Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report - small print, no pictures....

Before we get to the meat of tonight's discussion, some points of order:

1. I've added a link to Sports News Connection. Check it out. It's a one-stop website with links to articles from around the country, for example ESPN.com, MLB.com, SI.com, the Sporting News, and local paper reporting. Towards the bottom of the page is the 'Sports Blog Connection' section, and The Stance is listed as the Cardinals blog. More exposure never hurts. Welcome, Curt, to our margin.

2. Dustin over at Whiteyball.com introduced me to the Baseball University website. Yes, there is actually a BASEBALL UNIVERSITY. Would that I had found that out before deciding to slug through a statistics-based Masters program. All kinds of cool courses (hitting fundamentals, scout like a pro) are offered, as well as classes designed to make you a better youth coach. You need to know these things; there's so much to learn about the great game. Check it out.

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Today brought the release of the Mitchell Report. I'm not going to go into great detail here, because the report (and subsequent 80+ player list) is being dissected on sports sites (and newspapers and blogs) across the world. But I did have interest in one specific question:

Does the report identify Mark McGwire as a steroids user?

The report is 406 pages long. Small print, no pictures. Dry. Since I don't have the time (right now, maybe later) or the patience (ever?) to read the entire thing, I did the next best thing:

I searched the pdf file for the word 'McGwire'.

McGwire does appear rather prominently in the report. By my count, his name appears 46 times (37 in the body of the report, and nine more times either via footnote or bibliography). The report basically re-hashes all the public events in McGwire's baseball life since that day in 1998 they found andro in his locker. After wallowing around without a point for 132 pages, we finally come to the crux of the issue, on page 133:

"During the course of the investigation, we interviewed a number of coaches, club personnel, former teammates, and other persons who know McGwire. Only Canseco, who repeated the allegations from his memoir, said he had knowledge of McGwire's alleged use of steroids (emphasis mine). Through his personal lawyer, I asked McGwire to meet with me for an interview about these issues, but he declined to do so."
Hmmm.

You would think, based on how discredited McGwire currently is, that if there was dirt to be had on him it would be easy to bring to light. Most people have difficulty not kicking someone when they're down; that person's an easy target and probably won't fight back. So why did no one come forward to say they had seen McGwire using?

There are several possibilities. Mitchell didn't interview players (or had little luck getting them to talk; he reported sending letters to Bonds, Palmerio, and Sheffield, among others, and got no answers from them either), so the guys with the real dirt remain silent. Perhaps Canseco had an ulterior motive for accusing McGwire in his book. I don't know.

The one thing that works against the Canseco ulterior motive theory is that McGwire never forcefully (to my knowledge) denied the report.

Whatever the reason, these facts remain, and are not in dispute: The ONLY proof we have that McGwire used steroids is the testimony of one man. No one has come forward claiming to have sold McGwire steroids (a la Victor Conte with Bonds). No former training partner of McGwire's has come forward either to back up Canseco's story. There is no corroborating evidence to prove McGwire used steroids. I expected this report to include his name. It doesn't; yet it does include other former players among those named.

I hope the entire BBWAA took notice. Stop treating McGwire like an ex-girlfriend you believe betrayed you. Vote the man into the Hall.

76.5% of the voters did not vote for McGwire last year, and in their arrogance and adolescent pique, probably won't this year. They won't let facts get in the way of a good emotional argument.

I have two words for them.

2 comments:

Cardinal70 said...

My personal theory is that McGwire did something once in his past and, since he can't completely deny, he stays quiet, even if he hadn't done what everyone said he did.

I think he's got to go into the Hall next year.

The Angry Rant said...

I sure hope so. A good barometer will be the vote this year. If his pct goes up, he has a chance. If it goes down, he may require a veteran's committee vote to get in.