Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Bobby Estalella, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Eric Gagne, Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde, Lenny Dykstra, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Ryan Franklin, Mike Stanton, Paul Lo Duca (with thank you notes, even!), Fernando Vina, Kevin Brown, Matt Herges, Chris Donnels, Todd Pratt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing, Larry Bigbie, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust, Kent Mercker, Rick Ankiel, Tim Laker, Todd Hundley, Mark Carreon, Hal Morris, Matt Franco, Rondell White, Jose Canseco, Chuck Knoblauch, Gregg Zaun, David Justice, F.P. Santangelo, Glenallen Hill, Mo Vaughn, Paul Byrd, Jose Guillen, Jason Grimsley, John Rocker, Gary Matthews Jr., Matt Williams, Nook Logan, Brendan Donnelly.
That’s a sample. Much of the information not coming from Kirk Radomski or Brian McNamee involved the chronicling of prior press reports, things that Mitchell could not confirm in different ways because players would not speak to him. During Mitchell’s press conference, he did make a point of knocking both the ownership/MLB contingent and the players’ union, but the MLBPA came under severe scrutiny for not cooperating and for telling the players to keep quite. If you actually read the memo from the MLBPA, it simply advises players to consult a union attorney or their own personal attorney. Now, does it imply that players shouldn’t snitch? Mentioning weakening the union in further negotiations may be an implication — but I’m not willing to draw that conclusion and say the union told the players not to cooperate. There are legitimate concerns about the privacy of medical records with the names of this release (and another post will deal with statements about medical records and history later.)
A part of me is particularly pleased to see that Roger Clemens and his half-season playing ass will finally get the scrutiny he has so long deserved while Barry Bonds got raked over the coals early and often. Mitchell would not have run with any of this stuff if it didn’t clear legal, and we’ll see if Clemens and his agents will take any further action. As for most of the other players mentioned, it’s hard to do a whole lot about them — a lot of it came from federal investigations where Radomski and BALCO figures had to talk to Mitchell.
What I’m more interested in is how Mitchell has called out the ownership and the executive offices for not making the PED issue as important as the financial and economic health of the game back in 1994, when the strike and the bitter negotiations that led up to it provided the perfect opportunity to address it. The owners and MLB made a bunch of cash off the revival powered by PEDs, and this cannot be emphasized enough, because every use by an individual player was tacitly permitted through this “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” policy.
Regarding future testing: yes, an independent agency, a truly independent one, to handle testing is optimal — one that can be audited regularly and to detect those who are using. If you want to make an honest attempt of trying to keep certain PEDs out of the game, that’s the very least you have to do as an organization. However, we’re still floating around the periphery of the truly serious discussion: what the actual benefits of steroids, HGH, etc. are and the effects in moderation — i.e., we’re really no closer to a serious, sensible discussion of how that works than we were before, because the hunt for Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, et al made that damn near impossible. We are still in “burn the witches” mode; there are only tangible amounts of proof and speculation in the report — but since we have set such a bad precedent in the media with Bonds, this is the only way we can go without being completely unfair.
If MLB’s leadership is finally held to account for its mendacity and double-dealing by the media in the wake of Mitchell’s report, that alone will be worth the expense and some of the rehashing. And if not, then at least give me Roger Clemens and his arrogant ass run through the wringer.
Photo: Reuters/Adam Hunger