Today's Names To Know: Uh, Every Name That Came Up in George Mitchell's Report? Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, George Mitchell, Bud Selig, Donald Fehr, Mario Williams, Sage Rosenfels, Appalachian State, Kobe Bryant and More.
Start with the biggie: Roger Clemens. Layer in former World Series hero Andy Pettitte. Throw in an ex-MVP, Miguel Tejada. Or an "all-time" record-holder like Eric Gagne.
The only thing more fascinating than the lurid thrill of reading the names listed in the Mitchell Report was the range of the names themselves:
Stars. Superstars. Journeymen. Old Hands. Young Studs. Hitters. Pitchers. Infielders. Outfielders. Catchers. Starters. Relievers. In short: Everyone.
What a fitting bookend (or doorstop, in the case of the 400-plus-page report) to MLB's Steroid Era that Mitchell's report covered all bases (despite seeming to use only three sources -- BALCO, Radomski and a handful of individual interviews).
It is a reminder: The Steroid Era was everywhere. It touched every team and -- quite likely -- every GAME played.
The names included in the report are given a linguistic asterisk: "Mitchell Report" will be attached to the player's name forever, the mirror image of "Hall of Famer So-and-So" or "World Series star So-and-So." Now it is: "So-and-So, who was named in baseball's infamous Mitchell Report...." It is first-paragraph-of-the-obituary material.
Roger Clemens is the headliner: The greatest pitcher of the era, a cheater. I said this yesterday: That the greatest pitcher and greatest hitter of our generation were both cheaters says all you need to know about the Steroid Era.
What is the impact? Will it cost active players a suspension in 2008? Will it cost sure-fire Hall of Famers a first-ballot induction?
(Personally, I don't think it should. Not when it is so obvious that the entire playing field was tilted – if you think this is the extent of the cheating, you are naive or a fool. The many, many others escaped outing only because of the obstructions in the way of the fact-finding.)
More importantly, this is a statistically significant sample size that goes further than anything before it to prove the theory we all knew all along: The entire era was enhanced – bloated – with cheating.
I feel no need to penalize the listed players any more than the public humiliation – the permanent stain – of being cited in the Mitchell Report.
Just as certain as I am that cheating will continue – whether it is the untraceable HGH or whatever the new new drug ends up being in any particular year. It is arguable that the Mitchell Report doesn't signal the end of the Steroid Era, but simply its next Era.
If anything, I feel badly for the players who competed on the level – however many (or few) that might have been. (Let's not get into what was likely those players' rampant amphetamines abuse. Not against the rules, but enough against the spirit of the game that MLB eventually outlawed them.)
The "Mitchell Players," as they may come to be known -- a shorthand of a remarkable (and remarkably diverse) roster of an "All-Star All-Steroid Team" -- sealed their own fate when they made their original choice.
More on Mitchell fallout:
- "Collective failure" is a nice summation – but did it really take all that time and money to figure that out? Fans already knew it.
- Kirk Radomski: Speaking of names etched in history...
- "Call to action": Bud Selig appeared to react decisively, but the proof will be in the actions, not the words. Of the active players named, who will be suspended and for how many games?
- Don Fehr can't win by continuing to defend the status quo; the players' union utterly failed by not taking a more active role in this.
- In general, George Mitchell is getting very positive reviews. As expected, Mitchell's connection to the Red Sox (he's a director) has been brought up – more Yankees than Red Sox made the list.
- Frank Thomas should be credited with speaking to Mitchell. Presuming he was clean (and I do), will history remember him as the Steroid Era's "Greatest Clean Hitter?" (Probably not: That will go to Ken Griffey. But certainly The Big Hurt will be right up there.)
- David Justice, on the other hand, comes off as a bit more of a jerk: He talked with the Mitchell Commission, naming names, then it turns out HE was one of the names. Did he forget to mention that to them?
- Did Barry Bonds get advanced warning of MLB steroid tests in 2003? Well, no wonder he never failed a steroid test.
- Don't let the media off the hook: Keep in mind that baseball writers turned a blind eye to what they knew (or at least suspected) what was going on and were complicit in creating the Steroid Era.
- I guess we have a set of dates for the Steroid Era: 1988-2006. That's a lot of baseball -- most of your lives as aware fans, I would bet. That's crazy to think about.
(And just think: The report didn't even touch the issue of amphetamines, which have been around far longer, touched way more players and impacted way more games than PEDs.)
- Think this is behind us? Three words: H.G.H. There's no testing for it, and there's no reason to believe players aren't using it en masse.
(Painting with a broad brush? Really: After reading the report, the only thing you can really know is that PEDs are ingrained in the fabric of the game.)
- Roger Clemens: I will end with his name, because even more than Mitchell, Selig, Fehr, Radomski or any other, he is the name that defines the Mitchell Report. I am intrigued at how this impacts him.
Certainly he is as tarnished as Bonds, though I doubt fans will have the chance to jeer him in the same way they jeered Bonds (and I'm not even sure they would if they had the chance).
Clemens appears to have been cheating even longer than Bonds did, with even greater rewards coming to him for the effort.
Clemens is still a first-ballot Hall of Famer (as is Bonds), but his HOF plaque should be every bit as transparent as Bonds' should be:
"The greatest of his generation, but had to cheat to get there."
Leitch at Deadspin.
Mottram at Sporting Blog.
Bois at Dugout/Fanhouse.
Silver at BP Unfiltered.
Very quickly, everything else:
NFL This Weekend: It's all about Pats-Jets, which should be entertaining if only to see how unmercifully Bill Belichick destroys Eric Mangini. The 20-something spread is nothing; I'll say 40-plus.
(Update: As correctly pointed out in the comments, weather will play a big factor. But, to me, that just means the Jets will be shut out. You really think that the Pats can't score 5 TDs? Maybe "40" is a stretch, but 28-0? 35-0? Hardly, even in the bad weather.)
Oh, there was a game last night? Texans beat the Broncos, effectively eliminating any slim chance the Broncos had of making the playoffs.
Mario Williams (career-high 3.5 sacks) affirms that the Texans were probably right to pick him over Reggie Bush.
Sage Rosenfels re-affirms his place near the top of the list of backup QBs in this, the Year of the Backup QB.
This Weekend's Picks (Home in ALL CAPS)
Bengals over 49ERS
BROWNS over Bills
CHIEFS over Titans
Packers over RAMS
Ravens over DOLPHINS (0-16 Watch!)
PATRIOTS over Jets (19-0 Watch!)
SAINTS over Cards
STEELERS over Jags (GOTW)
BUCS over Falcons
Seahawks over PANTHERS
Colts over RAIDERS
COWBOYS over Eagles
CHARGERS over Lions
GIANTS over Redskins
VIKINGS over Bears (Playoff Destiny)
CFB I-AA Playoff Championship: Appalachian State vs. Delaware. App State is going for its third-straight I-AA title, confirming they are a "DynAAsty."
(Enterprising students who want to take that phrase and turn it into a T-shirt if/when App State wins, give me the credit – and a slice of the revenue!)
It would be a perfect bookend to a storybook season in I-AA that began when App State waltzed into the Big House and beat then-No. 5 Michigan, and followed with plenty of I-AA wins over I-A teams – not to mention a new rule where worthy I-AA teams could be ranked in the I-A Top 25.
Pick: App State.
CFB Coaching Carousel: Is this the weekend that UCLA will hire Norm Chow? Meanwhile, did Duke offer Tennessee assistant David Cutcliffe its head-coaching job? (And will he take it?)
NBA: Kobe and the Lakers are on a roll; they won their 4th straight AND beat the Spurs.