MLB Story lines
For years, steroid use in baseball was a barely acknowledged problem; everyone knew it was happening -- minor players were suspended for violating substance-abuse policies -- but very little was done to figure out exactly which players had truly benefited.
The release of the Mitchell report changed all that. Suddenly, some of the game's biggest names were thrust into the spotlight, forced to explain their actions from years past. The most notable name on the list was Roger Clemens, whom some regard as the greatest pitcher of all time. His relationship with alleged steroid dealer Brian McNamee was put on the national stage in subsequent congressional hearings, perhaps staining his legacy forever.
The initial fallout from the Mitchell report was substantial, but could there be more to come? How will it affect baseball as further details are revealed? Cast your vote now!
What They're Saying
We've collected a sample of what writers, bloggers, and players themselves have said this offseason about the effects of the Mitchell report. For this issue, we've chosen ESPN's Peter Gammons and Rob Neyer:
Peter Gammons: "You can blame the players association and you can blame Bud Selig, but the fact remains that the players who were truly clean did not exercise their power to avoid this, nor did their owners care to know as the business went from a $1.3B industry in 1995 to one that topped $6.2B in 2007. Not that most owners had enough time to really understand this, which is why it's fortunate that Mitchell did not go back to the period when George W. Bush owned the Texas Rangers -- which Jose Canseco and others have fingered as a performance-enhancing Wal-Mart -- because there is no way Bush had any idea what was alleged in Canseco's book.
"The problem is that the history of the 20-something years of steroids, HGH, etc. is written by Canseco and clubhouse gophers, fired trainers and gym rats. Many of us have a problem with Mitchell throwing out names based on little to no proof other than hearsay, but he was left with few alternatives. Baseball wanted him to look at the period. He did, as best he could, and emptied it like a box of trash, with little differentiation between Roger Clemens and Brian Roberts, whose name was revealed without evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever. In this era of vigilante journalism, if it's a name, it's got guilt, and the fact that some 'news' services ran with a phony report with 76 names Thursday morning puts 'news' right there in the culture of the sewer rats."
Dec. 14, 2007
Rob Neyer: "...I do believe it's worthwhile to analyze performance with an eye toward drug use. Such analysis would be useful to general managers, to Hall of Fame voters, and (yes) to rotisserie players, too. Also, it's been suggested that MLB should establish its own investigative arm to track down users, and its detectives will need somewhere to start, right?
"Fair? Maybe, maybe not. But if anybody's serious about getting drugs out of the headlines -- and superstars' names out of indictments and affidavits -- perhaps fairness must become a secondary consideration.
Dec. 26, 2007
Investigate all, not some
The Rundown: Mitchell report players
Brian McNamee was a key figure in the Mitchell report.
Eighty-nine current and former players were mentioned in the Mitchell report. Some were minor names, mainly players that may have prolonged their major league careers through steroid or performance-enhancing drug usage. A few, however, were absolute superstars, players who were etched in the record books for all time. These names have likely had the biggest impact on the way baseball fans view the game. Some of the more famous players mentioned in the report are presented below, along with a summation of Mitchell's investigation.