Like every other baseball fan, I’m currently skimming through the just-released Mitchell report (pdf). I think it’s safe to say that even the A-Rod announcement (finally confirming that he’s signed the biggest contract in sports history with the Yankees) will be pushed to one side by this story. Millions of words will be written about the report over the next few days. Two points have struck me the most so far:
- That the way drugs were distributed in baseball tallied with my preconceptions. It was very much a case of networks of players who confided in each other. If a player wanted access to performance-enhancing drugs, he could find someone who knew a contact where he could get what he wanted.
- That the Front Offices knew all about what was going on and were happy to discuss it amongst themselves. The quotes from the Red Sox in November 2006 (p.267) are a good case in point. Theo Epstein asks a scout whether he has “done any digging on Gagne?” on account of the fact that Epstein knew the Dodgers thought he was “a steroid guy”. The scout’s response? “Some digging on Gagne and steroids IS the issue”. These comments are particularly interesting when you consider that they obtained Gagne’s services via a trade in August this year.
Of course, the major talking point is that in pretty much every case of a player being named (from the likes of Roger Clemens to Jack Cust), they ignored the opportunity to discuss the findings with Mitchell. That’s probably to be expected, but it leaves the players concerned open to a whole load of questions that they will struggle to dodge.