I Now Pronounce You


The Mitchell Report -or- Letting the Fox Guard The Henhouse is Just Bad Business

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on January 3, 2008

While I was away, the long awaited Mitchell Report came out. For those of you who don’t follow sports or who are reading in France, this was an $20MM investigation headed up by former Senator (and Red Sox employee) George Mitchell in to the use of steroids in Major League Baseball and it hit like an Atom Bomb. There were names, dates, and accusations galore. And ESPN and CNN both ran those big names in a non stop loop at the bottom of their screens. And understand, these weren’t just any old names. These were huge names like Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. America was shocked. Stunned. How could this be?!

That was what I heard, too. “INPY…how can this be?!” “Do you believe it?” “What should the punishment be?!” Until now, I resisted the urge to post my thoughts. I kept thinking that someone, anyone, would step up and express exactly what I was feeling. I waited…and I waited.

And then I waited some more.

I read the coverage diligently, and found it full of words like “shame”, “betrayal”, “outrage”…I saw the “how could they do this to the children?” and “what is wrong with these people” headlines. I read the calls for Roger to be banned from the Hall of Fame and saw the interviews and now I’m here to tell you what I think.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. I mean, are you even remotely close to serious with this shit?! I don’t even know where to begin with all of this because I have such utter and complete contempt for this report and the general public, not to mention the sports writers of America who’s sole responsibility is apparently to make sure that everything can become as close to an episode of the OC as humanly possible.

Here’s where I’ll start;

Do I believe that this report is accurate?

Hell yes I do. My question to you is “why did you need this report to begin with?!” You honestly didn’t think that professional athletes were using performance enhancers? Are you slow? Did you ride that short bus with seatbelts and harnesses to school? You do know that the tooth fairy didn’t actually put that money under your pillow, right? And, consequently, there is no “rejuvenation fairy” that has come along since the 80’s and extended the careers of athletes in the world. Roger Clemens is in his 40’s and throwing a baseball at over 90 miles per hour. Are you kidding me?! My grandfather wasn’t all that much older before he had trouble passing the mustard across the table, but this guy is firing fastballs and you didn’t know? Come on, who are you kidding. You didn’t care then, and you wouldn’t care now unless someone decided to tell you that you’re supposed to care.

But, suddenly, somehow, you are righteously indignant about all of this. “How DARE they?!” And as if that’s not enough, you want to hand out punishments…

Let me put it to you like this; if there were a bar in DC that said to its patrons “hey guys, you can smoke in here….yeah, yeah, I know what the law says but really, it’s all good”, that bar would be full of smoke in 30 minutes. And as the patrons and workers and everyone there benefited from it in their own ways, they’d get more and more creative in their attempts to hide it. The bar is making more and more money, people are loving it, and it’s just kickin’ ass. Then, fast forward a bit…someone spills the beans. Probably some tool who got thrown out (Cough cough CANSECO) for being a douche bag and everyone wants to act surprised. Forget, for just a minute, that there was smoke BILLOWING out of the doors and windows…forget that they are emptying ashtrays out the back door…suddenly, there needs to be retribution…

So, who gets punished?

In this case, it’s the people serving your drinks. Not the owners. The workers. And then, just to make matters a bit more murky, the owners of this bar say “hey, we’re sorry buddy. In fact, we’ve hired our corporate accountant to do some research in to this situation and find out who’s responsible”…and he comes back with a list of who was working in the bar.

That’s the Mitchell Report.

Anyone in baseball that says they didn’t know is lying to you. From Bud Selig to the managers and all the way down to the bat boys. But somehow, the only names in that report, and the only people thrown under the bus, are the athletes.

What a shock.

So you ask me, do I believe that there’s a problem? My answer to you is “grow up”.

My other problems with this whole thing are, in no particular order;

1) How in the name of God did a man who works for a baseball team get the gig doing an investigation in to baseball?! The powers that be have the audacity to say to me and to you, well, he’s a former Senator! His integrity is beyond reproach.”

Umm…what?! Are you high?!

