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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chase Utley--Power of Example...Lee Jenkins, NY Times

Compared with most major league contracts, filled with escalator clauses and incentive packages, Chase Utley's deal in the off-season was pretty basic. He did not need an agent to negotiate the terms. He did not need a lawyer to dissect the language. He needed only a clear conscience and a ballpoint pen.

The contract is 182 words, but it boils down to one sentence: "I pledge that I am not using any illegal or unethical performance-enhancing drugs."

Utley read and signed the document, without any haggling or soul-searching. "For me, it was no problem," he said last week in Philadelphia.. "It was no big deal."

Utley, the Phillies' lanky second baseman, was not trying to make a grand statement. He was just trying to go work out. Every off-season, when Utley enrolls at Athletes' Performance, a training center with branches in Southern California and Arizona, he has to sign the contract. Anyone who enrolls must do the same.

Considering how many baseball players have said that they do not take steroids — and how many have then been suspended for doing steroids — the pledge can seem hollow. After all, Athletes' Performance does not give drug tests and revokes a player's membership only if he is later exposed as an offender.

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