As if the Angels season wasn't embarrassing enough, we now have this to deal. Earlier this week, former big league player Jack Clark not once but twice accused Albert Pujols of using PEDs during his days in St. Louis:
Clark has brought Pujols’ situation up at least twice already on the air. The first time, after Slaten said last Friday that he long has believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark jumped in before Slaten finished his thought and said, “I know for a fact he was. The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”
Clark then talked about a conversation he had about a dozen years ago with Mihlfeld, who has worked as a conditioner with several major-league organizations. (Both men were with the Dodgers then, and Pujols was early in his career.)
Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie’ — threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff,” Clark said on the air.
Oooooh, scary PEDS! Right, except for one thing. Clark made these accusation on the first week of his new radio gig in the St. Louis area. Hmmm, what could anyone possibly have to gain by going after a hero that betrayed St. Louis on a new radio show? You mean besides attention, notoriety and ratings?
Clark even goes on in the article about how when he first learned about this during his coaching days that he "really never though too much about it." So, he didn't care ten years ago, but now that he has a public platform, he suddenly find himself concerned with PED use and the integrity of the game. It is all just so convenient. He now says that he "can't stand" to coach players who are cheating even though he already admitted he didn't care when he was actually coaching. That just doesn't make sense.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Pujols is innocent. Clark claims he heard it straight from the trainer, who has issued a blanket denial. The supposed smoking gun here is that trainer was connected in an affadavit relating to known PED user Jason Grimsley. Or it would be a smoking gun had that report not turned out to be a deeply regrettable wrong. Oops!
Let's be honest though, all the evidence most of the general hand-wringing public needs is that Pujols started his career the PED era and is a large, muscular man. Clark could claim that his wife's sister's best friend's college roomate's cousin told him that his neighbor once saw Albert take something that was either a steroid or a Flinstones chewable and people are going to wig out about it and hold it against Pujols as irrefutable evidence that he is a dirty cheater for the rest of his life. That is why this is so infuriating even if it is true because at the end of the day this is more about Clark trying to capitalize on the PED hysteria for his own personal gain rather than out of any more noble cause. Honestly, I don't even feel good about giving this story attention, but ignoring how sleazy Clark's statements are seems just as wrong.