So the Mitchell Report came out yesterday (available for download here). Have you heard anything about that?
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve not read it. At 400+ pages of legalese, I’m not sure when and if I’ll make it through the report. However, like you, I’ve heard a lot about what’s in it.
First off, Pujols is ticked and I can’t blame him. That initial list that came out (you can read the real-time reactions in the Mitchell Report thread at the Clubhouse) had a lot of people, including him, on it that were nowhere to be found in the report. However, even just having your name tied to a report like that, even if it is an inaccurate report that is withdrawn, can cause your reputation a lot of harm. I saw someone later claiming that was a list of players that they didn’t necessarily have enough evidence to put into the report. (BTW, Nate Silver at BP did a good job debunking that list.) Some guy that doesn’t pay much attention may have caught that report and now think AP is a user. Or people will say, as that other one did, “there’s no smoke without fire.” For my part, I don’t think there was anything to it, just someone throwing out names. I’m glad Albert did make a statement about the whole thing, though.
Second, from what I can tell, the Mitchell Report doesn’t tell us just a whole heck of a lot that we didn’t already know. We knew lots of players used steroids in that time period. We knew most of the names from one leak or another. Even the big names of Clemens and Pettitte had before been tied to steroids and been suspected for some time. While there were some former Cardinals on the list that we didn’t know about (Gary Bennett being the most recent, probably Fernando Vina being the most prominent), none of them made that much of an impact on me or the team. Vina was a fan favorite and there could be some people disappointed with him today, but that’s about it.
And lastly, the most interesting thing out of the report was the lack of evidence tying Mark McGwire to steroids. His andro use was talked about, but of course that was legal at the time and well known. The only other information was the stuff from Jose Canseco’s book. Mitchell investigators could find no one to verify those charges.
So the question for Hall of Fame voters, who are filling out their ballots now, is how do you keep him out? There is less evidence against him doing things than certain Hall of Famers Bonds and Clemens. As probably numerous people have said in the last couple of days, if you start keeping out people you just suspect used, you have to not induct anyone for a good 10 years or so, until this new class, people that have gone through testing, are eligible. I don’t think that will happen.
We have players from the Dead Ball era in the Hall that probably wouldn’t be there if you used today’s criteria on them. But the game was different then and most everyone played with the same conditions. You could make the case that the Steroid Era was the same way.