Mailbag from the Mitchell Report
By Yahoo! Sports Staff
December 24, 2007
Culled from the several thousand emails to Yahoo! Sportswriters who covered the Mitchell Report. Here's Part 1 of a two-part Mitchell mailbag:
I think the big question is to see if Roger Clemens' name is in this report.
I eagerly read the Mitchell report the moment it was made public and found it comprehensive and easy to understand. The intention of the report was to determine the validity of rumored steroid use in professional baseball. I think Mitchell does a fair job, considering how little cooperation he received from the Players' Association and former players. Selig did not request this report as a panacea for all steroid/drug problems in baseball. It was intended to reveal the guilty parties and take a first step toward weeding out drug users in MLB.
Lucas A. Keyes
Here's the worst part: There is more out there, as admitted in the report itself. They were just smarter and didn't get caught. Every hit, every home run, every strikeout in every baseball game for the past 20 years is suspect. That's what hurts the most. Every owner, including Mitchell, is to blame for allowing it to go on. When someone hits a home run to win a game, or someone strikes out a batter in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series, forever more there will be the question: "Is he juicing?"
Is there any way to find if Roger Clemens' head is bigger now than 10 years ago?
THE WAY THEY WERE
The year I was born, 1939, the Yankees swept the Reds. Joe DiMaggio's big drug was caffeine, served in a cup as coffee.
Let's try to right some of the wrongs caused by the steroid cheats and celebrate the amazing achievements of the all-time greats that played against these chemically enhanced ballplayers and still put up historically great numbers. Greg Maddux and Ken Griffey Jr. come immediately to mind. What would their careers look like if they did not face chemically enhanced players each time through the line up or every fifth day on the mound? They are victims as well.
This report disgusts me beyond belief. This is a game that I played, coached and managed for years. When I was younger, I really looked up to these guys. Now, I want to vomit. Suffice it to say that it will be a long time before I see a major league game again. Probably until after they finally get off their butts and develop a way to test for HGH. Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Tejada, McGwire – all of them are scum. Worse yet, Selig is responsible for sticking his head in the sand for so many years, because all he cared about was putting fannies in the seats. He should do the honorable thing and resign as commissioner immediately. Good God, what an embarrassment to us all.
FLAW IN THE OINTMENT
The Mitchell Report was fundamentally flawed for at least two reasons. First, Mitchell's position with the Red Sox gives an appearance of conflict of interest. Whether there is or not, the appearance is as bad as the actuality. Second, this was supposed to be an "independent" investigation. The players' union determined early that they believed it was not so. The only way it could be truly independent is if there was promise of no punishment as a result. Otherwise, it is a prosecutorial witch hunt. Mitchell also stated that this was "not a comprehensive report." Anyone who spends five minutes looking through the report knows this is true. However, what discourages me the most was that in 20 months, there was not even an attempt to make this a comprehensive report. The lack of information on Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and others shows that the data included not only is "not comprehensive," but is very selective. If not for the thorough footnotes, the report would not have even been acceptable for a freshman level English class.
Ah. Now, at long last, American baseball fans know what it's like to be a cycling fan. Striving to find hope in the darkness, crushing news coming in and threatens to destroy your faith in the sport you love. At least, however, cycling fans have the comfort that their sport is making a concerted effort to punish offenders and clean itself up. The same most certainly cannot be said for MLB. The fact that the Mitchell report names names but recommends not punishing offenders is proof enough of that.
The Mitchell Report reminds me of the Starr Report. Long on inferences based on uncorroborated hearsay and short on direct evidence that you can actually do something about. Which is why the result probably will be the same. So like Henry Hyde, Bud Selig can posture and express moral indignation and pretend to be doing something meaningful, while not really doing anything. And in the case of MLB, the real problem is, let's face it, Bud Selig.
SORRY STATE, WITH APOLOGIES
You want an apology from those men? How about their resignations? How about their removal from the record books, because unlike Roger Maris and men of his ilk, these men cheated. They've been rewarded with astronomical salaries and places in history. Remove all that from all those would-be heroes, and you would end steroid use. Anything short of that is just disingenuous lip service. An apology? Tell it to the Olympic Committee – a group apparently serious about eliminating unfair advantage from sport.
