Former major leaguers Robert Fick and Dmitri Young have started a video podcast at Ustream.tv and their first guests Wednesday were pitching brothers Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels and Jeff Weaver, who is retired. Everybody's from Southern California and they're all friendly, so it's very conversational, but at the 17:00-mark or so, Fick starts a line of questioning about having a gay teammate, hypothetically, in a major league clubhouse. He did this with Jered Weaver present because he was a teammate of Torii Hunter, who in December let his sad opinion on the subject be known.
It's admirable that Fick raised the topic, even if his opinion is just as repugnant:
"I can’t meet gays in… I don’t want a gay athlete, baseball player, in my clubhouse. It would be ... uncomfortable for me," said Fick, who also dropped a crude anti-gay slur twice in the first 20 minutes of the show, later couching his statements with "I have some gay friends and it's all good."
The actual good news was, the Weavers didn't agree.
"Just let ‘em be whatever they are. As long as they can hit or pitch, come on in," Jeff Weaver said.
The best news was, Jered Weaver probably will be playing baseball for a long time, and would have some influence once an active major leaguer finally comes out. This is what he said:
"If you’re hitting .300 with 40 and 140, bring ‘em on, you know?"
"I think it would just be a shock at first, but it’s still your teammate in the long run."
"They worked just as hard as us to get up to where we’re at."
It's not utopian, but at least it's practical. Fick backed down a little, saying he probably would get used to having a gay teammate. He's done playing, so we'll never know. Young added a wince-inducing: "As long as he’s not trying to crack my back in the shower..." before following up with "To me, people are people so it doesn’t bother me."
The entire 55-minute webcast was entertaining and informative on occasion. Fick continued to stir things up, with Young playing the straight man — so to speak. Later, the subject of drug testing and PEDs came up. Certainly topical with the recent news about Alex Rodriguez and others being linked to a clinic in Miami known for distributing PEDs.
Here's most of that part of the conversation:
Jered Weaver: "There’s a lot of money out there and people are kind of doing what they’ve got to do to get it."
Dmitri Young: "It’s been going on since even before I started."
Jered Weaver: "I kind of came up after all that era."
Robert Fick: "For the most part, baseball’s cleaned up. You’ve got to be hanging out with Lance Armstrong to get past these drug tests."
Jeff Weaver: "And you’re not going to win seven World Series in a row."
Jered Weaver: "They’re starting that new blood test this year, right at the beginning of the season."
Jeff Weaver: "You got popped. They came by your house."
Jered Weaver: "Yeah, I got tested for the first time this offseason. I didn’t know what to do. I got called and I was on my one-year anniversary in Europe and they’re trying to find me. It’s like jeez, dude, I can’t even take a dump without these guys trying to find me."
So that's the state of drug testing in Major League Baseball. It's a little bit of an invasion of privacy and a hassle, it sounds like. It's also not going to get any less invasive for the players. They agreed to it.