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DECEMBER 18, 2007

Usually, when I see “experts” on television answering questions about anabolic steroids, I feel like I’m watching a contestant go through the first round of questions on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. You probably know what I’m talking about…the questions, which typically go something like this:

“For one hundred dollars, tell us who there is a picture of on the front of the one dollar bill…”

And then they are given 4 multiple choices which read something like this:





A.    You
B.    Jerry Springer
C.    Lassie
D.    George Washington

This formula is repeated several times until the questions become moderately difficult. Actually, the first few questions usually resemble something you’d find on “Are you smarter than a 5th Grader”, not questions which would validate giving someone a million dollars. Then again, being able to name all 4 members of the hair metal band “Poison” should be worth something…perhaps not much when compared to the societal importance of being able to hit a ball with a bat, but something at least.

These simple questions are the type being asked by the Mitchell Report.

To me, the over-riding question remains what will actually come of the Mitchell Report.

None of the ball players can actually be disciplined by Major League Baseball, the federal government (for the most part) can’t take any action against any of the players, and legally (if this ever got to that stage), there’s no substantial case against any individual player.

Much was made about the names Kirt Radomski gave to federal investigators and Major League Baseball…but who cares? Honestly, who cares?  The guy got himself out of a potentially long prison sentence by giving up names of people who will not and cannot realistically be prosecuted. I’ve never heard of a criminal case where prosecutors asked someone for as many names (roughly 30) as they did Radomski, and then fail to build a case against any of them?

What the hell is going on here?

And what exactly did Major League Baseball get for their $20 Million dollars?

They got a summary of earlier instances of doping, they got a bunch of stuff they already knew, and they got some obvious recommendations (don’t tell players 12 weeks in advance that they will be drug tested, etc…).

So what was the purpose of this report?

I have a couple of theories:

1.    It may have all been a show –





Since no action can realistically be taken against any players named in this report, Major League Baseball could simply be putting on a show for us. They do a big probe into their own problem, give the impression that they are accepting responsibility for self-policing, and therefore the public believes that baseball is cleaning up their act.


2.    It may have been to weaken the players association/union –





The players association has been the major obstacle in doping reform and legitimate drug testing in the league. They’ve opposed tests, advised their players not to take tests without a huge time window before testing, and they’ve advised their players not to talk to anyone (not Mitchell, not the league, etc…) about anything. In short, they are acting in the players’ best interests. It’s possible that Major League Baseball is going to use this report to gain leverage on the Players Association.

3.    It may have been to avoid the government stepping in –





Essentially, Major League Baseball wants to avoid anything like the Congressional hearings we saw a couple of years ago, which resulted in a very bad public relations crisis for baseball and also in baseball losing a lot of face in the court of public opinion. In truth, if it looks like baseball is cleaning up the “Steroid Era” then records set past this point will not have the cloud of an asterisk hanging over them.

4.    They may actually care about cleaning up the sport -





Just kidding.



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