Mitchell Post-Mortem

So, now that Senator Mitchell has released the results of his 20 month investigation, where do we stand? I, sadly, believe that we are no better off than we were.

We have the names of dozens of current and former baseball players who are alleged to have used or purchased performance enhancing drugs. Some of these names carry some weight; Clemens, Tejada, Bonds, Pettitte and others you would recognize. But without subpoena power, I think we can all expect more of what Roger Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, had to say:

“I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea,” Hardin said in a statement. “But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger’s name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.

“There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today,” said Hardin, who called McNamee a “troubled man.”

There is more of this to come. I must confess that I have not read the entirety of the report, but I don’t believe, from what I have read, that there is much inculpatory evidence. There are pictures of checks from players to trainers who have confessed to providing PED’s. There are stories Clemens and Pettitte being injected by Brian McNamee, a New York strength and conditioning coach. But none of this can prove that the implicated players were indeed steroid users. The report certainly casts a cloud over the entirety of baseball, but who could argue that it was a sunny day beforehand.

The past 20 years of baseball history will forever be in question. Baseball needed a report of this magnitude to repair its credibility on the heels of such an era, but this report will not do anything more than affirm what we already suspected: Everyone was complicit.

By convicting everyone, no one is guilty. By spreading the blame so broadly and universally, it is impossible to hold individuals accountable without it seeming like a witch hunt. Players, owners and management will apologize publicly for what has transpired over the past 20 years. Yet, individually, they will accept responsibility for nothing. The list of players who will voluntarily confess guilt for what they have allegedly done will be small. It will be comprised mostly of retired players who no have to make the long jog out to their positions, facing fans who know their career, at least in part, is fraudulent.


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