Is Today Mark McGwire’s Best Day in Years?

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell today released his long-anticipated report on steroid use in baseball. It charges many star players with having used steroids, including Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire. Here’s one thing about the report that really jumped out at me, as portrayed by Michael Schmidt and Duff Wilson in the Times‘s lead story:

[Mitchell] did say that baseball should not punish players for their past misdeeds, noting that it was time for baseball to look forward.

Interesting! After a year in which most baseball fans seemed to be clamoring for Barry Bonds’s head, here comes a recommendation that Major League Baseball not punish the players. From the perspective of M.L.B., this would seem to be fantastic news, if for no other reason than if players are not to be punished, then presumably Roger Clemens and any other Hall of Fame-bound player can still get into the Hall smoothly, without any pesky steroid charges blocking his way.

If that’s indeed the case, can you imagine how Mark McGwire must be feeling today? He got the cold shoulder from the Hall of Fame voters after he evaded the issue during a congressional hearing on the subject.

But now Mitchell is pleading that no individual players be punished. Certainly this would help Roger Clemens. But I would think this is by far the best news that McGwire has heard in a long time. Who would have thought that being named in Mitchell’s steroid report could be such a boon for McGwire?


Ter

Wow what a way to improve one's standing in life...lower the standard.

Btw, I'm sure MLB would gladly accept Senator Mitchell's recommendation of leniency. However, this is largely irrelevant because MLB is not the sole authority. Illegal drug use is a crime. Complicity in drug trafficking is a crime--which could be implied by the Mets and Yankees employment of McNamee and Radomski and their employment by players personally. The report raises more questions about the relationship of these drug-couriers and their patrons. This is only going to spur the feds more.

The only real information in the Mitchell report was from law enforcement investigations--BALCO, Radomski and Albany County. The only way really get "the truth" is for an investigation with full subpoena and prosecutorial authority. If rampant cocaine or marijuana trafficking and use were uncovered in baseball clubhouses there would have been a federal special investigtor appointed within days of the first media story.

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Ed Q.

This report is fast becoming a tremendous and disappointing waste of time. Baseballsteroidera.com does a FAR superior job of detailing both the use of steroids in baseball, its prevalence and the players implicated. The Mitchell Report fails to note the players caught under baseball's new random testing policy as well as those caught using or admitted to using andro which is a steroid.

This entire report is simply a multi-million dollar guilt assuager for Bud Selig. He knew of these issues at least 15 years ago, probably almost 20, but did nothing until Game of Shadows was published. I hope Bud sleeps better knowing he was better late than never into this game.

I could go on but why? Players took PED's to make more money, owners let them take PED's to make more money and fans forgave the players and owners because they loved the long ball.

synapticmisfires

Bob: You cannot establish a causal conclusion about the performance enhancing effects of the chemical alone from this data. First, there is the possibility of a selection bias: maybe the users are fundamentally different from non-users before they even inject. Naturally, we don't have an exact date when each player began using, so there's no chance of doing a time comparison, but even that would be flawed as there may be a certain amount of "placebo effect".

So the answer to your question is no.

John Wallace

Did I miss something? According to ESPN and Sports Illustrated, Mark McGwire's name is not in the report.

Jimbo

@12

If that's true, then they are way, way off base.

McGwire's name is in the report literally dozens of times.

Phil K

During the press conference today, a reporter asked George Mitchell a question about whether or not Clemens should be kept out of the Hall of Fame. He replied by saying that he was giving no suggestion to the voters on how to deal with the players listed in the report. The Hall of Fame voters would decide how to deal with substance-using players on their own. His suggestion to Bud Selig had more to do with the subject of doling out suspensions and other penalties for players that are still in the league. That is what Mitchell suggested Selig should be so lenient about - he made no suggestion regarding Hall of Fame issues.

Martin Bishop

Mitchell's recommendation that Major League Baseball not punish the players reminds me of the South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission where perpetrators of violence could request amnesty from prosecution as long as they fessed up to their previous crimes.

Maybe that same principle should be adopted here?

achilles3

Let em all roid. Who cares.
I left my baseball sanctity over in the $10 beer line.

Wyatt

Even more surprising than some of the MVP-caliber names on the list are some of the talent-less names on the list.

