Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

December 14, 2007

At Last, Our Long National Nightmare Is In Print Form

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , — Sean @ 4:00 pm

The Mitchell Report(Unlike most NoS articles, I feel the need to write this here: this article is about the Mitchell Report and is my personal opinion and not necessarily the other guys’ here on what’s going on. Other columnists may have their opinions and you may see them here, too.)

The Mitchell Report will not end steroid use any more than a nuclear bomb will end warfare. The names named are at worst little surprise and best documentation of what the court of public opinion already concluded. The Report feels like a letdown, not necessarily for its content, but simply because it has arrived, its mysteries laid bare and its prescriptions so logical as to lack intrigue. Then again the last thing the game of baseball (hell, the business of baseball) needs is more intrigue as it relates to rule-breakers.

In a way, it’s a bit like New Year’s Day for baseball. There has been a constant and near unprecedented firestorm of expectancy for the Mitchell Report exceeding even the infamous 1989 Dowd Report which helped to consign Pete Rose to sad paid autograph sessions with his graying admirers. And now, with the facts published and the findings official, we as fans are now left to…do what, exactly? Rue what was and forget the memories of McGwire? Wish for what could have been? The Steroid Era Every team had a player or two (at least) who was hit. The answers produce more questions, very few of which ultimately matter in determining the legacy of the last decade of baseball. If every group’s got a couple cheaters, you’re left accusing one team of cheating more, probably not the best course of action. The sleeping dogs were awakened, shaken around, and now left to lie again.

The majority of the names on the list are no longer in baseball. David Segui, Dave Justice, Mo Vaughn, Rondell White, and Lenny Dysktra are but some of the men whose legacies will not evade the taint of drug abuse, even if their careers did. The ageless Roger Clemens, by far the biggest name on the list, will almost certainly retire now, his marketability as a free agent wiped out, his case bloated and not worth the trouble. It remains to be seen whether he will ascend the mountain with Walter Johnson and Warren Spahn or sink into the muddled morass of a Rafi Palmeiro. More fascinating to me is the fact that every fan base he has had in professional baseball loathes him for a different reason: Boston (obvious), Toronto (jumped town to win a ring), New York (unretired to sign w/Houston, plus probably dragged Andy Petitte down with him), and Houston (no-showed ’05 WS and now a black sheep favorite son).

Of course the BALCO Boys had their day in the sun. Little more needs to be said about the gym from hell except that the San Francisco Giants do not look good. GM Brian Sabean had knowledge in 2002 that Barry Bonds’s trainer Greg Anderson was giving steroids to Bonds’s massive orb. He knew this because Victor Conte told him. And yet he did nothing. He remained quiet. The Giants had a new park, the team was barreling toward a World Series (C Benito Santiago is also on the list), and fans were pouring into the Bay Area to get a gander of the great #25. Why mess with a good thing? Who’s gonna know? Perhaps the audacity of those involved correlated directly with the surging negative public whisperings. If they think he’s already on the juice, why take him off the juice? More than likely, Bonds just didn’t care.

Bonds, Mark McGwire, Miguel Tejada (who was sold for five bags of Sun Chips to Houston a day before the press conference), and others can now read all about themselves. The report was of course released at a gala ball yesterday. (Normally I link a lot, but let me just give that for you.) Bud Selig’s attempt to sweep the distorted memories of the 1990s under the rug ended with a full-out live press conference in front of national television cameras and an excruciatingly detailed 311 page stone tablet. Thou shalt not hide. It was perversely exciting, a McCarthy moment in a good way; not one of the names on the list had not, nor was not, nor ever won’t be a cheater. The comeuppance is deserved though the punishments may ultimately be lacking.

Bud Selig stated later that Mitchell’s report “Is a call…to action. And I will act.” He plans on an early 2008 HGH summit to better establish a way to track the invisible performance enhancers and more thoroughly investigate users. He may as well clean the barnacles on the Titanic. Every swing of the home run derby that “saved” baseball after the 1994 strike was predicated on disingenuous lies. The management and union covered their faces against evidence that required only a naked eye; even the fans consciously accepted what they were seeing without raising their voices (Brady Anderson owes everyone money). And now we have a leadership working on a comprehensive plan for the 2010s to save the 1990s. Wonderful. Selig, Gene Orza, and the rest of union and management hierarchy are swinging too late on a soaring fastball. All they can do now is trudge back to the dugout and wait for next at-bats.

  • angryed

    OK. Can they now ask Clemens to deny he took steroids in court, so they can indict him like a surly black man? Oh wait, Bonds is the only one whose shit gets the asterisk.

    Save baseball? From what- purity? It never had it , and it never will. From lower attendance figures/revenue? Fuck the ‘business of baseball’ –Let the owners and players worry about that- not the fans? Shit, I don’t get any share of the revenue, so I don’t care if they all shrink their nuts, get huge, and cheat, as long as they entertain me.

  • Andrew W

    I’d call the Mitchell Report an enormous disappointment simply because it failed to cite any hard evidence. Mitchell has ruined (we’d like to think deservedly) the reputations–and, in many cases, the playing careers–of 80+ players on uncorroborated testimony: that of a single witness, a trainer, whose testimony was the result of a plea bargain with federal investigators.

    Mitchell’s and Selig’s stated goal was to use the report to put the steroids era behind us, and they thought that if they didn’t name names, they would simply feed into another decade of speculation. But by insisting on naming names in such an unsubstantiated way, they seriously harmed an already-rough relationship with the MLBPA–and securing the cooperation of the players association was the only way they could truly purge steroids use long-term, by writing into the next collective bargaining agreement that the MLBPA will help support research to create a test that identifies use of Human Growth Hormone, for example, or to discuss partnerships to send players to schools and youth teams and talk about how steroids destroy tendons, stunt growth, and ruin cardiovascular systems. By doing what they did, they shocked the public into recognizing how widespread steroids-use is in baseball, but they’ve done nothing to bring the solution any closer or to make the necessary relationships more trusting or transparent.

  • Joe

    I think the most disappointing aspect of the Mitchell report is not in its lack of a thorough investigation, but rather the mainstream media’s decision that any player not on the list is automatically absolved of any wrongdoing.

    I believe the Boston Globe has a large headline, “No Current Red Sox on Mitchell Report,” as if it’s a particular surprise that a report with a NY-based trainer as its main source of information, written by a member of the Red Sox Board of Directors, would have even a slight chance of containing such information.

    The talk among NY tabloids is whether the Yankees’ 96-2000 titles are “tainted” because of their large representation on the list.

    Also, if I’m Brian Roberts, I sue the shit out of MLB for putting my name on there.

  • angryed

    If most (or just a large proportion) and not just 80 players are/have been on ‘roids/ HGH, given the fact that the only defense against libel is the truth, and I am not sure if any player named would want to go through any more public scrutiny. My guess is that The Surly One will be the only one in court as either a defendant or plaintiff as this stuff hits the fan.

  • angryed

    p.s. please ignore my poor sentence structure above- I am low on sleep.

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: