|The Mitchell Report II|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 15, 2007
Basically it said exactly what every sportswriter in the country thought it would - there were few surprises except for the names of players implicated by Mitchellâ€™s findings (and the evidence that backed up those implications).Â
But in truth the names arenâ€™t all that important.
Thatâ€™s because the list of names, while seemingly extensive, is incomplete.Â Itâ€™s a small sampling of guilty parties, because of the limited amount of intelligence ex-Senator Mitchell was able to garner and the lack of cooperation that he found almost across the board.
His best sources didnâ€™t step forward voluntarily but cooperated with the investigation as part of their deals with law enforcement in the hopes of getting reduced sentences.Â Â And the main voice was a drug pusher named Kirk Radomski who created a client base while working in the New York Metsâ€™ clubhouse.Â Secondary sources included a trainer, who when caught with steroids named good pals Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte as well as information obtained from the New York District Attorneyâ€™s office who has been targeting online steroids labs.
And while Mitchell received some support of this expose from the Commissionerâ€™s office, along with the past and present support staff of the various teams, he received almost none from the MLBPA (the Players Union) and in fact he found them to be rather obstructionist.Â But as he stated - it wasnâ€™t in the unionâ€™s interest to help him.
Thus the Playerâ€™s Union took a lot of the heat for the steroids debacle, and that's fair, but there was more than enough blame to go around.Â Trainers didnâ€™t report use, General Managers were unaware of the rules, clubhouse attendants felt impotent around guys earning any where from 10 to 75 times the money they make - especially around the stars and superstars, especially when management didnâ€™t want to hear the truth or back up their staff.
And the owners and Commissioner were blind, often intentionally so.Â For them it was often about the money and the financial issues of the game, not the health of the players or the fairness of the playing field.Â The fact is that they didnâ€™t want to know how or why their highly paid stars were bulking up provided they added to the bottom line.
The superstars didnâ€™t disappoint.Â Â On the list of outed players there were MVPs, Cy Young winners and quite a few All Stars - many of whom garnered their hardware in seasons where the report says they were using steroids.Â There were plenty of undistinguished names in this sampling too, but while this small group was outed, the rest of baseballâ€™s users, probably the majority of the users, unclenched their crossed fingers and breathed a big sigh of relief.Â
In reality the report didnâ€™t offer many other surprises but it offered some suggestions as to how baseball might go forward and clean up the game.Â While Mitchellâ€™s suggestions make sense and could help clean up the game in the future, they wonâ€™t be achieved without some compromise on both the ownersâ€™ side and the playersâ€™ side and that could take years (especially since the CBA doesnâ€™t expire until 2011).
However neither side will have a lot of time to think about it, as Congress has decided to have another round of hearings and has invited Commissioner Selig, Union President Donald Fehr, and ex-senator Mitchell to testify before them on the 18th of this month.
Maybe then theyâ€™ll offer up some surprises and a solution or two for the 2008 season.