Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 13, 2007
BASEBALL: I Hold In My Hand A Piece Of Paper Containing The Names...

I'm traveling on business today and so can't blog at length, but just to chime in quickly: we've all had a lot of amusement with the various unofficial and then official blacklists of steroid users circulated through the good offices of one of my all-time least favorite U.S. Senators, George Mitchell. It's natural to have some schadenfreude - or angst, depending on whose ox is gored and how much you enjoy German - over this, but at the end of the day, we've ended up with various lists circulated that were not officially sourced, plus lists that were and may not have been the result of a particularly fair or thorough process* and thus aren't necessarily the final word that both the accused players and the fans deserved.

Which is a shame, just as the shoddy and tendentious Dowd Report was a shame even though it was ultimately proven to be correct in its core conclusion. Fans and the game's posterity do deserve an accounting, not least because an unfair cloud of suspicion has hung over many players who likely did nothing wrong.

Maybe we will learn more - and I'll learn more when I have time to get a longer look at what has come out - but for now I'm not ready to hang anybody for their having been named on George Mitchell's list.

* - To the surprise of nobody who remembers Senate investigations from Mitchell's days as Majority Leader

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:44 PM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I agree with David Pinto who said:

"If Mitchell had gone into the investigation with [a promise for the Commissioner to forego imposing discipline] in place and assurances from the government that players would not be prosecuted, he might have received more cooperation from players..."

And a report based less on hearsay and a bunch of low-level clubhouse attendants trying to save their asses...

Posted by: Mr. Furious at December 13, 2007 5:08 PM

Yes, yes, yes.

But, still, don't tell me you didn't read "Lenny Dykstra" and say "yeah, I can see that".

Posted by: Al at December 13, 2007 5:21 PM

Well, I see one difference. The report is prominent on all the MLB websites, and you can even download it. Something like that would never happen on an NFL website. I assume this is meant to exert more pressure on Fehr.

Fehr is the real bad guy to me here: his job is to look out for the welfare of his players. To him it clearly means a paycheck for him, and how much money they make. It never occurred to him that player welfare might just mean their health. Guess as long as Caminiti paid his dues, Fehr was happy.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at December 13, 2007 5:39 PM

Oh, I don't doubt for an instant that most of the guys on the list are guilty. But then, a lot of them are people I already thought that of. The point is, if you have a crummy process, you haven't really proved that people are guilty, you've just taken suspicion and speculation, however well-founded, and dressed it up as evidence.

Posted by: The Crank at December 13, 2007 6:28 PM

It looks to me like Mitchell uncovered remarkably little - he really only had two sources. The cancelled checks and money orders from the players he did name are pretty persuasive, but I doubt he uncovered 10% of the players who were doing anything. In particular, he doesn't seem to have looked at all into suppliers of Latin players in their home countries, which judging by the previously failed test results, is probably a large issue.

Posted by: Jerry at December 13, 2007 6:29 PM

Funny how the book "Game of Shadows" is taken as fact but so many media types and others are trying to punch holes in the Mitchell report. If you can tie financial records (Checks, Money orders and bank records) to a persons story that is pretty much fact. I wish they would have tied physical changes to this.

One other question did Mo Vaughn and Kevin Brown retire early due to health issues and cash in insurance policies for the balance of their contracts? I think that is called insurance fraud.

Posted by: javaman at December 13, 2007 7:20 PM

so Mitchell hangs Andy Pettite for using HGH, not to gain a competitive advantage, but just to get back on the field after an injury.

Perhaps MLB will institute the "Carl Pavano Award" since they seem to want to punish a player for not milking an injury

Posted by: Ironman at December 14, 2007 12:06 AM

Paul LoDuca is one of my least favorite players in baseball, and it made my day that his reputation has been severely damaged by today.

I can't wait to hurl insults on him at Nats games down here in the District.

Posted by: hoyasaxa at December 14, 2007 1:01 AM

Ironman, you HAVE to be a Yankee fan. Injuries are part of the game, and how you deal with it and recover is also part of the game. If Pettite, who was among the few Yankees I really respected, used HGH to recover from an injury, he cheated. Big time. Came back from something that an honest player would have needed longer to come back from. So what he did was possibly give his team a few more wins, and some of the races were close enough to affect many outcomes. So stop apologizing for your team. Their record is tainted.


Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at December 14, 2007 9:22 AM

If I was Brian Roberts, I'd give serious thought to suing.

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at December 14, 2007 11:38 AM

Ironman and Daryl: I am a Yankee fan and I suspect Andy Pettite did a lot more than use HGH to recover from an injury. I remember when, I think in 2002, Pettite returned to his dominating form from 1997. He somehow had upped his fastball from 90-91 to 94-96 by working out with Roger Clemens in the offseason. I love Pettite, but I am afraid he probably did a little more than use HGH a couple of times to come back from an injury.

Posted by: wd at December 14, 2007 11:54 AM

Dr. manhattan - first off, awesome name. second, i agree that roberts, tejada and some others have grounds for libel suits. I wanted to know the evidence behidn the name inclusions, and if it is heresay and "a guy told me to get roids for himself and X player" than they are grasping at straws.

Posted by: Son of Brock Landers at December 14, 2007 12:17 PM

I am not a lawyer, but I have to figure that, while anyone can file a lawsuit (I'm a NYC landlord, tell me about it), you need some kind of grounds to keep it going, and to show just what harm has been done. But I would indeed think that, as a trial goes forth, they would then have to give testimony under oath, and now you can be subpoenaed, with all that goes with it. No, there won't be any lawsuits.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at December 14, 2007 12:43 PM

The risk/reward ratio on this sort of lawsuit is so bad that you would either have to be crazy or burn Benjies in your fireplace to go through with any suit. There is nothing to be gained.

Posted by: jim at December 14, 2007 1:11 PM

Do you think people are really going to get fired up about this? I can understand reporters with their holier than thou attitude, but will the average fan? Personally I could really care less about what happened in the past as it just doesn't have any relevance to today. If they are going to try to discourage cheating they need to strong tests and strong punishments. If they aren't really serious they should just copy the NFL drug testing policy which is what I suspect they will do.

It's easy for us to sit on our asses and condemn the players for taking steroids but I think that's unfair as we've never been in that situation. Personally, if taking steroids meant the difference between making the majors and being a minor league lifer or washout, is that decision really that difficult? Anybody who says otherwise is just fooling themselves.

Posted by: Tom at December 14, 2007 1:44 PM

I'm all for keelhauling folks who use weird drugs during the season. I just cant bring myself to lambast a guy trying to get well...and had a report lambasted a RS guy for using HGH in rehab I'd feel the same way

You are right there will not be lawsuits. Proving damages would be difficult unless a player were banned for a false statement; the legal fees would be huge, and yes, more bad stuff could come out in discovery

Posted by: Ironman at December 15, 2007 8:16 AM

Prior to the report being issued is there anything that could have been included or excluded that would have resulted in a report that wouldn't be criticized? No, of course not. This report was not going to meet acclaim regardless of tis findings. My own assessment is it is probably very incomplete. By not having much in the way of cooperation the results are very limited to players who came in contact with the few willings sources of information. So, who benefits from the report? Obviously, the reputation of players not named is somehow enhanced. Today's Cincinnati Enquirer has an article about Griffey growing in stature. Does Jim Rice get a boost because of a perception that his numbers pale in comparison to guys who used. Problem is there are probably dozens of players not named who are breathing a sigh of relief today. Do they also get a boost in stature just because they didn't use the same source? No easy answers to how to evaluate the performances witnessed over the last couple decades?

Posted by: largebill at December 15, 2007 11:58 AM

Overheard at Sen George Mitchell's dinner party last night:

"They questioned my objectivity in Northern Ireland too. But the dirty Prods were wrong, like lying, cheating, steroid- using imperialists always are."

Posted by: seamus at December 15, 2007 8:18 PM

Well, I guess Brian Roberts doesn't really have grounds to sue, since the report was right and he admitted exactly what was in it, that he took steroids once back in 2003.

Posted by: DS at December 18, 2007 10:10 AM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg