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The time for knee-jerk reactions to the Mitchell report has passed. Now it’s time for deeper analysis, more thoughtful reflections, and, best of all, time to make fun of those knee-jerk reactions. First, we examine claims that the report reflects a pro-Red Sox bias.

I didn’t pay too much attention when the Mitchell report was commissioned. So color me surprised a few months ago to read that the man being tasked with investigating steroids in baseball is also a director with the Boston Red Sox. “Gee,” I thought, “Even if the man’s a saint, that’s a pretty clear conflict of interest. How will he have any credibility?” Well, it turns out that while you might be able to broker peace in Northern Ireland, orchestrating a cease-fire between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans is a horse of a different color.

The morning before the report was due to be released, rumors chased each other around the internet that it would expose key Red Sox players such as beatified captain Jason Varitek, who seemed to lose some size and pop in 2005 when testing began, and Nomar Garciaparra, who got big, fast, and whose connective tissue was never the same afterwards. I was not surprised that Yankee fans instantly pounced on Mitchell’s position with the Red Sox (a position from which he has been on leave lo these 20 months) and to accuse him of bias and call the report a sham. While I am sympathetic to their rage, I think a recourse to the facts throws cold water on any conspiracy theories. The report named 14 players who, at some point, had played for the Red Sox, and quoted from someĀ  unvarnished emails between Sox GM Theo Epstein and scouts on the subject of steroids. The report named 22 Yankees. Taking into consideration that most of the report’s information was gleaned from New York-based steroid dealers with a lot of ties to the Yankees and the Mets, I don’t think that shows any real evidence of bias. George Mitchell himself was the first to admit that his report was far from the last word on steroid use in baseball.

Apparently, however, others take a different view, such as Thurmon Munson Should Be in the Hall of Fame:

Is it just me, or is Mo Vaughn the only Red Sox player (sans Brendan Donnelly) on the list?

Something stinks up there in Beantown, and this time it’s not just the Red Sox.

Jeannie and I were at our favorite Mexican restaurant for about an hour at lunch, and the ESPNation mentioned Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada.

Just those 4 players…

For an hour straight…

The “Mitchell” scroll tab at the bottom of the TV screen reported Clemens and Pettitte ONLY. Over and over and over and over and over.

No mention of any other players, other than Jason Giambi.

Just the Yankee players.

And we’re to believe that this report isn’t biased?

Yeah… RIIIIIIIIGHHHTTT…

First, there are 12 other guys TMSBITHOF conveniently forgot to mention (including Eric Gagne), along with the unflattering Epstein emails. Second, to leap from “Something stinks up there in Beantown” to lambasting ESPN’s coverage of the report and back to “and we’re to believe that this report isn’t biased?” is such a case of the nonsequiturs, I am not even sure where to begin. ESPN had nothing to do with the Mitchell Report. How does ESPN focusing on the Yankee players cast any shadows on the report itself? As to why ESPN would focus on some names and not others, well, ESPN is a New York-based company, first of all, and much like supposed national print outlets the New York Times and the New Yorker, they consider anything that affects the Big Apple to be their lead story. And let’s face it, Clemens is bigger news than Mo Vaughn, who isn’t even an active player anymore. In fact, I don’t even know why I’ve spent this long eviscerating such an illogical and poorly written post. I mean, it practically eviscerates itself! Yet still, the topic has been cropping up on various message boards. And certainly, reporters asked about the conflict of interest at the news conference last week. So is there anyone else out there who really thinks this thing is biased? Have you read anything else claiming undue influence by pro-Sox or anti-Yank sentiment? What do you think?

10 Responses to “Give us the head of Jason Andrew Varitek!”

  1. I think Bud Selig should have done everything in his power to leave people with the impression that the investigation was done openly and honestly. And instead he picked an investigator with a clear conflict of interest. I don’t give a crap that Mitchell wasn’t on the Sox payroll during the 20 months he led the investigation. He was on the payroll before the investigation and he’ll be on the payroll again.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I agreed in the post that it was a clear conflict of interest. Your comment might have been more pertinent 20 months ago, when Mitchell was named. But now, given the information in the report and the way in which it was gathered, do you or do you not think it’s biased? Don’t just dance around that question by bashing Selig. We all love bashing Selig.

