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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?