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Archive for December, 2007


…. Redefined

Cheating is bad, true, or false?

It is an interesting question. We are taught from a very early age that cheating is bad, that it’s not the way to do things, or to get what we want. All the way through high school, and then into college, we are discouraged from cheating by pretty much everyone in our lives. Use fair means to get ahead, to achieve, to get the grades, get the girl, whatever.

As we get older, and we reach a certain awareness, however, it starts to become obvious that cheating occurs in many places, in many fields of endeavor, and by many, many successful people. And of course, we begin to wonder a little about the whole “cheating is bad” line we’ve been listening to for so long. Put another way, is it cheating for a battle commander to intercept his opponent’s communications in order to defeat him? Is it cheating for a man to lie to get a better job, in order to provide for his family; if he is able to do the job well? Is it cheating for a politician to rig an election if he truly believes that he is the man best suited to the position? Is it cheating for a man to lie to in his efforts to woo a particular woman?

These are just a couple of different dilemma’s that a person may face in their lives, but they are illustrative of the kind of questions facing professional athletes today. Is it cheating for a journeyman reliever to use PED’s to make the majors if it means he will be able to better care for his family? If you say yes, then you are saying that some notion of fair play is more important than being a good father and provider. Is that logical? Is it a position worth defending?

As a player ages, he will find that his ability to stay strong and flexible will diminish. Is it cheating for him to delay the inevitable end of his career by using PED’s? He might say that he is just doing whatever he can to get the most out of his ability. Is that cheating? Is it wrong? Seems to me that you could argue that it is admirable.

If PED’s were legal and safe, what would you say then?

And therein lies the rub. If you knew that PED’s were legal and safe, and teams administered them to individual players as needed, like they do now with painkillers muscle relaxants and surgeries and rehab and other treatments; would using them be cheating? Curt Schilling used massive amounts of painkillers to perform in Game Six of the ALCS against the Yankees in 2004. Without them, he would not have been able to perform. Was he cheating? He risked serious injury, and, in fact, suffered through more than a year of poor performances and setbacks following the ’04 playoffs; so, in effect, he cheated the team and it’s fans while he struggled to regain his pre-injury form. He risked his career to pitch that game. Why wasn’t there a huge outcry about setting a poor example for children? Is that the kind of example we want to set for our kids; that using painkillers to win a game is OK? Why is using painkillers to perform acceptable? They are just as illegal to possess and use as steroids. They are also only legally available with a prescription. Why is it OK to use them, but not steroids? Why is it OK for baseball players to use amphetamines? Why has the widespread use of speed been ignored for half a century? We all know how bad speed is, right? Or do we? Mike Lupica doesn’t, I can tell you that much.

There is selective logic being used here, and it’s disgraceful. Here’s what I know, and what doctors know.

You cannot argue, in good faith, that PED’s are seriously harmful to your health. You cannot. They are no more harmful than almost anything you can buy at your local drugstore. Just for shits and giggles, Viagra, Cialis, and Lipitrol, to name but a few, all list side effects that are as scary, and in some cases, much more terrifying than side effects you might experience if you ingest, say, Decabol. There are drugs that are being sold over the counter, right now, that state in bold-face letters that pregnant women should not even handle the contents of this package.

Steroids are prescribed for a variety of uses, and just like any serious medicine, they are administered under a doctors care and supervision. Sure, some people suffer adverse side effects when using them. Some people die if they eat peanuts. That doesn’t make peanut butter a menace to society.

By repeating over and over the claim that steroids are particularly dangerous, and even fatal to use, the MSM has made a lie true, an argument tactic that is easily defeated (provide, of course, that there is a forum to do so).

There is little real evidence to suggest that a carefully administered and monitored regimen of testosterone-boosting PED’s would be particularly risky for a healthy, adult male. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that driving PED use underground is.

You wanna worry about the kids? Keep them informed. You don’t do them any favors by lying, or by hiding the truth.

That is the real price we pay for criminalizing behavior. We lessen our knowledge, we leave everyone with incorrect and insufficient evidence to make intelligent choices, and so people choose in the dark.



…. Bandwagon

Once upon a time, Frank Deford was one of my favorite writers. I wonder now if I was just naive. Was he always this full of himself?

