Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Mitchell Report

While the report may not have perfect, the findings of the Mitchell Report are most likely going to stay with baseball for a long time. It's this century's Black Sox Scandal. A controversy that rocked the sport and was bigger than the game itself.

Of course, the Mitchell Report was a study done by former Senator George Mitchell, about the use of steriods, HGH, and other performance enhancing drugs done by baseball players in the "Steriod Era". The report named about 80 players, two of which are current Brewers (Gagne, Turnbow).

The names of the players were acquired through clubhouse attendants, trainers, and the like. Only the ballplayers on the list that have actually admitted to using performance enchancing drugs have been proven to use them. Everyone else at this time should be considered innocent.
So what does Bud Selig do? He's just received a list of 80 some guys, including some big names (Clemens, Pettite, Bonds, Tejada, the aforementioned Gagne) that have most likely used some sort of drug. What does he do with this list. I say nothing. George Mitchell even agrees.

I have a hard time hating baseball players that have used these drugs, especially steriods. I agree with you until I die that if Bonds did indeed use steriods, the home run record is tainted. But I will never agree with you that we should place an asterisk by his record.

You say Bonds cheated. I say Bonds did what it took to win within the framework of the game. There was no enforcement on these players for taking steriods, so why not do it? Especially in the case where your career is on the line, and the only way to stay in the game is to "keep up" with the rest of the league.

Now, I'm not the best writer yet in my life, so I may not get my points across as well as I'd like. I just think it's time to move on. Baseball had a steriod problem, a drug problem, and it's impossible to ever know everyone involved, and to punish them as well. The games were played, records were broken. I really do think this is a case where we acknowledge the problem, but agree it's time to move on. Everyone knew something was up, from the owners to the fans. Barry Bonds grew like no human before him ever did, in no way was that natural. But you bought the tickets, you watched the games. It wasn't until he was within striking distance of the Hammerin' Hanks record that we as a society finally decided that what he was (allegedly) doing was wrong.

I think Mark McGwire should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Same with Sosa, and Bonds. Look, after the 94 strike I was done with baseball. As a soccer fan, I even had crazy dreams that the MLS would overtake the MLB. But that magical summer of 98, I was sucked back in. Because of the home run chase. Because of the home run chase which involved two people that didn't get those home runs naturally.

We knew it then that something was up, and we chose to ignore it. Now we're going to punish the people that decided to follow the footsteps of the "villians" we created to be heroes? I just can't justify punishing them for something we knew they were doing, but let slide.

Yeah, it's not fair to the guys of the past that records are being broken by players that are cheating. I say it's just the evolution of the game. You'll never see a pitcher break 300 wins again because of how much the game has changed. You will see a guy smash 70 home runs because of how much the game has changed. I may be nieve, but I think those are one in the same.

So listen the report, learn from it's mistakes, but let's move on. Don't punish the players that did what they thought was right in order to win. They will be punished enough, through the effects on their health, and through the public court. Let's not suspend anyone, and just move on, and finally put the Steriods Era behind us.

Plus, the Brewers are paying 10 million to Eric Gagne this year, and I don't want to see that money go to waste.


Chris said...

Do you remember how much of a big deal this damn document was?

A stroll down memory lane.

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