The word on the street is that the Mitchell Report into steroid usage in baseball will be out on Thursday. It’s already being reported that Major League Baseball is reviewing a draft of the report, and that the names of between 60 to 80 current and former major league ballplayers will be mentioned.
Richard Justice is, of course, high on the report.
But many aren’t.
One of the problems is the conflict of interest that will be evident on the face of the report. George Mitchell, the writer and chief investigator, is on the board of the Boston Red Sox. So there’s a real question as to his objectivity in the matter.
It’s already being reported that Mitchell pressed people to guess as to who was using steroids, such that the report, instead of relying on facts, will be relying on guesswork. According to ESPN, “[t]he aim, say trainers and strength coaches, was to produce a report heavy on high-profile names but low on solutions.” The Player’s Association, and most of its players, refused to cooperate with Mitchell. Mitchell then pressured team trainers, managers, and strength coaches, forcing them to speculate and to not rely on fact. Team general managers felt coerced into cooperating with Mitchell on the fear that if they didn’t, they would be cited as a being at fault for the steroid problem.
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And not all teams would cooperate with Mitchell’s demands, partly because of the conflicts involving Mitchell’s relationship with the Red Sox.
The truth is that we’re not going to know anything for sure about this report until it comes out on Thursday. But the fact that even now, before the release, people within baseball are questioning the validity of the report does not bode well for the outcome.
My thoughts are this: if the names are Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Canseco, etc., but there’s no mention of Bud Selig sharing any of the fault, or if the Red Sox magically come out unscathed despite Jose Canseco and Jeremy Giambi – two known steroid users – having played on the Red Sox, then the report will be the joke many fear that it will be.
But let’s wait until tomorrow. Who knows, maybe we’ll see some former Houston Astros in there. -- John Royal