The bad-seed stories just keep rolling in. Last week it was the daughter of Don King, 44-year-old Deborah King-Lee, who was arrested on crack and marijuana charges in the suburbs of Cleveland. This week, none other than Pete Rose Jr. joins King-Lee, Riddick Bowe and Dwight Gooden Jrs., the son of Jim Plunkett, and O.J. daughter Sydney Simpson as offspring of troubled pro athletes who’ve flirted with the big house in the past 14 months or so.
As of press time there was no final word on his sentence, but Rose Jr. made headlines earlier this week when he appeared in a Nashville federal courtroom for sentencing after pleading guilty to charges of selling GBL, a steroid substitute, while playing minor ball with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2001.
The Rose prosecution has all the earmarks of a classic DEA witch hunt. The flabby-necked son of the exiled all-time hit leader was picked up as part of a sweeping federal investigation into sales of the date-rape drug, GHB. When taken intramuscularly, GBL, whose full name is gamma-butyrolactone, is a muscle-building steroid that enhances sexual performance; it’s commonly passed around under the table at gyms and fitness centers. Taken orally, however, it converts into GHB, the notorious date-rape drug that produces a near-instantaneous coma-like sleep. So on college campuses, GBL is a rape aid; in a baseball clubhouse, its probable victims are home-run records. The drug was legal until 2000, and DEA agents busted Rose Jr. in 2001, when his name was found on invoices at a warehouse where 284 gallons of the stuff were discovered.
In his own abortive baseball career, Rose Jr. exhibited a mysterious and previously undemonstrated flair for the home run in 1997, when he had a career year that led to a 14-game cup of coffee with the Reds. Following his arrest in 2001 he admitted to authorities that he had used GBL as a “sleep aid” following games and had sold the drug to his teammates on the Lookouts. He will be sentenced this week and faces up to 20 years for his crimes ... Could Ted Williams Jr. be next?
Purple people speeder
Sports DUI arrests tend to come in bunches, and there is one week every year where the whole spectrum of possible DUI disasters is usually observed: the 100-mph-through-a-school-zone arrest, the passed-out-in-the-middle-of-a-Cabo-St.-Lucas-intersection arrest, the “Jerramy Stevens special” (driving a pickup truck into an old-folks’ home and then leaving the scene), the “Jumbo Elliott” (punching through a police windshield in an alcoholic rage), and so on.