All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Friday, December 14, 2007

My thoughts on the Mitchell report

The money quote:

There is a widespread misconception that the use of steroids and other performance enhancing substances, such as human growth hormone, was not prohibited in Major League Baseball before the inclusion of the joint drug program in the 2002 Basic Agreement. In fact, as early as 1991 baseball's drug policy expressly prohibited the use of "all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids or prescription drugs for which the individual ... does not have a prescription." Even before then, however, the use of any prescription drug without a valid prescription was prohibited in baseball, and even earlier under federal law. In 1971, baseball's drug policy required compliance with federal, state, and local drug laws and directed baseball's athletic trainers that anabolic steroids should only be provided to players under a physician's guidance.

It's clear that the players knew all along that what they were doing was wrong. It's also clear that the teams and the union were in on it. They, too, knew it was wrong. And rather than discourage it, they helped the players cheat.

For example, they warned the players when they would be tested. Not so surprising that Bonds never had a positive steroid test once you know that, huh?

Clemens had a disappointing year his first season with the Yanks. The worst ERA of his career, IIRC. Then the Yankees hired McNamee, the strength coach from his former team, the Jays. He was supposedly the Yankees' strength coach, but everyone knew he was really Clemens' personal trainer. And lo, the Rocket started winning Cy Youngs again.

Some other random observations...

The report is not based on mere hearsay. While it did rely heavily on a couple of witnesses, they were grilled thoroughly to make sure their stories were consistent with what they told the FBI, and their allegations were backed up by canceled checks, delivery records, etc. And they knew that if they were found to be lying, they'd get the book thrown at them. Many of the players, when confronted with the allegations, admitted it.

One reason the report is so heavily reliant on a couple of witnesses is that they had limited access to other material. Mitchell had no subpoena power. Players didn't have to talk to him unless they wanted to, and most of them didn't want to. (The Feds presumably have a lot more evidence, including all the Balco stuff.)

That means "the list" is far from complete. There are probably a ton of players who juiced and aren't in the report. (In fact, we know there are. Matt Lawton, for example.)

Sigh. Asterisks all around, I say. It just seems grossly unfair to the "clean" players. Even the cynical Canseco admits that there are some of those. Like Jeter.

And Ken Griffey, Jr. Supposedly, he and Bonds discussed PEDs. Bonds decided to use them, Griffey decided not to. And their careers diverged from there.

Worst of all...I can't help wondering if the secret of the Yankees' late-'90s dynasty is now revealed.

We've been trying so hard to replicate that success. Everyone has a theory. We need more homegrown players. We need more team guys, less superstars. We need better pitching, or more contact hitters, or better defense.

Maybe the real secret is "the cream" and "the clear." :-P


posted by BubbaFan, 10:05 PM


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