Baseball’s Goddamned Sideshow

Today saw the public release of Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report, which everyone was looking forward to because it named names of players who have allegedly used performance enhancing drugs.

Until and unless some of these players are convicted of violating the law, I think this is all a big sideshow. I simply don’t believe that ownership and management in baseball didn’t know or at least strongly suspect what was going on, and I think their inability to enact drug testing until 2002 indicates that they didn’t really care. Consequently, I don’t think they have a moral leg to stand on, and so I see the Mitchell Report as nothing more than a witch-hunt, with no practical benefit to the well-being of the game.

Commissioner Bud Selig said that the Report “is a call to action, and I will act.”

Give it a rest, Bud. Every time you make a public appearance it seems like you suck a little more of the joy out of baseball. The time to commission this report was 1995 – or at the latest, before 1998, the year of McGwire and Sosa – and it’s far too late for this to look like anything else than an attempt at media spin.

Do I care whether players were using steroids over the last 12 years? Yeah, a little bit. I’d rather they hadn’t, but it’s clear that few people – if anyone – cared for most of that time, and that not many in baseball cared. That’s just the way the game was for many years (maybe many more years than we think). It’s not a perfect world. That didn’t make it less of a fun game.

Act to keep people from using these substances in the future, and punish them if they do, but this looking-backwards crap is just bullshit. It doesn’t make anything better, and it doesn’t help anyone.

Least of all the fans.

One thought on “Baseball’s Goddamned Sideshow”

  1. Having read most of the document now (and skimmed the rest; yeah, I couldn’t help it), I thought it was surprisingly well-balanced. (Now, I’m sure that Bud and company will ignore that part, and continue to bang on the players-are-evil drums, but ownership is called out in several places, and the clubhouse staff are largely portrayed as caught-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place.) In particular, I think most of the recommendations are well-thought-out (the investigations department is probably necessary, but has a strong inquisitorial air), in particular the one about ignoring disciplinary action for players only mentioned in the report, without other criminal charges or positive tests.

    Really, the only way for MLB to put this behind them is ignore the names in the report (which would be easier if Bonds and Clemens retired for good this offseason), implement most/all of the recommendations; release the aggregate test results each year, to show that the problem is under control; and have someone stick a sock in Bud’s mouth in five years, when Bonds/Clemens come up for HoF votes. (Which as usual, leaves me largely in agreement with you. :

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