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Friday, December 03, 2004

Memo to Donald Fehr (from Eliot Spitzer)

To: Donald Fehr

From: Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, State of New York

Date: December 3, 2004

Re: The Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball

It has come to my attention this office that allegations have appeared in reputable newspapers that members of the Major League Baseball Players' Association are using illegal substances to enhance their performance.

To be blunt, I am shocked, outraged, distrubed and disappointed that some of the most elite athletes in the country could attempt to perpetrate a fraud on the American people and to violate the most sacred trust that the young men and women of America put in their baseball players. I have no alternative but to take the measures that we outline below (especially now that we've wrapped up most of our inquiry into the insurance industry).

Accordingly, the Attorney General of the State of New York demands the following:

1. A detailed list of all members of your association whose uniform sizes decreased after the 2003 season. (You can omit the name of David Wells, as we know that in order to obtain the girth that caused his back to spasm and miss a key start for the Yankees of my state, he did it by drinking opaque liquids and eating fatty foods. Actually, to our knowledge, we are not certain whether Mr. Wells' uniform size did shrink, after all).

2. A copy of the players' union's compliance policies with respect to the procurement of, and use of, banned substances.

3. The union's official response to the statement that author (and former player) James Bouton made in his book, Ball Four, that if a pitcher could take a pill that would guarantee that he would have a 20-win season, even if taking the pill would take five years off his life, he'd take it. Please advise if the union will close ranks with Mr. Bouton retrospectively in light of the new controversy or support him publicly on the grounds that his comments were his alone and not reflective of the position of the Major League Baseball Players' Association. And, if that's the case, then please advise as to what your position is on the topic of performance enhancing drugs, because our office has Googled the heck out of the internet and come up empty.

4. A copy of all documents, whether electronic or printed, that pertains to your compliance program, including, but not limited to, the training that your association provides its members, written tests of members to ensure that they are familiar with the policies. If you do not have any of the documents reflected in paragraph 1 or this paragraph, please explain why. A constable from our office will visit your offices at the close of business today to take protective custody of any document-shredding equipment that your association may have under its premises. There are many state and Federal laws that support this undertaking, including the Patriot Act.

5. That your membership, to the extent that this conduct has taken place or is taking place, cease and desist from procuring or using any substances that are either illegal or require the prescription of a licensed physician in order to use them.

6. That you, along with your membership, embrace change and take a leadership position with respect to the use of illicit substances so as to set a good example for the youth of America everywhere. While it is very much an American thing to be an active and vocal union, it is another thing to defend or condone the use of illicit drugs in the workplace. I know that one of your hobbies is philosophy, and I will share with you the following Chinese proverb (especially as it pertains to dealing with my office): "You don't always win by being right 100% of the time." In other words, give up the fight, show leadership, and stand up for the silent majority of your membership who is all about morals and family values and who decry the use of performance enhancing drugs in the national pastime. Your office may have the upper hand with that of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, but the tactics that your association has taken with team owners will not work with this office. To quote the prison warden in The Shawshank Redemption, "Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me." Please note the significance of my quoting a prison warden at an antequated prison in a cold, damp place. (Also, some political advice: in my state, Yankee fans think that Mr. Giambi is a true dog and that Mr. Bonds is a meanie, so if you parted with them publicly and let them hang out to dry, you could save yourself and your union a world of hurt. This is one time where you have to give something up.)

7. A stronger letter will follow, as will a subpoena or two, as well as thirteen public appearances by me in the next few days in which I will outline my plan to have one of my deputies replace you as the head of the Players' Association should you and Gene Orza refuse to cooperate with all of the requests of my office. Indictments may follow against certain members of your union for failing to cooperate with the laws of New York State while playing either at Yankee Stadium or at Shea Stadium. To quote my good friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton, if your membership does not sing, some of them will be spending some time in Sing-Sing.

8. Some type of clue as to how former Baltimore Orioles' OF Brady Anderson hit 16 HRs in 1995, 18 in 1997 and 50 in 1996. I have always wanted to know this, and I would consider it a personal courtesy if you honored this request.

I, along with many members of this office, are determined to ensure that we will do for the baseball industry what we have done for the securities and insurance industries -- guaranteeing that the integrity of the game will continue forever.

It was good seeing you and Mr. Orza at the John Kerry fundraiser at The Pierre in October, and I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes you shared with me about Rickey Henderson, Oil Can Boyd and Mark Fidrych.

Best regards,

Eliot Spitzer

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