The Baseball Scandal
The performance-enhancing drug scandal that is shaking Major League Baseball first came to light as a result of investigative reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The scandal began with a federal raid on an obscure firm near the San Francisco International Airport on Sept. 3, 2003. At the time, few had ever heard of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame, California. But in the insular world of professional sports, BALCO was the place to go for performance-enhancing drugs.
After federal authorities examined billing records, calendar entries, e-mails and other documents seized that day, BALCO would become synonymous with one of the nation's largest sports scandals and tarnish the names of 91 former and current baseball players. They include 33 all-stars, 10 most valuable players and several who were considered locks for the Hall of Fame, such as home-run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees, regarded by many as the greatest pitcher in a half-century.
In 2004, reporters for The Chronicle put the story on a national stage when they gained access to secret grand jury transcripts disclosing the identities and testimony of some the athletes who were clients of BALCO. Reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada wrote scores of stories about the company and its customers during the course of their investigation, despite being threatened with prison time for refusing to disclose the source of the leaked grand jury transcripts.
-- Scott Higham
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