Last time I checked, the biggest problem in this country’s government is (arguably) special interest. Why? Because these Senators and Congressman and mayors and whoever else can all be bought and sold!!! Yet there you sit saying to me with a straight face “this guy’s too honest to be on the take”. W. T. F?! If he’s so honest, why aren’t there any names of owners in there? Or managers? You’re going to tell me that despite the fact that these men are the face of your business, and you see them constantly for months on end, day in and day out, you have no idea if they are up to something? You can’t see them growing exponentially or look at their numbers going up and up and up and say “Hmmm”? Give me a fucking break. And no one seems to care that Georgie couldn’t find ONE person outside of the players and 2 trainers that was at all responsible or guilty?

The fix was in the minute they pulled a guy from the payroll, and there was no way that he was going to nail anyone but the talent. Oh, and just for good measure, how about the fact that there’s not ONE failed drug test among the 80 something players he found, and yet…he decided to name names?

Why?

Gee, I can’t imagine.

2) Another issue I have; you think this is baseball’s problem. Here’s where I’m seriously going to blow a gasket. The NFL handed out suspensions to Shawne Merriman and Rodney Harrison for the same thing; PED’s. The Carolina Panthers had a Dr. supplying Christ only knows how many of them INCLUDING THE KICKER with PED’s. Does anyone care? It’s an afterthought. There have been stories about golfers (GOLFERS!!!!) taking Steroids. The entire Tour De France is sponsored by BALCO. Track stars are rotten with it. Boxers and Ultimate Fighters fail tests and yet…it’s just baseball that gets more than a passing mention?!

WAKE UP!!!

Professional athletes don’t do anything like normal people. They don’t live like you do. They eat different. They work out different. They sleep different. Their doctors treat them with drugs and therapies that you’ve never heard of…everyone single one of them. And there are millions and millions of dollars on the table. Of course they are taking PED’s!!! You can’t be this naïve America. If I offered you a way to make far, FAR more money at your job by taking something that everyone else was taking, too, you’d jump at it. Don’t lie to me or to yourself. For a fraction of what these people are paid you’d do all kinds of things that you wouldn’t want made public. I’m talking to you and you and hell yes you. Get off your high horse, folks.

3) Wanna know why you’re reading all of this all of the sudden? Because sportswriters are trying to sell you something. These guys who are now writing all these pieces about baseball? These are the same guys who, a few years from now, will be doing the same thing to the NFL, NHL, NBA and whoever else and acting “shocked”. But none of them are saying it now…there’s no groundswell for any sort of universal testing across all pro sports…just more BS from the same guys who wouldn’t dare say anything until someone else does first. These are just the Johnny Come Lately’s…all of them telling you how horrible these people who cheated the game and cheated you and blah blah blah…what a crock. Where were they even a few short years ago? I’ll tell you where; they were calling Mark Maguire and Sammy Sosa heroes for saving baseball while pretending not to notice that Big Mac had grown to 150% of the size he’d been as a rookie. Please. You know who I respect? I respect the guys who wrote Book of Shadows (Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams) about Barry Bonds. They said “this guy is using Steroids” and they went after him. The rest of these writers are no better and no different than the View. They sit around clucking like hens clamoring for attention in shrill hysterics about the issue of the hour. None of them actually report anything…they just cluck and crow for your dollars. They don’t care about the game. They don’t care about the players. And they damn sure don’t care about integrity. If they did, they’d have been saying this years ago.

4) This one is the big one. Are you ready?

You don’t know you’re being conned.

You really don’t. Last year baseball surpassed the $6 Billion mark. Think about that…$6 BILLION DOLLARS. In fact, from now on that will be in all caps because that much money deserves no less. Not one less ticket was sold in this country when this whole thing started and not one less ticket is going to be sold. Why? Because at the end of the day baseball can say “we have the Mitchell Report, we are now testing for Steroids, please buy more tickets”. And we alllll will because we got to learn the names of 80 something players that George caught. And what’s the reality of this whole thing? That there is no test for the Drug du Jour, HGH, there isn’t going to be one any time soon, and everyone will go right back to business as usual. From day one, the whole point of the Mitchell Report wasn’t to clean up baseball, it was to create a big splash so that none of you would ask the real question.

The question isn’t “do people cheat?” because for a few million bucks, of course they do. (and as I’ve said, so would you for a lot less) The real question is this;

“Does America’s pro sports empire condone and encourage the use of PED’s?”

