Tagged: Mitchell Report

Less Miserables

Like pretty much everyone else in the baseball world I watched the Andy Pettitte confessional, and was somewhat disappointed he didn’t answer the most pressing question, was there any possibility he “misremembered” Clemens admission of having used performance enhancing substances. Pettitte’s performance seemed sincere, but what does he have to fear on that account? If he tells the truth, nothing. Not that I doubt Pettitte; I happen to believe him. But his refusal to answer that question is aggravating.

Of course it is possible he “misremembered” or even misconstrued Clemens’ remarks. We’ve all done that, especially regarding events that happened several years ago. So why didn’t he just say: “Of course it is possible”? That isn’t an assertion that he did, or even likely, just stating the obvious. Instead we’re back to hiding behind lawyers.

Pettitte’s testimony wasn’t nearly as damning as it has been portrayed. The fact that, by that very testimony, Clemens denied telling Pettitte years later that Andy had misunderstood actually affirms Clemens case now. Don’t get me wrong, I think Clemens is guilty as sin. But I also believe there has been less than responsible logic attempting to prove what ultimately is probably unprovable. We all want to know. But unless Roger gets religion and decides to do a Pettitte, we are never really going to know.

Personally I’m sick and tired of these miserable wretches cluttering my thoughts. I could use with less miserables, and more baseball.

Clemens Report

What a train wreck.

It was painfully obvious a Congressional hearing was not the forum to resolve the truth. It was not a courtroom. The obvious advocacy, especially for Clemens, by various members of Congress was as unseemly as Clemens politicking with them last week. The demonstration of a photo of Clemens at various stages of his career with the same size body was especially egregious, although nothing matched the congressman who wanted to know what uniform Clemens would be wearing in the HOF. I know it is called Human Growth Hormone, lady, but read up on the subject you are questioning about. Athletes use it mostly to recover and endure a long season, not “grow” muscle. That same idiot then lauded Clemens—shall I say it—Herculean workouts. Just for the uninitiated, it is the workout that develops the muscle, not the substance. The substance simply allows for more intense workouts, meaning—you guessed it—more muscle. Again, these people should educate themselves.

Clemens proclaimed he is guilty of nothing except being too nice. Well isn’t that sweet. To paraphrase Barack Obama, I’ll bet his greatest fault is helping little old ladies across the street. Time after time, Clemens interjected his pedigree. One would have thought he was talking to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Of course that was what it was all about: a PR campaign.

Ironically Waxman, who I suspect recognized this was going to be a complete waste of taxpayer money, was ready to pull the plug on the hearing. Clemens insisted on it. This was his soapbox, his chance to salvage his reputation, to change public opinion.

He failed. Miserably. And he may very well have bought a Go to Jail card in the process. I think the Greeks called it hubris. The closing scene, with Clemens getting gaveled by a Congressional Chairman after being interrupted by a protesting Rocket during the hearing’s closing statement, may very well be the final image of this whole sordid mess. Who does Roger think he is?

As bad as Clemens came off, I thought McNamee looked slightly worse. Not because I think he is lying. In fact, I think he is telling the truth. But let’s face it, he did sell people who treated him pretty well down the river, with the excuse he was only doing what they wanted him to do. I kept thinking of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. He may not be a “drug dealer”, as some congressmen insisted, but he’s not much better.

And speaking of congressmen, I thought they came across worst of all. Did you notice how easily they fell for the Canseco party canard? They must have spent half an hour on that red herring. Worse, the hearing devolved into a political version of The Jerry Springer Show. At the end of the day, what was determined about The Mitchell Report? That was the purpose, wasn’t it?

The fact that no determination could be made may be a godsend. Here and there I heard doubts about the Mitchell Report and the master it was intended to serve. Those who railed against McNamee must, by inference, discredit the Mitchell Report. And once The Mitchell Report falls, then we are back to square one, for the Mitchell Report was supposed to answer questions about the abuse of PEDs in baseball. Now there are more questions than there were before, not only about the past, but about the future.

