Former Senator Mitchell issued his report on illegal steroid use to baseball commissioner Bud Selig yesterday. He spent 20 months and supposedly $20 million conducting the investigation. (I could have given MLB a very similar list for free, and about 19 months and 29 days earlier, but I don't have the street cred Mitchell does, who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland.)
Roger Clemens was the one who took the hardest hit. Clemens probably juiced by the looks of him, but the "evidence" in the Mitchell report is pretty lame. Here is a good article by Boston writer Dan Shaughnessy on the subject of Clemens, the lack of hard evidence, and how the greatest pitcher of his generation got thrown under a bus by MLB solely on hearsay:
Selig (or the Nutty Professor, as I call him) said this report was "a call to action," and that "I will act." He also said, "Discipline of players and others identified in the report will be determined on a case-by-case basis."
I wonder, what kind of discipline? None of these players tested positive for the biggie of steroids, HGH (human growth hormone). That's because there IS no test yet for HGH. Besides the fact that when these players allegedly used steroids, there was no drug policy in MLB. Can you get fined for breaking a rule that didn't exist yet?
Even if fines/suspensions/wrist slaps/wedgies/purple nurples are doled out by Selig as punishment, how do you determine it so far after the fact? Take someone like Andy Pettitte. He allegedly used HGH to heal an injured elbow. Should he be punished the same as someone like a Bonds, who juiced every week for seven years just to hit more dingers and break the hallowed all-time HR record held by the classy Hank Aaron? Do you erase the phony homerun records of Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire from the record books? And what about the Hall of Fame voting (McGwire was already shut out in his first year of eligibilty)?
Or do you just go forward with a clean slate?
Edit 12/23: OK, Pettitte owned up to using HGH twice. So have a few others, like Brian Roberts of the Orioles. Now let's hear from the record setters. Bonds, Sosa, McGwire? We're waiting.