THE MITCHELL REPORT
JANUARY 2, 2008
I’m constantly amazed at how things are taken totally out of context. As an example, the first time I’d ever heard of George Mitchell was when the Mitchell Report came out. Granted, he was a Senator previously, but I can’t actually name many Senators (can you?), nor too many Congressmen who aren’t from my home state.
But if you research the Mitchell Report enough, what you find out is that Mitchell has already written a report for Major League Baseball, and it had nothing to do with anabolic steroids, it had to do with the economics of the game. His original report wasn’t called the “Mitchell Report” though – it had a much more fancy (and absurd) name:
The Blue Ribbon Panel Report
I’m not sure who gave this Panel a Blue Ribbon (probably the same people who gave one to Pabst), but Mitchell was one of the panel members. Specifically, this panel was put together by Bud Selig (the commissioner of Major League Baseball, and guy who brought us the “new” Mitchell Report). Basically, this report was written just after the 1999 season, and it’s stated purpose was:
“To examine the question of whether baseball’s current economic system has created a problem of competitive imbalance within the game”
So what does this have to do with steroids? Well, it shows us that this isn’t the first time that Bud Selig has hired George Mitchell to write a report for Major League Baseball. In my eyes, this puts the new Mitchell Report in a totally new light – since The Blue Ribbon Panel Report was commissioned by Selig (who at the time owned one of the worst and poorest teams in baseball’s history, the Milwaukee Brewers). This report was clearly meant by Selig to be a self-serving venture.
If this report reached the conclusion that players’ salaries needed to be controlled to some degree and that more affluent teams should subsidize poorer ones, then naturally Selig would be a major beneficiary. And of course, this commission reached exactly that conclusion.
Sounds kind of like another report Mitchell wrote, doesn’t it?
See, in the (new) Mitchell Report, the prime beneficiary was also Bud Selig, By that, I mean that the people who stand to gain the most from the report are the commissioner of baseball and the other owners of professional teams.
This is because the report places most of the blame squarely on the players themselves for taking the drugs, and on the Baseball Players Union for protecting those players from participating in a drug-testing program with any real muscle (ha ha). In short, the Mitchell Report basically clears the owners (like Selig) and the management (like Selig) of any accountability for the steroid problem in baseball.
Forget the fact that the owners and management in baseball must have noticed that during baseball’s “Steroid Era”, ticket sales and total revenue went up almost exponentially, records were being broken every year, and players (both in their prime and well past it) were showing up to training camp 20 (and even more) pounds heavier. Hey, how was Selig to know there was a problem unless he was told so, right?
And now he’s showing that since he has become aware of this “steroid problem” in baseball, he’s doing something about it. He’s…ummm…commissioned a report that says it basically wasn’t his fault that the doping control measures failed. All of the Billionaire baseball team owners weren’t to blame…their Millionaire employees were the criminals.
Does that seem a bit unlikely to anyone else?
Doesn’t it seem more likely that Bud Selig, acting as the Commissioner of baseball, has simply had a report written to serve his own self-interests…by the same man who wrote the Blue Ribbon Panel Report, which also served those same interests roughly a decade ago?
Honestly…the owners don’t care what the players do as long as it keeps earning them progressively more money. And baseball is currently earning more than it ever has in the past…the Steroid Era is the main reason for that, and I can’t bring myself to believe that the owners really want it to stop; nor can I believe that the players and the Players Union have single handedly created this era...Bud Selig and other club owners have turned a blind eye to it for as long as they could, pretended they didn’t know what was going on, and then when serious questions were raised by Congress and the media, they paid $20 million to have a report written which places all of the blame on everyone but themselves. So they hired Selig’s old buddy Mitchell to write another report.
Are we actually supposed to believe that owners of various Major League Baseball teams can see a body change as dramatically as Jason Giambi’s and not think something is up?
The owners aren’t stupid…they knew what was going on, they knew how it was happening, and they were more than happy to let it go on for as long as they could.