…. But let’s look on the bright side. The Report does give Barry Bonds more esteemed company as a cheat. Right? Unfortunately for him, though, it removes the one excuse his supporters offered — that he was picked on for racial reasons. Now that Roger Clemens, a white man who is to pitching in this era what Bonds has been to hitting — has been fingered and dishonored, Bonds, as a black man, can’t claim that he has been discriminated against.

Ummm…. Frank? Bonds has been targeted by sportswriters and talking heads for four years now. Bonds was investigated for most of that time by multiple government agencies, (at an estimated cost of over $10 million dollars), and has had his name and reputation dragged through the mud during what should have been the most exciting and proud years of his life by assholes like you. All this has happened while the men who supposedly gave Bonds the PED’s he “cheated” with have denied doing so the entire time.

Now, Clemens simply says he didn’t use PED’s and you and all of your “journalist” friends are to falling all over yourselves to make sure we know that the man responsible for these accusations is a shady character. He is a “weasel,” a “sewer rat,” a “disgruntled former employee,” and, of course, testified under duress. Oh, you don’t believe him? Please. Thanks for the good work. I’ve got friends who think it’s unfair if someone uses steroids to get in shape to be a carpenter because of all the bullshit you’ve been spewing for half a decade, and now you wanna go after Clemens, after ignoring a decades worth of results that suggested he might have more going for him than just a heavy-duty workout regimen. Bonds’ head is bigger? Great investigative journalism.

McNamee says Clemens used PED’s, and that he helped him do it, and is immediately labeled an unreliable witness with a bone to pick with Clemens, while Greg Anderson –who says that he did not provide Bonds with PED’s, and never saw him use them– has been accused of waiting for some big pay-off. Hmmmmm…. something doesn’t add up here. That’s right, Mr. Save the Children. It’s you and your sportswriter friends that have a credibility problem right now.

You can’t tell us one trainer is a liar for saying that his guy used PED’s –based on nothing at all, by the way, no interviews, no first-hand knowledge, NOTHING– and the other trainer is a liar for denying that his guy did –this time because a couple of your friends wrote a book that contradicts his direct, under oath, testimony. You can’t have it both ways. Either you believe the trainers, or you don’t.

If McNamee is lying when he outs your pal, and Greg Anderson and Victor Conte are lying when they say the bad guy didn’t…. Well, even a blowhard like you can see where I’m going here. You’re being selective, and if race isn’t the reason why, well, then; what is?



…. Merry Christmas

…. and Happy everything else.

George Vescey made my day with this op-ed piece:

…. Admire them as athletes. The player you are booing for having a bad day on the field was probably the best athlete in his home state or his province in Latin America or his prefecture in Japan. He worked hard to get this far, chemicals or not. I riffle through the Mitchell report and see Mike Stanton, Brian Roberts, David Segui, Andy Pettitte, Lenny Dykstra, guys I’ve enjoyed watching, enjoyed interviewing. Some of them opted for an edge. Cheated, that is to say.

Some of them should probably be suspended for a while, but it was baseball’s fault for not having testing and penalties in place. There is room for complexity in the way we regard ballplayers. Tell that to the kiddies. And stop with the outrage.

Amen.



…. Hypocrisy

Between Curt Schilling’s noticably uninformed ramblings, and the suddenly awake NY Times editorial staff, the recent blather about our “scandal” has really become tiresome. Here’s Schilling, telling us that Clemens should give back his Cy Young awards unless he can clear his name:

…. as a fan my thought is that Roger will find a way in short order to organize a legal team to guarantee a retraction of the allegations made, a public apology is made, and his name is completely cleared. If he doesn’t do that then there aren’t many options as a fan for me other than to believe his career 192 wins and 3 Cy Youngs he won prior to 1997 were the end. From that point on the numbers were attained through using PED’s. Just like I stated about Jose, if that is the case with Roger, the 4 Cy Youngs should go to the rightful winners and the numbers should go away if he cannot refute the accusations.

Yeah, thanks for the thoughtful and unasked for comments, there, Curt. I guess painkilling shots and pills must not be performance enhancing to you, eh? I guess a pill or shot that allows you to play through injury and pain isn’t quite the same as a pill or a shot that allows another player to workout and train through pain. I guess you haven’t considered that it is likely that one or more of your teammates on the Red Sox last year, or in ’04 used some form of PED’s. You think you’re ready to give back your rings? How about your ’01 championship with the D’Backs? Somebody on your team had to have been using something, no?

