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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Witch Hunt

I was all set to let fly with some serious musical bloggery today. But then I realized what day it was. Today is Thursday, December 13. Or, the day baseball died.

Before we continue, those with a thirst for "rants and raves of the musical kind" should head over to False 45th and check out the latest batch of 2007 Year End Music Survey results, including submissions from The Jazz Guys, the estimable Contrarian himself, Casey Rae-Hunter and yours truly. Have fun and we'll see you tomorrow.

For those who don't know, at 2 p.m. today, retired Senator George Mitchell releases the findings of his over-arching and controversial inquest into the use of performing enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. After 20 months and $60 million, the distinguished gentleman from The Great State of Maine will answer, in explicit detail, how widespread steroid and HGH use is in America's Pastime. And he's naming names.

After years of speculation and public discontent, Mitchell's report will shed a harsh and unforgiving light on the darkest corners of the game. Already, hours before the official press conference takes place, names have begun to leak and whispers of full-scale complicity from the Commissioner's Office to the bat boys can be heard around the country. The first name tossed to the wind? Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest pitcher in the history of the game.

Mitchell's report is rumored to contain as many as 80 names, many of them high-profile players. Of particular note, "several prominent players" from the New York Yankees are said to be implicated in the Senator's findings. But it's unlikely any team will emerge unscathed.

Without question, the validity of the ex-Senator's report will immediately be placed on trial. Mitchell was not granted subpoena power and relied heavily on word of mouth and, potentially, hearsay from a variety of sources around the league. As such, access to players and league executives was likely limited at best. Additionally, Mitchell serves on the Board of Directors for the Boston Red Sox. Many have already questioned the wisdom of employing an investigator so intimately involved with not only the game, but one particular team. It's certainly a fair question.

Baseball commissioned Mitchell with the admirable intent of clearing the game's good name. The pall cast on baseball by the looming specter of cheating has been nothing short of a black eye for nearly a decade. But are Major League Baseball and George Mitchell opening Pandora's Box?

Ironically, steroids likely saved the game. Following 1994's bitter labor dispute which led to the cancellation of more than 900 games and the World Series, baseball was on life support. Then in 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's epic race to break one of the game's most hallowed records, Roger Maris' single-season mark of 61 home runs, sparked a resurgence of interest, rescuing baseball from a slow and painful demise. But as any fan of the game knows, McGwire and Sosa cheated. They were juiced.

While Mitchell's report will almost certainly nail some of the game's biggest stars, the question remains whether or not he'll bite the hand that feeds him and address the underlying and perhaps criminal issue of complicity from baseball's higher-ups. Does anyone really believe that Commissioner Bud Selig was completely ignorant to the cancer ravaging his sport? If so, what does that say about his competence to govern the game? Selig made a deal with Devil. It appears that payment may be coming due.

Judgment day may well be on the horizon for the game itself. Mitchell's report is merely the beginning. Players, owners, management and executives should all be held accountable for their crimes against the game. If they are, will anyone be left standing?


tyler m

it's cool, i prefer a strategic chess match sort of game over a home run derby anyway. give me pitcher's duels any game and I'll be happy.

what's that? more pitchers use 'roids than hitters?

well damn.


The list is remarkable. Jason Varitek, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Gary Sheffield (duh), Albert Pujols, Rich Garces, Julian Tavarez, Ivan Rodriguez, both Giambi brothers,Roger Clemens, Andy Petitte, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmiero, Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada, Mo Vaughn, John Rocker, Aaron bleepin' Boone, Eric Gagne, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood . . . it just goes on and on. And who knows how many more they didn't find?

It's a sad day for baseball fans. At least I have my beloved Patriots . . . oh. Right.

goose gossage

dude, you really need to just start a separate baseball blog...or at least change the subtitle of your blog to 'rants and raves of the baseball kind'


One sports related post in six weeks and all of a sudden I'm ESPN. Whatever. We'll get back to music tomorrow, I promise.

BTW, the names I printed in my last comment were from an early report and a few are not, in fact, listed in Mitchell's study. Gotta love the internet.

Most notably, Jason Varitek is not listed. In fact, no current members of the Red Sox are in the report. Given Mitchell's connection to the team, I have to admit I'm more than a little suspicious.


I have a photo of a 10 year-old me receiving a national writing award from Senator George Mitchell.

Watchoo think of THAT!?

tyler m

yeah the Sox thing is suspicious. though it makes so much sense that Gagne is on there. that would explain his, uh, drop in form, if you will.


John Rocker?! He always seemed like such a pure and upstanding gentleman to me...


I was so excited that Jacoby was not on the list (I mean, of course he's not - he's too little!), but then my friend Brian was telling me a story last night of how he recently made an appearance at a mall to give autographs, but he was charging absurd amounts of money for them. There was actually a pay scale based on what you wanted him to sign. And there is no mention anywhere of him giving the money to charity.

Please tell me otherwise because I just totally fell out of love with him.


I have a photo of a 10 year-old me receiving a handjob from George Michaels.

Watchoo think of THAT!?

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