BALCO founder Victor Conte sat down for an interview with Jim Rome on on Wednesday and discussed his relationship with New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. During the segment, Conte confirmed a report from last week that claimed A-Rod contacted him with the help of Bill Romanowski in search of legal products that could help give him an edge.
“In the month previous to his visit I was contacted by Bill Romanowski a couple times and he expressed that Alex would like to meet with me for consultation regarding nutritional supplementation,” Conte told Rome. “They wanted to make sure that nobody was in the building and the coast was clear and so on. It was a little bit bizarre that they didn’t just mosey on in.”
If Rodriguez was indeed searching for legal supplements, it’s strange that he wanted to be that secretive. Then again, BALCO doesn’t exactly have the best reputation with Major League Baseball.
“I told him straight up I said, ‘What is this about?’” Conte said. “He said, ‘Performance enhancement — legal performance enhancement.’ So I was very clear that I have no interest in anything from the dark side.”
When Conte was asked about MLB’s drug program, he described it as “inept.” In fact, he estimated that half of the players in the league use performance-enhancing substances at some point during the calendar year.
“If I define (players using performance-enhancing drugs) as the entire calendar year, including the offseason, I believe it’s about 50%. Listen, performance-enhancing drugs work. I know that.”
That is a much different opinion from that of former Detroit Tiger Robert Fick, who recently admitted to using steroids but said he believes baseball is almost 90% clean. However, Conte may have more first-hand knowledge than someone like Fick. If nothing else, A-Rod’s alleged visit with Conte adds another element of shadiness to his story.
H/T Eye on Baseball