Oh, that’s right. No one’s accused anyone directly. That must be why you have reserved your comments for Bonds and Clemens. Because they happened to get caught. Good thinking. You wouldn’t want to be called out for selectively criticizing anyone, would you?

Meanwhile, over at the newspaper that once was, we are reminded that being a member of the BBWAA is not like being a member of MENSA:

…. In a survey of 90 veteran baseball writers who vote on player inductions, neither Bonds nor Clemens garnered the 75 percent that is required to gain entry into the Hall.

…. To Bill Conlin of The Philadelphia Daily News, Bonds and Clemens are the “Tainted Tandem.” To Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune, they are “weasels.” To Drew Sharp of The Detroit Free Press, they are “pariahs.” To others, they are cheaters who should only enter the Hall by paying admission.

“I think these guys have stained the game, and I’m not in the mood to forgive and forget,” Hal Bock of The Associated Press said. “I prefer everyone on a level playing field. Their actions changed that.”

How’s that for revisionist? Amphetamines were commonplace for decades, virtually every “hero” these “writers” grew up worshipping used them; but Clemens and Bonds are somehow deserving of a more focused scorn.

What a disgrace, watching these assholes falling all over themselves in their bold-faced efforts to show everyone who really cares about integrity, who is really committed to saving the children.



…. Sanctimonious?

Roger Clemens denied using any PED’s — a claim that no one seems ready to believe — and will now have to face the possibility of, what, exactly? If Congress subpoena’s him, we’ll get to see him face those clowns. He could be called into Selig’s office and face that clown. He will lose some HoF votes, as sanctimonious sportswriters will now have the grist they need to grind up another guy who they have deemed less than perfect.

Of course, what choice did Clemens really have? Pettitte admitted that he did use, and look at all the support he’s gotten. For the most part, he’s been given a ration of bullshit for using the “I used it to recover” defense, and no real pass for coming clean, other than the one he got from Mariano Rivera.

What about Torre? Cashman? Steinbrenner? Owners, GM’s, and pretty much everyone else in the front office has gotten a pass, except, of course, trainers; who are being insulted, challenged as liars, criminals, and generally being treated like shit.

Sportswriters know, of course, that if they go after the big guys, they risk losing access to the teams they cover, so they ignore the reality that everyone is culpable.

Of course, if you are willing to open your mind for a moment, I’d ask you to consider the following:

1. Steroids, used under doctor supervision, can be used to help the body recover from the rigors of professional sports, aid training efforts, and enhance the overall health of professional athletes.

2. This use is the future, not just in sports, but throughout any industry that inflicts physical stress to the body of its workers.

3. Punitive measures, aided by criminalization; zero tolerance policies, and government interference will never stop people from gaining access to drugs — or anything — that helps them improve, make more money, and/or be better at their jobs. All they will accomplish is to push use underground, make it more attractive to rebellious teenagers, and prevent medical supervision. In short, these efforts will only serve to worsen the problem, just as the expensive farce that we call the War on Drugs has in the US today.

Keep all of this in mind as you read the sports pages, listen as the talking heads moan and wail and gnash their teeth. It is this climate of sanctimonious, ill-informed gibberish that allows Peter Gammons to call Brian McNamee a “sewer rat” for coming clean about Clemens and Pettitte, while at the same time, continue to question the motives of Greg Anderson for not doing so about Bonds.

This is a story, one that makes sportswriters, sports editors, and ESPN more important than they really are. It is in their interests to cover it as a scandal, to demand honesty and offer none. To call into question any athlete’s words and actions, while being willing to do, say, and write anything they wish in their efforts to sell, sell, sell. It is in their interests to keep the drumbeat of scandal alive.

Listen to the owners, who are telling you everything you need to know. How important are considerations for the athletes health? How important are considerations for the law? How much concern is there for the “sanctity” of the record book? You have heard every answer to every question you have from these men. It is their silence now, their silence for the last decade, for all of the time there has been professional baseball; that is the answer you have to understand first and foremost.