And, for the $6 BILLION that baseball alone represents (plus the revenues of the NFL, NHL, NBA, and every other pro sprot) the answer is you’re god damned right they do. They do it because you, the spectator…the common fan, DEMAND that they do. That’s right, you heard me. Think about it; we market these men and women as super human. They can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than anyone else. But you don’t want to know what goes in to making them that way and you’re damn sure not interested in seeing the game played for the purity of it. You don’t care about singles or the perfectly executed relay throw. Fuck no! You wany home runs and triples! You know what pays their salaries and buys their Ferrari’s? Excitement. You know who knows that better than anyone? Owners. KNow what else they’ve figured out? A team and a league full of average guys who work hard doesn’t create the excitement that a team and a league full of enhanced athletes puts out. You want home runs! Sacks! Spectacular hits and crushing blows! They want your money. And the athletes? They want it, too, but they only get a short time to get a fraction of it. They have to compete with all those younger guys, and those younger guys are doing whatever they can to get that spot, too. There’s greed and ego and all kinds of things involved that you’d like to pretend you’re above, but you aren’t.

Do the math, genius. For $6 BILLION you’d be amazed what you’d condone. And pro sports? They condone highlights above all else. That’s the real issue. But you don’t want to hear that because it’s not as exciting and it damn sure doesn’t sizzle. Those players named will be replaced by others that will cheat just like those before them and those before them. THink this is new? Then ask someone why the investigators were told not to include Amphetamines in there search. Little hint; because all of those guys that played in the “pure eras” were wired for fucking sound…hell, teams used to provide candy bowls full of them!

But Steroids and HGH? Oh yeah, it’s like they suddenly got moral and ethical.

The whole thing stinks, and the only people getting the shaft are the players. And America, you bought it hook line and sinker because of the splashy headlines and the big names. It never even dawned on you to you to ask the real question. Hell, it never even dawned on you to ask the easy questions.

So, what do I think of the Mitchell Report? I think George Mitchell can kindly go fuck himself along with Bud Selig and the other owners who used it to pull the wool over all of our eyes.

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15 Responses to 'The Mitchell Report -or- Letting the Fox Guard The Henhouse is Just Bad Business'

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  1. Adande said,

    kudos!!! an awesome assesment. very jerry mcguire of you and really, that’s a compliment… this was the best thing i read today

  2. Arjewtino said,

    That “grandfather being too old to pass the mustard” line still cracks me up.


  3. yeah… thats kinda what i wanted to say…but didnt have time type…
    xoxo

  4. Beth said,

    I can’t say I’m a huge baseball fan. I’ll watch it if it’s on, and I’ll read the headlines, but that’s really the extent of it. But, I was so aggravated when this report came out. My two cents on the matter: “Who cares?” If they want to put random drugs in their system so they can be better players and make more money, that’s their prerogative. It’s not like they have an unfair advantage over the rest of the players, since the rest of them are doing it anyway. This goes for all sports, not just baseball. That report was stupid, a waste of time, and a waste of money.

  5. Bruce said,

    Ok, I have gone back and forth on my thoughts on the Mitchell Report but I have finally concluded for the MOST part that it is a big joke. However, I disagree with the notion that this report should never have come out in the first place, I just think that it wasn’t comprehensive enough and it didn’t accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish. Especially for a former judge, this report is circumstantial at best.

    The players are not the only ones who are getting hurt by this though…to baseball purists there is the constant struggle of which statistics should be recognized and which should not. That has a huge effect on how I look at a player and it does make a difference to me if I know that a player is using PED’s. Not so much because it was or wasn’t banned at the time, but more so because this game is my heart and soul. Will players cheat? Of course. Should it be condoned or should we look the other way because of the financials….well if you are a casual fan then I guess it doesn’t really matter. But if you are one of those fans who can rattle off fifteen years worth of WS championships only after showing off the Number 3 you have tattooed on your back (I don’t by the way) then it is a whole different story.

    To me the Mitchell report is more of an intervention. Something like this had to happen eventually and actually I am greatful that Selig…who otherwise is a terrible commissoner…decided to do it. To just say that we knew that all of this was going on but not formally do something about it isn’t enough. It’s like knowing you have a virus but you don’t do anything about it because you are pretty sure that no one else knows for sure.

    And that’s not to even bring up the Pete Rose comparison.

  6. jess said,

    I’ve told you I agree with you on pretty much all these points. I mentioned to Arjew a column I read in which Buck O’Neill said essentially cheating in baseball is as old as time so he wasn’t surprised or outraged.

