Worth the wait
Thanks to Radomski, Mitchell accomplished plenty
Posted: Thursday December 13, 2007 10:59PM; Updated: Friday December 14, 2007 1:06AM
Twenty-one months ago, when George Mitchell undertook what everyone said was an impossible task, critics were suggesting he'd strike out with his steroid investigation. As it turns out, even without a solid investigative performance enhancer such as subpoena power, Mitchell still delivered a home run.
Mitchell gave us Roger Clemens as a steroid user. He even gave us reputed choir boy Andy Pettitte as an HGH partaker.
If beloved, religious Pettitte got caught up in this mess, even as a taker of HGH to soothe his chronic elbow pain, as Mitchell's report suggests, then almost any player could.
Mitchell gave us Miguel Tejada one day after the Astros saw fit to send five unnamed players (unnamed in the report, anyway) to Baltimore for him. He gave us Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagne and Mo Vaughn. He gave, a lot of names old and new.
Thanks largely to the testimony of ex-Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who was the real star of the day, Mitchell gave 85 names in all, not a small number. But as even Mitchell understood, he was barely scratching the surface.
There were surely random Radomskis all over the country, doing what they could to please players and supplying steroids as they wished. Sure, it would have been better to catch every cheat. But at least he's caught a significant number.
Baseball's problem was enormous, and the more that comes out, the better. History isn't something to be ignored. Mark McGwire may not want to talk about the past (and he declined to cooperate with Mitchell, no surprise). But the rest of us shouldn't fear it.
Now, we have a little more history to go on.
We have Clemens, who miraculously thrived past the twilight of his career, thanks, we now know, to some artificial help. Clemens denied the allegations of steroid use through attorney. But in his case, the evidence looks compelling. There are eight pages of anecdotes on Clemens alone, much of it the forced testimony of his trainer Brian McNamee, who according to the report "was advised that he could face criminal charges if he made any false statements.''
The last thing McNamee would ever want to do was reveal anything untoward about any of his clients, and here he was talking about injecting his star client Clemens with Winstrol at Clemens' behest while Clemens lived at the SkyDome and was a Cy Young pitcher with the Blue Jays. Or about injecting Clemens with Deca-Durabolin on "four to five occasions'' at Clemens' New York apartment in 2001.
Clemens is apparently retiring (again) and will not be penalized for his past deeds, which occurred before baseball's steroid plan was in place, anyway. But his career legacy, which is unmatched on the pitching mound probably since Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove, will now carry a stain.
Some will say who cares? I say, those who played on the up-and-up deserve to know. And so do the fans, most of whom love the history of the game. Well, like it or not, this stained steroid era is part of the history.