13 December 2007 by Published in: General musings 16 comments

Today is a very sad day for the National Pastime. Former Senator George Mitchell’s 408 page report on the use of steroids in Major League Baseball was released today. The entire report can be downloaded for free in any number of places.

Some of the game’s biggest names were implicated in the report. 85 players were named, including MVP’s, 31 All Stars, Cy Young Award winners, and, most interestingly, 16 members of the New York Yankees. Sadly, the most famous name (beside Barry Bonds, that is) is that of the Rocket–yes, Roger Clemens himself. Clemens, with 7 Cy Young Awards, more than 350 victories, and often considered to be THE greatest pitcher of the modern era, has long been a favorite of mine. I can no longer root for him, even though his lawyer has loudly protested his innocence and has proclaimed how unfair the whole thing is.

I always knew that the Yankees were the best team that money could buy. Now, it appears that they were also the best team dope could build. If Bud Selig has any guts–and I can only hope he does–he will strip the Yankees of any World Series championships during the pertinent period of time, including making the dope fiends turn in their championship rings. Perhaps then, and only then, will these cheaters learn that there is a serious price to be paid for their cheating.

Unless Selig is willing to do something that serious, it will come across as a slap on the wrist, and it will also come across as an unwillingness to take steps to restore integrity to the game.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Thu 13th Dec 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Eric, as expected I too am in the process of digesting this, but this scandal goes way above and beyond the New York Yankees. This entire era has been tainted and there is ‘plenty of blame to go around’ (see how I worked that title in)… And if you look at the post-season stats by those that wore the pinstripes during their championship run in the late-90’s, there are only a couple of those named that had exceptional performances during that period. The unfortunate reality in all of this is that the players named would have probably been great without juicing. I am shocked that Clemens was named, and yet in retrospect, not all that surprised. We all knew there was something going on and yet refused to admit it. The worst part is that there are apparently many more names to come and although a lot of this is hearsay, it stings all the same. Here’s to us all getting through this (as fans) and remembering that nothing has been proven yet. Let the facts come out and then we’ll start discussing stripping titles and taking away championships. I’ve studied the history of this game like you have studied the history of horse soldiers and it has never-ever been 100% pure. Cheating has always been there and the HOF is full of cheaters. To truly love the game you have to acknowledge the fact that there are dishonest participants in it just as with any segment of society. It doesn’t make the game any less brilliant. Players are people too – the good – the bad – and the ugly. Today was a day for the bad and the ugly. Let’s not forget about the good.

  2. Steve Basic
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 4:29 am

    Eric,

    I know you hate the Yankees, but with all due respect…lighten up. Your post insinuates that all the recent championships they have won are tarnished by cheating. That ain’t the case, especially with those outed today.

    Your point is most pertinent to the 2000 World Series win, and if I was not a Yankees fan, that’s where I would focus my complaints as well. Then again, have heard David Justice denying any involvement. Let the evidence come out, and if so, I will stand by you and agree that the 2000 championship should be taken away. But to say all WS wins should be taken away is not even close to being fair.

    IMHO, the sad thing is that those implicated will not be punished for cheating.

    Will just add one more thing…Check out David Ortiz when he played for the Twins and then when he has played for the Red Sox… Last I checked he was not called Big Papi in Minnesota.

    Steve

  3. Rick Allen
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 6:43 am

    As if anyone needed more reasons to hate the Yankees……..

    Regards,

    Rick

  4. Jim Epperson
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 10:12 am

    Eric, did Susan put something in your beer last night? There is no way in hell that baseball is going to strip the Yankees — or anyone else — of titles over the dopng mess. The baseball powers-that-be are historically spineless. It’s been a *long* time since Kenesaw Mountain Landis ruled the game.

  5. Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 10:35 am

    Well, I’ve been chuckling (perhaps hiding my sadness and shock) when many news organizations call this era now the “Era of the Asterisk.” Makes me wonder if the baseball stats and records books should all be full of asterisks for at least the past decade or so. Each asterisk could then refer to a particular chemical name at the bottom of the page.

    The only thing that juiced up the Babe was that 10th hot dog for dinner.

    Some of those old guys must be shaking their heads up there.

    J.D.

  6. Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 10:40 am

    Were Yankees mentioned? I’m still digesting Paul LoDuca buying juice for Eric Gagne, and management knowing about it, during that dark time when FOX owned my beloved Dodgers. I keep thinking about John Greenleaf Whitttier’s poem “Ichabod,” about Daniel Webster’s vote for the new Fugitive Slave Law:

    Then, pay the reverence of old days
    To his dead fame;
    Walk backward, with averted gaze,
    And hide the shame!

  7. Gary Emling
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 11:16 am

    It will be interesting to compare the penalties handed down by MLB with those routinely given out by the Olympic organization and international cycling sanctioning groups. Ask Marian Jones if you can see one of her Olympic medals!

  8. Brooks Simpson
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Eric, your observations would carry more weight if you distributed blame fairly and evenly. Instead you focus on the Yankees, and in the process I think you have let the fan in you overcome the lawyer.

    As has been pointed out, the only Yankee championship team that would have been affected by this would be the 2000 edition, and really, that’s Clemens. The original accusations happened when Clemens was a Blue Jay. Besides, as the Yankees beat a juiced-up Giambi in 2000 and 2001, etc., you can see where your reasoning would lead, unless this is your desperate attempt to win pennants for Cleveland and Philadelphia in retrospect. I don’t see Jeter, Martinez, O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Rivera, etc., mentioned.

    I’m no fan of Clemens, and I have never liked Giambi. So this is not a case of blind pinstripe pride. Nor am I going to wax nostalgic about the integrity of a game which was once segregated in those good old days (talk about tainted numbers).

  9. Jeff Mancini
    Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Eric: Ask yourself “Is baseball tainted more by performance enhancing drug usage by its players or the greed of owners who turned a blind eye to this usage when in the mid 1990’s it was apparent that the players were performing beyond the scope of previous efforts but were also restoring fan attendance that had slipped in the wake of a debilitating strike?” A second question may also be asked: “Is MLB baseball competetive when teams with $50 million payrolls compete against teams with $200 million payrolls? If baseball desires a fair,just and compettive balance should they not adopt rules that the NFL,NHL and NBA subscribe too: That is equality not only amongst the players but also in their payrolls. Baseball needs to fix both issues. Therefore competetive balance can be restored.Good topic. Have a great holiday too. Regards, Jeff.

    P.S. If Clemens was not using steroids or hgh why did he refuse to talk to George Mitchell. I would think he would have cooperated with this request instead of letting himself get used by Don Fehr’s machinations.

  10. Fri 14th Dec 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I am so very glad that Cal Ripken, Jr. is not on that list. I do not know what I would do.

  11. Jeff Mancini
    Sat 15th Dec 2007 at 12:58 am

    As for Bud Selig: He is a poo stain on the great American pastime. A stooge of a man who cares nothing about competitive balance, economic equlibrium and athletes competing against each other ethically and fairly. He lacks the character and will to stand up to a blowhard like Don Fehr. If Bud Selig cared about baseball he would have long ago demanded that the owners back him in a demand for mandatory drug testing amongst the players. That some players were ingesting illegal substances like steroids and human growth hormone to gain a competetive advantage over others speaks volumes to the fact that he is more interested in turning a buck than presenting the paying fans and supporters of the game with an unbiased, untainted product. He is just as decrepit as the cheats who used the drugs to pad their lifetime stats as if they will someday be immortalized for their achieviements. The sole gate keepers of the games…the men who vote for the inductions of players into the hall of fame will most assuredly not induct: Roger Clemens,Barry Bonds,Mark McGwire,Sammy Sosa,Rafael Palmiero,Jose Canseco and any other person with extraordinary career statistics identified by the Mitchell Investigation or any prior or after revelation to Cooperstown and rightfully so. Therefore Eric, George Steinbrenner, who bagged millions with his high flying Yankees, taking advantage of baseball’s inability to not only reign in illegal substance usage but also in implementing a balanced and fair salary ceiling amongst its teams shares a great deal of responsibility in this whole sordid era. Thus the linkage of the haves and have nots although different than the illegal drug issue is part of the pattern of how baseball unlike the NHL,NBA and NFL is a sport devoid of fairness, truth and transparency. Fix the game MLB owners and if Bud Selig and Don Fehr object show them the door. The court of American public opinion will back you 100% I’m sure (unless you are a Yankee or Red Sox fan.)

  12. Valerie Protopapas
    Sat 15th Dec 2007 at 7:16 am

    Ah, a chance to be ‘controversial’!. Let me just say this: WHO CARES?! These fellows – I won’t call them men – are grossly overpaid ‘celebrities’ who will do whatever is necessary to win. Gee, isn’t THAT unusual!

    First, our entire society has abandoned moral absolutes in favor of ‘what works’. Nothing is REALLY ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ all the time (maybe MOST of the time, but….), after all, we’re told that what’s ‘right’ and ‘good’ for you might not be the same for me, so ‘live and let live’, don’t force your morality on me, and so forth. This world view excuses cheating, lying and a whole lot of other things in a lot more important world venues than a silly game.

    And speaking of ‘silly game’, what’s up with America’s fixation with sports? Like the Roman mob, Americans are kept quiescent in the face of assaults on our Constitutional liberties (AND our Constitution) with a 24-7 diet of stupid games which have become more important to many than their actual lives! Gone are the days of church on Sunday morning (soccer-baseball-lacrosse games for the kiddies) or Sunday family dinner (gather round the TV for baseball or football, depending). For those of us who have no use for ‘sports’, watching America’s fixation with whose playing whom and the ‘point spread’ is both nauseating and frightening.

    Let’s face it. Athletes, like film stars and politicians, want to give the ‘fans’ what they want. That’s where ‘success’ lies; that’s where the money is (always follow the money) and that’s where ‘fame’ resides. The fans are the LAST ones to claim ‘foul’ for they would have been the first ones to complain and stay away in droves from games featuring ordinary people. Juice the ball, move the fences in, lower the mound, all to create the offensive excitement that fill the seats. Owners, players and various league officials do what the FANS want! And since honesty is now subjective rather than objective, any cry of ‘wrongdoing’ or ‘foul’ is as dishonest as the player who took the dope and the manager, owner and league officials who looked the other way! It’s a long way from the ‘Black Sox’ scandal to this tempest in a teapot.

    I would suggest that the best thing that might come out of all this is for Americans to get their heads out of their collective television sets and TURN OFF THE SPORTS! Get a life! Who cares what idiot took what ‘performance enhancing drug’? He did it because that was the way to success – and success pays off. Indeed, these cheating players are far more honest than most today. They put their own bodies on the line (steroids are dangerous!) to EARN the money that they get for performing an apparently appreciated service while cheating politicians, CEOs, Union bosses and the like are busy taking money from our pockets without either danger to themselves or a return to the public! Who, then, is the REAL cheat!

    Frankly, the fact that this nonsense can so enthrall a nation facing huge problems in the REAL world says more about the moral and intellectual failings of the American public than that of a few men involved in a meaningless game.

  13. Valerie Protopapas
    Sat 15th Dec 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Oh, and a p.s. Learned today that there were names released without any corroborating evidence that rises to the point of conclusive. On the other hand, there were many names NOT released because those involved would not speak openly about the matter and so NOTHING was available to add their name to the list other than suspicion.

    This means that there may be those who have been accused but not involved and those who have been involved but whose names were not released. To me this is worse than the scandal itself. Either name EVERYBODY or NOBODY except those – like Jason Giambi – who came forward and admitted their involvement. Throwing out some names and not others gives the appearance of guilt where none may actually exist and the appearance of innocence which may very definitely be undeserved (neither McGuire nor Bonds is ‘outed’ in the report, so I’m reliably informed!). What sort of ‘justice’ is this??

  14. Brooks Simpson
    Sun 16th Dec 2007 at 1:28 am

    BTW, I don’t believe Sammy Sosa’s name appears in the report.

  15. Art Bergeron
    Sun 16th Dec 2007 at 1:57 pm

    In recent years, it has been the Boston Bosux who have been the best team money could buy. It seems obvious that some of their players have been involved with drugs. One has to wonder why none of them were named.

  16. Ken Noe
    Sun 16th Dec 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Bonds is named in the report.

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