Steroid Fraud? Fan Sues Yankees

The New York Yankees claim to be the team "Where Players Become Legends."

Now, one die-hard fan is questioning the integrity of their catch phrase — in court.

Matthew Mitchell is suing the Yankees for $221 — the exact amount he paid for tickets to five of the games he attended between 2002 and 2007. His claim is filed under "failure to provide goods paid for."

"I've been a fan forever, and now, there's evidence — based on the Mitchell Report and common sense — it's clear to me that what I was seeing was not a baseball game," said Mitchell.

The 30-year-old paralegal became disenchanted after the Mitchell report — compiled by former Sen. George Mitchell — released on Dec. 13, connected 20 Yankees to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

On June 8, 2002, Mitchell watched San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds hit one of the longest home runs he had ever seen in Yankee Stadium. He said, "I can't even explain to you how far it was. People were standing around just looking at each other."

Now, to Mitchell, this feat doesn't seem legitimate, since drugs may have helped Bonds accomplish the task, despite the slugger's denial. "You told me I was seeing a baseball game with real baseball players, when, in fact, there were players that were artificially enhanced," claimed Mitchell.

That game is one of the five for which he believes he should be refunded.

Mitchell filed his claim last week in Brooklyn Small Claims Court. Asking for only the sum of the five tickets, his focus is on the ethical controversy, not the money. He likens the use of these drugs to "consumer fraud."

"I'm really interested in seeing how the Yankees are planning to answer the suits, because common sense tells you that they've known these guys were doing it," said Mitchell.

The Yankees have declined to comment, with a hearing scheduled for Feb. 20.

Mitchell attended his first game in 1984, and estimates he has been to 50 or 60 Yankees games since. He chose to sue over tickets purchased only in the time frame noted in the Mitchell Report — 2002 to 2007.

While Mitchell attended many more games during that period, he only retained five stubs. He will use these as evidence in court.

Mitchell has pledged not to attend any Yankees games this year.

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