    I’m my father’s daughter, so I really don’t value home runs and triples as I do the comparatively subtler points of the game. Of course, pretty defensive turns can require just as much HGH for recovery as they do for the long ball….

    The thing that kills me is baseball getting singled out, as you mention. As a society, we accept getting conned in all sorts of ways. Actresses and actors aren’t that pretty, but we don’t stop making them an ideal because they are more plastic and personally-trained than the rest of us can ever afford to be. The Mitchell Report seems to me to be somewhat symbolic of the time we are in now, and how willing we are to be conned by all sorts of fictions. It doesn’t make baseball any less beautiful for me. It just makes the players, owners and managers more understandable as entertainers.

  7. roissy said,

    what you’ve wrote is basically true. i’m digging your fiery indignation.
    the question is, where do pro sports go from here?

    the problem with HG and juice in baseball is that as a sport it singularly exalts statistical comparisons to past teams and past players. maybe babe ruth was hopped up on caffeine and hot dogs but there is no way anyone can compare the raw physiological power of modern pharmacology with whatever “cheating” the past greats did.

    the fact is, there are now officially two eras of baseball… pre-roids and post-roids, and any comparison between players of their respective eras will be flawed. a babe ruth juiced to the gills would have been even more formidable than he was. yankees murderers row on hgh would have been renamed genocidal tyrants row.

    this generational severing really does destroy a lot of the history and tradition of baseball, and everyone from the owners on down to the players AND fans are at fault. how and in what degree you assign that fault is a matter of your personal moral sense, but i’d say the owners and management deserve at least as much blame as the players, if not more. the fans, for the most part, are just buffoons and were ruthlessly exploited by their betters into forking over their dough for a drugged up dog and pony show. (present company excepted ;))

    i mean, this is how i feel about sports in general: you’re just rooting for a uniform.

    fuck that shit.

    having said all this, i fully support legalizing steroids and HGH (along with a host of recreational drugs). let’s just have out with it. roids and hgh are as good for the non-athlete male as the pro player. they will slow down aging. they will make you stronger, faster, mentally sharper, and more ambitious. and despite the fear-mongering of the drug crusaders, there are relatively harmless classes of steroids that won’t cause all the monstrous side effects you saw in barry bonds. deca durabolin comes to mind.

    let’s shed sunlight on the whole sports industrial complex and come to terms with the fact that mommy and daddy hold up as role models for little johnny guys who are cheating mother nature. enough with the lies, obfuscation, and wink wink nudge nudges. if people don’t like it, then sports will suffer the loss in prestige and money that it has become accustomed to. if people say “oh well, it’s progress” then we can do away with these ridiculous show trials and embrace the idea of the pro athlete as souped-up chemically-enhance ubermensch. more homers makes johnny smile!

    PEDs are the present and the future of athletics, and it will only get more so as genetic engineering takes center stage. you think this is fucked up? just wait until you can take a genetic cocktail that will grow you more type II muscle fiber for sprinting. or one that’ll reduce the amount of sleep you need between pitching starts.

    so what’s it gonna be? mother nature… or manmade nature?

  8. Bruce said,

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the effects that blatant PED use has on kids and young adults who emulate these guys and destroy themselves in the process. That is the biggest tradgedy here in my opinion. I’m sorry…I just hate that steroids are what they are in baseball.

  9. WiB said,

    I agree with most of this, inasmuch as I didn’t pay much attention to the results of the report, or the uproar that followed it. If people want to think that Bonds was the only one, and that helps settle their minds, so be it. If I spent too much time thinking about the ignorance of the average American consumer, my head would explode.

    The only thing that I think is important about all of this, getting the sport “cleaned up,” is the effect it has on the young aspiring players. They’re the ones who stand to suffer from the culture of PEDs. It starts with Advils during the game, and just steps up from there, and that’s the problem. I don’t care about the millionaires, let them abuse themselves silly. It’s the kids in high schools who think it’s the way to go that we have to worry about. We at least have to try to convince them that it’s not okay.

    Go ahead and cue the shooting star and “The More You Know” music if you want to. Or “One to Grow On” for the older kids…

  10. startingtoday said,

    I’m really impressed with your writing. I hate people that just spout off about how they “feel,” but then have no solid footing under it.. You are not that.

