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Archive for Monday, August 8, 2005

Commentary: Reds players pitched in to ease pain

Griffey, others kept youngster busy in bullpen after grandfather suffered heart attack at game

August 8, 2005

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In a week that revealed baseball's ugliest warts, here's a story to restore faith in today's ballplayers.

During Wednesday's victory over the Atlanta Braves in Cincinnati, several Reds players helped ease the pain of a boy whose grandfather had suffered a fatal heart attack in the Great American Ball Park stands.

While emergency workers attempted to revive the man, security personnel led his 6-year-old grandson, Antonio Perez, to the Reds' bullpen area, where coach Tom Hume agreed to let the boy watch the final two innings of the game from the bullpen bench.

Afterward, Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. took Perez onto the field to exchange high-fives with the victorious Reds and then ushered him into the clubhouse. Knowing the boy's parents were on their way to the ballpark, the Reds players kept Perez busy with conversation.

"They were unfortunate circumstances," Griffey said. "You try to make the best of it.

"He kept asking, 'Where's my grandfather?' And we tried to change the subject. Have him shake hands with the guys, see the locker room."

Several Reds gave Perez gifts to take home such as bats, balls and wristbands. Shortstop Felipe Lopez offered the batting helmet he used in July's All-Star Game.

Griffey said the players wanted Perez to have "a memory of something positive that happened out of something negative. Anything we could have done, we would have done."

l While Rafael Palmeiro has endured an explosive week of criticism, the man who first publicly accused him of using steroids is busy with a another tell-all book.

Former big-leaguer Jose Canseco is working on a follow-up to the incendiary Juiced, which accused several baseball stars of using steroids.

The sequel, tentatively called Vindicated, will attempt to show that baseball executives knew of widespread steroid use and looked the other way.

"There will be more names, there will be managers, team doctors," said Canseco's attorney, Robert Saunooke.

"There is a component of baseball that people just don't get, and (Vindicated) will show what really goes on inside baseball."

Expected to be released in time for next year's spring training, Saunooke said the book would be more "insightful" than Juiced, which became the impetus for a congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

In his first book, Canseco alleged he used steroids with Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez.

Several players threatened to file suit, but Saunooke told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that the only thing he ever received was a nasty letter from Orioles Owner Peter Angelos on behalf of Palmeiro.

"In the letter, (Angelos) threatened us with the gigantic machinery that is his law firm," Saunooke said.

"I'm wondering what Peter Angelos is thinking now."

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