I mean, come on, Abraham Nunez of the Phillies? The guy should get his money back – they're supposed to be performance-enhancing drugs! From this perspective I don't care if the ‘roids were more accessible than pez…

Mike Van Winkle

Well, just because MLB shouldn't punish them doesn't mean they shouldn't be penalized in Hall of Fame voting. I think it's a different debate altogether.

Rich Wilson

If cycling is any indication, MLB has AT LEAST 20 years of:

"No I didn't!"
"My testosterone is naturally high!"
"Maybe I'm a mutant!"
"I love puppies!"
"Someone spiked my water bottle!"
"You don't have the legal right to drug test me!"
"I made a mistake, It'll never happen again!"

to go through. Probably more, because much more money is involved.

And we haven't even gotten to Football (US and soccer), Tennis, Basketball, Hockey...

performance enhanced

The happiest guy today should be Rafael Palmeiro - his excuse is checking out. He blamed Miguel Tejada when he tested positive for steroids, saying he might have gotten it from a "vitamin b-12" shot that Tejada had given him, and now Tejada and his b-12 shots are all over the report.

Lenny Defilo

We now know that the two greatest players of our generation have taken steroids...Clemens and Bonds. I can't say that I blame them considering the environment the Bud Selig was ignorant to for years. It is merely the competative nature of man seeping through elite talent. I thought that rogerclemensjuiced.com had some interesting insight.

Chris

Get your facts straight - McGwire was not implicated in the Mitchell report - MCGWIRE WAS EXONERATED BY THE MITCHELL REPORT!! It only mentions him in regards to the '98 homerun chase and his use of andro (not an illegal substance). And to think he was denied his place in the HOF without a shred of evidence, simply because he wasn't a good public speaker in front of Congress. The sportswriters should be ashamed of themselves. Think about it: wouldn't the guy who supplied McGwire with steroids have written a book by now?

Matthew

Interesting angle and not something we thought of when we dissected the media firestorm yesterday, in the "calm" before the actual Mitchell Report storm. But as #29 says, it's quite important to note that McGwire was not even implicated in the report; his mention in the report was only as positive catalyst to open the eyes that PED may exist in the game...

Dale

Chris, who wrote at 12:02 is exactly right. McGwire was not implicated in steroid use, just the use of andro which anyone could get at a local GNC. If all it takes to determine someone's guilt is the word of Jose Canseco, then we are in trouble! The report CLEARLY states that no one could substantiate Canseco's claims of Mark's alleged steroid use, not his teammates, coaches, friends. No one. Put this class act of a guy in the HOF and move on!!!!!

Steve Silver, Ph.D.

So why would they do it, the players at the high end of ability who are going to do financially very well in any case, considering the catastrophic risk they run (forget physical problems, there goes the Nike endorsement!). John McEnro suggests such behavior, cheating in effect, is unlikely at the higher end because of the risk. He's wrong because he's assuming rational thought processes. The problem with the lower end is, of course, trying to get in, stay in, or get to the higher end of rewards. For those like Barry Bonds who would be superstars in their own right without cheating, what happens is the competitive nature of the player ("Is someone earning more than me?") coupled with the steady series of escalating earnings through their careers - the conditioning is to seek that continuous escalation, which means ever increasing performance rather than a plateau. It is not, in other words, an entirely rational decision (indeed, if rationality were the dominant force in economics, then 80% of stock market forces would be removed).

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Charlie

Taking steroids was definitely cheating as understood by all parties involved at the time. Cheating players should not be celebrated for their success.

I would propose that Major League Baseball look at the evidence for using steroids for all players, and strike their personal statistics for any years in which there is convincing evidence that they were taking steroids.

This would probably mean that the records for career home runs would revert to Hank Aaron and single season HRs would revert at least to Sammy Sosa, if not Roger Maris.

Players would be judged for the Hall of Fame based on their resulting new career numbers.

Elle

Mark McGwuire won't be helped until he ADMITS that he used steroids, which everyone does know. As long as he continues "taking the fifth" with Congress (AND THE PUBLIC), I doubt hall of fame voters will have any love for him.

Kelly

It would seem the "everyone else is doing it" childhood excuse is alive and well in a business where grown men play a childrens game.

Professional sports are the basis of most gambling in the US. When baseball players retire they usually just fade away. Now we can have pools on which body part the tumor will appear.A "death pool" on 80's 90's Hall of Famers would be interesting.

This is a very sad.