After the Mitchell Report came out, I expected that the steroids in baseball conversation would die. I posted a few articles and was just going to leave it at that. I mostly just view the topic as tabloid journalism for guys. Its the Britney Spears drama for guys and I didn’t really want to write about it. I’ve watched the Clemens ordeal unfold over the last few days however and decided to write one last post.
The Mitchell Report
I don’t really care about the issue of steroids in baseball. I liked the idea of the Mitchell Report. I would like it if people came clean. I would respect and forgive any player that steps up and says, “I did this, this and this.” Then we’d know. We’d know how to evaluate players in an era in which the use of performance enhancing drugs seems to have been common place. It now seems obvious that that is not going to occur.
In all honesty however, the Mitchell Report delivered all of the information that I needed to formulate my opinion. The Mitchell Report was limited in scope because it really only has access to a couple of informants. I believe that there are many other trainers out there just like Brian McNamee and Kirk Radamski however. I think that the players named in the Mitchell Report are representative of all of the other players that would be named if other trainers came clean. Consequently, I think it is possible to draw broad conclusions about the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
The names detailed in the Mitchell Report covered all swaths of baseball. Aging superstar pitchers like Clemens and Pettite. Aging sluggers like Bonds. Middling middle relievers like Jason Grimsley. Average hitters like Paul Lo Duca and Brian Roberts. Players nobody has ever heard of like Bart Miadich. In short, it wasn’t just hitters. It wasn’t just pitchers. It wasn’t just stars. It wasn’t just the marginal players. It was anybody and everybody that thought that their play might benefit.
The Mitchell Report told me everything I need to know. Now I have the information necessary to evaluate that era of baseball. To evaluate the career of Clemens and Bonds. To evaluate the career of Frank Thomas, a guy who I always thought of as a borderline Hall of Famer who seems to be the only player willing to speak out against the use of steroids in baseball. To evaluate the career of Tom Glavine, one of the most respected members of the baseball union and a guy who should have done more to clean up the game.
I still don’t think the game is clean, but I now feel that I have all the information that I want or need.
Clemens and Bonds
I think Clemens and Bonds are both Hall of Famers. Dirty. But Hall of Famers. That discussion is still a few years off however. Today I’m interested in people and relationships. Specifically, the relationship between Clemens and McNamee and the relationship between Bonds and Greg Anderson. To say that these relationships are unusual is a huge understatement. A relationship between superstar baseball player and trainer that borders on blood. A relationship that, at least in Clemens case, gave McNamee power over Clemens body, training regimen and diet.
Greg Anderson spent over a year in jail because he was unwilling to testify to a grand jury about his involvement with Barry Bonds. McNamee, faced with a similar choice, decided to tell what he knew. He has children that he is obviously thinking of. If you listen to the taped telephone conversation between him and Clemens however, you clearly get the impression of a man who is emotionally distraught. Maybe he’s distraught because he lied. Or maybe he’s upset at the truth he had to tell about Clemens. Either way, he’s clearly upset about what has happened to Clemens. Upset that his revelations, whether true or false, have brought Clemens character and career into disrepute. That much is clear. And to me, its just weird.
Some Final Links
The first interview with McNamee.
Some thoughts on the taped phone call.
John Donovan wants to believe Clemens but can’t.