Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The Mitchell Report promised big names. We were told it was going to rock the very foundation of Major League Baseball. Predictably, though, it proved to be more bark than bite.
Outside of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, there were few revelations with regards to the players that were named. Most of the names on the list people could care less about, and the others were guys that already retired or had a boatload of suspicion hanging over them anyway.
And did I really hear this quote in former Senator George Mitchell's press conference: "The minority of players who used such substances were wrong."
Thanks for taking 20 months and close to $25 million of MLB money to come up with that, George.
In all seriousness, though, the bulk of Mitchell's report seemed to be based on testimony from former New York Mets' clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.
Outside of a few guys (Kent Mercker, David Segui, Rondell White, Mo Vaughn, etc.), there is basically no hard evidence against anyone in the entire report. All Mitchell did was collect a few newspaper stories, TV stories, and admitted use by older players and present it in one big piece. If the feds didn't bust Radomski and force him to cooperate with this "investigation," the whole report would be nothing new.
No offense, but the Major League Players' Association is going to eat this report alive.
Outside of a few players, there is basically no hard evidence against anyone in the entire report.
In Mitchell's defense, it seems like he got very little cooperation throughout the whole process. One thing came across very clear, though, MLB is as much to blame as anyone in this. I thought he would hammer commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA head Donald Fehr more than he did, but he got his point across, I guess.
Selig, I'm sure, will point to Mitchell stating that no player in his report had tested positive in the last two years, meaning, of course, that MLB's testing program is working. The steroid part of it is working, but Mitchell said players are drifting towards HGH, which is not detectable in any kind of urine test.
Mitchell also advised Selig not to suspend based on the past, and I believe he will probably adhere to that. So Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Paul Lo Duca and others can sleep a little easier tonight.
Obviously the big loser today is Clemens. He was the one sure-fire Hall of Famer on the list that you didn't know about for sure. For those of you that wanted to keep Barry Bonds out of Cooperstown, you better feel the same way about Clemens.
I'd still vote them both in, but that is for another time and another place. To me they were Hall of Famers before they did any of this. A guy like Mark McGwire, on the other hand, would never have had the type of career he did had it not been for steroids.
And yes, I know McGwire was not named on the list. However, as Mitchell pointed out, this was in no way a complete list of all the players that took steroids. Far from it in fact. So fans of the human pin cushion can save their emails that he is off the hook, because he isn't.
Clemens, though, is definitely going to be hurt by this. There were always whispers about him, but never any real proof. When he left Boston, he appeared done. Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and is reborn. Amazingly, he has won four Cy Young Awards since he left Boston.
We all jumped to immediate conclusions with McGwire and Bonds, how come we didn't do the same with Clemens? Looking back, I guess it was pretty obvious that something was up.
Clemens will deny, deny, deny. And he will have a point. It is all hearsay. There is no real proof that he did anything, just one man's word against another. There is no paper trail like there is with some of the other players named. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Speaking of Bonds, he must have a big smile on his face today. It is kind of vindication for him in a way. He was by far not the only one taking performance-enhancing drugs, nor was he the only record-breaker that was taking them either. He now has some company as the poster boy for this era.
Bottom line, baseball did not take as big a hit today as everyone thought it would. There were some names in there, but outside of Clemens, there were no real bombshells. Baseball will go on, and this will all be forgotten once the season starts again.
By the way, we are two months away from pitchers and catchers reporting.
The entire Mitchell Report can be viewed here: