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The Mitchell Report, the Red Sox and Conflicts of Interest:

As a Boston Red Sox fan, I can't help but notice the large number of New York Yankees stars named as steroids or human growth hormone users in today's Mitchell Report on the use of banned substances in major league baseball (see here for a handy list of players named in the report). In addition to Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield - whose likely steroids use had been disclosed previously as a result of the Balco investigation - the Report also accuses Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Chuck Knoblauch of using banned substances at a time when they were major contributors to Yankees championship teams. Several lesser but still notable Yankees players are also listed, such as Mike Stanton (a key middle reliever on the 2001 pennant winning team), and David Justice. A few Red Sox players are also listed. But all are fringe players, with the exception of Mo Vaughn, a big star with the Red Sox in the 1990s. And even Vaughn is only mentioned as having used banned substances in 2001, several years after he had left the Sox. Clemens, of course, also played for the Red Sox for many years. But he, like Vaughn, is only accused of having used banned substances after he left the team (in Clemens' case during his stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and Yankees in 1997-2003).

Unfortunately, the prominence of Yankees stars in the Report and the near-absence of Red Sox stars raises the question of whether Senator George Mitchell, the Report's primary author, was compromised by his status as a Boston Red Sox director. Was he deliberately targeting Yankees players and/or purposely overlooking offenses by Red Sox?

Although I may be influenced by my own pro-Red Sox biases, I think it is unlikely that Mitchell was out to get the Yankees or covering up for the Red Sox. Since leaving the Senate, Mitchell has made a career of serving as an elder statesman/conflict mediator from Northern Ireland to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I highly doubt that Mitchell would be willing to risk that reputation - to say nothing of his lucrative consulting business - just to help out the Red Sox or stick it to the Yankees. Even if Mitchell were indeed willing to fall on his sword for the Sox, an experienced politician like the former Senator surely knows that any attempt at an anti-Yankees witch hunt or pro-Red Sox coverup would probably leak to the press. The resulting scandal would be extremely damaging to both Mitchell and the Red Sox. Finally, any witch hunt or coverup would have had to involve numerous staffers and investigators, as well as Mitchell himself. I don't see why these people would be willing to risk their own careers and reputations just to help Mitchell do a good turn for the Red Sox.

That said, it was a mistake for baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to appoint Mitchell to head this inquiry. Even if there wasn't any bias in Mitchell's investigation, there was certainly a conflict of interest - a conflict exacerbated by the longstanding Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and the prominence of Yankees players among those accused of steroids use. Surely Selig could have found some other elder statesman to take on this job, one with no affiliations with any major league team.

MarkField (mail):
Mitchell's conflict doesn't just extend to the Yankees. He's an owner, meaning that there's an appearance of impropriety (at the least) in minimizing ownership's responsibility and blaming the players. My guess is that the reaction in the papers will suggest the decision to name names will achieve precisely that result.
12.14.2007 12:16am
Terrivus:
These are my all-time least favorite blog posts: ask a question loaded with insinuation and speculation, and then firmly and decisively refute the conspiratorial assertion. The only result is added senseless chatter to the blogosphere. It just offers more support for someone else to use in saying, "Some have questioned Senator Mitchell's impartiality," before they categorically reject it, too.
12.14.2007 12:19am
Ilya Somin:
Mitchell's conflict doesn't just extend to the Yankees. He's an owner, meaning that there's an appearance of impropriety (at the least) in minimizing ownership's responsibility and blaming the players. My guess is that the reaction in the papers will suggest the decision to name names will achieve precisely that result.

