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 some 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?
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?