Indigomine

The (sometimes) coherent ramblings of a Husband, Dad, DJ, Winemaker, and Gamer…

The Mitchell Report

Posted by indigomine on December 13, 2007

I know that I am not the only person in the blogosphere writing about this today. And I know I will not be the only person on radio talking about this tonight. However, the questions I want answered don’t seem to be the questions I am “hearing” asked. Let me start off by saying that there are dozens of “leaked” lists out there, and thus far, none of them have been correct, save one. ESPN.com has produced a list of players actually named in the Mitchell Report. Here is that list:

Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, Bobby Estalella, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde, Lenny Dykstra, David Sequi, Larry Bigbie, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust, tim Laker, Josias Manzanillo, Todd Hundley, Mark Carreon, Hal Morris, Matt Franco, Rondell White, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Jason Grimsley, Gregg Zaun, David Justice, F.P. Santangelo, Glenallen Hill, Mo Vaughn, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Ryan Franklin, Chris Donnels, Todd Williams, Phil Hiatt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing, Cody McKay, Kent Mercker, Adam Piatt, Miguel Tejada, Jason Christiansen, Mike Stanton, Stephen Randolph, Jerry Hairson, Jr., Paul LoDuca, Adam Riggs, Bart Miadich, Fernando Vina, Kevin Brown, Eric Gagne, Mike Bell, Matt Herges, Gary Bennett, Jr., Jim Parque, Brendan Donnelly, Chad Allen, Jeff Williams, Howie Clark, Exavier “Nook” Logan, Rick Ankiel, Paul Byrd, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen, Gary Matthews, Jr., Scott Schoeneweis, David bell, Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Darren Holmes, John Rocker, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, Steve Woodard

In all, 76 Major League Baseball Players (28 active) were named in connection to illegal perfomance enhancing drugs. This report covered MLB players between 1985 and 2007. Although 76 seems like a high number, I personally expected this list to be much larger.

Consider, if you will, that in 2003 MLB subjected all players to PED testing for the first time, without fear of reprecussion. This was an attempt to gauge how pervasive PED use was in baseball, and one of the substances that was not tested for was HGH (Human Growth Hormone). In this “survey”, 100 players tested positive for banned substances. So, my question is this, why are there ONLY 76 players on this report? How can a report that took more than a year, and millions of dollars to compile, not be comprehensive? Why was a report put out that does not show the full scope of the problem? And finally, what does this report do to/for baseball?

It is true that George Mitchell was severely hampered by the MLB Players Assosciation. It is also true that very few players volunteered to work with the commission. However, there were ex-players (Jose Canseco), and ex-employees (Kirk Radomski) willing to talk. And where are the 100 players who tested positive in 2003? At the very least, this report should have included them. Perfomance enhancing drugs are a problem across all sports, and the fact that the Mitchell Commission could not uncover more of the problem over the course of the investigation makes me question the overall integrity of the report.

In my opinion, this investigation was flawed from the start. I do not believe that George Mitchell set out to be the patsy of MLB. I also do not believe in a “Red Sox Bias”. I do believe, however, that MLB and The MLBPA did not want George Mitchell to really investigate anything. The fact that this investigation was carried out without any type of subpoena ability, and without the power of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball behind it, proves that no one really wanted answers. Players were allowed to refuse to co-operate. If the Commissioner came out and stated that any player that was uncooperative would face fines and possible suspension, much more would have been accomplished. But instead, Mitchell and his investigative team were hampered at every turn by the MLBPA. An investigation can not be efficiently carried out with one of the largest, most powerful unions in the country blocking your efforts.

In the end, I don’t think this report will do much to baseball. In the end, people who want to believe that baseball is clean, will believe it. I don’t think the players named will be hampered when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. I don’t think players named will lose money. I don’t think players named will lose their jobs. Look at Jason Giambi. Giambi is named in the BALCO investigation, admits to using steroids in front of a grand jury, and even after his testimony is leaked, he is named AL Comeback Player of the Year. The fans do not care. This is proven every game, as stadiums are sold out all over the country, and baseball sets new attendance records almost yearly. Barry Bonds, perhaps the face of the steroid era, was consistently cheered when he continued to hit monstrous home runs.

Until MLB admits that there is a problem, and decides to move past it, we can never be free of the steroid era. Empty investigations like this, do not lead anywhere. Admit there is a problem, admit that, while flawed, the drug testing policy is better than what was previously in place, and move on. If MLB takes these steps, and continues working towards a better solution, the fans will eventually forget about the steroid era.

Here is one fan hoping this can happen.

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