This is a valid point. However, i have a couple of reservations. First, Mitchell is not actually an owner, but merely an employee of one team's owners (the Sox). To my knowledge, he doesn't have an ownership stake in the team, and the income he gets as a director is a trivial part of his total income (most of which comes from his consulting business). Second, the report does in fact name many team officials who were complicit in steroids use or chose to overlook it, as well as players. The media's focus on the latter results from the fact that players are much more famous than team executives and owners.
12.14.2007 12:22am
Glen Campbell (mail) (www):
One reason there's a lot of Yankees on the list is that one of the two key witnesses was the Yankees' former strength and conditioning coach. It's not likely that a Yankees coach would have supplied 'roids to the Red Sox.
12.14.2007 12:40am
glangston (mail):
It all sounds a bit like in house damage control. Congress is in an investigative mood. They hardly have time for anything else.
12.14.2007 12:40am
RSF677:
I don't think Mitchell was out to get the Yankees. Instead, the most likely reason for the abundance of NY players is that Mitchell's two major sources had strong NY ties. Mitchell probably called for the cited players not to be punished because there are so many other strongly suspected steroid users who were not even mentioned in his report.
12.14.2007 12:40am
MarkField (mail):

First, Mitchell is not actually an owner


Apparently not; my bad. He's a director and it's commonly said on the internets that he is an owner. Just goes to show you...


Second, the report does in fact name many team officials who were complicit in steroids use or chose to overlook it, as well as players. The media's focus on the latter results from the fact that players are much more famous than team executives and owners.


Sure, but that was my point. By naming names, Mitchell guaranteed that the players would be the focus of the response. If he had wanted to keep the focus on management and the union (as an entity) -- where, IMHO it belongs -- he would have kept the player list separate and confidential.
12.14.2007 12:46am
RSF677:
"the Report also accuses Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Chuck Knoblauch of using banned substances at a time when they were major contributors to Yankees championship teams."

I don't think this is quite accurate. It would not suprise me if those player did use steroids during their championship season, but the report only says that is the case for Clemens. Everyone else used the PEDs after the 2000 championship.
12.14.2007 12:46am
BD (mail):
The fact that Selig would choose Mitchell to head this investigation despite his obvious conflict of interest is further evidence of the ineptitude with which MLB has handled the entire steroid issue from day one.

This report accomplishes nothing. It was supposed to provide a comprehensive account of steroid use in baseball, but Mitchell lacked subpoena power and all but one or two players refused to cooperate. So what we get instead is a smattering of anecdotal evidence, most of which is a rehash of material previously made public. What have we learned from this exercise that is of any real value in understanding the issue?
12.14.2007 12:51am
Kazinski:
It would be a bad idea to pick Mitchell if the audience for the report were the press, lawyers, the public, and all the other usual nitpickers. The primary audience for the report was Congress, Mitchell was and is one of their own. The purpose of the Mitchell report was to head off any congressional action, and it will probably succeed.
12.14.2007 1:07am
Ilya Somin:
"the Report also accuses Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Chuck Knoblauch of using banned substances at a time when they were major contributors to Yankees championship teams."

I don't think this is quite accurate. It would not suprise me if those player did use steroids during their championship season, but the report only says that is the case for Clemens. Everyone else used the PEDs after the 2000 championship.


The others, however, were accused of using in 2001, when the Yankees won an American League Championship, though not the World Series.
12.14.2007 1:10am
Duffy Pratt (mail):

What have we learned from this exercise that is of any real value in understanding the issue?


Looking at the list, my first question is whether the performance enhancing drugs are really as bad for you as people make them out to be. Is it possible that, if taken properly, the new class of drugs isn't that bad for you and may actually have some benefits? If so, then why the hysteria to ban everything that might make a person perform better?

The second thing I get out of this is the typical "drug war" attitude. Mitchell says that the drug makers are getting better and better at making stuff that is hard to detect, and that atheletes will always be looking for an edge. His solution is to have a state of the art testing apparatus, and a permanent squad of investigators. This is precisely the route that cycling took. The result has been a resounding success in cycling, and I'm sure baseball will be able to imitate that sort of regime with the same results. Every champion, and every record holder, will automatically be suspect of cheating, because no-one can get those results normally, and the atheletes and doctors will spend more and more money figuring out ways to get an edge that might just slip past the current system. What a nightmare.

Instead, baseball should just say: as long as its legal, we don't care what the players are taking. And if its not legal, then that's a matter for prosecutors, not for baseball. From what I can see, even if steroids cause some people some harm, it doesn't appear to be much worse than what happens to a running back or a lineman after a few years of pounding in the NFL, or to a heavyweight boxer who stays in the ring for 5+ years.
12.14.2007 1:20am
J.McFaul (mail) (www):
I don't think anybody seriously thinks the report favors any particular team because, in all honesty, nobody cares enough to do anything. If you want to ban steroid use, the solution is very simple. Players caught are barred for life and that player's team forfeits all games in whcih that player appeared. If that means forfeiting (and refunding) World Series games, too bad.

Once such a draconian rule is instituted, players, agents and owners will be alligned in ensuring frequent and accurate tests.

Is such a rule fair? Ask Jearl-Miles Clark, Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson how they will feel if they lose their relay Olympic gold medals because team member Marion Jones cheated.

But baseball will never invoke a team forfeit rule. Until it does, it's really not interested in treating the problem seriously.
12.14.2007 1:46am
Court of Public Opinion (mail):
Here's the issue I have with the report (full disclosure: I am a Yankees fan) -- first, it primarily serves the interests of ownership and management by creating the appearance of closure on the steroid issue without actually jeopardizing the architecture of the sport. As I've said elsewhere, I have tremendous respect for Theo and Cashman as GMs and I find it very hard (indeed, some of the evidence re:Gagne seems to confirm this) that they were unaware of what was going on. Selig's delighted by the report because it basically absolves ownership/management/MLB of any complicity in the steroid era. He remains a scumbag in my book -- happy to profit off of the steroid-fueled spectacle but unwilling to own up to his own reluctance to investigate it as he was using it to grow the MLB brand. So we get the story we've heard all too often in recent years: a few bad apples ruining the integrity of the sport/profession while higher ups are in the dark. That line keeps getting less and less plausible, in baseball and elsewhere.

So, what of these bad apples? Mitchell, for reasons unknown to me, chose not to redact their names from the public document. So, instead of remaining available for further investigation they are now subject to summary judgment in the court of public opinion. But if they truly did cheat, why should we care if they get to dangle? Well, there's the issue of the sources they had to work with. Without any subpoena power, they could only really follow up on obvious leads and the two sources they had up against the wall. Regardless of whether Mitchell was willing to implicate Red Sox players, he had no method of extracting the information to do so. As I said, I find it very hard to believe that there weren't any Sox players who juiced.

But because of information issues we have a very narrow cross-section of those involved and those targets of opportunity will be tried in the court of public opinion, which doesn't have a lot of regard for these nuanced differences between, say, what Roger Clemens did and what Andy Pettitte did.

Here I have to admit some personal bias. I have a lot of respect for Andy Pettitte, and I find very disturbing that his family, career and future will be impacted by this revelation, and that his moment of weakness will cause him to be tarred with the same brush as others whose offenses were far more grave.

The fact that the names weren't redacted speaks volumes about the extent to which this was a real investigation versus a publicity stunt and witch hunt. I have nothing against Mitchell, nor do I suspect him of intentional complicity. But given the way things have played out, you'll forgive me if I think the end result is pretty much the same. There was an opportunity to really investigate the game, and what we got instead was a document that plays to the short term needs of ownership/management and MLB itself. I suspect the MLBPA will no go quietly.
12.14.2007 1:51am
asf:
One reason there's a lot of Yankees on the list is that one of the two key witnesses was the Yankees' former strength and conditioning coach. It's not likely that a Yankees coach would have supplied 'roids to the Red Sox.

And if steroids do make you a better player and the Yankees collect the best players, wouldn't the Yankees end up with a lot of juicers?
12.14.2007 1:59am
Dave N (mail):
Since he is a former owner (or at least managing general partner) of the Texas Rangers, I blame George W. Bush.