Sooner or later these congressional clowns are going to wake up to the obvious question: how could baseball possibly have a handle on the PED problem without a test for HGH? HGH dominates the conversation, not steroids. And, more importantly, could baseball possibly be trusted to police itself when it is demonstrable that it refuses to do so.

Ugh. I need a shower.

Blue Dress Redux

I’m not quite sure what to make of the newest chapters in the Roger Clemens saga. This thing has gotten so crazy I’m to the point I’m beginning to empathize with those nuts that follow the wild escapades of Britney Spears.

Am I supposed to believe that a man innocently kept bio-waste? Was he planning on blackmailing Clemens? Or was he, as he says, keeping it just in case. Just in case what? In either case it diminishes the argument that McNamee was just a fool who simply told the truth when caught in a legal trap.

This reminds me of the question why Monica Lewinsky kept that stained dress. The scene is eerily reminiscent of that period while we waited for test results that would unmask the perjurer. Clemens knows whether McNamee has the goods. What must be going through his mind now if—and I stress if—he is guilty?

For McNamee is either one of the most insane men in history, or history itself is insane. He is now proclaiming that he not only injected Clemens with PEDs, he injected Clemens’ wife with HGH. This is not unbelievable, mind you. The Fountain of Youth from a syringe is not limited to males, and it is not inconceivable that if her husband were abusing she would get into the act, anymore than it is inconceivable that the most powerful man would risk his reputation and his country’s security pleasuring himself on an intern in his “employ”.

Wonder if Debbie Clemens looks good in blue…

Welcome to the HGH Era

Congress let the despoilers of our beloved game off light. Very few of the really tough questions anyone who actually follows baseball knows should have been asked were asked. Of course, most of us know how to pronounce Selig and Palmiero. If only Selig’s approach to performance enhancing substances had been as brilliant as his selection of George Mitchell to head the investigation. Not that he actually produced much of consequence, but once I saw the Congressmen fawn on the former Senator, and the latter’s smoother than smooth performance, I understood perfectly Mitchell’s role. He got Congress off baseball’s back.

That may or may not be a good thing. Congress probably has better things to do than meddle in Selig’s sewer. After Selig and Fehr’s curtsy before Congress, I’m curious as to the point of next month’s Clemens extravaganza.

One thing is clear, though: these clowns are still way behind the curve. Letting baseball slide with a piddly three million dollar contribution to find a—catch this: “commercially viable”—test for HGH was flabbergasting. Steroids were becoming passé even when I was bodybuilding two decades ago. Anyone who could find it and had the bucks preferred HGH. Now, as Fehr pointed out, you can find it a million places on Google, and for millionaire athletes the price is quite “commercially viable”. Even the Mitchell Report talks more about HGH than steroids.

So tell me how, again, has implementing a testing program for steroids ameliorated the performance enhancing substance problem in baseball?

Enablers Guarding the Drugstore

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Major League Baseball and the World-Anti- Doping Agency exchanged barbs Wednesday, with baseball being accused of resisting former senator George Mitchell’s recommendation of transferring its drug-testing program to an independent organization.

WADA President John Fahey said in a statement MLB and the players union are “essentially thumbing their nose” at fans for their refusal to give control over the testing of performance-enhancing drugs to an independent body.

MLB, WADA trade harsh words over drug testing – USATODAY.com

So…baseball has really reformed itself?  And the Commish is following all of the Mitchell recommendations, too?  Ask yourself this: why won’t baseball give up control over testing to an independent body–and no, using an independent lab is NOT the same thing when the powers that be that got us into this mess still have the power to do with the results what they will.  If memory serves, Palmiero’s positive test was buried until after the got his 3000th hit, a question from the Congressional committee.

And speaking of Congress–are they taking notice?

Otherwise it was all just a show, while the foxes still guard the henhouse.

