The Mitchell Report is finally out, and as expected, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and all the other beefy superstars and juiced-up journeymen who've gotten the "j'accuse" treatment were finally vindicated.
Oh, I don't mean that it was proven that they didn't take whatever they were accused of taking. It's just that the whole "unfair advantage" aspect of the steroids story should finally be laid to rest.
With the pathetically small number of sources at his disposal and no subpoena power, George Mitchell and his homies managed to finger 89 current and former major leaguers, with one degree of certainty or another. Who knows how many other players would have been caught with the needle in their buttocks had Mitchell been able to get information from more than a handful of trainers and players?
Because a healthy proportion of the dopers were pitchers, the point is now moot as to whether Barry Bonds' home run total is legit or not. After all, every time he and his oversized head strode to the plate over the last decade or so, there was a reasonable chance he'd be facing a pitcher who was just as juiced up. And when Clemens would strike out a Rafael Palmeiro or a Miguel Tejada ... well, let's just say the playing field was level.
So enough with all this talk about how certain players should be banished from the Hall of Fame, or how their records should be stricken from the books. What are baseball historians going to do, count Barry's home runs against 'roid users and not against pitchers who were supposedly clean? How will they measure Clemens' victories -- will wins against teams with a certain percentage of juicers count?
And where does it stop? Will we obliterate the stats of all the cocaine users from the '70s and '80s, or all the players who popped amphetamines (a/k/a "greenies") like they were Skittles back in the '60s?
You can't rewrite history. Mark McGwire, weirdly enough, may have been right when he stood before Congress three years ago and said "I'm not here to talk about the past." The baseball equivalent of the Starr Report solves nothing. The only thing Major League Baseball can do now is go forward and figure out a way to make sure that players stop doing illegal substances on or off the field, and to deal harshly those who do. Anything else is pointless.
Read more news and blog posts on the Mitchell report on steroids in baseball here.
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