The Mitchell Report was released on December 13, 2007. For baseball, it’s just another black mark on an era now known as the "Steriod Era".
But what was accomplished by the report? Did we really need the report to determine steriod use was (and apparently still is) widespread in major league baseball?
The report outed many of the big names in the sport but the reality is much of the report would not hold up in a court of law. Many of the allegations are based upon hearsay and shaky evidence. Besides it’s incomplete. Those mentioned weren’t the only ones who allegedly took performance enhancing drugs in major league baseball. Is it fair to name names under these circumstances?
I find the hypocrisy in all of this amazing. MLB glorified the pursuit of the single season home run mark and fans returned in droves to stadiums across the country. (Recall that baseball was practically dead before Sosa and McGwire did their magic due to the strike in 1994-95). Selig apparently called the Mitchell report "a call to action". Sorry Commissioner, but the call to action rang a few years ago.
I also find it particularly interesting that Rafael Palmeiro testified under oath before Congress that he did not take steriods – shortly before he tested positive for steroid use. Was he prosecuted? No. In fact, the President of the United States (and former Texas Rangers owner while Palmeiro played there) supported his friend 100 percent. Bush reaffirmed his belief that Palmeiro did not take steriods even after a positive test!
Barry Bonds? Indicted despite no positive tests.
Mitchell says everyone should concentrate on his recommendations rather than focus on the names. Unfortunately he knows that is not possible and it is disingenuous to indicate otherwise. And if he truly recommends a full pardon for all included in the report why name names. Ultimately I think the Mitchell report just excentuates major league baseball’s mishandling of this whole situation. This report just hurts baseball. And I know others agree.
MLB should keep in mind this quote from Yogi Berra, "If the fans don’t come to the ball park, you can’t stop them." The fans deserve better than this report offers. Stop with the mud slinging and solve the problem. The report wasn’t necessary in the process. We all know the problem. It’s up to the commissioner and the players’ union to do something about it.
photo on flickr by jason michael.