They are interested in seeing the turnstiles click, and whatever it takes to make that happen, is A-OK with them. This is how Peter Magowan can ask but one or two questions about Bonds alleged use, and how Sabean can tell him there’s nothing to worry about. This is how the Yankees can give $118 million dollars to Jason Giambi even though they knew, absolutely knew he was using PED’s.

Save the children? Save the game? Protect the integrity of the records?

These are sucker ploys, designed to distract fools.

$6 billion dollars in revenue a decade after the game was in terrible –contract teams, terrible– financial disarray. If I were Bonds or Clemens or McGwire, I’d just as soon hear somebody say thanks. But, hey, apparently, that’s just me.



…. Impressed

Willam C. Rhoden has done something that, as far as I can tell, no one else has:

The winning side always seems to advocate moving on, is always eager to leave the past behind.

I say not so fast. Baseball can’t move on until it apologizes. Baseball, specifically Bud Selig, owes Bonds an apology.

Sorry, Barry, for hanging you out to dry; for allowing the news media and the public to make you the vilified face of baseball’s steroid era.

Sorry for making it clear during your home run chase that I would rather be in a dentist’s chair having root canal surgery than watching you break the home run record.

Sorry for looking on as you absorbed nasty fan behavior and crude treatment from the news media.

Sorry for not being more forceful in telling fans to reserve judgment, that the steroid canyon was wide and deep.



…. Talk, talk

It’s out there, and everybody’s talking about it, so I’m gonna talk too. Before I do, I’m gonna link to some of what’s out there, and the first one is the best. Joe Sheehan, as usual, is the author, and I think it’s a premium article, so I can only give you a taste:

…. The commission’s failure to do anything of note on its own makes the tone of both the report and George Mitchell’s press conference yesterday shameful. Given a bully pulpit with which to change the conversation about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Mitchell instead elected to blame the MLBPA and its members for being obstructionist; put little to no blame on upper management of teams or the game itself; proffer unoriginal solutions that, while difficult to argue against, could have been generated by a Google search of Dick Pound quotes; and offered legitimacy to such tired refrains as the connection between PED use by MLB players and usage by young athletes and Don Hooton’s claims that steroids drove his son to his suicide.

…. there is no examination of how owners, presidents, general managers, and managers integrated their knowledge of PED use, such as it was, into their processes. The evidence we have from the market—that it simply doesn’t matter—is completely absent from the report.

Sheehan makes the rest of these guys look like pikers, really; but I’ll let you all decide for yourselves.

Some of the writers at the NY Daily News have their first responses to the report. Bill Madden says he won’t put Clemens in the Hall of Fame, and Michael O’Keefe, Teri Thompson and Corky Siemaszko are questioning the validity of Clemen’s Hall case, as well as the Yankees titles won since ’96. Filip Bondy says it’s bad for the Yanks, but doesn’t offer much in the way of his own two cents. John Harper says it’s sad that Pettitte is involved, since he was such a class act.

Lupica, of course, loves to see people on their knees. He’s practically dancing down 5th avenue in his piece on what a “Great Day for Baseball” yesterday was:

…. People will say this was a bad day for baseball, because now it isn’t just Barry Bonds’ name out there with drugs, it is Roger Clemens, too, and a sainted Yankee like Andy Pettitte, and a former MVP like Miguel Tejada, and even a tough-as-nails old Met named Lenny (Nails) Dykstra. But this was a great day for baseball, because even if Mitchell didn’t give us all of it Thursday, he gave us enough, because if you were a juicer in baseball in this era you had this day coming.

The NY Times, conspicuously, has but one editorial this morning, by Harvey Araton, entitled, “All-Juice Team Has Finally Found it’s Ace:”

…. Clemens was the lead actor in the Yankees-Mets drama pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, considering it was Clemens who flung the jagged edge of a broken bat at Mike Piazza during the 2000 Subway Series.

It was an act so irresponsibly bizarre that I commented in a column, tongue in cheek, that Clemens’s behavior met a standard for what pharmacologists have referred to as ’roid rage. Here we are, seven years later, and I’ve come to realize I wasn’t kidding.

I guess the rest of the Times guys are going to make sure they think before they speak. ;-)

David Pinto did some quick and dirty research on Clemens and came up with something worth a read:

…. In reading the Clemens section of the Mitchell Report, McNamee gives a pretty clear time line as to when Roger started using steroids. It was after a series at Miami. Clemens pitched in that series on 6/8/1998. Here are his stats through that series: 6-6, 3.27 ERA, 9.2 K per 9, 4.3 BB per 9, 0.32 HR/9. From that date through the end of the season: 14-0, 2.29 ERA, 11.1 K per 9, 2.8 BB per 9, 0.48 HR per 9.

