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…. 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.


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