******’ in a Vacuum

I wouldn’t deign pretend to know who is right between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. The endless examination of what was said, and certainly what was not said, is ultimately inconclusive, an entertaining parlor game, nothing more. I don’t know who is right, but I do know who is wrong: Selig and his **** Mitchell Report. By sensationalizing instead of producing a meaningful report on the use of PEDs during the last couple of decades, ultimately pointless scenarios like the Clemens debacle were inevitable and divert from the real issue.

Whether Clemens did or did not use steroids is really not the question. The real question is: what would it mean if he did? Think about this: what would your opinion of Clemens be if he did, indeed, use PEDs, but in an era when every other player was juicing? 95% of players? 80%? Brian McNamee, someone who would have been in a position to know, estimated fifty percent were using. Personally I find it difficult to assign much blame if usage was that prevalent. No one would accuse me of being a Clemens fan, but even I wouldn’t be too terribly critical if he made that bad decision knowing half the players around him were gaining a competitive advantage through chemistry.

Was it that high? We don’t know, and therein lies the utter failure of the Mitchell Report. The Mitchell Report, instead of naming names, should have provided us with context to evaluate the impact of steroids on the baseball of the era. It should have told us what percentage of hitters were juicing, what percentage of pitchers, and roughly during what years. Don’t tell me they couldn’t come up with such assessments. If archaeologists can ascertain the diets of men who lived 40,000 years ago from seeds found in their excrement, a diligent study could project with some reliability the percentage of players who were juicing during the last two decades. Of course that would necessitate a completely different approach to the steroid era than Selig has taken. It would require providing an environment in which players, trainers, coaches, GMs, owners—everyone in MLB—feels free to talk openly to investigators about what happened, in complete anonymity, without recrimination, without fear their name and/or the names of those they provide will be splashed as tabloid fodder. Did McNamee know that by testifying about Clemens that his hero’s name would appear in the report? Or did he think it would simply be tallied, maybe lead to further investigations—in other words, be part of a responsible, legitimate study of the phenomena?

The general consensus regarding the audiotape played at Clemens press conference is it revealed nothing. Wrong. It revealed two people in a lot of pain. McNamee’s suffering was palpable, Clemens’ maybe a little less so, but he also noted the strain on his wife and family. And for what? What, exactly, are we going to know if we know for a fact Clemens performance was chemically enhanced? Nothing. Not without knowing how many hitters he faced were juiced. Not without some objective method of evaluating the extent to which PEDs affect a pitcher’s effectiveness. Not without some concept of how many Cy Young contenders were abusing in the years Clemens won his Cy Youngs.

In other words, without knowing precisely the kinds of information the Mitchell Report should have provided.

Auto De Fe

It appears the entire sporting world is eagerly looking forward to the weekend, not because of the first round of the NFL playoffs, but in anticipation of the burning at the stake of one Roger Clemens. Grand Inquisitor emeritus Mike Wallace is expected to torch Clemens with questions forged from ****. We’re going to get to watch Roger the Dodger’s face as the fire gets hotter, watch the beads of sweat form, the fear in the eyes, the grotesque twitching of the wretched being tortured for a confession, all in High Definition.

On the sports boards I’ve been monitoring the virulence directed at Clemens, who, for the record, I despised and suspected of being a PED abuser long before the Mitchell Report, as anyone who reads this blog well knows. But the boorish curses (“I HATE YOU YOU CHEATER GO BACK TO **** I HOPE YOU DIE…”) from the sporting public remind me of the primates in the stands who launch spittle, epithets and the occasional beer at the players—or the dirty crowds who gathered eagerly to watch the garroting and burning alive of a fellow soul for heresy during the Dark Ages.

There is no Dark Side of the Moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

— Michael Norton

 

Who is Really Pumping the Rump?

Giambi may have pumped his rump full of steroids, but Selig and Major League Baseball are pumping everyone’s rump.  Another convenient leak.  Bonds fails an amphetamine test.  It is leaked.  Giambi talks, and his drug tests are leaked.  Now his threatened punishment for not cooperating with Selig’s failed witch hunt is leaked.  Coincidence?  Stretches the credulity as much as two players shattering a thirty seven year old record in the same year, naturally.  Let’s party like it’s 1998.  This Bud’s for you.  Rump bump an ump, you chumps.