    There should be more sportswriters like you. Then I might actually be interested in reading about sports. (Not that I dislike sports.. I dislike reading about sports.)

  11. Sweet Lou said,

    I’m not impressed. Jim Caple wrote this same thing just the other day. Oh, wait…. 😉

    Just kidding. Actually, this is a much better tack than I previously understood your position to be. I thought your position was “look, all sports do it, so it’s a non-issue.” Instead, I really like your focus on the (blatant) fact that it’s all about the talent, while management, ownership, and MLB are ignored.

    It reminds me of the Abu Ghraib issue (another issue where the media sat down and played dead). When the smoke cleared, it was a bunch of privates (no pun intended) and NCO’s that got jacked up. Any Generals get court martialled? Nope. How ’bout a Colnel? Nay. Any Majors, Captains, Lieutenants? Nope; just specialists and privates. More importantly, where was the media to ask these questions? Firmly wrapped around Karl Rove’s finger.

    As you point out, the media is similarly wrapped around Uncle Bud’s finger. And I just don’t understand why.

    As always, your writing is fantastic. Hope to see you on ESPN.com sometime.

  12. skip said,

    take the money out of the game and you take away the incentive to cheat.

    it’s simple.

    Athletes are paid absolutely gross amounts of money to **play a game**

    We can’t control our borders, We can’t educate and feed our citizens, our economy is in the toilet and people give a shit about whether some guy is cheating at baseball??? Where the ever-loving fuck are our priorities??!?

  13. College Grad said,

    I have to disagree with you. I’ve already made some of my points about the Mitchell Report. I don’t think that it was fair that those particular players were singled out and I don’t think that they deserve to be condemned for trying to win.

    PEDs are more baseball’s problem than any other sport. That’s because baseball failed to put an effective measure to counteract steroids. The NFL had a stronger program in place for a longer amount of time. They have caught players such as Shawne Merriman and Rodney Harrison, although they continue to hand out accolades to the players.

    Sports are entertainment. That’s why they are on the planet. They’re not there to solve the world’s problems, or be a representative market to make the world a better place. Sports are not there to help a lower class escape a life of poverty, because the percentages are incredibly small. No longer do they even define the culture of a country. They’re there to entertain people. Baseball does it to the tune of $6 billion in revenues. Sometimes I think people end up taking entertainment too far. Sports can give us the occasional uplifting story, take for instance the recovery of Kevin Everrett, but it also has an underground that many reporters and executives are unable to admit or comment on.

    The public sees Sunday in the NFL, or the 162 games in the regular season in MLB. That’s their entertainment. They don’t see the off seasons or the chronic injuries later in life, or the shortened lifespan of NFL veterans. They don’t see what it takes to get ahead and most members of the media make sure that side of the story stays hidden from view.

    So the public is being conned, because they want to be conned. They want to think that athletes are special. They want to think that if that game 20 years ago had gone a different way, or they’d had the time to practice free throws 8 hours a day as a child they’d be on that court or in the field. And they’ll do whatever they can to believe that, and the powers that market the entertainment product called sports will feed that utopian ideal until the very minute that the court of public opinion forces them to change it.

    That’s why the Mitchell Report exists today. Because Bud Selig saw the court of public opinion dying against him. He knew he needed a new scape goat. He needed names and George Mitchell was willing to look into the past and provide them. Interestingly he didn’t provide the executives who looked the other way, merely the players who sought a better chance in the sport. And that might be the saddest part of all this.

    Oh and Skip… Athletes are paid that much money to play a game, because people will pay even more money to watch them. We want to be able to escape the fact that we can’t educate, or feed, or have the economy work perfectly. So we watch sports. And players like Roger Clemens, who throws blistering fastballs are much more rare than the third-grade elementary school teacher. Sports don’t cripple our economy or starve children. Sports just give us an escape. So don’t blame payrolls for any of this.

    (Sorry that’s so long.)
    -Collegegradrealworld


  14. unnnvefdrujeywiflrro, Watch The Other Guys Online, kxqhelq.

  15. MONTY said,

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! @AmandaYJS @liyinglings HIT HER TWITTER API LIMIT! SHE CANNOT SPAM YOU UNTIL ONE HOUR LATER! 😄


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