…. McNamee also talks about injecting Clemens in the second half of 2000 and late in 2001. Clemens through 6/30/2000: 4-6, 4.76 ERA, 9.0 K per 9, 4.1 BB per 9, 1.44 HR per 9. July through the end of the season: 9-2, 3.00 ERA, 7.8 K per 9, 3.4 BB per 9, 0.95 HR per 9. Let me note, however, that Clemens suffered an injury that knocked him out for the last two games of June, and his two starts before he left the game with an injury were poor.

That’s a noticeable change in performance right there. Thanks to David for putting in the time.

The writers at SI, never far from remembering how relevant the steroids scandal makes all of them; seem to be taking the report on it’s face as one of the most important documents in the history of sports. Jon Heyman and Phil Taylor don’t care how weak and uncorroborated the report is, Heyman says it was worth the time and money, while Taylor, arguing with himself, I guess, says it’s far from a failure. John Donovan says the nightmare’s not over. I guess it’s not, now that your heroes are included in the horror, and not just assholes like Bonds and Canseco.

USA Today’s John Saraceno seems to see through some of the bullshit:

…. After listening to the commissioner, I have no more faith in baseball’s ability to “rid our sport of the use of performance-enhancing substances,” as Selig said, than I ever have had. Quite simply, that is not even a realistically attainable goal, laudable as it sounds. The chemists always are ahead of the law. Perhaps Selig knows more than the rest of us. But I doubt it.

Perhaps Selig believes that if he repeats his mantra often enough, he will start believing it. Or we will.

Every time Selig uses the word “integrity,” I feel like taking a shower. Integrity, what integrity?

Dick Patrik talks to the boys over at the USADA, who think they’re right, oh, pretty much always:

…. “The only way to have a successful program that protects the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport is to have an independent program,” said USADA CEO Travis Tygart. “A sport can’t promote and police itself. This (baseball situation) appears to be the consequence of when a sport attempts to promote and police itself. It can’t be done.”

Yeah, that USADA, they sure know how to keep their sport clean. I guess all the gold medals the US has had to give back the last couple of years are all the evidence we need to see what a bang up job they’re doing.



…. Seventh Heaven

Two seven timers are in the Mitchell Report, seven-time MVP Barry Bonds, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. One has already been given the whitewash, and the other has been the target of sports media vitriol and government investigation for four years. Now, why is that?

I’m watching ESPN, and we got Tim Kurkjian, Peter Gammons, John Kruk and Steve Phillips. All of them are saying the same thing, Clemens has denied it, there’s no proof, McNamee has an agenda, I want to believe him, we have to wait and see….

Unbelievably, they have already confirmed my worst suspicions, that they are ready, willing and able to come up with any reason to excuse Clemens, to defend him, defend his right to due process, and immediately impugn the character of McNamee. The first time they have a chance, they all said that McNamee had an agenda, that he was naming names to avoid jail.

OK, so how come Greg Anderson and Victor Conte, who had plenty of reasons to testify against Bonds, plenty of reasons to detail all of the ways Bonds used illegal performance-enhancing drugs; did not? How come those questions aren’t being asked, and haven’t been? Because Bonds is black? An asshole? Clemens is a hero?

Hypocrites, every one of them. The report isn’t 24 hours old, and we’re already being treated to sob stories about how Clemens and Pettitte are being slimed by a scumbag trying to protect his own ass. Bonds wasn’t slimed by scumbags who could’ve, but that’s not worth talking about.

Just so we’re clear what we’re talking about, here’s what the report says about Clemens:

…. Toward the end of the road trip which included the Marlins series, or shortly after the Blue Jays returned home to Toronto, Clemens approached McNamee and, for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids. Clemens said that he was not able to inject himself, and he asked for McNamee’s help.

Later that summer, Clemens asked McNamee to inject him with Winstrol, which Clemens supplied. McNamee knew the substance was Winstrol because the vials Clemens gave him were so labeled. McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided.

