Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday 12/13 A.M. Quickie:
It's All About the Mitchell Report

Today's Names to Know: George Mitchell, Bud Selig, Whoever Is Named In the Mitchell Report (All 60-80 of You!), Bobby Petrino, Eric Mangini, Miguel Tejada, Aaron Rowand, Mark Prior, Glen Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Marion Jones and More!

Mitchell Report here.
The rumor-leaked list from this morning is somewhat wack. Here's Leitch's live-blog of the Mitchell press conference -- plus notes from the report's findings -- at Deadspin.

UPDATE: I don't think this "leaked" list was exhaustively right or complete. (For example: Pujols' name wasn't in the actual report, but was on the list.) Gotta love Internet rumors!

UPDATE: Mitchell Watch "Naming Names": It has begun. Clemens headlining the list?
That is a biggie (but -- come on -- hardly a surprise to anyone).

How appropriate for a generation to be historically remembered as the "Steroid Era" that the greatest hitter AND the greatest pitcher were both cheaters? It's fitting, if nothing else.

MLB Doomsday: Mitchell Report out TODAY
, with a news conference at 2 p.m. ET. This is the biggest story of the month, of the baseball offseason and -- depending on the results of the report and the subsequent fall-out -- the biggest story of the year. (Even if, down deep, fans don't REALLY care about steroids, PED-related cheating, no matter how much the media or Congress wans them to.)

The money quote? "Serious drug culture… from top to bottom."

Yes, that's severe, but is it really a surprise? It shouldn't be/won't be to any fan who has been following baseball (or any sport) over the last decade (or more).

But, really, it's all about The Names. Names. Names. Names. 60-80 names, according to the AP, including MVPs and All-Stars.

Who makes the list? How big are the stars? Who is still playing? What will happen to them? What will MLB do about it? (See Fanhouse's Pat Lackey.)

And what is the damage control: By MLB, by the players named, by the union, by everyone.

If both MLB and players are unhappy with the reports' results (as reports indicate they are/will be), that probably is a signal that the Mitchell Commission did about as good of a job as they could have, given the constraints of the union's unhelpfulness, MLB's apprehension about looking bad and Mitchell's own known conflicts of interest.

Much much more throughout the day.

One thing: Instant access to the report online? I hope Mitchell immediately releases the entire text of the report (plus exhibits!) online as soon as he makes his presentation. This was an investigation done in the public's name, and should be appropriately transparent.

(Funny detail in the AP report this morning: The Mitchell Report won't get into amphetamine usage, which is arguably way more of an epidemic – recently and historically – than PEDs. If he did, a 304-page report (plus exhibits!) would be 3,000 pages, and 60-80 names would be more like 6000-8000 names.)

Petrino/Arkansas/Falcons, Cont'd: Two pieces of awesomeness:

(1) Jerry Jones Tampering? Did Jerry Jones not just break but obliterate the handshake agreement among NFL owners by soliciting Petrino to go to Arkansas, a school to which Jones is as intensely loyal as he is to his Cowboys? Jones admits he looked into it, but denies he helped it happen. Hard to believe.

(2) Falcons Player Bitterness: Have you see the letter that Petrino taped up to a locker announcing his departure to the team? Lawyer Milloy apparently crossed out Petrino's name and put "Coward." Sweet. It would appear that Falcons players feel a little ticked off; I think that in retrospect, they'll be glad he's gone and replaced with a real NFL coach, not a college wannabe.

Given how much the players obviously disliked the guy, the level of vocal unhappiness coming out from players in the wake of this story is curious: Obviously, they are taking advantage of the opportunity to vent their season-long frustrations by publicly ripping the guy (and not without reason); but isn't the best response simply: "We're so happy to see him go; he was terrible."

In this whole mess, Arkansas fans come out the big winners (until, Petrino critics would insist, he leaves them unexpectedly for a better job). Petrino comes out as the biggest villain. Falcons owner Arthur Blank comes out actually looking sympathetic. And Falcons fans just get everyone else's well-deserved pity on a truly brutal season.

