Remember Lou, from the neighborhood, a former infielder with the Red Sox and others? Well, he's a broadcaster now, and on Comcast New England's "Baseball Show" on Saturday his brain dislodged a memory of Red Sox camp when a doctor stopped by to "educate" players how to safely use steroids.
Stopped by to ... wait, what?
"It was like teaching your teenage daughter about sex education," Merloni said. "The organization acknowledged that there were likely players using steroids and basically, 'If you're gonna use them this is how you use them so you don't abuse them.'"
Here's a full report by the Boston Globe on Merloni's revelations.
There's a dedicated cadre of folks out there (we are legion!) who suspect that Major League Baseball at least implicitly facilitated its players use of performance enhancing drugs until the U.S. Congress applied pressure.
But if Merloni's memories are accurate, this would be more than implied. This is, "Here's a clean syringe, Lou. Happy injecting!"
So, are Merloni's memories accurate? We know players use. Is this a Smoking Holy Grail Gun dripping in Pudding Proof that links players, steroids, MLB teams and, by extension, the commissioner's office?
Dan Duquette, Boston's general manager throughout most of the Merloni Era, has an answer.
"It's ridiculous. It's totally unfounded," Duquette said. "Who was the doctor? Tell me who the doctor is? If there was such a doctor he wasn't in the employ of the Red Sox. We brought in doctors to educate the players on the major league drug policy at the time at the recommendation of major league baseball. This is so ridiculous I hate to even respond to it."
Few have less credibility in Red Sox circles than Duquette, but the burden of proof isn't on him. It's on Merloni, whose lack of attention to detail — like remembering who the doctor was, and what was the specific time and place of the meeting — makes it sound like he's telling a tall tale.
As much as we conspiracy theorists want to believe, Merloni's story ain't exactly sourced like classic Woodward and Bernstein.
A former teammate, Troy O'Leary, was asked if he remembered any of Merloni's details — particularly a "how to use steroids" session. He could not.
"Don't really remember anything like that," O'Leary said. "I remember the normal union meetings in spring training where they'd talk about drugs and steroids, and I remember doctors talking negatively about them, but I don't remember ever hearing anything like 'OK, this is the right way to do steroids.' If that happened I missed that one."
So, what's Lou up to, here? Well-intentioned whistle-blower? Absent-minded ex-jock? Wannabe media star? Even if what he says is factual, what then? More Congressional hearings? Can we send someone to jail over this?