In what seems to have been a blur, the Mitchell Report was released almost a year ago. A year ago, baseball had come seemingly face to face with its dark, twisted, and contorted past that saw salaries grow the size of Barry Bond's head and witnessed players' salaries rise to extraordinary levels.
Was it really as messy as it seemed? What have we as baseball fans learned because of the report?
We definitely learned to be more cynical! Looking back on the summer of 1998, it's like looking at a family photo and realizing that your parents were cheating on one another and spending their 401k on cocaine. It just seems so hollow, so empty!
More than anything, looking back at what happened 10 years ago, we all seemed so naive! We were duped by guys like McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, and Giambi.
One of the most wonderful things about baseball is that no matter what it endures, baseball has the power to move on. Because of the Mitchell Report, all baseball could do was move on.
Just like real life, baseball is a game that is played every day. The baseball season, like life, keeps moving at a break-neck speed. The team that is awarded a championship in Major League Baseball is a team that has endured over a long season. The team that is crowned is one that overcame injuries, adversity, obstacles, and setbacks.
The same ingredient for a successful baseball season is also the same ingredient needed in life: endurance against all odds!
What's the biggest thing we learned?
Major League Baseball has endurance and was unfairly treated by the media. Baseball was held to a ridiculous standard by many members of the press that gave the NFL a carte blanche in regards to the steroids era.
(Maybe it was because the networks like ESPN and others can't fairly report on the NFL because they are afraid of losing the revenue that comes with having the rights to their telecast, but there was a double standard to say the least. Imagine if four players would have got suspended this season in one fell swoop like what happened in the NFL? It would lead every SportsCenter telecast for a week!)
Here's another thing we learned: There was a terrible anti-Yankee bias with the Mitchell Report, and think about it: How many times was Roger Clemens shown in a Yankees uniform after the Mitchell Report was released rather than a member of Toronto, Houston, or Boston? Clemens spent 5.5 seasons with the Yankees. He spent time in Boston much longer.
Almost all of the time now, when there is bad new for Clemens they always show him in a Yankees uniform!
And George Mitchell is a board member of the Boston Red Sox. Sorry, but I have a problem with this! Major League Baseball could have avoided the appearance of impropriety by asking someone else who didn't have ties to the Red Sox to lead an investigation that fingered many Yankees as cheaters.
There appeared to be very little reason for Mitchell to go after members of the Red Sox. And the fact that he only had two witnesses from New York gave him even less credibility.
And Kirk Radmoski and Brian McNamee certainly have their baggage. I'm not saying they're not telling the truth, but what Mitchell lacked was more quality witnesses, especially outside of New York.
Let me be the first one to say that all of Senator Mitchell's recommendations should be implemented. And all 20 of those appear to be acted upon. But, if you're going to name players for using steroids, you better make damn sure that you point out steroids users in every clubhouse and not just New York clubhouses.
For instance, how does someone not investigate Albert Belle? His career ended because of a debilitating hip injury. He was notorious for his temper tantrums, like throwing plates in the shower, causing damage to a clubhouse, and smashing thermostats with a baseball bat. And he was built like a tank.
Do we really give him a free pass? Well, Mitchell did! And that's what sucks about his report. The Yankees and Mets appeared to be singled out!
What else have we learned? Well, we learned that Roger Clemens lost a lot!
Never has someone's integrity and reputation been ruined as quickly and decisively as Roger Clemens'. The guy may not even make the Hall of Fame because his reputation has been so tarnished.
And now that we learn that the Rocket was not the family man he portrayed himself as. He was an adulterer, a prick, and maybe even a child molester. Seriously, Clemens' case on this may lead to Public Relations professors teaching their students what not to do!
And getting grilled in front of Congress didn't help him either.
We've learned a lot in the last year. We've learned that the Steroids Era will go down in infamy like the Cocaine Trials, Black Sox Scandal, and owners committing collusion against the players union.
But more than anything, we learned that baseball has the power to move on. We learned that baseball is not perfect, but it can survive by putting one foot in front of the other, day by day.
That's why baseball, to me, is the greatest game on the face of the earth!