A Sad Day in Baseball: The Mitchell Report Names Names

Bleacher Report Senior Analyst IDecember 13, 2007

George Mitchell
George Mitchell (foreground) released his report to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (background).  (photo: nydailynews.com)

For 28 minutes I sat and listened to George Mitchell introduce his report.

This wasn't the Q&A, it wasn't a recap or overview—just the introduction.

Twenty-eight minutes...

As Mitchell began to bore me, I decided to start scrolling through the official report, to see it with my own eyes.

Just when I thought my heart had sunk to an all-time low, I came across the Kirk Radomski/Brian McNamee section—the meat of the report.

As I scrolled through the report, tears almost came across my eyes as I saw the names of some of my childhood heroes: Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn, Todd Pratt, Miguel Tejada, Paul Lo Duca, Kevin Brown, Eric Gagne, just to name a few.

I loved David Justice—I thought he was one of the real good guys. His smile seemed so warm and comforting to any little leaguer who was nervous about approaching him for an autograph.

Roger Clemens was the man. I collected his baseball cards dating back to his Red Sox days. I even used those plastic slip-covers to protect his cards—it was the utmost respect a kid could give a major-leaguer.

As I continued to read, I thought I would find an elegantly written report, but no—who knew such simple sentences could make me feel so bad:

Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte (left) and Roger Clemens (right) each are mentioned in the Mitchell Report for using performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo: AP/David Phillip)
"McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided. Each incident took place in Clemens's apartment at the SkyDome. McNamee never asked Clemens where he obtained the steroids." —George Mitchell's Report to the Commissioner of Baseball...(pg. 169) 

"Radomski said he made one sale to Justice, which occurred after the 2000 World Series. Justice played for the Yankees that year. Justice paid Radomski by check for two or three kits of human growth hormone. Radomski said that he cashed this check. Brian McNamee recalled that Justice asked him about human growth hormone in 2000 or 2001, while McNamee and Justice were both with the Yankees. According to McNamee, Justice admitted in this conversation that he had obtained human growth hormone from Radomski."  (pg. 189)

The 409-page report is full of little anecdotes like these—nothing like the work of a film script, yet filled with just as much punch per word.

I have to admit, the shock hit me when I saw these little stories—the recapping of exactly what happened and who exactly was involved.

But then, somehow, I saw right through the Mitchell Report. Hidden behind this long 409-page report was basically evidence all tracing back to one man—Kirk Radomski.

But that's it.

Sure, the report lists names not tied to Radomski, but they are names like Ankiel, Canseco, Gibbons, and Rocker—all names that were previously reported.

The Mitchell Report basically named them and gave footnotes directing the reader to another source.

After I noticed that this ridiculously lengthy 409-page report could easily have been, say, 50 pages, I began wondering how much juicing actually goes on in baseball. 

If this much information was turned out by just one or two guys, how much more is out there, and who else was Mitchell talking to for the other portion of his nearly two year investigation?

I felt as if I was looking at the night sky, wondering how many more stars were out there that I couldn't see.

I'm not sure anyone knows where baseball is headed, or if their testing policies will be stricter, but I know one thing:

It needs to get cleaned up, and it needs to happen now.

No more two-year long investigations.

No more he-said-she-said. 

From what I understand, the next time the testing issue will come up between the league and the MLBPA is in 2011.

That's too long.   

Make a policy, make it strict, and make it now.

I don't want current little leaguers to grow up and have to feel this utter disappointment—it's just not fair to the fans.

So, congratulations George Mitchell, you cracked the door open. 

Now, it's up to you, Commissioner Selig. Good luck—you might need it.