…. According to McNamee, during the middle of the 2000 season Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin that McNamee had obtained from Radomski.

McNamee stated that during this same time period he also injected Clemens four to six times with human growth hormone he received from Radomski, after explaining to Clemens the potential benefits and risks of use.

Mitchell is on ESPN defending the testimony of McNamee right now. Schapp asks him how credible the evidence against Clemens is, and he says, “It is the testimony of his personal trainer.” Exactly.

There has never been one, single, credible report, statement or piece of evidence about Bonds that is anything at all like that. Not. One. In fact, there’s nothing in the Mitchell Report that is even close to being as damning. All the Mitchell Report has is a conversation with Peter Magowan. Here’s what there is about Bonds:

…. Peter Magowan told me in an interview that he was in San Diego in February 2004 when he received a telephone call from Bonds to discuss ways to improve the team for the coming season. Magowan said that at the conclusion of the phone call he said to Bonds “I’ve really got to know, did you take steroids?” According to Magowan, Bonds responded that when he took the substances he did not know they were steroids but he later learned they were. Bonds said that he took these substances for a period of time to help with his arthritis, as well as sleeping problems he attributed to concern about his father’s failing health.

To emphasize that he was not hiding anything Bonds added that he used these substances in the clubhouse in the plain view of others. Bonds told Magowan he used these substances for only a short period of time and that they “didn’t work.” Magowan recalled asking Bonds whether this was what he had told the grand jury. Bonds replied yes. Magowan also asked Bonds if he was telling the truth, and Bonds said he was.

Two days after Magowan’s interview, lawyers for Magowan and the Giants calle a member of my investigative staff. Magowan’s lawyer explained that his client misspoke whe he said that Bonds had said, during their February 2004 telephone call, that he later learned the substances he had taken were steroids. According to his lawyer, Magowan could only recall with certainty that (1) Bonds had said he did not knowingly take steroids, and (2) what Bonds said to Magowan during the call was consistent with what Magowan later read in the San Francisco Chronicle about Bonds’s reported grand jury testimony.

Bonds has been investigated for four years, and all we have is his ex-girlfriend telling us he told her he did steroids, and Game of Shadows explaining to us that all of the paperwork obtained at BALCO is, in fact, a list of what Bonds did, in fact, take, even though his name wasn’t on it, neither Victor Conte nor Greg Anderson says that it does, and Bonds denied it, again and again. Just like, by the way, Clemens just did.

The only difference is that the national sports media are falling all over themselves in their efforts to give Clemens the benefit of the doubt; after four years of fucking Bonds over to get back at him for being an asshole.

And as for the report being definitive, Jayson Stark has a number for you to consider:

…. according to Sean Forman, of baseball-reference.com’s amazing play index, 5,148 players have made it into at least one major league box score since 1985, the year Radomski went to work for the Mets.

So that means that precisely 1.67 percent of them made it into this report. Shockingly exclusive group, wouldn’t you say?

Yeah, I’d say that’s a bit thin. The Sports Law Blog is pretty disappointed in the report as well:

….Why does the public and the media continue to impose standards and rules on professional and college athletes no one else would stand for?

The hypocrisy is deafening.

Between innings, we listen to advertisements selling drugs to help us sleep, be less depressed, concentrate in school, have better sex, and degrunge our toe nails.

Colleges make millions off the sweat and hard work of their athletes in an archaic system that makes the Confederacy look like the beacon of free enterprise, all on the overstated promise that if they improve their performance they have a good shot at making millions themselves.

And now we are to be shocked and up in arms that a small minority of professional baseball players may have used artificial means to perform better.



…. Blacklist, Part II

I’m still relying on secondhand reports, because I can’t get the Goddam thing to download, but from what I’ve read, and seen during the press conferences, I feel pretty shortchanged. As much as everyone had their hopes up, the report seems to be a lot of second-hand hearsay, a handful of names we hadn’t heard before, and is apparently based in large part on the recent criminal investigations of Radomski and BALCO in particular. Howard Bryant had a pre-release in-depth critique of Mitchell and his staff, and from what we’ve seen so far, I think he’s hit the nail on the head:

…. dozens of employees from nearly half of the 30 major league teams interviewed by ESPN.com said they found themselves conflicted at the end of the process. Many said they originally believed in the necessity of an investigation. Indeed, a number of team employees said they have been frustrated for years that their concerns regarding performance-enhancing drugs were ignored, and expressed enthusiasm that the game’s leadership at last seemed to be taking the issue seriously. But because of problems they believe have severely undermined the investigation, a number of sources inside baseball said they are now less optimistic.

