What some thought to be improbable (yet possible, considering the personality involved) appears to have come to light, as it turns out Victor Conte himself may have been one of the San Francisco Chronicle's sources as it got to the bottom of the BALCO scandal.
The US Attorney's office accidentally leaked documents yesterday that include e-mail exchanges between Conte and Chronicle reporters (and "Game of Shadows" authors) Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. In the e-mails, Conte jokes that he should be on the Chronicle payroll as he dishes the dirt on Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and the rest of our rascally steroid-induced characters.
If itís true, Conte could face jail time for contempt. The government has subpoenaed Fainaru-Wada, Lance Williams, and the Chronicle to identify their sources, an action the parties refuse to cooperate with.
Eve Burton, general counsel for the Hearst Corp., which owns The Chronicle, said Thursday that the disclosure of the material does not affect the case or the newspaper's unwillingness to reveal confidential sources.
"We won't comment in any regard about our newsgathering process,'' she said. "We move forward to quash the subpoenas and go back to the important reporting that these two reporters are doing, and we look forward to judicial relief.''
"I would say at this point the only way the athletes' grand jury testimonies will come out is at trial," Conte wrote in a June 18, 2004 e-mail to Fainaru-Wada, according to the New York Daily News. "Unless I just give you a copy of the indexed CD-ROM that contains all 30,000 pages of evidence. How would you like that? Just kidding."
Fainaru-Wada immediately replied: "OK, why not, you talked me into it. ... Wondering if you should even joke about that; I've become somewhat paranoid about E-mail these days. My wild imagination at work."
Meanwhile, Jeff Frye, Mike Stanley, Brian Rose, and John Valentin, all former teammates of Paxton Crawford, all deny steroids in the Red Sox clubhouse in 2001, a claim made by the former Sox starter in this week's ESPN The Magazine.
"I would say most of the guys on the team wouldn't even remember who Paxton Crawford was, that's how little he was there," said Frye.
Another testimonial comes from another former teammate in the minors, one-time prospect Jay Yennaco, now pitching coach for the Nashua Pride.
"Was I aware that he had some issues? I'm not a whole lot surprised," he told the Union Leader.
Still, Yennaco wouldn't admit he knew about Crawford either. In fact, every single former teammate spoken with thus far seems to paint a picture that they barely knew who Crawford was, and that each couldn't possibly remember any instances of steroids in the clubhouse. It seems Crawford was the only one dabbling in HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs. Boy, Terry Cashman is going to have one difficult time penning a ditty for this one.