Fan Sues Yankees Over Steroids, Says Issue Akin to ‘Fraud’

January 14, 2008

A longtime baseball fan is suing the New York Yankees over some players’ reported use of performance-enhancing drugs, saying he wants repayment for $221 in tickets and a public response from his once-beloved team.

“I look at it almost as consumer fraud,” said Matthew Mitchell, 30, a Brooklyn resident who said he went to his first game at Yankee Stadium in 1984. “If I’m going to watch a baseball game, then I expect it to be the real thing.”

The Yankees declined to comment.

The paralegal filed his lawsuit in small claims court in Brooklyn last week, less than a month after former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell released a report linking 85 Major League Baseball players — including 20 current and former Yankees — to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing formulations.

Matthew Mitchell wants to be reimbursed for tickets to five games between 2002 and 2007. They include Game 2 of the 2003 World Series, in which pitcher Andy Pettitte led the Yankees to a win.

Pettitte was named in the steroids report, released Dec. 13, and has since admitted he used human growth hormone to recover from an elbow injury in 2002. Baseball banned HGH in January 2005. Pettitte has said he used it to heal faster, not to enhance his performance, and stressed that he never used steroids.

Mitchell said he filed the lawsuit chiefly because he wanted team representatives “to be forced to come down and answer my claim.” A court date is set for Feb. 20.

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