I feel as though I should have some sort of larger reaction to the Mitchell Report being released yesterday, but to be honest, I feel largely indifferent. My thoughts on the Steroid issue in Baseball have been well-documented here. It's not as though naming names is going to somehow bring justice to the situation, because nothing can. If nothing else, it just confirms for us who, exactly, the cheaters were, when they did it, and if they were willing to respond to the allegations. And even then, who even knows if this was a full list?
Admittedly, I had WFAN on in my office all afternoon. I heard Mike & The Mad Dog talk about it, I heard the names, and the speeches and the fallout. I even took a glance or two at the sprawling 409-page report itself. But was I surprised at the reactions? No. Was I surprised at the conclusion? No. Some of the names surprised me, but then again, the players who have been suspended for Steroid use since the testing was put into place in 2004 haven't exactly been marquee names.
As far as the Mets are concerned, well, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't think Lenny Dykstra or Todd Hundley probably used steroids in their time with the Mets. Just looking at Dykstra in February, 1989, showing up twice his normal size, or Hundley exploding for 41 HRs in 1996 after barely topping 15 the year before, you wanted to think that they were doing it on their own. It's upsetting, as a fan, to know that your guys were among the ones using, but then again, given the system of Baseball, especially following the Strike of 1994, maybe the ones who should be singled out are the players who weren't using.
It's been argued that since nobody bothered to go after Steroids until 2003 or so, that it's not cheating. Steroids were, in fact, made illegal in Major League Baseball in 1991, but no efforts were made to test players, and, as I've contended, Selig more than likely turned a blind eye towards the players who were using after the Strike in 1994. More bloated hitters meant more offense, people love offense, why stop now? But then, why all of a sudden do this 180º turn when it all blows up?
Part of me wants to believe that this is all one great conspiracy to try to break up the MLB Players Union. There is no other professional sports Players Union with more power than the MLBPU. The Owners know this, and they hate it. They'd probably prefer to have Free Agency abolished and go back to the reserve clause if they could force it upon the players. But that would never happen. Even the Media, rats that they are, like to try to attack the players' union and blame this whole mess on them. But the blame, I believe, comes back to the owners and to Selig on all fronts. Steroids, Testing and Culpability for allowing this to continue.
If this is all some sort of effort by Selig to strengthen his legacy, well, he's done that all right. He's cemented his place as one of the strongest creampuffs of all time.
There's one really good thing that came out of all of this, however...
This was mentioned on Mike & the Mad Dog yesterday, but it bears bringing up again. With Roger Clemens being implicated in the Mitchell Report, and with his career path lending itself to quite a bit of scrutiny (somehow resurrecting himself after age 35), Mike Piazza is sure to have the last laugh in their long-winded feud. If the treatment of Mark McGwire is any indication, Clemens has likely done irreversible damage to his Hall of Fame Chances. Mike Piazza, on the other hand, hasn't been implicated in anything. He did it all on Meatballs and Penthouse Models. And he's going to be the one chuckling his way into Cooperstown, while Clemens is busy hocking cheeseburgers at Houston-area Sonic Restaurants with Andy Pettitte.