Not that David Simon needs any assistance from this corner, but perhaps the ongoing steroid investigation could make for an intriguing storyline on the 5th season of our favorite TV series? The New York Times’ Duff Wilson explains.

Investigators of steroid use in baseball are seeking medical records from at least two of the game™s premier sluggers over the past dozen years, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, along with records from dozens of other players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, a baseball official with direct knowledge of the request said.

The investigators in the inquiry, headed by the former Senator George J. Mitchell, have also asked the Baltimore Orioles to send medical files to Jason Grimsley, David Segui and Fernando Tatis, the official said. The players will then be asked to authorize their release to Mitchell, although they are believed to be unlikely to do so.

Other players under Mitchell™s scrutiny have not been publicly identified, although people who have been briefed on the development said that the full list included players expected and unexpected, and that it excluded some players who might have been expected to be on the list of steroid suspects.

The Orioles, for instance, were not asked to release medical records to Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts, the official said. Those players had been implicated by news-media reports describing a statement by Grimsley and, in Tejada™s case, by Palmeiro, who said Tejada had given him an injection that might have contained steroids. The official, who was granted anonymity because baseball officials have been ordered not to talk about the Mitchell investigation, said their exclusion showed a lack of evidence against those three players, who are all on Baltimore™s active roster.

Investigators have looked deeply into the Orioles, among other organizations. Mitchell™s staff has interviewed at least nine members of the Orioles™ front office and training staff, and has searched at least six of their personal computers for evidence relating to performance-enhancing drugs, the official said.

Mitchell released a statement yesterday saying, œWhile it is our practice not to comment on the investigation, any suggestion that the investigation is focused on any single team is incorrect.

Although the Orioles are not being singled out in the investigation, the city of Baltimore has an important role. Two of the lawyers working with Mitchell are based there. Also, a United States Department of Justice press release on the New York steroids case singled out two United States attorneys™ offices ” one on Long Island, the other in Baltimore ” for œimportant assistance in the investigation. The steroid dealer lived on Long Island and was arrested and searched at his home there; the Baltimore connection to the criminal case remains unexplained.