On a more serious note, George Mitchell doing the report is not as blatant of a conflict as Bud Selig being Baseball Commissioner. As a further note, if baseball is not going to be serious about punishing players and teams with steroid abusers, then this entire report is much ado about nothing.
12.14.2007 2:52am
Public_Defender (mail):
This is big league sports. Any prominent person who cared enough would have some conflict of interest.

Of course, maybe it's just that I hold the owners of MLB (and the NFL, NHL, NBA, and NCAA) in such low esteem that I'm not shocked by much.

Generally, the owners of major sports are a bunch of selfish SOB's. I expect them to act like selfish SOB's. Why would you expect anything different?
12.14.2007 6:06am
Mr. Bingley (www):
J. McFaul, I'm with you 100%

And really, looking at most of the completely forgettable names on the list...if that's all these drugs do for you, they're not worth the shriveled weenie.
12.14.2007 7:36am
jrose:
Mitchell probably called for the cited players not to be punished because there are so many other strongly suspected steroid users who were not even mentioned in his report.

Makes sense. Additionally, doesn't precedent strongly suggest no punishment is permitted? None of the active players named have been criminally convicted nor even accused of a violation that the 2002 MLB policy allows punishment for.
12.14.2007 7:58am
TheWhaler (mail):
David Ortiz's body has grown in exactly the same ways as Barry Bond's: it's thicker than it was while he played for the Twins, and even his head literally is larger. With no subpoena power, Mitchell's only recourse was to act parasitically on federal investigations. That the Feds busted someone connected to the Yankees is only chance.

That said the witness is even less credible since his testimony was given on a plea bargain. Legal scholars out there::::::can the credibility of the witness be weakened in court because of this?

The handling of this report was a disaster. Clemens's attorney has a fair point: he will be judged now in the court of opinion without any opportunity to defend himself. Perhaps the report should have been given to Clemens's attorney's first? Maybe a phone call?

Selig is nothing more than a used car salesman. No more lemons on this lot! (But don't worry about the ones I've already sold.)
12.14.2007 7:59am
rbj:
The problem I have with the report is that it is so incomplete. They picked a bunch of low hanging fruit, e.g. the NY clubhouse guys, which is why there were a bunch of NY Yankee names (though apparently Pettitte only used HGH when rehabbing his elbow while with the Astros).

In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict, Mitchell should have gone after other teams (including, but not limited to, the Red Sox) as well.

PS, anyone bothered by Doc Ellis' having pitched a no-hitter while on LSD?
http://www.sirbacon.org/4membersonly/docellis.htm
12.14.2007 8:04am
18 USC 1030 (mail):
I think two points need to be brought up:
1.) Who pays their drug dealer with a check? Even run of the mill drug dealers are smart enough (generally) to use disposable cellphones and the like to avoid detection. These guys paid by CHECKS and CREDIT CARDS online...Did they want to get caught? Did they think they were totally above the law? Or, just maybe.....MLB wanted them on steroids for performance. Nah, couldn't be that...

2.) The argument that bad players on the list means that steroids don't help is preposterous: the guy who will be an average to good AAA player becomes a bottom of the barrel MLB player. I don't have the #'s in front of me, but I'd guess there is a bit of a difference in salary between good AAA players and bad MLB players--I'd say it's probably worth the chance, especially if no one cares to stop them.
12.14.2007 8:05am
Andrew W (mail):
Glen Campbell (http://volokh.com/posts/1197608171.shtml#301936) has it exactly right: Yankees are highly represented in this report simply because the main source--the one who was given a deal that avoided jailtime in exchange for his testimony--was a Yankees trainer.

