Worth the wait (cont.)
Posted: Thursday December 13, 2007 10:59PM; Updated: Friday December 14, 2007 1:06AM
Some will say Mitchell got lucky, that he'd have nothing without Radomski, the ex-Mets clubhouse attendant. And that may be so. But he did have Radomski, and maybe Mitchell had him because he knew his way around the judicial system. Maybe it was Mitchell's connections that enabled him to produce a report that included a handful of bombshell names in addition to salient observations about how everyone's to blame and many worthwhile suggestions.
Some will say Mitchell is compromised by being a director of the Boston Red Sox and personal friend of Selig. I say, that is absurd. He is a 74-year-old man with an impeccable reputation, and he isn't throwing it all away because he loves his Sawx.
If the Yankees were over-represented in the report -- and they were, with Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton, Jason Grimsley, David Justice and Rondell White joining Clemens and Pettitte -- it is likely because they were unlucky enough to have played in New York, where Radomski, the real star, resides.
Radomski worked in the Mets clubhouse for a decade, where he did odd jobs for players, everything from go-fering for McDonalds to much harder stuff -- stuff that's even worse for you. But Radomski made connections around town, he has relatives in the Bronx, and some close to him say they even stored the "good stuff'' in the Bronx, a good 50 miles from his comely Long Island home.
Some will say Selig commissioned Mitchell to do this investigation for no other reason than to get Congress off his back. There might be some truth to that. But that's OK. If the threat of Congress' increased intervention triggered this undertaking, it doesn't matter. Because, ultimately, it was worthwhile.
Some will say the report won't amount to much because very few of the cheats will be suspended. Mitchell even suggested there be no suspensions, and that was about the only suggestion he made that Selig appeared to disagree with, saying he'd handle things on a "case-by-case basis." But taking it case by case, it doesn't look like too many will be penalized. The majority of the players' names are out of the game (as is presumably Clemens), others are tied to steroids before penalties were in place. Same goes for the ones linked to HGH, which drew no penalties at all before 2005.
Many of those named are based on old information, such as the BALCO boys Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield. I can't see how they can be further penalized for stuff we already knew.
Mitchell's report won't single-handedly cleanse the game. There's still no good test for HGH, and cheating players and their operatives are going to stay one step ahead of the curve. But if Mitchell's report did do one thing, it could provide a deterrent for some players who are on the fence. If it does that alone, it was worth it.
The idea that the $20 million or so spent on Mitchell was a waste, as some club officials have suggested throughout the process, is just plain silly. By baseball standards, that is a pittance, the amount a team might spend on a run-of-the-mill free agent relief pitcher.
Mitchell accomplished a lot here. He even got one big concession out of players union chief Don Fehr, who rarely concedes a thing. And that was this: "In retrospect, perhaps we should have done something sooner.''
That admission alone was worth the price of the report.
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