Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby steps

Last week the highly anticipated Mitchell report was released, including the names of 86 players, past and present, who allegedly used performance enhancing drugs. Like many sports fans, I was looking forward to what the report, two years in the making, would reveal.

But when it finally hit, I found myself extremely unimpressed. Many of the players named were no surprise, and even for those, the report doesn't include any evidence that would hold up in court. I found myself asking, so what do we do with this now?

I'm not here to criticize the report as I have heard others do. One common criticism is that players not on the list now have a free pass. I don't buy that at all--as far as I know, Senator Mitchell never intended this to be an exhaustive list. I just want to know what happens from here on out. I'm not interested in striking records from the books or asterisking them. What's done is done, and it wasn't against the rules of baseball at the time anyway. And even though it is against the rules now, we don't have a test for HGH, what any ballplayer with half a brain who is willing to cheat is using. Without a test for the substance, baseball's anti-doping policy is useless.

The commissioner needs to demand the development of a test. the owners need to demand a test. Most of all, the players' union needs to demand a test. Maybe I'm being naive, but if I was a clean player, I'd be pretty ticked about dirty players, regarding both competitive balance and job security.

Senator Mitchell is on the right track with his report, but what is really needed is for all of baseball to work together to clean up the game, and for science to at least keep up with the cheaters.

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