Nobody possibly could have imagined that the fallout from the Mitchell Report would look quite like this. I mean, taped phone calls, Congressional autograph hounds, soiled gauze pads, crushed Miller Lite cans and now allegations of a wife doing HGH in an effort to look good for her photoshoot. This is a lunacy too far out there for a even the most sordid Hollywood script. And it is because of this wackiness that some members of the media have taken to only now suggest that maybe this whole thing wasn't such a sweet idea. Because the Report has devolved into a "He said, She-male said" and because the most public result is the airing of the dirty laundry of perhaps the most successful pitcher of all-time, the pundits are convinced that we'd be better off never having looked under the lumpy rug. The only problem is that these same folks want the same result. They want better testing and harsher penalties for those who test positive. Well, I'm here to tell you that the achieved effect could not have been achieved without the recently condemned cause. Allow me to splain...
I'll start by explaining that the reason for this entire post stem from Peter Gammons on Mike & Mike this morning and a rant from Michael Kay this afternoon. Both gents suggest that baseball would have been better off without the Mitchell Report. That baseball was moving in the right direction and the only result of the report was to ruin the reputation of a small percentage of players while the majority of offenders arbitrarily get away scott free. While I agree that those singled out aren't the only ones who did something wrong and are only punished because their dealers got caught, this isn't a novel scenario in American jurisprudence. Do you think every tax cheat gets caught? Are random audits the best way to single out those offenders? I guarantee that you've been pulled over for speeding and could rightly argue that you were going 15mph slower than the lime green Civic that just flew by you 10 minutes ago. But that guy goes free while you get caught. What's fair about that? The stakes may be higher and the task given to Mitchell more broad than a State Trooper in a speed trap, but spare me the fairness bullshit.
But getting back on point, the reason the Mitchell Report was spawned was to quell pressure from Congress. Congress wanted more stringent testing and harsher penalties and prior to the Mitchell Report, baseball had the weakest PED policy in all of sports. Because the Players' Association had given in and put a weak testing policy into the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, the MLBPA had no reason to give in again and being one of the strongest unions in the U.S., there was little chance they would. One of their strongest arguments against more stringent testing was that there wasn't a huge problem. They had done there own testing and wouldn't release the data but were convinced that the results proved that further testing was unnecessary. Prior to the commission of the Report, there just wasn't enough evidence to prove that a stronger policy was necessary and Congress was breathing down Selig's neck. In order for the MLB to get a better testing policy and tougher penalties, they needed to prove there was a problem. So Selig commissioned the Mitchell Report. An independent commission to get to the bottom of the real steroid problem. That seems like a reasonable response.
So if we can accept that it was necessary to prove that there was a bigger steroid problem in order to get the MLBPA's head out of their collective ass and get a better testing program in the CBA, then you could make the leap that it may have been necessary to create some kind of independent review the situation to see if there was a problem. And if that is the case, it was probably necessary to find specific examples of past drug use in order to make the case. And this is where things get hairy. If Mitchell gets some guys to either admit to doing drugs or finds some prick who will turn on guys he has seen doing drugs, that's all the evidence they need in order to convince the MLBPA that they need better testing on their own or else Congress will force better testing upon them. So then the question becomes, why do they need to release the names? If all Selig needed was percentages or a number of players currently playing who at one time or another were doing PEDs, why the names? Here's why: What if he hadn't released the names?
Imagine The Mitchell Report comes out and it says "We have 80+ confirmed steroid abusers and 50+ of those are still playing." And then they used that information to get the MLBPA to bend over. Do you think there would not be a public outcry for those names? Wouldn't it look as though the MLB was covering something up? And can you even imagine what the outrage would look like if Clemens' name was leaked after the MLB refused to list the names in the report? That would make this current situation look like a frickin petting zoo (I have no idea why I chose that analogy). This was the only way this could have gone down. So to suggest that because we now have one PED freak with his panties in a bunch and because he has a top attorney for a mouthpiece that we should now second guess the reasoning behind the whole thing is ridiculous. In order to get the better policy and penalty, this needed to happen.
In conclusion, let's summarize:
Congress wanted a better testing policy.
MLBPA wouldn't budge without more evidence.
Selig wanted more evidence to get Congress off his back.
Independent report would be reliable evidence.
Independent report would obviously turn up players' names.
If those names remain silent, public freaks and calls cover up.
If those names are leaked, the cover up charges gain credence, especially if Clemens' name comes out.
In order for the integrity of the process to be upheld, the names had to be released.
But here's the kicker, in the end, the Mitchell Report worked. There's a better testing policy; Clemens' name made the situation hit home and the penalties have increased. Not to mention that the gravity of the HGH problem has been realized. A blood test is in the works and this never would have happened without the Report. So what the fuck are these assholes complaining about. Just because Chuck Knoblauch lost his innocence, I'm supposed to feel bad that Joey Meathead has to take a fucking hair sample every 3 months? The ends justify the means, I don't care how many wives of lying sacks of shit have to go down because of it.