4. Teams were
given 24-hour advance notice of in-season tests. (Selig, who previously had the
authority to end this practice, said only after the release of the Mitchell
Report that he would do so.)
destroys virtually all drug-testing data, even data from which player
identification has been removed. Retaining test information is important,
Tygart says, to establish a baseline and pattern of information to detect
so-called designer steroids. Such data aided in identifying a previously
unfamiliar steroid, norbolethone, in the otherwise negative samples of cyclist
Tammy Thomas in 2002.
6. Baseball does
not publish a full accounting of test results, which would name the substances
that triggered positive results.
most of these concerns in his recommendations, calling for a more independent
and transparent program and better off-season testing. Selig was quick to
endorse the recommendations whole cloth, saying, "There is nothing in his
recommendations, frankly, that I could even begin to disagree with."
To change the
program, owners and players would have to reopen the collective bargaining
agreement (which runs through 2011) and find common ground on the new terms.
There is precedent for this: In '05, in the wake of congressional hearings on
steroid use, the owners and the players modified the CBA by adding HGH and 17
other compounds to the banned list and strengthening penalties for positive
Trouble is, the
Mitchell Report may drive owners and players further apart rather than closer
together. And with Selig giving Mitchell's recommendations a blanket
endorsement so quickly, he put public pressure squarely on union director
Donald Fehr, who was far more wary of Mitchell's investigation. (A mere two
known active players, Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Frank Thomas and New
York Yankees first baseman--DH Jason Giambi, cooperated with the investigation,
and Giambi did so only under threat of disciplinary action following his
admission of steroid use in a May 2007 newspaper article.)
further harming his relationship with the union if he decides to discipline
active players named in the report, which seems very possible given his 50-game
suspension of righthander Jason Grimsley and 15-day suspensions of two
outfielders, the Baltimore Orioles' Jay Gibbons and the Kansas City Royals'
Jose Guillen, for "non-analytic" reasons (i.e., no failed test) before
the release of the report. (Grimsley and Gibbons accepted their suspensions;
Guillen is appealing.) Selig said he would consider disciplinary action "on
a case-by-case basis."
There is, however,
something Selig must do before he weighs those cases: Admit his own
culpability. Fehr at least hinted at remorse on Thursday when he said, "In
retrospect, we should have done something sooner." Given the same opening
earlier in the afternoon, Selig passed yet again, hemming and hawing: "The
fact of the matter is it happened."
Selig, who became
acting commissioner in 1992, claims to have been awakened to the dangers of
drugs in baseball in '98, but the report refers to the owners' halfhearted
attempt to bring up steroids during the collective bargaining talks of '94. The
Mitchell Report also collected numerous widely published articles from the
1990s about steroids in baseball, replete with G.M.'s and players addressing
the issue on the record. Yet Selig did not institute drug testing in the minor
leagues (where the union has no collective bargaining power) until 2001 and did
not push for it in the majors until the following year. Mitchell rightly noted
that the blame for a drug culture run amok is shared by all parties.
In August 2002,
according to the report, Giants athletic trainer Stan Conte told general
manager Brian Sabean, based on a conversation with an unnamed player, that Greg
Anderson might be a steroid supplier. As Bonds's trainer, Anderson had full
access to the clubhouse and weight room, a privilege Conte wanted revoked.
Sabean, the report said, did not pass along Conte's concerns to MLB officials,
refused to confront Anderson or Bonds, and did not revoke Anderson's clubhouse
access, in part, because Bonds would have vigorously objected.