Little League Title Tainted?
Little League Title Tainted?
Just hours ago, Dalton Carriker was a hero.
But the shiny image of the 12-year old American slugger is already starting to tarnish, thanks in part to questions from Japan's Junsho Kiuchi.
Carriker gave Warner Robins, Ga. the Little League World Series title when he hit a home run off of Kiuchi in the bottom of the game's eighth inning.
"God, please give me the strength to get a hit and help my team out," Carriker said in the batter's box before the big hit.
"It wasn't God that gave him strength," Kiuchi said through a translator.
"It was steroids.
All the American teams are using them.
You can quote me on that.
When asked if he had personal knowledge of steroid use by Carriker or any other American, Kiuchi admitted he didn't, but refused to back off.
"I don't follow them around, but it's obvious.
It seems like they are hitting a lot more home runs than they were a few years ago in our 10-and-under league.
Now it seems like it happens all the time."
The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports has been a hot topic in recent years.
Most recently, debate has raged as to whether San Francisco Giant's outfielder Barry Bonds should be recognized for breaking Hank Aaron's career home run record, which stood for over thirty years.
Most Americans believe that Bonds has cheated, even though he has never tested positive for banned substances.
Japan manager Youichi Kubo, who managed Japan to the 2001 title, supported his pitcher without directly accusing Carriker.
"I don't know, and we don't have a testing process in place, so we may never know.
We do know that five years ago this kid was 4 feet tall and 40 kilos [85 pounds].
Now he's 5'6 and 60 kilos [130 pounds]?
Five years ago he could barely hit the ball out of the infield, and now he's blasting 70 meter [250 feet] home runs?
We'll never know, but it seems strange.
He's gotten much bigger, much better, and very quickly."
The American manager, Mickey Lay, defended his players.
"That's ridiculous," Lay said.
"They're just frustrated right now.
It's a tough way to lose a game, but our guys are clean.
They work their butts off to get better.
Nobody works as hard as our guys, that's why we're here."
Some people close to the situation aren't so sure.
David Stenson, a classmate of Carriker's, says that he rarely sees Carriker in the weight room and that the baseball practices look really easy.
Most teachers say that Carriker has been a model student.
But a copy of Carriker's private records were leaked last month showing that he had been forced to go to the Principal's office twice in the past year.
One of those occurrences involved physical violence against another student.
"Timmy was calling Dalton a 'baseball head' and Dalton got mad.
He pushed Timmy down really hard, and Timmy started crying."
"Uncontrollable anger is one of the side-effects of steroid use," said Dr. Helen Woods, a University of Georgia professor.
"Some other side effects to look for might be mood swings, oily skin or acne, and voice changes."
"That definitely describes most of the boys on the team," said one player's mom, who requested to remain anonymous.
"But where would they even get that kind of stuff?"
"High school kids," suggested Stenson.
"They sell all kinds of stuff, and I hear Dalton has a really big allowance."
Despite all of this evidence, it seems likely that Kubo was right.
"The only one that knows for sure is the American player.
There will always be doubts.
There will always be those that question this win."
Carriker was at a local Dairy Queen with his parents and could not be reached for comment.
When the age of the Vikings came to a close, they must have sensed it. Probably, they gathered together one evening, slapped each other on the back and said, "Hey, good job." - Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts]