Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Morning of the Mitchell Report

1 year, 8 months, and 2 weeks ago it was announced that Senator George Mitchell would head an investigation commissioned by Major League Baseball, detailing steroid use by players. Today, at 2 pm EST he will release the report.

As the public awaits what is sure to be a bombshell for the sport, everyone is digging into position preparing to spin the result. The theme of todays morning sports section around America is the tiny morsels of information that have apparently leaked. The commissioner, the agents, the players, the pundits, they haven't seen it yet, but they all have something to say.

The report was only finalized 2 days ago. Thus far only select eyes have viewed it, and it's believed to be so massive, that clearly no one outside the investigation could have fully digested it already. However, already MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who has not seen it, is digging in his heels. In a quote to the Chicago Tribune this morning, even while admitting that it may not cast the league in the best light, he says he will not apologize for it*.

Scott Boras, the infamous sports agent that represents some of the leagues biggest stars, has not read it, but already he's attempting to discredit it. He reminds everyone that the report does not actually mean that the players are guilty, and that the investigation did not receive support from the Major League Baseball Players Association.

This is true, the MLBPA did not cooperate, but that is not unlike the players association, who are currently petitioning the suspension of steroid user Jose Guillen.

But it's the reporters from around the country that are really having a hayday with the report this morning. Everyone is trying to stretch the few bits of information that have been passed along from different sources. The report will name somewhere from 60-80 players. Several of those being prominent Yankees. It will include several MVPs. There's no way to know exactly how true any of these accounts are until the report is released later this afternoon.

Speculation about exactly which players will be named has also been a big discussion point around the tubes of the interwebs. The Orioles dealt Miguel Tejada to the Astros yesterday for 5 low-key players, which lands on most peoples radars as much more than coincidental.

Aaron Rowan and Andruw Jones, both free agents, agreed to contracts within the past 24 hours. Perhaps they are only attempting to work out a deal before baseball becomes all about the Mitchell Report, perhaps they are trying to ink a contract for what they can before they are implicated.

In some ways today is a great day for baseball. A few years ago it became apparent that professional baseball had become infused with the steroid scene. Not investigating may have saved face for some prominent players, but it would have left a black eye on the entire generation. This report won't undo what has been done, even if it is thorough and well investigated, as I expect it to be. It will not save Bud Selig's legacy. But it will at least address the problem, which is more than we've seen in the past.

*Selig also curses. Which, when imagining that awkwardly disheveled man cursing, is actually quite entertaining.

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