Sifting through the aftermath
Mitchell lucked out, Clemens rocked, other lessons
Posted: Thursday December 13, 2007 9:58PM; Updated: Friday December 14, 2007 4:23PM
After three news conferences, almost 80 named players, more than 300 pages and just one brave soul in an entire union, what are we to make of the Mitchell Report? Glad you asked. Here's the nuts and bolts of it.
Cut to the chase: who lost the most from the Mitchell Report?
The Clemens Report ... er, Mitchell Report ... casts Clemens under the same harsh light as Barry Bonds: an all-time great who wanted more. His reputation is in tatters. We need to hear from him immediately, not his attorney.
Soon the Hall of Fame is going to need an out-building for all the great players who forfeited what would have been automatic enshrinement: Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Clemens, Bonds. ... The lineup is growing into one that could take on the best one that's actually in Cooperstown.
What's the most important lesson here?
Mitchell was right to call for a completely independent agency to run the program from top to bottom and provide the needed transparency for people to believe in it. That means a full public audit (independent of names, of course) that accounts for the number of tests in and out of season, the results of those tests and the substances that show up as positives. Somehow that idea has never occurred to the owners and players.
Mitchell had almost two years and an unlimited budget to come up with this steroid "road map." How did he do?
How did Bud Selig handle this?
He did the right thing by taking the moral high ground, accepting all of Mitchell's recommendations at face value. "There is nothing in his recommendations I can even begin to disagree with," he said. Great move. He lobbed the ball to Donald Fehr's side of the court, knowing full well how closely Congress is watching this.
Two quibbles, though: Why does it always take an outside agent (articles, books, Congress, Mitchell) to get Selig to advance his position? And secondly, would it kill Selig to admit some culpability? When a reporter asked him to comment on Mitchell's assertion that all parties were culpable in letting the Steroid Era grow, including the commissioner, Selig danced around his responsibility. "The fact of the matter is it happened," he said.