December 15, 2007

Deconstructing the Mitchell Report

We know that much of the media has been waiting for our response to accurately frame the Mitchell Report's identification of NINE Yankees who 'roided. The most shocking revelation from the report, however, was easily that Nationals outfielder Nook Logan appeared on the list. Talk about destroying our trust in the game.

Other than Logan, the biggest revelation of the Mitchell Report was clearly Roger Clemens. Many are already claiming that Clemens' 1998 season with the Blue Jays is tarnished, and it seems to reason that so is everything that followed. The thing with steroids is that they don't just improve a players' ability to hit or pitch, they also enable a player to play longer and more often than somebody of his age should be able. That explains Clemens and Bonds, who combined remarkable skill with steroids to smash conventional wisdom of what a player should be able to do.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would have made the Hall of Fame without steroids, but would Clemens and Bonds have been considered the greatest players at their respective position had they not have had amazing seasons late in their careers which can be attributed to cheating? Had Roger's career diminished after Boston as it is now (and as one can assess it may have without steroids), he would have probably struggled to hit 300 wins and probably would not have had a title. Had Barry Bonds not taken steroids he probably never hits 73 home runs and his career would likely have been done several years ago.

The Mitchell Report clearly is not perfect, but it forces issues to the realm of public debate that have never been debated before with names being mentioned. As more players admit to steroid use, baseball will be able to move on past this ugly era and focus on the fact that the Boston Red Sox are World Champions.

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