The report was miserable in providing actual evidence of steroids use (in large part because Selig's belligerence gave the MLBPA no reason to recommend that their players cooperate), but Mitchell did his job in convincing everyone involved that steroids use is widespread. There's no doubt that once investigators find more leverage, Red Sox and members of every team will be directly implicated. I doubt these Yankees will be alone for long.
12.14.2007 8:11am
Mr. Bingley (www):
18 USC 1030, the argument is not 'preposterous'; it's sarcasm.
12.14.2007 8:21am
BD (mail):
There's no doubt that once investigators find more leverage, Red Sox and members of every team will be directly implicated.

Except I understood Mitchell to imply the opposite. He was suggesting that (and I paraphrase), although his investigation only turned up a sampling of the PED use that took place, it would be a mistake to try to chase down and identify every last player who had ever used the stuff. So what we have is this Red Sox executive pronouncing judgment against a heavily Yankee-laden group of players and then declaring that further investigation that might eventually present a more complete picture of the scope of the problem would serve no useful purpose.
12.14.2007 8:56am
BD (mail):
Who pays their drug dealer with a check? Even run of the mill drug dealers are smart enough (generally) to use disposable cellphones and the like to avoid detection.

I believe the "drug dealers" here were personal trainers whom the players openly employed to help keep them in shape. The payments don't appear to be probative of illicit drug use per se.
12.14.2007 9:07am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
elder statesman/conflict mediator from Northern Ireland to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

I question whether this is sufficient preparation for coping with the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. ;-)
12.14.2007 9:18am
BD (mail):
His solution is to have a state of the art testing apparatus, and a permanent squad of investigators. This is precisely the route that cycling took. The result has been a resounding success in cycling, and I'm sure baseball will be able to imitate that sort of regime with the same results. Every champion, and every record holder, will automatically be suspect of cheating, because no-one can get those results normally, and the atheletes and doctors will spend more and more money figuring out ways to get an edge that might just slip past the current system. What a nightmare.

Thus, on top of the salary-obsession that has already nearly spoiled the fun of the game, fans can look forward to an obsession over blood and urine tests for years to come. Lovely.
12.14.2007 9:27am
Ken Arromdee:
Looking at the list, my first question is whether the performance enhancing drugs are really as bad for you as people make them out to be. Is it possible that, if taken properly, the new class of drugs isn't that bad for you and may actually have some benefits? If so, then why the hysteria to ban everything that might make a person perform better?

It's a race-to-the-bottom situation. One person uses drugs to have an edge, then everyone else has to use drugs or be unable to compete, and the end result is that everyone uses drugs, the result of the competition is the same as before, but they're all ruining their health in addition.
12.14.2007 9:48am
Bob Sykes (mail):
Ex-Senator Mithchell has a long and distinguished career marked by probity and honesty. It is because of this that he has been enlisted in such causes as peace in Northern Ireland. The accusations that the report issued under his name is dishonest or that it deliberately suppressed evidence of Red Sox misconduct is an example of paranoid psychosis
12.14.2007 9:56am
ChrisIowa (mail):
Wasn't Mitchell head of a committee? For his apparent conflict of interest to manifest itself, everyone on the committee would have to be complicit, or we'll hear about it any minute now.

Nevertheless, I have searched the list and nowhere is there any mention of the Cubs. As a Cubs fan I proudly say that they have achieved all that they have achieved without steroids.
12.14.2007 10:01am
Uncle Fester (mail):
Since this is a legal blog:

Some of these guys have more money than God, and are not going to take this lying down. Clemens is already lawyered up. I expect him to take legal action.

Isn't Mitchell (and his law firm) heavily exposed to a libel case here?
12.14.2007 10:06am
Justin (mail):
Ilya, that's a really weak defense - it completely opens up a plethora of counters, including the fact that some of his bias will be subtle, even unintentional - like which leads to pursue strongest or who to believe.

A *better* defense was that they were only able to get a few people to sing - and one of them happened to be closely associated with the Yankees (another with the Mets). That means that current or former Red Sox players who almost certainly used during their Red Sox careers (Ortiz, Varitek, Vaughn, Schilling, to name a few) just weren't caught.

