Reporting from the Baltimore Orioles training camp in Fort Lauderdale and printed in virtually every newspaper in the US. You can read it in the Sun Times this morning.
A 6-2, 239 poung pitching prospect, battling for a spot on the team and a weigh problem, Steve Bechler, died of heatstroke two days after collapsing after a workout.
Very important, and this has not yet been medically confirmed by an autopsy, but the medical examiner in Ft. Laurderdale has been told, by the Oriole's clubhouse staff he was taking ephedrine.
You know, that stuff that was hidden in the Ultimate Orange supplement that several NU players were taking when Rashidi Wheeler collapsed and died after a team workout?
But no howls of dismay, no calls for dismissals, no change of training regimin at the major league training camps, no rhyme quoting lawyers lurking about. Everyone knows that to play sports at a high level [like major league baseball] requires players to be in condition.
The Orioles's trainers [like the NU Wildcats] don't condone the use of this stuff, but unlike the NCAA, ephedrine is not a banned substance in baseball. You can tell an athlete fighting for a position on the team not to take it, but you can't really stop them.
Steve Bechler left a wife who is pregnant with their first child. Orioles manager Mike Hargrove commented that his preseason conditioning was "not good."
Its a sad story, and I'm sure some people will overlook the similarities between Bechler and the Wheeler case, but maybe, just maybe when we start fixing blame for negative outcomes, we'll start pointing at the people who make this stuff, and the athletes who take it.
-- da Coach
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