Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report Expected To Be Released This Afternoon...

Well, the long awaited Mitchell Report will be out today, which is expected to be nothing short of a bombshell, but also looks to be a fair and balanced look at the drug issue in baseball.

According various media outlets, the report is expected to be sharply critical of both Major League Baseball and the players’ union for turning a blind eye to the proliferation of steroids in baseball.

Despite what many have thought, Mitchell's findings are seen to be harsh towards Major League Baseball and will name anywhere from 60 to 80 players. In addition, the report is allegedly expected to report deep problems within the culture of Major League Baseball.

From the Baltimore Examiner: One source said that while the report will cite problems "top to bottom," it also will expose "deep problems, the number of players, high-level MVPs and All-Stars," as well as clubhouse personnel who allowed steroids and other banned substances in clubhouses or knew about it and didn't say anything.

The rest of the report, the sources said, focuses on recommendations that include enhanced year-round testing and hiring a drug-testing company that uses the highest standards of independence and transparency. Baseball's program currently is overseen by a joint management-union Health Policy Advisory Committee, with an independent administrator approved by both sides.

As we know, the report is supposed to come out Thursday afternoon, and while players for the most part did not cooperate, most of data and findings came from a number of sources, mainly Kirk Radomski, a former Mets' employee, GM's, and trainers. Jason Giambi was reported to have cooperated; however, it was only after Major League Baseball threatened him with punishment that investigators what he knew.

From the New York Times: "George J. Mitchell’s report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, to be unveiled Thursday afternoon, will be highly critical of the commissioner’s office and the players’ union for tolerating the presence of drugs throughout years of abuse, a person who has read the closely guarded report said Wednesday.

Mitchell has been battling the union during his 20-month investigation, but sharp criticism of Commissioner Bud Selig, who hired Mitchell and is paying for his investigation, would be more unexpected and would seemingly prove Mitchell’s claim of independence in this endeavor.

Selig, the commissioner since 1992, and Donald Fehr, the executive director of the players’ association since 1986, have scheduled separate news conferences after Mitchell holds a briefing. The three sessions will take place within blocks of one another in Midtown Manhattan.

Mitchell’s report will total roughly 300 pages, and also have substantial attachments, according to the person who read it. It will pull player names from three main sources: Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty to steroid offenses in April and says he supplied players with performance-enhancing drugs from 1995 to 2005; the Signature Pharmacy investigation led by the Albany County district attorney; and one other source that the person did not make clear. The bulk of the names are believed to be from Radomski.

The person who read the report also said that information from Brian McNamee, a former Yankees strength coach who has worked as a personal trainer for Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, had been provided to Mitchell’s investigators. It was not clear if McNamee spoke directly to the investigators, or if information he provided is in the report.

We'll know the details sometime Thursday afternoon!

It will nothing short of a huge media event, as ESPN will have special programming devoted to it all afternoon, and I'm sure bloggers, writers, and pundits will devote much of Thursday to talking about the issue.

Rather than naming names (which is of course the juicy part), I'd like to know how much culpability the report places on those in power, especially the union and the commissioner, Bud Selig.

I still have my issues with the report; however, if it is fair and balanced, then I think it could do a lot of good and lead to further changes in baseball.

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