I’m not alone in my analysis:

If Bud Selig isn’t careful — and at this point, it feels safe to say he sure isn’t — he is going to accomplish a thing previously thought implausible: get people swinging back over to Barry Bonds‘ side of the whole deal.

Selig’s unofficial, rumored future prosecution of Jason Giambi (It was leaked! The threatened punishment was leaked!) is the latest turn in Major League Baseball’s bipolar approach to a problem it never showed a sincere interest in solving when it was at its height. And the unintended side effect is that, with each new catfight, it is Selig himself who looks smaller amid the hissing.

Frankly, that’s the bad news. Whatever you make of Selig, the diminution of the commissioner’s office is ultimately defeating to everyone, even the long-suffering ticket buyers. The sport is not served. The search for the real killers — whoops, that’s the drive to rid the sport of cheaters — goes nowhere.

Giambi? He couldn’t be less urgent in this story, which is what makes Selig’s determination to force him to speak with former Sen. George Mitchell so baffling. It’s completely unnecessary at this point, first of all; Giambi already has said enough for the public record to indicate that, yes, he buffed up a few years back with the aid of steroids and that, yes, he was by no means alone.

ESPN – Kreidler: Just leave Giambi alone – MLB

What’s That Smell?

So…unless you talk to the people we control so that we might spin the truth to obfuscate our complicity, you, Mr. Player, face suspension.  But please, we want you to be forthcoming!  We want the truth to come out!

“Any admission regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances, no matter how casual, must be taken seriously,” Selig said at the beginning of the month. “It is in the best interests of baseball for everyone, including players, to cooperate with Senator Mitchell in his investigation.

“Discipline for wrongdoing is important, but it is also important to create an environment so players can feel free to honestly and completely cooperate with this important investigation.”

ESPN – Report: Selig close to suspending Yankees’ Giambi – MLB

Amnesty

Although God knows I’ve been more critical of Selig than anyone,  I also understand he did what he understood he had to do.  To date I have blamed him no more than I blame Robert E. Lee.  History will judge whether Selig has the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln in granting amnesty, or whether he really is mealy-mouthed, unable to give up having it both ways.  In that case, he fully deserves the approbation that history will certainly give:.

The other day, Selig sort of urged Giambi to talk to Mitchell and his investigators: “It is in the best interests of baseball for everyone, including players, to cooperate with Senator Mitchell … Discipline for wrongdoing is important, but it is also important to create an environment so players can feel free to honestly and completely cooperate with this important investigation.”

See what I mean by sort of?

Typical Selig. He wants it both ways. The problem is, it’s 2007 and he can’t have it both ways anymore. He needs to decide which is more important, discipline or honesty, retribution or integrity?

As noted recently in the New York Times, home run figures from 1995 though 2003 are a statistical anomaly. When meaningful testing began in 2003, they returned to normal levels. Now, unless Selig is willing to wash out eight seasons, the numbers will remain in the books. Punishing Giambi now won’t restore the integrity of the game, nor will it gentle the commissioner’s legacy. But the truth just might.

Still, as any investigator knows, you have to give to get. If the Justice Department can give a pass to Sammy Gravano for 19 dead bodies, then Selig can find it within himself to grant Giambi et al. amnesty for steroid use, a lot of which took place in the last century. No player will talk to Mitchell if it exposes him to a penalty from the commissioner’s office.

There’s an ethical argument, as well. Selig’s office was at least tacitly complicit in the problem. Baseball has no business punishing guys for something it didn’t even test for. What’s more, amnesty would remove some of the stigma of going before Mitchell. It would serve as a long-needed acknowledgment that — to paraphrase Giambi — everyone screwed up royally.

FOX Sports on MSN – MLB – Baseball’s only salvation lies in amnesty