Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitchell Fallout

Its almost 24 hours later, and there seems to be a wide range of response from the fallout of the Mitchell Report. After quickly skimming it in process of yesterday's live blog, I'm reading through in detail. If you were expecting this to have all the answers, I can tell you it doesn't, it only provokes about a thousand more questions.

With the initial reaction focused primarily on the names that appeared in the report, many have moved on to examining the soundness of the evidence presented against the players. While some players have a plethora of evidence, from positive tests to thousands of dollars in payments to actual shipments, others were included solely based on testimony and appearing in the address book of clubhouse boy and steroid dealer Radomski.

What's important to remember is George Mitchell was asked to gather all the information on performance enhancing drugs in professional baseball and include it in the report. Just because Cody McKay's name appears on the report, that does not imply he is guilty of anything. In time the report will be read and reread, the evidence will be weighed, and, it appears, that Bud Selig will investigate all those named in the report. From these investigations on a case by case level, surely some will face the action of the league. At the same time, surely some of those named will be found to not have adequate evidence to produce a disciplinary action.

The popular question of the morning seems to be "Was this good for baseball?". And to my surprise, many do not believe that this was good for baseball. Essentially they believe that the game would be in a better place today had Selig never commissioned a report of this nature. And I honestly do not know how to respond to this, because for me it seems so straight forth that aside from many analysts close tie to players, I have no idea how they could conclude this.

Steroids is and was an issue in baseball. It was one before Selig took notice, it was before Mark McGwire broke Maris's single season home run record, and it was one before the Mitchell report came out. The only difference now is that we have more information. And what I read from comments from "analysts" like Sean Salisbury is that they don't believe the report was good for baseball because fans will not be smart enough to interpret it. They believe we'll just look at the names and quickly condemn them all. And I'm sure some will, but no reporting information because you are not sure how the general public will react to it is the reason why the steroid issue is only beginning to be addressed now, instead of over 10 years ago.

If you don't want to read the report, if you don't want to look at it in detail, if you just want to read the list of players named in the report, then you should probably take only one thing away from the entire thing. And that is that the issue of performance enhancing drugs is every bit widespread as we believed. But this report will not be worth the paper it is written on if it does not produce more and better tests and stricter actions on both those who test positive and those who are found to have purchased performance enhancing drugs.

No comments: