Baseball establishes investigations unit

1/14/2008 - MLB

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball launched a department of
investigations Friday, a permanent branch of the commissioner's
office responsible for looking into drug use in the sport.

In his report last month on drug use in baseball, George
Mitchell had recommended the formation of the unit. Adopting
another of Mitchell's recommendations, MLB is establishing a tip
line for team employees to make the commissioner's office aware of
violations of drug, betting and other rules.

"The department of investigations will have critically
important responsibilities in protecting the integrity of our
sport," commissioner Bud Selig said.

Dan Mullin, a former New York City police officer who had been
in baseball's senior director of security operations, was appointed
vice president and head of the unit. George Hanna, a former FBI
employee currently in baseball's security department, was appointed
senior director of investigations.

MLB said the unit "will have broad authority to conduct
investigations." The limits of the unit were not immediately
clear. Will it place moles in clubhouses? Will it secretly tail
players away from ballparks?

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, did not respond
to a message and didn't directly in a statement relayed through
spokesman Rich Levin if those practices would be put in place.

"Dan Mullin, George Hanna and I will work up a set of
protocols," DuPuy said. "Dan and George will be given the freedom
to do what is appropriate. But, it will be in the context of
acceptable and customary investigative and business practices."

Mullin was not available for comment, Levin said.

It was unclear whether the activities the unit could participate
in would have to be negotiated with the players' association. Under
labor law, terms and conditions of employment are subject to
collective bargaining.

"We learned about this late last night. We had no role of any
kind or sort in it," union head Donald Fehr said. "After we
digest it, to the extent we have questions and things we want to
raise, I'm sure we'll be doing that."

MLB will require all employees of the team and the
commissioner's office to report any information on the possible use
of performance-enhancing drugs to the head of the department of
investigations. All team baseball operations employees will be
required to sign annual statement that they have no undisclosed
knowledge of drug use, possession or distribution by players or
other team employees.

This week, MLB adopted several other recommendations made by
Mitchell, such as background checks and random drug tests for
clubhouse employees; logging all packages sent to clubhouses; and
permanent credentials for drug testers.

Selig has said some of the recommendations are subject to
collective bargaining, such as moving responsibility for drug
testing to an outside body. Lawyers for MLB and the union had a
preliminary discussion this week.

Selig, Fehr and Mitchell are to testify Tuesday before the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.