The Summer of Love: Addendum to Mitchell Report Cites “Bizarre 60’s Vibe” Created by Bad Batch of Acid-Laced Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Traces of psyllocybin, an hallucinogenic produced in nature, were found in batch of HGH out of a renegade Costa Rican drug lab; the “bad batch” coursed through clubhouses during the summer of 2000.
What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been: Released after a twenty month investigation, the Mitchell Report cites two month period of unwitting hallucinogen use as evidenced in picture depicting members of the San Diego Padres (and their entourage) performing “unorthodox” pre-game calisthenics.
NEW YORK, NY (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) If the vintage Hendrix and Airplane blaring from boom boxes weren’t enough of a tip-off, players staring for hours – literally hours -- at belly button lint or a solitary sunflower seed – should have set off alarms. A little noted addendum to the just-released Mitchell report refers to a two month stretch in 2000 when a number of HGH users got a lot more than they bargained for.
“Let’s just say it gave entirely new meaning to round trippers,” said a member of the Mitchell committee. “Fortunately the freak-outs were confined to the locker room area. Baseball officials will tell you that no one knew about HGH use, but around this time an unofficial memo was circulated providing instructions on how to bring players down off the proverbial ledge: slap on some Yes, preferably side one from Close to the Edge*, give them a warm glass of chocolate milk, and read random passages from childrens’ books in a non-threatening manner.” In most cases the advice worked, though a follow-up memo cautioned against reading from Dr. Seuss, which only accentuated the problem. (In one instance, a practical joker read from William Burroughs’ drug-fueled novel, “Naked Lunch”; two days later the player quit baseball and for the past seven years has been practicing the pan flute from his one room flat in Marrakech – in his mind, of course, since he’s remained in a supervised room since the incident.)
(*Some remember the memo recommending side one from the Allman Brothers’s Eat a Peach, but they’re most likely confusing it with a Saturday Night Live routine that bears a resemblance to the scenario described.)
According to the addendum, there were numerous “Haight-Ashbury moments” during the Summer of 2000.
“Players and officials reported a dramatic spike in fraternization between players from opposing teams. The fraternization was not only more frequent and involved more players, it took overly familiar, sometimes odd forms: lingering group hugs, players sitting in a semi-circle on the outfield grass, their palms upturned and eyes closed. The back-slapping and what is commonly referred to as “playful ball-busting” was nowhere evident, as players communed telepathically via long stretches of meaningful pre-game silence.“ ("The Mitchell Report," Addendum 6, page 18.)
The report was silent on whether the bad HGH caused any drop-off in play, though it did cite several suspicious incidents and behaviors that are only understandable within the context of unwitting hallucinogen use, i.e., an Orioles centerfielder who took the field in leather pants (ala Jim Morrison) and a Red Sox pitcher who answered only to the name “Dock Ellis.” Sometime around the fourth inning of a game between the Dodgers and Giants, team doctors in both clubhouses found themselves attending to an unusually large number of players – accounts as to the actual number vary -- for violent stomach pain and hellish visions (i.e., John Kruk naked in a come-hither pose). The game was stopped to allow the Giants PA announcer to issue a warning: “The HGH that is circulating is not specifically too good. It’s suggested you do stay away from that.”
According to the report, the hallucinogens fostered an emerging anti-establishment culture that caused a growing rift between players and management.
“Players during this period were blatantly disrespectful of authority -- managers, coaches and front-office personnel were openly disdained and ridiculed. During a Yankees team meeting, eight players showed up in Nixon masks, a slap at George Steinbrenner’s well-known association with the disgraced former president. Moreover, players began taking militant anti-establishment positions on everything from stadium security (for fomenting a fascistic playing environment) to the use of DDT (a controversial pesticide), which groundskeepers relied on to keep the grass lush and weevil-free. One player upended an after-game deli spread, calling for an end to animal butchery…though he changed his tune when a teammate persuaded him to try the lean corned beef flown in from NY's fabled Carnegie Deli. ” ("The Mitchell Report," Addendum 6, page 21.)
The Mitchell Report did point to one positive side-effect: “A number of marginal players actually benefited from the insights that often accompany an intense acid trip. One claimed to see Jesus in a slice of white bread and went on to enjoy a fulfilling second career in China as a missionary. Another saw angels explode from a 100 mile per hour fastball – and while he was beaned before he could process the significance, he has no regrets: ‘Hey, how many can claim to have played major league baseball for a year and a half – it was a trip, trust me. Actually, a trip and a half, which is at least a half trip more than most.'”
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