  3. I think the report could be biased, but I don’t know for sure. The worst thing about Mitchell’s expose is that it anecdotally names some players, many w/NY connections, because the two primary sources were w/the Yanks and Mets. But what about other players and the activities in non-New York clubhouses? I’m not saying that the allegations regarding the NY players are completely bogus. But the problem with naming these players publicly is that they get excorciated in the press while planty of other players, who more than likely were doing the same thing in other clubhouses, are getting a (nearly) free pass just because Mitchell uncover dirty laundry on everyone.

    And in response to Thurmon Munson Should Be in the Hall of Fame:

    You are so right. The modern world is built around making life difficult for the Yankees and their fans. That’s why you never see any positive news about the team from the Bronx. ESPN clearly hates them.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Danny O, re: “just because Mitchell uncover dirty laundry on everyone.” Looks like something got eaten by UmpBump when you posted this (UMPBUMP HUNGRY! UMPBUMP SMASH!). Did you mean, “just because Mitchell *couldn’t* uncover dirty laundry on everyone”?

  5. Sarah, I don’t think it matters if the report was biased. Because the perception exists that it is biased. And perception is reality.

    (personally, I don’t think Mitchell omitted any names. But I’m not convinced he went looking for names as dilligently as he might were he not a Red Sox fan and employee)

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Perception is reality? I had no idea you were such a philosopher, Ward.

    Considering that neither McNamee or Radomski ever worked for the Red Sox, and that Mitchell got all his names from those guys, and that everyone else refused to talk to him because he was not given any leverage by MLB or Congress at all, I think the man did the best he could. If you think there’s some other, unexplored way he could have gone hunting for names under those circumstances, let’s hear it.

  7. MLB and Bud Selig hired George Mitchell to compile this report thus it is not an independent investigation. Mitchell from all evidence possesses personal integrity but he did not have subpoena power. He had no power to compel players past or present to be interviewed under oath. Because of his lack of subpoena power he relied on Federal investigations of BALCO, Radomski and McNamee. Radomski and McNamee were compelled by Federal prosecutors to give truthful interviews to Mitchell under threat of additional prosecution. The Feds also gave Mitchell documentation such as canceled checks to corroborate the testimony. Due to these constraints Mitchell could only gather info on players connected to those specific investigations.
    It would show bias if there were other names uncovered in those investigations that Mitchell chose to omit, perhaps Red Sox players. We will not know this unless documents he reviewed are made public.
    I think it’s unfortunate that he was not able to gather information on other sources of PED that players certainly had. If Mitchell had revealed no names he would have been accused of a white wash and people wouldn’t have paid as much attention to the report.

  8. Thank you Sarah. I actually did mean to say “just because Mitchell uncover dirty laundry on everyone.” You’re good at reading minds.

    “UMPBUMP HUNGRY, UMPBUMP SMASH” reminds me of that character on the Smurfs named Bigmouth. (See http://bluebuddies.com/help/smurf_names_and_list_of_the_smurfs.htm – 4th entry on the smurfs enemies list)

  9. Back off Tek, man. As much as MFY fans want to villify the Sox for the success they’ve enjoyed. The’99 Sox had Pedro, Nomar and Mo Vaughn but went down in 5 games to the MFYs in the ALCS. The umps were terrible in that series, but I digress… Time will tell who is using what. Until then, let’s focus on fixing what’s really wrong with baseball — the rapaciousness of MLB. Give us the head of Bud $elig on a platter. He denied Mitchell subpoena power, which would have turned up scads more guys on the juice.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    NYSoxfan….I can only assume your “back off Tek, man” statement applies to the bloodthirsty folks I was quoting in the post, and not to me. Since clearly, I have a love for Jason Varitek that is as deep as the mid-Atlantic ridge and as pure as freshly fallen snow. I would link to my old Metro column rhapsodizing about The Captain, but apparently, the Metro’s link is broken. Bah.

    While yes, the umps were terrible in that series, alas, the Hit Dog had already left for Anaheim by then.

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