Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report: Let the Fall-out begin

The Mitchell Report on steroids and baseball will be released to a large level of fanfare in about two hours. ESPN's Howard Bryant has an extensive investigative piece (linked in title) regarding the conflicts inherent in the report and the fractures between players and owners.

This CNBC report lists players expected to be named in the Mitchell findings. Included are the following players who are current or former (since 2000) Yankees: Roger Clemens, Aaron Boone,
Jose Canseco, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Grimsley, Jason Giambi, Felix Heredia, Raul Mondesi, Andy Pettitte and Gary Sheffield. That's 11 of the 75 listed in the CNBC report. Nine current or ex-Red Sux are also listed, including Varitek, Garciaparra and Trot Nixon. I counted Damon as both current Yankee and ex-Sawx.

I do not believe the report on Pettitte. I also do not believe the report on Damon. I doubt the investigation's methods and accuracy. It's notable how many players on the CNBC list were Orioles (Segui, Sosa, Gibbons, Palmeiro, Anderson, Tejada, Roberts, Hairston, Belle), Yanks, RedSux, Indians, Cards and Astros. The Sawx are Mitchell's own team (he's on leave from the team's board of directors). The Astros have two dead former players on this list: they were the last team of admitted steroid abuser Ken Caminiti and the first team for Darryl Kile. The Cards were Kile's last team. Rafael Bettancourt (aka Raffy Righty in Cleveland) is a convicted steroid user. In other words, Mitchell primarily obtained sources (whose reliability is unknown) within specific organizations with known users and then leaned on someone to talk.

The commissioner's reaction could devastate these teams if Bud Selig imposes long suspensions on named players solely based on the Investigation results. Other than the known violators (Giambi, Grimsley, Gibbons, Segui, etc.), I'm not convicting the questionable ones (Clemens, Pettitte, Damon, Varitek, Garciaparra) in my own mind without substantial proof.

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