This is my first foray into the world of writing a blog. There have been some things that have happened recently in sports that have perturbed me to say the least. One of the big ones, is the Mitchell Report.
The entire Mitchell investigation has really been irking me recently. This is really for several reasons. The first has to do with the idea of it being an independent investigation. I do not think that either independent or investigation really apply to what was done. To be independent, you have to have a party conducting the act that is not associated with any of the parties involved. In law this is done to avoid any appearance of impropriety. There are good reasons this is done. It protects any findings from the doubt that automatically arises if you have someone connected to a party deciding a dispute involving that party. They may actually be completely fair, but many will assume otherwise. Next, it protects against having a “judge” make a ruling by things other than the case itself. In this instance, George Mitchell is on the Board of Directors of the Boston Red Sox. I am not saying, that the man is dishonest, or lied, but he certainly cannot be considered independent. It does seem suspicious that twenty Yankees players and virtually no Red Sox players were named though. Also, the word investigation seems like a stretch as well. As far as I can tell, the entire report is based on the accounts of two snitches, McNamee and Rodomski. To begin with, why in the world would that cost twenty million dollars? Also, these are two guys giving over information in order to get favorable deals from the government. It does not seem that there was enough actual investigation into their claims. They may have been spoken to on several occasions, but a good liar could keep his story straight.
I also have a problem with naming players in this report and thereby ruin their reputations based on this information. As everyone is well aware, it is very difficult to recover your reputation after these types of allegations. I bet that even if a player is able to clear his name, many will still hold unfounded suspicion of that player due to just having been named. It was seen during the McCarthy era when just being named a communist could ruin reputations as well as lives. Another problem arises in a player even being able to clear their name to begin with. It is very difficult to prove a negative. When Roger Clemons was named in the report, his agent or attorney released a message in which Clemons said he did not ever use PED’s, no relation to WMD’s I hope. After the naming, it seemed like the vast majority of people believed him guilty just because he was named. Many stated opinions that if he was innocent, he should be shouting it from the mountain tops and file suit against McNamee, etc. Now he has done exactly that, but it still appears from the online polls that the vast majority of people still believe him to have cheated. Whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty? Related to this, just because a few of the named players have admitted to use certainly does not mean that the information given on all of the players named is accurate. After all, the best lies are partially true.
Another issue I have with this entire process is the simple fact that MLB decided that it was necessary to even conduct this investigation in the manner it did. I have wondered why there have been a few players in the NFL who have been suspended for using PED’s and Congress does not get involved with them. Maybe it is because they handle it differently. The approach by the NFL seems to be, have a testing program, do the testing, punish for violations. They recognized that there was a problem and they addressed it. MLB was on its way to doing the same thing, a testing program, and sanctions for positive results, or confirmed use of HGH, were in place. Baseball had recognized the problem and was handling it. It does not seems that having this highly publicized report really will do a lot of good in eliminating PED’s from the game. Now Congress has gotten involved in this mess. I know many people think that baseball cannot handle the problem so Congress has to save the day. To begin with virtually all of the information given in Mitchell is from 2002 or earlier, before MLB had any testing or any policy on PED’s. It doesn’t seem like the testing program has even been given enough time to even be able to tell if it is effective or not. And is this really what Congress needs to be concerned with? MLB is still a private enterprise, and is not in danger of failing. If it was in danger of failing, I could see why Congress would have a place, but such is not the case now. Even though Congress should be able to handle many different issues at once, if they spend a lot of time on this it is definitely taking away from tome that could be spent on things that are more of a concern to them and the nation. The economy, war, and many other social issues come to mind as problems Congress should be trying to solve rather than this issue.
I hope that this steroids era will pass soon and we can get back to enjoying the game without having to hear a story about this player who got caught doing that drug on a daily basis anymore. Yes, the PED’s do need to be eliminated from the game, but a knee jerk reaction is not the answer.