I try to imagine Bonds or Clemens making a Marion Jones-style apology, their families gently urging them on in the truth-telling and then the topper, the relinquishing of their awards and lauds. Can you imagine this scene, given what you know about these players?
Susanne Pritchett Jensen
The suggestion that those named should just "'fess up and apologize" is naïve. If you are willing to stick a needle in your butt on the sly for the sake of an extra million on your contract and that little something extra to "one-up" your opponent, odds are that you lack that certain moral fiber required for any form of contrition.
I am stealing this comment from my grandfather, David Hartel, but here it goes. Since so many Orioles have been connected to steroids and HGH, can we please stop calling them performance-enhancing drugs?
When such exorbitant salaries are paid to top athletes, why wouldn't those athletes try anything possible to be the very best? In a way, it's not their fault … it's ours.
PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
The fans are to blame too. We knew the players were juiced, but we went to the games anyway. If we really want a level playing field, fans should boycott baseball for one year. The only thing they understand is money.
The job Donald Fehr has is akin to that of a mob boss. He protects his little empire, trying to deflect the issue from his crooked employees to the little people, and the "government" that went after his underlings. If he wants to protect his interests, he should be the first to speak up about problems and attempt to fix them before they get out of hand. The players' union has grown too strong and too prideful for its own good.
I still say the players' union, and especially Don Fehr, Tom Glavine and Gene Orza bear the most of the blame for the doping in baseball. The players used it, denied it, refused to talk about it, and would not test for it until forced to do so, and probably used every method to avoid a positive test. The union officials dragged their feet on testing and blatantly used it as a bargaining tool in their negotiations with management. In my estimation, the union officials responsible for this should be banned from baseball.
MITCHELL IN McCARTHY FOOTSTEPS
The names listed on the Mitchell report should have never been published to the public or media. The only names that should be posted are those who have failed drug testing or where there is hard proof that drugs were received after the ban of steroids in baseball. With no hard evidence to support the allegations by a locker-room flunky and a personal trainer trying to save his own skin, this is a he said, he said issue. Roger Clemens, up until this report, was a shoe-in to Cooperstown. Everyone on the list who can't be linked by hard evidence should have recourse for slander and Mr. Mitchell and the MLB should pay extensive fines. Of course it appears they have evidence on Barry Bonds or he wouldn't be in the position he is in.
Three questions: 1) Why is Bud Selig still commissioner? The man has no integrity and at this point couldn't see it even if it was standing right in front of him. 2) Why is the players' union still certified? It doesn't want strong testing because its income is based on the size of the salaries its workers make. 3) Why is Congress dragging its heels passing legislation to remove the anti-trust exemption they granted to baseball years ago? And while they are at it they can force the union to accept tough rules or face immediate de-certification.
It used to be that you were innocent until proven guilty. For some reason, a report, issued by a private consulting firm, with little or no legal binding, is reason to keep Roger Clements out of the Hall of Fame. Personal opinion seems to be the guiding force.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER SPORTS?
So, why all the ruckus about only baseball? I don't hear anyone telling the NFL to use an outside doping agency or to clean up its juiced players. Also, I haven't heard anything from the NBA about this. Are there just not any basketball players using the stuff?
No wonder the Phillies stink. They do not have anyone taking steroids.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Can we as baseball fans get off our high horses? Any fans that claims we have been lied to or misled are lying to themselves. We are the ones that paid the exorbitant amounts to enter ballparks to watch grown misshapen men perform inhuman feats. Not a single fan over the age of 14 can claim they "didn't know players used steroids." Every seat was empty when Bonds broke Aaron's record, not because fans were protesting Bonds' disrespect for the game and refused to go, but because everyone was standing and cheering. By paying the ticket price, we implied our approval.
I have to laugh uproariously at the sanctimonious piety streaming from the sportswriters. You all had access to the clubhouses, you all knew what was going on. You all could have broken this wide open years ago, but chose to ignore what was staring you all in the face. You guys are participants and are a piece of the disaster.
Garbage. It was the night before Christmas and the media decided to sell "War on Steroids in baseball" to the public. What a great present. Thanks!
Updated on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2007 1:57 am, EST