…. Keep it continuous

According to this, a secret Bonds’ investigation has been ongoing for a year.

…. the investigation actually began more than a year ago, as the Daily News then reported. Thomas F. Carlucci, one of the attorneys selected to join Mitchell in the probe, has been leading a secret inquiry into Barry Bonds’ activities out of his San Francisco law office. According to MLB sources, Carlucci’s assignment was more to “keep his ear to the ground” and monitor the perjury and tax-evasion investigations involving Bonds than to actively interview anyone, presumably through his contacts in government and law enforcement.

At the time, MLB officials denied the report, saying there was no investigation of Bonds. But sources said that Carlucci, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, has picked up information through his contacts that will be helpful in the broader investigation opened yesterday.

“There’s some decent stuff,” a source said, declining to elaborate.

So much for the question of whether it would be fair to only go after Bonds.

Meanwhile, the king of all investigators says Mitchell is a poor choice.

…. The former prosecutor who investigated gambling allegations against Pete Rose says former Maine senator George Mitchell is a terrible pick to lead MLB’s steroids investigation. “I don’t think it is a good choice,” attorney John Dowd told the Daily News yesterday. “I have absolutely no confidence in this or in Sen. Mitchell.”

Nothing like throwing out a sound bite that bites back. Murray Chass writes that he too, was quick to criticize the choice of Mitchell, but that perhaps the well-rounded ex-Senator may, in fact, do just fine.

…. The other day in this space, the assessment was offered that George J. Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, was a diplomat but not an investigator. That’s what happens when a man does so many notable things later in life. They cloud the things he did earlier in his life.

Harold Pachios, a lawyer in Portland, Me., and friend of Mitchell’s, read what I had written and informed me, via an e-mail message, that Mitchell was “for a long time a federal prosecutor who investigated scores of criminal cases and tried those criminal cases.”

Before his work on the federal level, Pachios wrote, Mitchell was “a state prosecutor who prosecuted criminals for years.” He did all of that before he went into politics and became a United States senator from Maine.

Of course, getting players to speak on the record about steroids, now that everyone knows that it’ll all be made public, will be virtually impossible without the power to subpoena or call for a grand jury. Not to mention the difficulty it will be to use any of the information contained in Game of Shadows, since the two people who would have the most to say about Bonds and steroids, Victor Conte and Greg Anderson, continue to assert that they did not supply Bonds with steroids. Here’s Conte, coincidentally released from prison the same day Selig announces the probe:

…. Asked whether he gave Bonds steroids, Conte said, “No, I did not. I plan to provide evidence in the near future to prove that much of what is written in the book is untrue,” Conte said. He declined to list specific inaccuracies or what evidence he would provide, but said, “it’s about the character assassination of Barry Bonds and myself.”

If Conte and Anderson wouldn’t give up Bonds to avoid prison sentences, who is going to give up anybody for Mitchell? If the US Attorney’s office still can’t come up with a way to indict Bonds, after three years, what are we going to get out of baseball’s investigation? More angry ex-girlfriends? More “half the guys in the league are using” statements backed up by recollections of acne and bulked up skinny guys?

More commentary by Lupica and Verducci and who knows who else, telling us about how bad steroids have been for the game, how fans are dismayed and losing sleep and broken-hearted about this terrible scourge…. Here’s Fay Vincent:

This is an enormous scandal that’s affected baseball. I think it’s the worst since the Black Sox scandal and dwarfs Pete Rose by a large margin.

Enormous scandal. Biggest since the Black Sox.

All while baseball enjoys another record year of attendance, huge, multi-billion dollar TV contracts. Yeah, Bonds’ alleged steroid use has really impacted the Giants. Six years in a row of 3 million fans a year at home, number one road draw in the entire NL. Just like those other two Bay Area cheats, Canseco and McGwire, and the World Series trophy they brought to the A’s. I’m sure the A’s can’t wait to give that trophy back. I know all of the demoralized and distraught A’s fans are ready to give it up, right?

UPDATE: Sports Illustrated their very own Tom Verducci. Here’s a taste:

…. It has to be more than just a p.r. venture, because I can’t see someone like Sen. George Mitchell putting his reputation on the line for something like that. The findings are going to be made public. If this is a sham of an investigation, it’s not just Selig here who takes a hit, it’s George Mitchell.

Verducci says he wouldn’t expect any findings for a while, but what he doesn’t address is the possibility of constant leaks from Mitchell and his people. The Grand Jury inquiry into BALCO was filled with one leak after another, even though all of the leaks were completely illegal. I’d bet that we’re gonna be hearing one unamed source after another coming out with “some decent stuff.”

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