Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mitchell Report: Time to Move On

For the last few days I've been dreading the arrival of the Mitchell Report. There is a million places where you can find the list of names that appeared in the report, so I'm not going to waste time or space going into the specifics. That is not what this blog is about.

This report was not produced for disciplinary reasons, or to ruin any reputations. This report was made so that baseball can move on. I strongly agree with Senator Mitchell that this a time to move forward, as the only way we can escape the "steroids era" is to start fresh. So much time and energy will be wasted debating whether or not Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be banned from the Hall of Fame and not enough time spent on fixing the problem.

The debates are pointless. Many of the names listed in the Mitchell Report were produced by men who were facing jail time unless they cooperated. It is all hearsay, and none of the information from the report would stand up in a court of law, so why get worked up over it? Many people are looking at this all wrong. Too many are trying to turn this into a witch hunt, and not enough people are taking this opportunity to improve our game. The bottom line is that it happened, baseball has been tainted by steroids and other performance enhancing drugs for the last decade or so, but the "steroids era" will not kill baseball unless we let it. There have been other scandals throughout baseball history that are worse than this. Yes, individual records were broken illegibly, but the steroid epidemic was so wide spread that I doubt it substantially effected win-loss records. Another Black Sox scandal would be much more difficult to overcome than this.

To me it's understandable for a lot of these guys to take steroids. To these players, baseball is a job, a business, their livelihood. Now, if you're a team's starting second baseman and you're making pretty decent money and suddenly you lose your job to a steroid user, what do you do? You need an edge, right? Two wrongs don't make a right, but I can understand the temptations of a competitive edge, especially with money on the line. That stuff happened, but there's nothing we can do to change it. Latin American ballplayers are given steroids from the time they're 14 years old so they look good for American scouts. Steroids is highly addictive, so you think those players can stop once they become professionals? We can't change the fact that those things happened, and way too much effort is being put into a lost cause. It's time to move forward. We can't help what happened 10 years ago, but we can work on moving forward so that future children's spirits aren't crushed when they find out their favorite player, their hero, is a cheater.

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