…. Big Time

According to Murray Chass of the NY Times, Bud Selig is set to begin an investigation into the steroids use of major league baseball players. Selig is said to be leaning towards asking George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader from Maine to head up the investigation. Chass at least has the decency and awareness to understand that a witch hunt after just Bonds would be, at best, unseemly:

Selig is on the verge of announcing a steroid investigation, perhaps in the next 24 to 48 hours, though not just of Bonds, because singling out one player would be problematic considering the issue has become a morass for Major League Baseball. The investigation will probably be more widespread, though what it will entail is not clear.

Investigating an entire league’s worth of players lives and their actions over the course of four or five years will be a monumental task, and to what end? What does Selig (or any of my estimable readers) think we’re going to learn? What will come of this?

Lupica knows what he wants: Bonds thrown out of baseball. The back page of the NY Daily News says Stop Him Now! with a nice, ugly picture of Bonds. Here’s some of his measured thoughts:

…. Before the new season starts, before Bonds adds to a legend that has grown the way the rest of him has, Selig must announce, once and for all, the sport’s investigation of this home run era in baseball in general, Bonds in particular. If Bonds doesn’t like being called out this way by baseball after being called out by this book, if his union — which fought drug testing for years – doesn’t like it, then let them all do what nobody has yet done:

Stand up and say that Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams are the ones lying here.

But it no longer matters whether they were lying or not. If Bonds had told the truth, what then? Giambi did. Did it matter for him? Telling the truth isn’t enough, apologizing isn’t enough, test results aren’t, stringent drug testing isn’t, more stringent testing isn’t. Nothing will be enough in a witch hunt. We’re gonna drown you, and if you live, that means you’re a witch.

So let’s drown Bonds, and if he lives, we’ll know he’s a liar, a cheater, a terrible person, a bad man.

Pandora’s box, that’s what this is for Selig. What if the investigator finds that one of Selig’s owner friends knew all about a star player’s use? What if he finds out that someone like, say, Cal Ripken, used steroids? What if he finds out that Selig knew and did nothing? To what end do you go dig up this information?

I’m all in favor of knowing what happened. I’m 100% into the history of baseball, and history in general. I’ve read Bill James’ Historical Abstract about fifty times. An investigation like this one will be far from that kind of historical perspective. It will be a vendetta. It’s relationship to the truth, to what actually happened, will be strained at best. You wanna know what went down? Wait a couple of years, let the dust settle, let the players who used get out of the game, and then start asking questions. Rushing to investigate, in an effort to rush to judgement; that’s what most people call poor planning.

UPDATE: ESPN is essentially confirming the NY Times piece. (Thanks to Eddie for the heads up) We all knew this was inevitable, and now we’ll get to see how screwed up witch hunts like this can be in the 21st century.

Hmmm….. Let’s see, the investigator compiles a report citing witnesses and all kinds of big, important facts and dates and such, and baseball players burned alive in it’s pages will have no ability to cross examine or rebut any of the bullshit anybody wants to say or write down, and more of my friends and family will yell at me about how wrong I was, see, the investigation proves it. Can’t wait.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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