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Now What?
TOM VERDUCCI
December 24, 2007
Though merely scratching the surface of an era-defining problem, the Mitchell Report has the potential to change baseball—if baseball lets it
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December 24, 2007

Now What?

Though merely scratching the surface of an era-defining problem, the Mitchell Report has the potential to change baseball—if baseball lets it

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The incident occurred 13 months before the federal raid of BALCO, which led to Anderson's and three others' pleading guilty to drug-related charges. It stands as one of the more egregious examples of how baseball officials let the steroid culture grow under their noses. Management's refusal and reluctance to act may not have been put in the report in boldface, italicized and cast as paragraph headings, as were the names of players, but they are in there:

1. The four individually named drug suppliers in the report were each employed by clubs and/or given full access to their clubhouses: Kirk Radomski (New York Mets), Brian McNamee (Blue Jays and Yankees), Luis Perez (Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos) and Anderson (Giants).

2. Perez told an MLB security official in 2003 that he supplied eight players with steroids and 12 players with other drugs. None of the players were ever interviewed.

3. There are four instances in the report in which club officials, trainers and/or clubhouse employees learned of syringes in the clubhouse. In each case no follow-up action was taken.

4. In 2004 Orioles officials learned that designated hitter David Segui was receiving HGH from a Florida physician. They did not report their discovery to MLB.

The Mitchell Report makes clear that steroids have been routine topics of discussions among players and team officials—so long as each group didn't discuss drugs with the other. It includes notes about steroid concerns from Los Angeles Dodgers officials about six-time All-Star righthander Kevin Brown and four-time All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca. In e-mail exchanges Texas Rangers officials offered their suspicions about Tejada, the 2002 American League MVP, and Boston Red Sox officials confided theirs about Gagné, the '03 National League Cy Young Award winner whom they would acquire last July.

Notes from Dodgers staff meetings in 2003, for instance, include this report on Brown, who, like Lo Duca, refused to be interviewed by Mitchell: "[G]etting to the age [38] of nagging injuries.... Question what kind of medication he takes.... Effectiveness goes down covering 1st base or running bases.... more susceptible if you take meds to increase your muscles—doesn't increase the attachments. Is he open to adjusting how he takes care of himself? He knows he now needs to do stuff before coming to spring training to be ready. Steroids speculated by GM."

Concerning Lo Duca, staff notes from that same season reveal, "Got off the steroids.... Took away a lot of hard line drives.... would consider trading.... If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That's his makeup."

The Dodgers traded Brown to the Yankees after the 2003 season and dealt Lo Duca to the Marlins the following July. In the month following the trade, Lo Duca wrote a check to Kirk Radomski for $3,200.

On Dec. 14, 2005, federal agents executed a search warrant on the Long Island home of Radomski and charged him with distributing steroids and money laundering. Three months later Selig commissioned the Mitchell Report. Mitchell, stonewalled by the players, spent a year largely putting together a glorified term paper about steroids. His luck changed on April 26, 2007, the day Radomski signed his plea agreement with federal law officers. As part of the agreement, Radomski agreed to cooperate with Mitchell in return for a recommendation for leniency in sentencing. The Mitchell Report suddenly grew some teeth.

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