Never let it be said that I’m not willing to admit I was wrong. In November of last year, just about a month shy of the release of the Mitchell Report, I wrote (Could MLB Get a Pass on the Mitchell Report? ):
Based on reports, the Mitchell investigation will offer up a forward looking set of recommendations, and not address how the PED culture in baseball was allowed to permeate. In other words, baseball may be given a free pass for matters in the past and present, with only the named players as ones being held accountable.
I then added:
If this is indeed the case, then many, this author included, will be ready to paint the entire report as a sham.
I said I was wrong about matters; and I was. First of all, the circus that ensued regarding player names was worse than one imagined – an embarrassing bit of theater when Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens traded back and forth as to who was the bigger liar.
The report wasn’t a sham in the sense that it got Congress all in a lather, which then meant Commissioner Selig had someone behind him as an enforcer. Since that resulted in a stronger drug testing policy, then you nod your head and say, “Good show. Now, can we please try to get this out of the rear-view mirror?” The T-Rex scene in Jurassic Park might be a good analogy. You know, the one where the driver looks in the car mirror, only to see, “Objects May Be Closer Than They Appear”.
So, I was wrong there, but here’s where I wasn’t: “Baseball may be given a free pass for matters in the past and present, with only the named players as ones being held accountable.”
Yes, I know. No players were “held accountable.” Tell that to Jeff Novitzky. In the meantime, word today from Bud Selig is that Peter Magowan and Brian Sabean will get nothing more than a hand slap for some shady dealings with a Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds.
Selig said Thursday evening at his annual meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors that any front office officials that were deemed to have acted improperly in the Mitchell Report will be required to conduct public service.
I suddenly can see Nancy Reagan doing her PSA. “Just Say No to Drugs.”
Players, as well, get this pass. Players named in the report were the focus, but technically, no one is being suspended (not that Selig didn’t want to).
But, they certainly have borne the brunt of the penalties in suspensions for positives in the past, and they should. No one was sticking a gun (needle?) to there head saying they had to take PEDs.
It’s this notion that ownership was some benign factor in all of this that requires one to suspend belief. Either management knew of the PED culture, or if they didn’t… How inept can you be not to see it right in front of you? Either way, they are, as I said in November, getting a pass on the Mitchell Report.
How did Selig view the matter?
“I don’t use the word amnesty. I don’t think there is amnesty because I think that whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something as a result of what they did. And the club officials and the clubs will be treated in exactly the same manner,” Selig said at the annual meeting. “That would be unfair if they weren’t.”
Here’s your hall pass, boys. Now, try not to be so stupid next time.
Mr. Commissioner, you got your wish. You had your cake, and ate it too. You wanted to be the tough, no-nonsense commissioner, and you got that with help from the likes of Reps. Davis and Waxman. And, you were able to keep them off your backs by releasing a report that conveniently looked at the players, shoving Don Fehr and the PA into overdrive, while seeing only a passing reference to the ownership brethren having anything to do with matters. I can hear Jerry Reinsdorf now.
If I seem perturbed; I am.
America has a great way of being forgiving; just tell the truth.
Andy Pettitte, you used? Thanks for being honest and saying you were sorry. Now, go out there and have a good game.
We also have an exceptionally hard time when people are seen as lying, or not telling the whole truth.
Pete Rose? You should have kept your big mouth shut. If you were going to lie, why come out years later and make a book about being a liar.
Barry Bonds? Your potato head tells it all.
And, Bud Selig? Look, you’ve done some good for the game. Just don’t try and make us all think you and the owners are saints. Don’t use Donald Fehr as the boogeyman that stopped management from moving forward on a drug testing policy in the past. You should step up to the rostrum and say, “The buck stops here. I run the show. I should have known.”
After all, asking you to say, “I knew it all along,” would be asking too much.
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted