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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anticipating the Mitchell Report

Howard Bryant has a lengthy and detailed (albeit anonymously sourced) story at about the soon-to-be-released Mitchell Report and the various problems and intrigues that have confounded the now-20-month-old investigation. The article describes, among other things, pressure from MLB and the investigative team on GMs, trainers, strength coaches, and clubhouse managers to speculate as to possible steroid users. It also contains information suggesting that the investigators were unprepared to ask more than surface questions and did not know enough about the day-to-day life of professional baseball to ask the kinds of questions that would draw out meaningful information. Finally, there is a sense of competing views of the purpose of the report: While Mitchell's team seems to want to name names and expose past wrongdoing, many of the team employees and executives interviewed were hoping for a more remedial, forward-looking report on how to get steroids out of the game going forward. See also the sidebar Q & A with Lester Munson.

Whatever it says, the Report will have a lot of people talking.

Update: 9 p.m. C.S.T.:

A good story from John Donovan at discussing what people in baseball are expecting. Donovan reports that only two active players--Jason Giambi and an unnamed player--spoke with investigators. The report also relies heavily on testimony from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.

This story says that MLB received a draft of the report earlier Tuesday and release is expected on Thursday. It also reports that 60-80 current and former players are named, most off Radomski's testimony.


What's the purpose of the report? That's what I've been wondering for the past 20 months. The arbitrator's decision on the grievance filed by the union to overturn Jose Guillen's 15 day suspension will be a key indicator of whether Mitchell's report ends up being much to do about nothing.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 12/11/2007 5:09 PM  

Frankly, I am tired of hearing the media call this pending report "Senator Mitchell's Report." George Mitchell is not a current senator. Rather, he is part owner of the Boston Red Sox.

The cynic in me fears that a very hard-hitting report identifying players that abused substances is intended to thwart a real Congressional investigation into the knowledge of performance-enhancing drug use by MLB ownership and executives.

If naming names really serves a legitimate purpose, I look forward to seeing whether Mr. Mitchell's report also reveals names of the many owners and baseball executives that must have known about the steroid problem and turned a blind eye to it.

If Mr. Mitchell's report does so, I fully recant my criticism. However, thus far, the Commissioner's office seems to hush any talk of ownership's willful blindness.

-Marc Edelman

Anonymous Marc Edelman -- 12/12/2007 2:52 PM  


If you read Howard Bryant's espn story, it quotes unnamed team executives expressing some concern that they were potentially being set-up for their failure to take action. So while I doubt any owners are going to take a hit, GMs and other baseball execs may be another story.

Once someone holds certain high federal offices, they are, for better or worse, identified by that title forever, even after they leave the position. Congressional Republicans kept referring to Ken Starr as "Judge" when he was the I/C investigating the Lewinsky affair--about the most un-judgelike activity one can imagine. Same thing w/ Joe Wilson (Valerie Plame's wife): Still called "Ambassador," even though he currently is not serving as one.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 12/12/2007 3:26 PM  


I had not read Howard Bryant's column yet, but I will take a look. If the Mitchell Report ultimately names any executives in the commissioner's office, I would take this as a true sign of independence. We'll see what happens soon enough.

To my Seton Hall students, thanks to Mr. Mitchell, tomorrow will bring an entirely new meaning to the idea of "reading days."

Blogger Marc Edelman -- 12/12/2007 6:06 PM  

In terms of REAL importance why doesn't the government, Mitchell and the rest do an inquiry on Politicians hiring hookers, driving drunk, taking bribes, etc. While this baseball steroid scandal is a problem shouldn't we, as citizens, be MORE concerned with the behavior of ALL politicians? Or is this just a distraction by Dems/Repub to focus attention away from themselves?

Would you rather have a beer with Barry Bonds or drive across a bridge with Ted Kennedy?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/13/2007 7:55 PM  

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