Monday, December 17, 2007

A Few comments on the Mitchell report

1. A few years back, I used to get in arguments with a guy about who was the greater pitcher--Clemens or Maddox. I said Maddox, he said Clemens. My case got a lot stronger, when the Mitchell report was released...

2. I didn't read the whole compilation of gossip section of the report, but from what I did read, I've got to wonder what impact that illegal drug use actually had. So much of it seems so scattershot. Use 'em because of a friend of a friend, but don't use the one where you get injected in the belly button, because you don't like that ... Is that really the way steroids work? Take them, without any medical supervision or plan or training or knowledge, and poof, you get better at baseball?
If you're going to use illegal performance enhancing substances, do it right, like Bonds/Anderson apparently did, and like the East Germans used to--use a schedule, keep records, get blood tests, etc.

3. Which brings me to my major question: what impact did the drugs have on the way people played the game. The report doesn't say, and I'm not sure we know. But the report should have addressed that subject. Statistics in baseball can be used in a variety of ways, but a review of the way the game was actually played, and how it changed, during the Steroid Era, would be useful. Mitchell should have gotten together a group of independent statisticians to tell him whatever they could glean from the statistics of the era.

I agree that drugs are bad, and that taking steroids and HGH without a doctors prescription should be illegal. Its OK with me if, after appropriate due process, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are banned from baseball for life, and ineligible for the Hall Its also OK with me if reporters don't vote for them, if they remain eligible. But for baseball to achieve its objective of cleaning itself up and setting the right example for the rest of the society, it seems to me that a little more thought needs to go into the medical science, and a little less into the gossip.

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