(To read those tiny captions, click on the pics!)
Yes, that report, the highly-anticipated, never-to-be-duplicated, for some, ill-fated report on the rampant use of steroids, human growth hormones and other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). for some 20 months, Sen. George Mitchell has been conducting an investigation on the sale and use of PEDs throughout Major League Baseball, culminating in an extensive, intensive report released to us little folk last Friday. The response has been quite interesting, as you knew it would, from players like F.P. Santangelo and Fernando Viña (yep, I did it, you got me) to Brian Roberts and Andy Pettitte (well, I did it once or twice, but I'm really sorry!) to Roger Clemens (I didn't do it!!), not to mention Barry Bonds (you doubt me? Right... SO TRY ME!!!)
Personally, I like Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro (it wuzzn't me!), though at the time they weren't responding to the report...
Seeing Andy on the list was disappointing, but not surprising. There were rumors that he and Clemens had been doing PEDs quite some time before the report came out, and Andy's silence right afterwards indicated something was up. That he came forward and admitted to using them for two days in 2002 while rehabbing is quite a stand-up thing to do under the circumstances, but I have to wonder if he's being disingenuous by saying that it was only a couple of days and reminding people of how fundamentally Christian he is. In my view, that has nothing to do with it except that you knew better than to do it in the first place. Christians are like everyone else (human), just as prone to mistakes, errors of judgment and downright evil at times under circumstances... that's neither to condone or attack being Christian or human, but to make a point about the expectations we place on others and our willingness to forgive or condemn people based on those expectations. It's interesting to say the least that because Andy's such a nice guy and has always espoused positive values and faith, not to mention his contributions and value as a player, he will likely get a pass from the fans; we're willing to believe that he's telling nothing but the truth. However, Roger Clemens is burning in effigy, and there are already yeah-right's about Brian Roberts who says he only did it once. Why is that?
Also among my initial reactions was the fleeting idea that because of the higher percentage of former and current Yankee players on the list, this could be another I Hate NY production. That was a fleeting thought, honestly. For one thing, Mitchell has constantly complained about the lack of cooperation he got from MLB, the teams and the Players Association. For another, the people that did cooperate were mostly New York-centric. Brian McNamee is a former assistant strength coach for the Yankees, and Kirk Radomski was a clubhouse attendant for the NY Mets for 11 years (seriously, are these the only pictures anyone has of them? Geez...) They were primarily oriented locally and did business with New Yorkers (so-to-speak). The same can be said about Victor Conte (BALCO, Bay Area blahblahblah), mentioned prominently in the report. Most dealers or traffickers do their business in one spot, and the preponderance of evidence coming from these two geographic locations has more to do with who's being caught than who's looking for what in a particular area. Signature Pharmacy, indicated in a wide PEDs distribution scandal, has evidence of purchases and shipments to players on several different teams around the country, but the dominant view is of the Bay Area and of New York, because that's where the most evidence has come from so far. And that's only because they caught a few guys and forced them to tell. If Radomski were working for a team in Chicago, Kansas City, or say, Boston and got caught, do you actually believe that it would be any different?
That also goes hand-in-hand with another point I discovered while reading about the fallout from the report. Scouting reports and internal memos made public indicated that certain players were known to have taken, or were under strong suspicion of taking PEDs.
Paul Lo Duca was apparently known to have taken PEDs while with the Dodgers, indicated by a scouting report on him while they were considering trading him to Florida. Same with Eric Gagne, Boston knew what they were getting.
Houston had to at least been suspicious about Miguel Tejada, but apparently Astros owner Drayton McLane was living under a rock at the time. What does this mean? The poor, poor baseball owners and their front office folk not only had no clue that Player X doing or rumored to be doing some form of PEDs, but also felt that the info they did have was trifling at best? Give me a freakin' break...What it comes down to is collusion at it's most profitable. Collusion between MLB executives, team owners and their front offices, and players with their union, to maximize profits all around. Chicks dig the long ball... and so do teams willing to shell out millions for a player who can suddenly hit homers like they were Tiger Woods with a golf club. (I will say if Barry Bonds did that with his bat and a ball, he'd be a lot more popular... maybe A-Rod can learn). The point is, people are willing to pay out the nose to witness public displays of power and offense (thus the popularity of football, boxing and WWE, even if much of that is staged) and all of those involved were willing to look the other way when it came to potential "cheaters". The hypocrisy of the reaction to this report, eloquently expressed by Drayton "Huh?" McLane, is that now that it's out there for everyone to see, it's got to be talked about, examined and acted upon to eliminate such activity from occurring again. Understand this: it's only a scandal when you get caught. Otherwise, it's business as usual. And business, like players' bodies, is booming.
An unfortunate result in this is that Jose Canseco has been given even more credibility, which he uses to bash A-Rod as a potential user among other things he coyly alludes to. Being the body of disingenuousness and all, what does Canseco really get from yelling and screaming about all these other players doing PEds while his own aftercareer is in limbo at best? Is someone picking up the tab for him? That would be quite an investment given what we know from the report, but what really does he stand to gain? His books or appearances are not likely going to change the public's perception of him (whatever, just go away) and if he's angling for a job somewhere, he'd be better off auditioning for Dancing With The Stars or better yet, The Celebrity Apprentice (knowing what I know, he'd fit right in without a problem, and who wouldn't want to see The Donald and Canseco go at it in the Boardroom?)
Okay, I'm running out of steam. I will be reading the report over the next two or three yearsum weeks! and then I will be convening a panel of like sports fans to discuss the report and it's effect on baseball and the upcoming season. It's not a panel of experts, but of fans who like their respective teams and can sustain a lively, interesting discussion. I will either be able to have audio or post a transcript for your amusement in the coming weeks. Speaking of amusements, I found before/after pics of some of our favorite suspects and convicts on a site called Wise Camel. Take a look for yourselves. Meanwhile, feel free to add your two cents, and remember to respect each other in the process. See ya! >;)