Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tom Hicks, Juan Gonzalez, Steroids and What People Already Knew

I have to laugh at reports about Ranger owner Tom Hicks comments about Juan Gonzalez "possibly" using steroids. The stories always mention Jose Canseco's allegations but none seem to bring up trainer Angel (Nao) Presinal who is more of a concrete connection to Juan-gone's steroid use. I guess "ESPN News Services" was too busy to even check their own files on Juan Gonzalez when they filed that first story I linked to because even minimal checking comes up with this nugget:
Presinal has been a persona non grata around the majors since an October 2001 incident in which he and former two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez, then Presinal's top client, were connected to an unmarked bag discovered by Canadian Border Service agents at the Toronto airport. The bag had come off a Cleveland Indians charter flight and, according to a New York Daily News story last summer, contained anabolic steroids and hypodermic needles.

Gonzalez, an outfielder with the Indians at the time, told Canadian Border Service agents that the bag belonged to Presinal. Presinal disputes that it contained steroids, but contends the gym bag and everything in it belonged to Gonzalez. Canadian authorities never filed charges against either the player or the trainer, but rumors about the incident have festered throughout baseball ever since.
Here's the rub - everyone in baseball knew about the run-in with the law in Toronto including, I assume, Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers front office. Yet that very offseason is when they gave Gonzalez the 2-year $24 million contract. Reading Hicks comments in proper context it is more than possible that Hicks isn't mad that Gonzalez took steroids but instead mad that he stopped taking them after he got the big contract from the Rangers.

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