Consequences on deck (cont.)
Posted: Thursday December 13, 2007 11:39PM; Updated: Thursday December 13, 2007 11:39PM
But every current player named in the report -- and there were approximately 34 of them who played in 2007 -- should brace himself for a call from the commissioner's office. "In the name of integrity," Selig said in one of his overly dramatic but very well-measured sound bites Thursday, "I can assure you we will not rest."
A lot of observers suggest that Selig won't have enough to go on with some of the players. Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, for example, was painted to be a steroids user in the report based solely on the word of former Baltimore teammate Larry Bigbie, who told Mitchell investigators that, in 2004, "Roberts admitted to him that he had injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003." That's the sole piece of evidence linking Roberts to steroids use. And Roberts declined to meet with Mitchell's people to discuss it.
Yet even that seemingly simple accusation can't be dismissed easily. Bigbie talked with Mitchell's team as part of an agreement with federal authorities looking into the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. Cynics will say that he told Mitchell's investigators -- and the feds present during that talk -- just what they wanted to hear. But those cynics forget that any false statements made by Bigbie or anyone else under those circumstances are a violation of federal law. A felony. Bigbie had every reason to tell the truth.
When we're considering the weight of evidence in the report, it's probably smart to remember this: Mitchell is a former federal prosecutor and judge, and the people running these investigations -- people who compelled the testimony of Bigbie, former Mets batboy Kirk Radomski and former Yankees and Blue Jays trainer Brian McNamee, all of whom gave the Mitchell report the weight that it has -- are professionals. They know what constitutes solid evidence. They know what they're doing.
That's not to say that the Mitchell report is airtight or anything close to complete. You can't catch all the crooks. And even some of those you catch slip away sometimes. But Selig has to go after those he can go after and suspend them. Go through the appeals. Take on Don Fehr and the union. Fight the good fight.
It's not something that Selig wants to do. It's not something anyone wants to do. It's going to drag out this already interminable story even further. It's going to get uglier than it already is.
But it's something that has to be done. Then, once it's over with, maybe we can move along already.
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