Thursday, December 13, 2007
Much Ado About Mitchell
Everyone has an opinion. Even those who say that they don’t care, care. They have an opinion. And really, people should not feel that they should be bound to believe any one opinion. Do you care because you want to hear the names? Do you care because you want to know what the Mitchell Report will recommend for baseball? Do you want to hear the names of the players on your favorite team? Are you hoping that your favorite players’ names are not on the list? Do you want the blame to be on the players? The Players Association? The GMs and owners? Bud Selig himself maybe?
People ask my opinion on the Mitchell Report, and it isn’t easy to say what I think. Of course, like everyone else, I am interested in the report. I am curious which names will be mentioned. I want to know who is being blamed and how the game will heal. What are the follow up steps?
But I hear so many people talking about how the results of the Mitchell Report will change the baseball world, that the game will never be the same. And that is absolutely ridiculous. If there are “fans” whose opinion of the game of baseball will change over this, then they were never really fans. Regardless of what was being put into the bodies of some of the players, the game is the same. It’s a competition. It’s the best players in the world. The game is, has, and always will be great. No report can, or should, alter that reality.
Yes, I am interested in the names, just like everyone else. I will see the names and analyze each, wondering if I should have known. But it is important to remember that because of a lack of participation from current players, the list of names given will not be a comprehensive list. So just because a player’s name isn’t mentioned doesn’t mean that they are any more innocent. And just as important, the inclusion of a player’s name may not officially mean that they are guilty (although if this is the case, law suits could be plentiful). We are now hearing that around 80 names will be brought up and that it will include former MVPs and All-Stars. Seriously, does that report tell us anything. I think we all know that a certain recently-crowned Home Run king’s name will be mentioned. He was an All-Star and a multi-MVP award winner. Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi were former MVPs and all-stars. Those names will all be in the report and we will not be surprised.
In Joe Christensen’s article today, he notes that “64 players already have been linked to steroids or human growth hormone by testing positive (a la Twins reliever Juan Rincon), admitting to their use (a la Jose Canseco) or being implicated by others (a la Mark McGwire).” You can see all 64 names for yourself at The Baseball Steroid Era blog. Using that list, we can expect the names of Juan Rincon, Bret Boone, Dave Hollins, Matt Lawton and Dan Serafini.
Looking further into that web site, you can see that Tom House, who pitched in the big leagues from 1971-1978, admitted that he was “using steroids ‘for a couple of seasons’ during his career (1971-1978). House estimated that six or seven pitchers on every staff in baseball were experimenting with steroids in the 1970’s. This was, and still is, the earliest account of steroid use in baseball.” So when I keep hearing that players from previous generations played the game “right”, I don’t think that assumption can or should be made.
The question has been asked of me, “Tell us which current and former Twins you would expect, or at least not be surprised, to show up in the report.” Now, I am not going to publically guess names. There is no purpose in that. I mean, we know that Juan Rincon’s name will appear because he has failed a test already. Will Darnell McDonald’s name be mentioned? He’s also been suspended for steroids. He, along with 2007 Twins minor leaguers Jeremy Cummings and two-time suspended Luis Uqueto, were suspended while in the minor leagues. Other than that, it is a complete guess. I am certain that there are some names. In my mind, I can come up with as many as 15 current or former Twins who, if their names are mentioned, I will not be surprised. Will that make me less of a Twins fan? Not even a little bit.
Will the media try to tell us that the game is different and this is a low point for the game? Of course, that is their job, to overanalyze. Doom and gloom will be the tone for many. But the game of baseball has overcome big issues in the past and the game is bigger than this. This will be a huge issue, and the report will be talked about for years to come. It would be naïve to underesteimate the reports significance. But this is not the end times of the game, only a bump in the road.
So, I will leave the comments open here. Feel free to comment as you want. If you want to project which players, Twins or other, are listed in the report, go ahead. Tell me if you think that the game will change or if you will not be as big a fan, and why? Feel free to express your opinions.