The answer — alleged steroid abuse — is apparently in the May 11 issue of the Lariat, the student newspaper of the goosesteppin' South Orange County Community College District's Saddleback College in Mission Viejo and Irvine Valley College (IVC) in Irvine. This free Backward S.I. Sportswatch crudely carves “apparently” because we haven't seen the actual article where this claim supposedly surfaces. We tried to find it online through the Saddleback College website — where a link to the Lariat resides — but a click of it brought the dreaded “Does Not Exist” error message. Unless, of course, the Lariat truly does no longer exist given the image problems associated with the explosive allegations contained in the steroid story.
Fer chrissakes, would someone from Mission Viejo please fax us a copy of the story? It's not like we're gonna burn the $4-a-gallon it'll take to get down there to God's Country.
For the revelations in said Lariat article, we will be forced to rely on the always spot-on reporting of our pals Chunk, Red Emma and Dick Cheney of Dissent the Blog. Aided by the Quickest Adobe Photoshopper in the West, DtB always nails its targets (and it's got a long list of 'em down there). But they playz it fairly straight in passing along the following excerpt of the Saddleback steroid saga “Lucky Swing” by Ryan Kuhn and James Haynie IV:
Some players say steroids have been around the OEC [the Orange Empire Conference], including both IVC and Saddleback, since at least 2002. Former Irvine Valley catcher Justin Meisner, who played for the Lasers from 2002 to 2004, witnessed the use of steroids during conference play. “Some players from other schools would actually talk about using steroids,” Meisner said. “Others you could see the affects first-hand.”
Steroids have not only been a factor for the opposing team but also for the [IVC] Lasers. According to Meisner, there were four teammates who used anabolic steroids during his IVC playing career. “The coach knew about it,” Meisner said. “He didn't say anything as long as his players were producing.”
According to the Dissenters, the article does not reveal whether the Laser coach was contacted for his side of the story. The piece is said to level similar allegations against Saddleback's team:
…[S]teroids have reemerged, this time at Saddleback. According to Saddleback sophormore outfielder Mike Elkerson, Winstrol [an anabolic steroid] has been used by a number of his teammates including one of the starting pitchers. “I know a total of four guys on the team that have used or are using the steroid,” Elkerson said. “There is one pitcher starting to use it again that has done it in the past.”
Dissent the Blog, always on the lookout for irony, actually used it to introduce its post when they quoted a letter from district's Chancellor Raghu Mathur to the Lariat staff for their fine, student-focused stories in that very same edition. No, the district top administrator did not single out the steroid story for praise, choosing to instead mention “Students to Grade Classes,” “Students Help Irvine Celebrate,” “New Student Leaders Announced,” “Volunteers Gather to Brighten Campus” and Leah Sims' “thought-provoking” “Driving Under the Influence.”
Given the hubbub that'll surely accompany the publication of “Lucky Strike” (if anyone can even FIND it . . . jeez!), DtB figures Mathur may call that letter of praise back. “Something tells me that the Lariat won't be getting more of those Warm and Fuzzies from the Chancellor for a while.”