Friday, December 14, 2007

Explaining the Mitchell Report

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what is actually going on in baseball right now. Don't get me wrong, nobody is actually saying "I am confused". It's just that conflicting reports can give the wrong impression. So an explanation might be necessary.

1. George Mitchell

George J. Mitchell is not a Senator. He was, yes, but he no longer is. This is important because some people are under the impression that the U.S. government is heading this investigation. They are not.
Also, he is a director for the Boston Red Sox. Since the report named Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite, New Yorkers believe it's a conspiracy. This I cannot prove or disprove. Knowing politicians, he was probably elated to get a few big name Yankees, and more than likely tried to do so. But the reason for that is the net that was thrown to get these names happened to target that clubhouse. Whether that was on purpose or not doesn't really matter, since getting the users' names was the point anyway. I would suggest getting Rudy Giuliani to even things out, but he roots for whoever is leading the polls, so it's a moot point.

2. Legalities

Nobody is really in trouble. The report was done independently, with its focus directed on figuring what the hell went on and how to approach the future. Remember, the only reason Barry Bonds is being tried in court was because of perjury, not taking an illegal drug. None of these players would talk with Mitchell, so no perjury took place. Nothing extending to the courts should be done until Congress gets together in January to discuss the issue.

3. Consequences

The purpose of this whole report was to shed light. George Mitchell recommended that none of the players that were outed should be reprimanded, though it is likely Bud Selig will do a little house cleaning. What will happen now is unclear. MLB will likely implement a Department of Investigation, so the 90's will never happen again.

As far as the players go, nothing has been proven thus far. Just because the report says that players like Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite took steroids does not mean that it's proof. It was just an investigation, with the information mostly coming from a source the Players Union would call a disgruntled employee. But baseball, unlike other sports, encourages its people to look at reports like this when considering awards like being inducted into the Hall of Fame. There are no definitive lines; how this plays with the voters is completely subjective. However, I wouldn't expect Clemens to extend his career any longer.


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