A random test in the mid-1990s caught over 50 people, but their names weren't allowed to be released under the CBA. The Mitchell report caught only a fraction of that - and there's no reason to believe that the distribution of what he caught was random. Maybe biased, maybe not. But random? No.
12.14.2007 10:19am
Justin (mail):
PS, Ilya - this is what CFR folks mean when they "corruption or appearance of corruption." The problem is that what is corruption is not always easily identifiable as such, and is often readily explainable on other grounds. See 4 Conn Pub Int L J 308, 322 etc. (Part III - Corruption and the Legislative Process).

The reason the law tries to ban the appearance of corruption is twofold - one, it does call actual instances of government action into question needlessly. But two, it allows government structure to counteract corruption that may exist but is impossible to prove.
12.14.2007 10:24am
BD (mail):
I'm not sure who or what you are referring to in your mention of "accusations that the report . . . is dishonest or that it deliberately suppressed evidence of Red Sox misconduct." I don't think anyone here has said those things.

The issue here is conflicts of interest, which for some reason you don't seem to think applies to politicians who have "a long and distinguished career marked by probity and honesty." If I disagree, does that make me psychotic?

BTW, Mitchell also had a reputation as a "fiercely partisan" Senate Majority Leader. Suppose instead of steroids Mitchell had been asked to spearhead a comprehensive investigation of campaign finance abuses. Now suppose 90% of his findings centered on alleged abuses on the part of GOP candidates. How much weight would you assign to his "probity and honesty" under those circumstances?

The fact we are even having this discussion should demonstrate that Mitchell was the wrong guy for the job.
12.14.2007 10:29am
JosephSlater (mail):
Ralph Phelen:

LOL at your comment.
12.14.2007 10:32am
dmvdhil (mail):
I don't at all believe this report is 100% accurate. Are you telling me not a single key Red Sox player took HGH or another banned substance? Sorry ... I was born at night, but not last night!

What adds the frosting to Mitchell not blowing the whistle on the Sox is the Paul Byrd leak. Byrd is one of the least "sexy" names on that list. Yet at a desperate time for the Sox his name is leaked to try to salvage the ALCS! That was total garbage ... Byrd is more news-worthy than Clemens or Petite??!! Sorry ... total conflict of interest!
12.14.2007 10:42am
Joe Gator (mail):
Several lesser but still notable Yankees players are also listed, such as Mike Stanton (a key middle reliever on the 2001 pennant winning team),

The report states that Stanton first purchased HGH in 2003, while a member of the Mets. How is it relevant that he was "a key middle reliever on the 2001 pennant winning team"?
12.14.2007 11:00am
GV_:
I don't at all believe this report is 100% accurate. Are you telling me not a single key Red Sox player took HGH or another banned substance? Sorry ... I was born at night, but not last night!

An unfortunate byproduct of this report is that people are going to assume, as this poster did, that people not named did not use steriods.

I think it was unfair to name the small group of players they did catch since it's obvious the problem runs very deep. Who got caught was simply dependent on who the commission could find that would talk.
12.14.2007 11:29am
alias:
I don't at all believe this report is 100% accurate. Are you telling me not a single key Red Sox player took HGH or another banned substance? Sorry ... I was born at night, but not last night!

I didn't the report very closely, but I don't think Mitchell ever said that the names in his report were a complete list. So no, no one's "telling [you] not a single key Red Sox player took HGH or another banned substance."
12.14.2007 11:34am
Roger Sweeny:
This is like the NFL's action in regard to the Patriot's illegal taping of opposing teams.

In both cases, the league has made a big stink to warn anyone not to break the rules in the future. Thus, in the case of baseball, the need for Mitchell to name names.

But it is obvious to most everyone that a lot of other people were "doing it" and will probably never be found out.