…. Without cooperation from the players, investigators targeted three groups: the commissioner’s office staff, team employees, and knowledgeable sources outside the game. They broke the team employee group into subsets based on job description, such as front office, traveling secretaries, clubhouse managers, clubhouse attendants, team trainers and strength coaches.

It isn’t clear how Mitchell determined who would and would not be interviewed. For example, while it was widely believed that each of the 30 general managers was interviewed, scouts, front office special assistants and farm directors were not all asked to interview.

…. The inquiry was particularly aggressive in dealing with trainers, strength coaches and clubhouse managers.

“We were the only place they could apply the pressure, because nobody cares about us,” said one National League strength coach interviewed by Mitchell’s investigators in 2006. “You know how easy it would be to find somebody to replace us, to find some college trainer to work in Major League Baseball? They had nothing.”

Given how comprehensive Mitchell has determined the problem to be, the list of names is pretty small, especially since we’re talking about an investigation that covered something like 20 years of baseball. That’s thousands of players, if not tens of thousands, and he was only able to identify less than 150 players whom he could say he had some level of confidence had used. Now we’re left with, what, exactly?

Is Selig gonna ban Clemens, or suspend Pettitte? What about all of the former players still involved in baseball? More importantly, I thought we were gonna get a “report.” Looks like all we’ve gotten is some details about a few players whose names were already sullied, a couple of new names, and a rehash of the last three criminal investigations. Oh, and a whole shitload of “recommendations.”

Like we needed another guy to say there’s a problem and we should be more proactive. This looked like a PR move from the start, and nothing I’ve seen so far seems to suggest otherwise.

UPDATE: I finally have the report, it’s long, but the first part is a rehash of everything we already knew, and it’s not until you get into the parts about the individual players that you learn anything knew. I’ll give you the Bonds and Clemens stuff tonight, so you’ll have it in the morning. Be ready.



…. Blacklist

UPDATED 1:30 pm PST:

I’m pulling Jay’s list, and running with ESPN, where they have what appears to be the comprehensive list of the players named and why:

“I requested interviews of all the major league players who had been publicly implicated in the BALCO case.”

Marvin Benard
Barry Bonds
Bobby Estalella
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Randy Velarde

“Radomski stated that, with one exception noted below, the payments he received from professional baseball players were for performance enhancing substances, as opposed to personal training or other services, and this assertion was confirmed by those players who agreed to speak with us about their dealings with him.”

Lenny Dykstra
David Segui
Larry Bigbie
Brian Roberts
Jack Cust
Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo
Todd Hundley
Mark Carreon
Hal Morris
Matt Franco
Rondell White
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley
Gregg Zaun
David Justice
F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill
Mo Vaughn
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels
Todd Williams
Phil Hiatt
Kevin Young
Mike Lansing
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Adam Piatt
Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen
Mike Stanton
Stephen Randolph
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Paul Lo Duca
Adam Riggs
Bart Miadich
Fernando Vina
Kevin Brown
Eric Gagné
Mike Bell
Matt Herges
Gary Bennett, Jr.
Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly
Chad Allen
Jeff Williams
Howie Clark
Exavier “Nook” Logan

“Since the initial news reports of the raid by New York and Florida law enforcement officials on Signature Pharmacy and several rejuvenation centers, the names of several current and former major league players have appeared in the media as alleged purchasers of performance enhancing substances through these operations. These include:”

Rick Ankiel
Paul Byrd
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Gary Matthews, Jr.
Scott Schoeneweis
David Bell
Jose Canseco
Jason Grimsley
Darren Holmes
John Rocker
Ismael Valdez
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard

I still can’t get the PDF to work. Anybody else get it?

UPDATE: David Pinto links to a Q&A with the renowned Charles Yesalis:
So is there anything that would get drugs out of sports?

If the customers of elite sport withheld their purchasing – turned off the TV or didn’t go to the stadium or ballpark because they were really irate about doping. Having said that, that is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever said. It ain’t gonna happen, period.



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