this long to set the already straight record straight. If he had confirmed our non-suspicions earlier, he might already be enshrined in this great Hall -- one that I hope to be inducted into someday. Maybe I could go in as some sort of keeper of the game. What do you think?," Costas said as reporters shut off their recorders.

Regarding Rice, writer Peter Gammons, who covered Rice throughout his career in Boston, said, "Jim Rice's acknowledgement of our lack of fear of how he conducted himself off the field comes too late. It's sad that he chose to ignore something that we weren't talking about all these years. I wish him well."

Rice isn't about to give up hope, though.

"Maybe this is the first step," he said. "By finally providing baseball with the real story of how I stayed clean, maybe I've creaked a few closed doors open. There's always next year."

With that, Rice trodded into the Hall, prepared to submit his14-page document that he called a "tell-all", which identifies no one as substance users, details how the clean players stayed that way and why, and gives an insider's look at his baseball law-abiding life.

"Keep me in your thoughts," Rice said.

1 comment:

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