To my knowledge, Gagne had never publically discussed the Mitchell Report in the public, other than offering a vague apology in 2008 while in camp with the Milwaukee Brewers:
“I’m here to let you guys know that I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through, and all my friends and especially my teammates here in Milwaukee,” Gagne said in English. “I think that’s just a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place. I’m just here to help the Milwaukee Brewers get to the World Series and get to the playoffs, and that’s all I really care about.
“Since 2004, Major League Baseball has done everything in their power to clean up the game, and I think they’ve done a great job. Right now, I just want to go forward. Major League Baseball is ready to go forward, and hopefully all the fans are ready to do that.
“Right now, I’m just looking forward to pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, to do good, have fun and enjoy the game. It’s sad, everything that happened, and I think right now we’re looking forward to playing baseball in ’08.”
Now that just sounded lame, especially after the details in The Mitchell Report were made public:
“According to the Mitchell report, steroids dealer Kirk Radomski told former Sen. George Mitchell he mailed two shipments of HGH directly to Gagne in 2004. According to the report, receipts of FedEx and UPS shipments indicate Radomski received at least one payment from Gagne and two from then Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Paul Lo Duca on Gagne’s behalf.”
But then Gagne spoke to T.J. Simers at the Los Angeles Times and came clean.
“Why did you use HGH?” I ask, and he says, “I didn’t.”
But he knows better. He and I have had a long relationship; he’s the guy who introduced me to a children’s hospital. Heart and guts, the great intimidator, eight innings of splendid work by his teammates riding on his work and almost never disappointing. How could he?
“You were using HGH, weren’t you?”
“I did,” he says. “I hate to talk about it. It just doesn’t do anyone any good. But I thought it would help me get better when I hurt my knee. I just don’t want that to sound as an excuse.
“I’m so ashamed. It wasn’t smart. If I knew what I know now. . . . I didn’t need it. I regret it so much, just now maybe getting over the guilt. It was stupid.”
Good for you, Eric. Like most Americans, I can forgive if I feel the person in question is truly sorry. Gagne seems to truly regret his actions and I do think he can be a great veteran presence in camp this spring, and potentially during the season if he makes the team (or is called up from the minors). I’m willing to give him a second chance. Are you?