Mitchell Report No Shock

So we may finally have proof that Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs. The long-awaited George Mitchell Report was made public on Thursday afternoon and named 77 active and former major league baseball players, Clemens being one. Is anyone shocked that a 45 year-old pitcher still throwing gas leaned on something a ‘little extra’ to prolong his already long career?

The 20-month investigation by the former United States Senator ordered by Commissioner Bud Selig following the steroids fallout came to a head in Manhattan today, and there was plenty of blame to go around.

“Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades – commissioners, club officials, the players’ association and players – shares to some extent the responsibility for the steroids era,” Mitchell told the hordes of reporters. “There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and deal with it early on.”

Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski supplied the majority of the information, and was interviewed by the investigators on four separate occasions. He identified players that he sold steroids and Human Growth Hormone to, and a paper trail backed up much of his claims, including checks, money orders, mailing receipts and shipments. Radomski also had his telephone records seized.

Former Yankees strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee also was interviewed and stated that he personally injected Clemens with Winstrol, an anabolic steroid, in 1998, and testosterone in 2000. McNamee further stated that in 2002, he obtained HGH from Radomski and injected it into Andy Pettitte upon the pitcher’s request during a period when he was on the disabled list because of elbow tendonitis.

“The use of steroids in sports is a serious problem, it is wrong and should be stopped,” Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin released in a statement. “However, I am extremely upset that Roger’s name was in this report based on the allegations of a troubled and unreliable witness who came up with names after being threatened with possible prison time.”

Some of the names on the list were not exactly a surprise, which Pettitte was. Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield had already been named in the book that blew the cover off the entire situation, “Game of Shadows.” Former Mets Lenny Dykstra and Todd Hundley are also two players that no one should have to read twice.

A few other names that came out were Mo Vaughn, Chuck Knobloch, David Justice, Paul Lo Duca, Kevin Brown, Eric Gagne, John Rocker, Matt Williams, and Jose Canseco, who penned “Juiced” and was ridiculed because of his allegations. After all that has occurred, the former Athletics slugger looks to be the most sincere out of all the players.

Rick Ankiel, last summer’s feel-good story of being the former pitcher turned slugging outfielder, appeared, as did Miguel Tejada, who was recently traded from Baltimore to Houston.

Some of the players were not the obvious, such as Jim Paruqe, a lefthanded starter who pitched for the White Sox and Devil Rays from 1998 to 2003. He had one good season in 2000, when he went 13-6. Josias Manzanillo had an 11-year career as a journeyman reliever with less than impressive career numbers, 13-15 with a 4.39 ERA. Perusing the report, a few of the names will not even be recognizable unless the reader is an avid baseball fan.

Selig held his own press conference a few hours later and vowed to take action on the active players named in the report on a case-by-case basis. Mitchell had made recommendations in his report that Selig is contemplating, some of which involve collective bargaining and have to be worked out with the players’ union.

Selig also said at the conference that Mitchell informed him that the “present steroid testing program is effective” and that steroid use “appears to have declined.”

So what did the report actually tell us? From all the preliminary reports, everyone was aware that the problem was widespread and all different types of players were using performance-enhancing drugs, not just clean-up hitting sluggers. The diversity of the names was not surprising, but perhaps some of the names that did not come up were. With a near two-year investigation culminated, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s names were no where to be found. Another name that perhaps some were expecting and did not see was Alex Rodriguez, who finalized his $275 million deal with the Yankees on the same day.

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