Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now It's The Players Turn

The aftermath of the Mitchell Report has seen several phases. The initial was directed at the actual names named in the report. Next all eyes turned to the evidence behind the claims. Now all attention is on the actual players. Who is going to step up and admit to performance enhancing drug use? Who will fight the claims of the report?

First to act was the biggest name on the list, Roger Clemens. Before the sun fell on the day that will forever be remembered in baseball infamy, a Clemen's representative issued a statement adamantly denying any use of PEDs by the 45 year old 7-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher.

But next came Andy Pettitte, who admitted to using human growth hormone while rehabbing an elbow injury in 2002. This admission does significant damage to Clemen's defense, and gives credibility to the testimony of personal trainer Brian McNamee, who named Pettitte and Clemens in the report.

Back immediately after the initial reaction to the report, when everyone began sifting through the evidence, the name brought up most to discredit the report was that of Brian Roberts. They attested that mere testimony and no actual evidence other than that should not have landed Roberts in the report, and used him as the primary example of the flaws of the Mitchell Report.

However, in an interview in this mornings Baltimore Sun Brian Roberts came clean, admitting to using steroids in 2003.

MLB player turned ESPN analyst Fernado Vina was also named in the report and has publicly owned up to use of HGH. Vina claims to have only used the substance on one occasion, a common theme amongst the admissions of those named in the report. However, the report included 3 checks, from March of 2003 through July of 2005, from Vina to Mets clubhouse boy and steroid dealer Kirk Radomski.

Ex-Red Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly was named in the report for having a telephone conversation regarding steroids with Radomski, and then later receiving steroids in 2004. He has admitted to talking with Radomski about Anavar, a steroid, but claims he never received or used the substance after learning it was classified as a steroid.

Add ex-Arizona Diamondback Alex Cabrera to the list of those denying the Mitchell Report, as well. Cabrera was named in the report for allegedly having a package of steroids delivered to the Diamondbacks clubhouse, but Cabrera claims to have nothing to do with it. In a statement on his Winter League teams website, the Caracas Lions, he suggests he is only an easy scapegoat for the Diamondback organization.

But that's only a handful of the 86 current and former players named in the 409 page report, where are the rest? Miguel Tejada, Eric Gagné, David Justice? And will those, like Pettitte and Roberts, who were named and have admitted use, now meet with the league and be more forthcoming? I don't know, but it seems as if the aftermath of the Mitchell Report may play out to be ever bit as meaningful and informative as it's release.