Retired Oriole says second baseman doesn't belong on list, citing 'hearsay'
By Dan Connolly | Sun Reporter
December 15, 2007
Former Oriole David Segui is mentioned continually throughout baseball's newly released Mitchell Report on steroids, but what irks him most is that his ex-teammate Brian Roberts also is implicated as a performance-enhancing drug user based on what Segui believes is a combination of hearsay and inaccuracies from a trusted mutual friend.
Roberts, the Orioles' All-Star second baseman, was included in the scathing report after ex-Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie relayed a 2004 conversation to investigators in which Roberts allegedly admitted injecting himself with steroids "once or twice" in 2003.
Former Sen. George Mitchell, who led the investigation, said that he attempted to meet with Roberts but that the second baseman declined. So the reference to Roberts in Mitchell's report is based solely on Bigbie's testimony.
And that has angered Segui, who considered Bigbie "a little brother" and allowed Bigbie and Roberts to live with him free of rent during the 2001 season.
"By far, that's the thing that's bothered me the most about the whole entire thing," Segui said yesterday. "[Bigbie] threw Brian Roberts' name out on complete hearsay. Calling it hearsay would be giving it more credibility than it deserves. I'm at a loss as to why Brian Roberts' name would come out of his mouth."
Bigbie, who has signed to play in Japan in 2008, could not be reached for comment. Roberts and his agent did not return phone calls to The Sun.
In the Mitchell Report, Bigbie makes assertions about his own drug use and said it was Segui who introduced him both to steroids and to Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who has admitted to supplying dozens of players with human growth hormone and performance-enhancing drugs.
Segui said that much is true, and he admitted to educating Bigbie on steroids - after the rookie persisted - and giving Bigbie a sample of his own stash while Bigbie waited on his first shipment from Radomski.
But Segui contends that several other statements were fabricated, including the large quantity of steroids Bigbie initially took and allegations that Segui injected Bigbie and oversaw the rookie's drug cycles.
The most egregious inaccuracy in the testimony, Segui said, is Bigbie's recollection of a lunch in New York during the 2003 season. Bigbie told Mitchell that he, Segui, Radomski and Roberts dined together and then later Bigbie sat in Radomski's car and watched Segui buy "performance-enhancing substances and paraphernalia." Bigbie said Roberts was not in the car at the time.
Segui said Roberts wasn't there at all - that instead, Segui's son, Cory, then 11, was with them at lunch. Segui added that not only didn't he buy drugs from Radomski that day, but that he didn't purchase anything illegal from Radomski after 2002.
"Brian Roberts has never met Kirk Radomski, at least not in my presence," said Segui, who has admitted to taking steroids and to providing Radomski's contact information to several players who wanted to know more about performance-enhancers. "And I don't know wherever else he would have met him."
He refrained from offering more discrepancies to Bigbie's statements, instead saying he wanted to focus on Roberts.
"I'm not worried about damage control on my part. I don't care about that," said Segui, who retired after the 2004 season. "What I care about is Brian Roberts. He is the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry. He is the kind of guy you want your son to grow up to be. Leave him out of this [stuff]. He has nothing to do with this."
This is the second report in 15 months in which Roberts allegedly has been accused by a former teammate of using performance-enhancing drugs. The Los Angeles Times reported in September 2006 that former Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley named Roberts, outfielder Jay Gibbons and former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada in a federal affidavit as steroid users. At the time, Roberts denied the allegations.
Segui wasn't the only one coming to Roberts' defense yesterday. Former Orioles vice president Jim Duquette, who resigned in October, said he was surprised that Roberts was in the Mitchell Report based on the cited evidence.
"I think he has one of the biggest gripes in the report, that his name shows up among other players with specific evidence. There are canceled checks, eyewitness reports of injections," Duquette said. "But the sole evidence on Brian is the word of a guy who has been accused of using steroids and recalls one piece of a conversation. I think Brian has the biggest gripe of them all."
Gripe or not, Roberts has very little legal recourse, according to Robert J. Kheel, an attorney and Columbia Law School lecturer.
"All that Mitchell is doing is that he is reporting a fact," he said. "That is not libelous. It's a factual report about what someone said. It could be true; it could be untrue. ... [Mitchell] is not vouching for the correctness. He is just reporting that this is the information that was provided to him."
Kheel said it's difficult for a public figure, which Roberts is, to prove defamation.
"Assuming his innocence, his remedy is public relations," Kheel said. "No one is saying he should go to jail. No one is saying his career should be interrupted. Someone is just saying something that may or may not be true, and he can have a press conference and say that is wrong."
And Jayson Stark had this to say on espn.com: "Take Brian Roberts , for example. Nobody in here has a bigger beef than he does. What's the "evidence" in his case? An alleged lunch date with Radomski, David Segui and Larry Bigbie -- after which Segui is said to have bought steroids (with Roberts not present). And Bigbie's claim that Roberts told him he used steroids "once or twice," even though Bigbie never witnessed it or even suspected it. That's it. No syringes. No empty bottles. No shipping labels. Nada. I can't think of any self-respecting editor I've ever worked for or with who would have allowed me to write a news story based on "evidence" that flimsy. So what's it doing in a report that cost more than the Florida Marlins' entire payroll?"