So the league won't do any more punishing, and will try to get everyone to "look to the future, not the past."
12.14.2007 11:52am
rarango (mail):
My personal POV is that these are pro athletes and I see no reason why performance enhancing drugs should not be used. Of course, I have even stopped demanding "purity" in amateur sports: regretably, it's seems to mostly show business now. Having said that, there seems to be some empirical evidence that performance enhancing drugs werent all that successful for many players on that list--they should be getting their money back.
12.14.2007 12:09pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):

It's a race-to-the-bottom situation. One person uses drugs to have an edge, then everyone else has to use drugs or be unable to compete, and the end result is that everyone uses drugs, the result of the competition is the same as before, but they're all ruining their health in addition.


Ken:

My question was whether they are "all ruining their health." Look at the list and tell me what the evidence is that they are ruining their health. It's pretty clear that some of these guys have played longer because of their use of performance enhancing drugs. And it may be, in the case of a pitcher for example, that the use of drugs aiding in recovery has allowed the pitcher to avoid injuries, and thus to retire with a fully functioning body instead of a ruined shoulder or elbow.

In some ways this reminds me of the trial of Marion Barry. For years, we were told that crack is an incredibly horrible drug that will make people raving addicts after a single use. Then, the Mayor of D.C. winds up caught on video casually smoking crack, something he clearly had casually used before. Although the lesson should have been that crack was no where near as dangerous as people made it out to be, that was taboo, so no-one even bothered to mention that a mayor who was performing his job and enjoyed the support of the majority of his constituents, was also a casual user of crack (which we KNEW was an impossibility).
12.14.2007 12:19pm
dll111:
And to think, George Mitchell could be in Breyer's place on the Supreme Court right now.

So MLB paid him all that money to simply gather together a bunch of information from magazine articles and federal criminal investigations of 3 guys? That's it?!?! Wow, nice work if you can get it.

Give me John Dowd any day.
12.14.2007 12:20pm
EnriqueArmijo (mail):
Uncle Fester,
If this were a TV reporter's story rather than Sen. Mitchell's Report, a failure to reach out to the story's subject for their side (here, the implicated players, obviously) could well be used by a libel plaintiff as evidence of negligence, if not actual malice. But if, say, Clemens wanted to bring such an action, he'd risk Mitchell bringing out additional corroborating evidence that wasn't in the Report in his defense (assuming there might be any) on the degree-of-fault element.
12.14.2007 12:33pm
genob:
Common wisdom seems to be that history will look back on this period as a black eye on the game. I think it may be just as likely that 20 years from now, HGH and steroid therapy may be so commonplace that people will view these players no differently than we might have viewed players that took vitamin supplements in the 40s or who actually started staying in shape in the offseason instead of waiting for spring training to lose 20 pounds.
12.14.2007 1:05pm
WHOI Jacket:
Yes, let all the players use PEDs. Then, we'll have the great media moments when a Red Sox or a Mets DH pulls a Chris Benoit.

If I wanted to watch the WWF, I'd have set the channel to it.
12.14.2007 1:30pm
genob:
If half of what people claim about HGH is true, who wouldn't want to use it? My guess is that we' will see significant investment in testing, development and manufacturing of HGH in the coming years. Unless there prove to be significant nasty side effects or insurmountable cost obstacles, the market for it will be huge.
12.14.2007 3:06pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
WHOI Jacket:

According to Canseco, 80% of ballplayers were juiced. By the voluntary reporting mentioned in Michell's press conference, at least 5-7% of them were. That figure certainly understates the actual number. On the cycling tour, the figure is extremely high, especially among the stage race contenders. Also extremely high for track and field.

