Before he became the assistant athletic director of Nova Southeastern, Larry Starr spent 30 years working as a trainer in clubhouses for the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins. In a Chicago Sun-Times article published Sunday, he paints a ghoulish picture of the behind-scenes baseball culture that preceded the recent scandals about performance-enhancing drugs.
He kept an open-door policy, telling players about steroids' potential side effects whenever possible. They wouldn't have confided in him -- and he wouldn't have been able to counsel them -- if players feared he would turn them in. If he had blown the whistle, he's not sure how much impact it would have made anyway.
''They would say, 'Do you have any evidence? Did you see people injecting themselves?''' Starr said. ''If I said no -- and I would have because I wasn't going to sneak around watching guys in toilets -- they would've said, 'Then shut up and do your job.' Or they would have brought in the player and asked him. Then I would have been done. I would've lost the trust of my players, my manager and coaches.''
Starr also tells of finding a bag full of syringes belonging to former Marlin pitcher Ricky Bones. That was in 2000, and Starr says he gave it to his boss and that the report went up the chain to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Nothing came of it until the Mitchell Report was released in 2007.