By Joe Christensen
If I wanted to start a feeding frenzy on this blog, I could open another discussion about the Johan Santana trade talks. We could continue breaking down every team’s best potential 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 offers, even though the real talks seemed pretty quiet this weekend.
Baseball’s tender date is Wednesday, so we’ll be tracking the Twins’ decisions with Craig Monroe and six other arbitration eligible players. Again, that’s a fun baseball discussion: Should the Twins keep Monroe or not?
But today, let’s focus on the bigger picture. The Mitchell Report — baseball’s 20-month old investigation into performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) headed by former Senator George Mitchell — is due Thursday, and I want to get a better read on public sentiment.
1) Are you curious what conclusions will be drawn and where blame will be placed?
2) Are you eager to see more names revealed?
3) Are you glad Commissioner Bud Selig commissioned this report in the first place?
4) Did you just ask yourself, ‘What Mitchell report?’
From Buster Olney’s blog:
It’s a given that the Mitchell investigators got nowhere close to a complete accounting of steroid use in baseball — they could investigate for 20 more years without coming close. So we might as well dismiss the notion that every player will either be vindicated or vilified. Other than in a handful of cases, we really won’t be much closer to a broad understanding of who was clean and who was not than we were when this started.
Here’s a New York Daily News story that might stir your feelings on PEDs again. Jack Armstrong, the former Reds pitcher who started the 1990 All-Star Game, spoke to the Mitchell investigators and apparently was very candid.
Armstrong says that 20%-30% of the players in his era – 1988 through 1994 – were juicing in a big way. He believes that 60%-80% of players – many of them average or even borderline big-leaguers – were doing it in a subtler, maintenance kind of way, getting enough of an edge to keep the oversized paychecks coming.
“It’s time to call the rats out,” Armstrong says. “The guys who did this are cheaters – and that’s the bottom line. They are people who made tens of millions of dollars doing something they weren’t supposed to do, at the expense of guys who were doing things the right way.
Even with Barry Bonds facing perjury charges, even with the mysteries of the Mitchell report about to be revealed, I sense people have mostly tuned out on this topic. I think we’ve all become a little numb to the details, but I think this subject is too important to be ignored.