With all those people on juice, you would expect the Chris Benoit situation (if it was a common result of juicing) to occur a couple of times a week. And you would expect the juiced atheletes to be dropping like flies to the horrible health problems that are supposed to result. But, for the most part, that isn't happening. And its possible that Benoit snapped for a bunch of reasons that had little or nothing to do with his drugs.
12.14.2007 3:59pm
Crunchy Frog:
WHOI Jacket: Remember when Canseco tried to run his wife over in his SUV? There's a reason the term "Roid Rage" has been in use for the last 20 years.
12.14.2007 4:26pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I agree that the Bud Selig conflict of interest needs to be resolved. The commissioner should not come from the ranks of the owners, especially one who attempts to resolve the conflict by transferring ownership of his team to a child. Especially an owner whose team magically jumps from one league to the other, imbalancing the leagues and their schedules to the financial benefit of one team's owner, as far more Cubs fans are willing to make the 90 minute drive to Milwaukee than were Sox fans.

Baseball needs a no-nonsense leader of unimpeachable integrity like Judge Landis.
12.14.2007 6:13pm
PLF (mail):
As a Yankee fan I have no trouble with George Mitchell or his report. I don't think he was biased and I think he navigated his way through the implications of any potential conflicts pretty well.

Admitted Red Sox fan Ilya Somin, on the other hand, by referencing Giambi and Sheffield in the same sentence where he asserts that multiple "championships" are undermined by the report even though both players joined the team after 2001 . . . well he needs some lessons from the good Senator on how to navigate.
12.14.2007 6:21pm
MarkField (mail):

Baseball needs a no-nonsense leader of unimpeachable integrity like Judge Landis.


Except for the rather inconvenient fact that Landis was a principal supporter and enforcer of the color bar.
12.14.2007 8:08pm
Earnest Iconoclast (mail) (www):
My biggest problem with this report is that I don't care. Why is the government so heavily involved in professional sports? Why is it such a big deal either way? I really hate the way that professional sports teams are so involved in local and federal governments. If our legislators had managed to get the legal system worked out so that they had nothing better to do, then fine... let them investigate professional athletes. But they've got too much of real import to worry about to be having hearings and committee meetings on this stuff.

Let the police handle any crimes and the league handle any internal matters and I'll go back to avoiding traffic jams as people drive to the football stadium that my city built RIGHT NEXT TO the previous football stadium to bribe an NFL team to come to our city.

EI
12.14.2007 9:22pm
truenyyankee (mail):
Just a few points:

1. From Michell's own report, there is a small bias by not naming the player described here

"In June 2000, state police in Boston discovered steroids and hypodermic needles in the glove compartment of a vehicle belonging to a Boston Red Sox infielder"

This information would be public record and could easily be found out. It has been widely suspected that the infielder is Nomar.

2. Can HGH be described as a medicine rather than a drug since some the players said it was prescribed by doctors to help heal injuries. Is that really drug abuse?

3. If anyone in baseball had roid rage, it would have had to be Albert Belle. I don't see his name. To be fair, he's probably an ass all by himself.

4. Neither Sosa nor McGwire were in the report.

5. Hey, does anyone remember Greg Vaughn or Brady Anderson?

6. MY BIG POINT!! Congress and especially Bush have better things to worry about than baseball. Just because Bush can't understand anything more complicated than baseball doesn't mean he has any jurisdiction over it. Go back to your coloring book. 2005 was a new beginning where steroids and whatever else came to light in baseball which put in place rules and disciplinary action. Let's make an impact now rather than waste time and money on what may or may not have happened. I don't see the words "payment for steroids" explicitly written on the memo lines of those photocopied checks.

*******Don't Do Drugs********
12.16.2007 4:22am
dmvdhil (mail):
Doesn't the credibility of this report falter a bit when Paul Byrd's name is leaked at an important time in the series?

Of course it was to gain an edge for the Sox! Why leak Byrd's name? He is the least glamorous player involved? That isn't a headline ... Clemens is a headline!

All of the Pro-Bostonian's please comment.
12.16.2007 11:38am
Ben Wooten (mail):
Give me proof .
This is nothing but he said : he said : he said .
Give me a positive test result. or not .

Nothing is a substitute for proof .
12.16.2007 12:46pm