Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baseball on steroids

The Tennessean put together an all-star team of players implicated in the Mitchell Report of steroid use. It's a lineup that could have won a championship or two:

C: Benito Santiago
1B: Mark McGwire
2B: Chuck Knoblauch
SS: Miguel Tejada
3B: Ken Caminiti
LF: Gary Sheffield
CF: Lenny Dykstra
RF: Barry Bonds
DH: Rafael Palmiero
RHP: Roger Clemens
LHP: Andy Pettite
RP: Eric Gagne


Surprisingly little has been said about George Mitchell's ties to major league baseball in general, and the Boston Red Sox in particular. Dave Zirin has a scathing article up at Counterpunch describing those ties, as well as how the Mitchell Report lets the owners off the hook.


I also like what Alxfritz has to say at Viva El Birdos:

(A)s for the players: i’m not asking any of them to apologize. but i am asking them to be honest. if a guy juiced, then let’s out with it. “there was a widespread steroid culture in the game, and i was one of the many who participated in it.” is that so hard to say? the steroid cheats who’ve been honest about their use --- ryan franklin, for example --- aren’t dogged by it; they tell the truth, submit to the corresponding penalty (if any), and move on with their careers, without condemnation. it’s the liars who draw all the grief, and deservedly so.

That post also has a link to the complete Mitchell Report for anyone with the patience to wade through it.


One of the striking things about the report is that it names a number of players who used growth hormones and related substances in order to reduce the time needed to recover from injuries. Once again, it all goes back to the owners pressuring players to get back in the lineup so the players can keep their jobs and so everyone involved could keep making the big money.

The Mitchell Report took so long to come out that baseball has more-or-less dealt with the problem by now in their own unique fashion. They basically let the old juicers retire while threatening the current generation of ballplayers with serious trouble if they get caught using steroids. Barry Bonds has effectively been blackballed - wonder if they'll do the same with Roger Clemens? (I wouldn't bet on it.) If they're going to be fair, it looks like there's going to be a lot of asterisks headed to Cooperstown in the next several years, as I can't see the Hall Of Fame freezing out an entire generation of ballplayers.

Once again, the Mitchell Report makes apparent the hypocrisy of making the players responsible for a practice that was legal at the time while dealing baseball ownership and Commissioner Bud Selig a slap on the wrist at best.