The Mitchell Report took a while to compile and $20 million of Major League Baseball’s money. So why then is every body in it denying the findings or just ignoring it completely? Probably because there is no real enforcement risk based on baseball’s current relationship with the players union.
The current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2011 and doesn’t allow MLB to really punish players for using illegal performance enhancing drugs.
Why hasn’t Donald Fehr, the players union representative, come out with a big statement either saying the problem is fixed, is still going on or never existed? Because he’s already positioning for the negotiating that will go on looking for the new agreement.
The baseball era just past was full of steroid and performance enhancing drug use and clearly some of the administrators of the game thought that was just fine. When the 1994 World Series was cancelled because of a players’ strike, the game was crippled. Cal Ripken Jr.’s march past Lou Gerhig’s record revived some fans interest in the game but it was the long ball, and the home run chase in 1998 that really brought the game back.
Now we know that Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and company were all using drugs to help hit those home runs. Somebody at the top of the game knew it. They might not have been there when guys were getting injections but they had some suspicions that the game was tainted.
And they did nothing.
Because people were flocking to the ballparks and watching the game on television. MLB had unprecedented growth to a $6 billion dollar game in 2007. People like the long ball and were paying money to see it. So in one-way or another, baseball turned a blind eye to what was going on.
I heard an interview with a player the other day that said he was aware of what was going on but that any illegal “actions” were performed outside of the ballpark. It’s not that there were a bunch of syringes sitting around the clubhouse, but that players were aware that if they needed some help, they could get it from one of their teammates pretty easily.
Storm Davis said the other day he wouldn’t have admitted it ten years ago but now says that he was well aware of performance enhancing drug use and it’s availability during his playing days.
Nobody wants to throw anybody else under the bus and even some say that the Mitchell Report is “incomplete.” But at the same time, nobody’s come out and said, “Yeah, I did it. I knew it was illegal and I did it because I thought I could make some more money.”
Andy Pettite admitted to taking HGH during a rehab but he didn’t exactly trumpet any willing “illegal” drug use.
I just think somebody either has to stand up and be counted in the Major League Baseball office or the commissioner and Donald Fehr should both resign. Players won’t be punished because of the collective bargaining agreement and there’s a bunch of muddling around going on instead of some explanations.
I guess it’s still a “game of shadows.”