(Speaking of losers, I can't believe I ever thought Petrino would be a good fit. Thanks to the commenters who called me out, throwing my own words back at me. It's a rule: College coaches with no substantial previous NFL coaching experience can't coach pro; pro coaches with no substantial previous college coaching experience can't coach college.)

Pats-Jets Lead-Up and Jets' own cheating: I guess I'm not outraged that Eric Mangini taped the Pats (it sounds like it was fairly benign and regular end-zone taping, which the team got permission to do virtually everywhere from every team).

I'm more outraged that while Mangini was outing the Pats' cheating earlier this season, he wasn't forthcoming that the Jets were involved in their own (legitimate) taping operation.

That opens up the false-equivalency of "Well, the Jets cheated, too!" from Pats fans, when, in fact, the two tapings weren't particularly similar – from all accounts, the Jets' taping was S.O.P. (if a sketchy fit for this storyline); the Pats' taping remains cheating.

(Given the technological improvements, what if the NFL made any form of videotaping OK under the rules and encouraged teams to be creative about how they stole – and defended – their signals?)

MLB Trade Mania: Miguel Tejada to the Astros for 5 solid prospects. There were high hopes when Tejada got to the Orioles (and there were several moments through the years when he could have been traded for much more), but it just never worked out. The rebuilding O's get cheap young talent; the Astros get a front-line superstar.

(So: Given the timing of the trade, who wants to wager that Tejada is among the names listed on the Mitchell Report?)

MLB Free Agency: Aaron Rowand to the Giants for 5Y/$60M. He isn't just the last remaining free-agent stud to be found, but he actually gives the Giants a new "face" after the Barry Bonds Era. And the two faces couldn't be more different. For one, Rowand's head is much, much smaller.

Cubs let Mark Prior go: You don't have to be particularly old to say, "Remember when Prior was going to be IT?" It will be intriguing to see where he ends up… and if he can come remotely close to recovering his career. (Meanwhile, the Cubs officially signed Fukudome.)

NBA: Knicks bottom out? Knicks lose to Sonics at the Garden. Sure, the Knicks' humiliating blowout loss to the Celtics a few weeks ago was bad, but at least that was on the road to the East's best team. Losing to the woeful Sonics in New York is even worse. Hey, maybe Isiah will blame the Garden fans for Kevin Durant racking up 30.

More: The Sixers have won 4 games in a row... Did the Celtics' "Big Three" just add a "Big Baby?" Glen Davis had 16 and 9 in another Boston win… I was at the Pepsi Center last night and got a chance to see Carmelo score 32 en route to a big Nuggets win over the Hornets. I still think that AI is my favorite player to watch in person, but the burly Carmelo on a rampage to the basket is a pretty intense sight…

CBB: Ohio U. beats Maryland. Another mid-major notches a win over a "power conference" team.

CFB Coaching Carousel: I love that the Duke football head-coaching job was put on the Duke University job-listings page online. Almost makes me think I want to apply for it.

Marion Jones' name stricken from Olympic records: The triple-crown of Olympic ignominy is (1) Taking away the medals, (2) Erasing your name from the record book, and (3) Your overall reputation is tainted as "cheater" forever.

Today's Must-Read: Darren Rovell's predictions for 2008 for the year in sports business. Great stuff in here.

-- D.S.


Mike said...

2 things. You could say that even though Pete Carroll did about 10 years of college assistant coaching he was much more of an NFL guy before he took over the Trojans. And that's worked out just fine.

Also, I think that most schools post their head football job postings on their web pages. I remember that deadspin had the Michigan job a few weeks ago.

marcomarco said...

That opens up the false-equivalency of "Well, the Jets cheated, too!" from Pats fans, when, in fact, the two tapings weren't particularly similar – from all accounts, the Jets' taping was S.O.P. (if a sketchy fit for this storyline); the Pats' taping remains cheating.

I'm glad you viewed these tapes to verify their innocence.

Given the long and ugly history between Mangini and Belichick, i'm constantly stunned at how 'anti Patriot' the country remains.

That being said, given that the Pats barred the Jets from taping (but DIDN'T turn them in), i'm surprised that Beli would try that the following matchup and not expect the same treatment.

Mangini is still a rat. Mark my words, he will be unemployed (blacklisted) after his time with the Jets expires.

Jenny said...

I know when Tubby left UK in March, they had the basketball coaching position listed on the web page. Believe me, I'm sure in Kentucky we had a whole slew of "coaches" submitting their credentials.

I kid because I love, though. Lord knows I contemplated throwing my name in!

mcam09 said...

I agree marco, the Mang-idiot benefited from cheating as a Pats coach, assuming they were taping for years. Then, he goes to the Jets and turns Belichick in? The guy is a rat and in my opinion, very overrated as a coach. Last week, why is he kicking a FG? The guy lucked into some breaks and one of the easiest schedules I have ever seen last year. This coming from a fan who hates the Pats.

C Gally said...

Will it be sad that I cry when some Pirates are named in this? I just know I'm going to find out we've been cheating all this time and STILL suck.

Jess Nevins said...

Roger Clemens' name in the Mitchell Report?

Christmas just came early for me.

Beetle said...

Now it's coming out that Clemens and "several prominent Yankeees (please be Arod please be Arod!!) are named in the report.
God, please spare Ortiz and Ramirez!

Unknown said...

Mike got to it before I could.

Arguably the most successful college coach of this millennium is Pete Carroll, who did not have "substantial previous college coaching experience" prior to taking over at USC.

What about Jimmy Johnson? I don't know his pre-Miami background, but he was an awfully successful both in college and the NFL.

Of course, maybe they are the exception to the rule.

Anonymous said...

The Jets cheating thing is ridiculous. In high school we filmed every game and got permission from the other team to film the game and of course allowed the other team to film the game. Looking at game film is absolutely legal and part of the game for the last 50 years. Filming hand signals from coaches is cheating. It is not filming that is the problem, it is using electronic means to steal signals.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you can consider chesss a sport but in the spirit in which I report on cycling and on rugby, I will report on the World Cup 2007 taking place in Turkey right now.

There was a 128 person field. They used a 7 round seeed bracket similar to the NCAAs with one extra round of course. This is something kind of new. In each round, each person gets to be white (an advantage) one time in a long game. Then if the score is tied, they play two short games with each player being white with the time control at 30 minutes pluse 10 seconds per move. After that there is a round of speed chess (5 minutes + 10 sec/move) and then a sudden death game where white gets more time but has to win. If black draws, then black advances.

They are down to two people now. One is an American, Gata Kamsky. The last round goes up to 4 games.

Brian said...

It shouldn't be a shock that the Falcons' players are displaying such vitriol towards Petrino. Why admit how your own shortcomings contributed to the failure of the team when your departing coach provides such a convenient scapegoat? I am not defending Petrino's decision to leave. However, to place the blame for a disappointing season solely on the coach's shoulders and not acknowledge the failures of the players is absurd.

Matt Berg said...

Remember win the Minnesota Twins were chastised for taking hometown kid Joe Mauer over future hall of famer Mark Prior? Those were the days...

Brian in Oxford said...

El Guapo?! NOOOO!!!!!!

SF said...

i just want to make one thing crystal clear...


if barry gets banned from hall, so should roger...


go dodgers

Bill Rawls, Deputy Ops. said...

The thing that irks me the most is how much of a pass the NFL gets on PED use. I realize that the NFL started testing for steriods some 20 years ago, but the NFL was at the point MLB is now at that time. It just goes to show how far ahead the PED curve the NFL is as compared to MLB. HGH is now the big thing going on in the NFL and MLB, but I'm sure that HGH use has been rampant in the NFL for years and years. In fact, NFL players have probably already moved on to the next big thing that MLB players, by and large, haven't even caught on to yet.

I just wish PEDs weren't portrayed as just a Baseball problem when I'm sure that they are an even much bigger problem in the NFL.