The Senator From Maine is Recognized

“Protecting the integrity of our game is vital, and we intend to study his findings and recommendations, and will not comment until we have done so.” This is how owners and general managers are being advised to address the media in wake of Senator George Mitchell’s 20-month report on the “Steroids Era” in baseball. Some 60 to 80 players are rumored to have been implicated in the report, a significant number considering the difficulty in obtaining information from the secretive locker room culture.

Whatever information he has been able to procure will be worthy of praise. To reach his conclusions, Senator Mitchell has been grappling with the mightiest labor organization in America: The MLB Players’ Union. The Union had to be consulted prior to Mitchell speaking to any player. Using its contractual obligations to protect the players it represents, the union was a worthy adversary to Mitchell’s fact-finding investigators.

The difficulties in reaching this point are obvious. Both players and owners have entrenched interests in such a report never seeing the light of day, so any report at all could be viewed as cause for celebration. The owners are financially invested in the integrity of the game and don’t want to be viewed as swindlers profiting from the artificial glory of the steroids era. The players, like the pack animals they are, are seeking to protect their own at any cost: even their own integrity.

This will, in baseball’s eyes at least, bring closure to arguably the biggest black-eye in sports history. Finally names will be named. Who cares? If they aren’t all cheaters than they were all cowards. How did so many men sit by and watch America’s past time have its integrity pissed on by a bunch of ‘roid heads who lacked the ability to establish their own legacy in the game without the assistance of science? How many players were reassigned to Triple-A while frauds dressed as ball players stole their jobs? No one spoke up?

How did the owners oversee such poorly managed teams that illegal drugs could permeate the everyday environment of their workplaces? Oh, that’s right, it lined their pockets. But even still, a few of them must have had some moral objection. Some of them must have considered the ramifications of such chicanery.

Where were the journalists? Balls were flying out at a clip of unseen proportions and the common fans investigative arm sat on its duff writing lofty, praising articles about the magic of the 1998 home run race. McGwire and Sosa weren’t magicians, they were con men masquerading as heroes. None of you caught wind of this until the damage had been done? If pestilence like this had spread in any other industry I would like to believe that journalists, protectors of the public, would have been quicker to sniff it out.

How does Bud Selig still have a job?

To their credit, they did have the Players’ Union to deal with. A union representing all that can go wrong when workers unite. It has used its power not to do what is best for its members, but to stifle dissent and protect the integrity of those who have soiled the integrity of everyone.

While this report may satisfy our national blood-lust, the real damage has already been done. No report released over a decade after the fact will do anything but confirm what we already know: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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