Posted by: Nate | December 19, 2007

Mitchell Report Conclusions and Loose Ends

Now that the Mitchell Report has been out for awhile and players and fans alike have had time to read through it and digest it’s implications a number of things are happening. Those players named in the report are either admitting to using, in some form or another, or outright denying the allegations. Simultaneously, the media talks about virtually nothing else in the baseball world and the court of public opinion has essentially branded all of these guys as cheaters, with Roger Clemens taking the brunt of the heat it seems.

My personal thoughts on the subject are that the Mitchell Report is not exactly the magic elixir that some people thought it was going to be, and appears to me to be a step above a glorified witch hunt. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great first step and gets the ball rolling in MLB about testing, consequences and accountability. The report itself doesn’t have a lot in the way of hard evidence other than the testimonies of several trainers and clubhouse managers. Much of the names are in the report based on speculations and suspicion from other sources and the whole discussions degenerates into a he said-she said debacle. More in the way of receipts, or other eyewitnesses who sold/provided the actual drugs would go a long way to clearing up who cheated and who didn’t. If you can get multiple pieces of evidence saying Clemens took steroids, then his denial becomes all the more hollow. The current Clemens defense hinges on the fact that his accuser was going to face criminal charges for his involvement anyway, so why not name a few names on the way down. Without another witness, or some receipts the case could go either way I feel. Granted, his freakish performance into his 40’s coupled with his resurgence as he got older always kind of hinted at something fishy, but it’s hard to crucify someone without sufficient evidence I say.

This is where the report falls short I felt, the actual evidence. It named a lot of names, and many were indicated for just being mentioned in a clubhouse discussion about various PED, but that isn’t clear when your average fan looks at the list of names from the report and yours is on it. Senator Mitchell made some good suggestions for making the testing procedures more rigorous and outsourcing the work for increased security and objectivity. I would have liked for him to be able to coax some more people into giving hard and credible testimony or provide some more facts directly linking more of the players named to PED than was presented. The court of public opinion is vicious and often only partially informed and so when names are named, the context is not always included.

For instance, Curt Schiling recently stated in an interview with the New York Times that, “If you read the report, [Brian Roberts] was included because Larry Bigbie told the Mitchell investigators that Brian mentioned to him that he’d tried it. Is that right? I don’t think it is.”

Now, Roberts has since admitted to using steroids once in 2003, but I think Schilling’s point is representative of the concerns I have with some of the report. Hopefully, this is the start of stricter testing and a decrease in the use of PED in both baseball, and the greater sports world. Only time will tell.

In other news, the Patriots continued their perfect season with a win over the rival New York Jets on Sunday in some tough conditions. With Tom Brady having his worst game of the season and the passing game struggling across the board, it was refreshing to see that the running game was effective with Maroney getting good number of carries and rushing for over 100 yards. In typical Jets douchebaggery, down by 10 points with 2 seconds to play Pennington spikes the ball to stop the clock so they can run one last play. As far as I know, there isn’t a 10 point zone on the field, the four point conversion doesn’t exist and this isn’t NBA Jam so no “hot spots” are showing up anytime soon. I am as much a proponent of playing until the whistle and never quitting until the game is over, but this was just absurd.

The Baltimore Ravens, whom we managed to squeak out a last minute win over a few weeks back, had to go ahead and do the unthinkable and lose to the previously winless Miami Dolphins. This latest act of choking not only should jeopardize Brian Billick’s job, but robbed us of the chance to extend the winless streak of the Dolphins to an NFL record 0-15 and continue our quest to perfection while the only other team to do so (Miami 1972) throws down a record season for putridity. Ray Lewis an co. should be ashamed of themselves.

I am also upset to admit that were gambling legal, I would have slept through the opportunity to bet on the early games and parlay the unders in all the bad weather games together with the Pats. This would have been a very successful tactic for making some money going into the holiday season, but alas this was not the case for me.

Don’t look now, but your very own Boston Celtics are 20-2 as they prepare for a tough stretch of games against more formidable opponents and make a West coast swing. While their schedule has been relatively easy so far, the majority of their wins have been by large margins and the last two were without Ray Allen. Regardless of strength of schedule, with the way the stars have been playing so far and the significant contributions from the other starters as well as the role players, it’s hard not to believe that the Celtics won’t continue to perform well. As long as Doc Rivers doesn’t get in the way and they avoid the omnipresent injury bug things are looking up for sure. While I am not predicting them to go 75-7 (which is their current pace), they look like a solid bet to win the East this year; were gambling legal of course.

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Responses

  1. I think that the Mitchell Report is almost comparable to the recent Duke Lacrosse rape case. Someone was just pointing fingers and the implications of the whole situation set off like wild fire.

    A stripper pointed fingers, 3 student lacrosse players were arrested, they were expelled from the University and the team as far as I know. Then they were later acquitted of all of the charges. After the trial heads up and down the court system and university began to roll because of faults in the investigations and with attorneys. However, acquitted or not, the mere implications of these students being involved in a rape case is enough to tarnish the rest of their lives. These things should be taken seriously, however they should also be taken cautiously.

    I really wish this whole report hadn’t been reported simply for the fact that all it did was essentially point fingers off of he-said she said crap. I’m pleased to know that he-said she-said will not hold up in court. However, their names, the sport, and the United States has been tarnished simply for the report being published. I am not aware of the legality of it, however if I were published in the report I’d be in the beginnings of filing a lawsuit on the basis of slander.

    But, as goatboy has said, maybe some good can come of it. Perhaps MLB and pro-sports in general will be more strict in enforcement of PEDs in the future. This may be a step in the right direction, however it was a small and potentially hazardous one.

  2. I agree that the whole PED drug argument as well as things such as the Duke case can be a very slippery slope. The court of public opinion is very unforgiving and in this era of instant news, false accusations spread very quickly.

    The whole Mitchell report contains a lot of evidence of a circumstantial nature and makes me somewhat weary as to how it is being handled. While I am not naive enough to think the steroids and other shit aren’t in baseball, I still think the whole innocent until proven guilty mantra should apply. To me, a couple of trainers and former players saying they sold drugs to, inject drugs into or saw someone using drugs isn’t necessarily enough to hold those players accountable.

    That being said, it definitely is enough to put the spotlight on them and take a deeper look. I really applaud what Pettitte did when he admitted using HGH a couple of times in 2002 for recovery. He was named, faced those accusations quickly with what I can only assume to be the truth and the issue was dealt with. While many people may not believe what people like he and others have to say, it speaks louder to me when a player says nothing at all. Even if they admit using it and face punishment from the league, at least they owned up to it and put the truth out there instead of letting the rumor mill grind away.

    As was said in a recent Law & Order episode I saw:

    When we catch a criminal in a high profile case, that news always makes the front page. If it turns out to be the wrong guy, the retraction and apology always gets buried on page 6.


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