In his recent interview at Sports Media Guide, Bob Ryan said “anybody would be deluding himself to say he’s writing better than Selena Roberts the last three years.” And while I don’t think Ms. Roberts is infallible (I’m not a big fan of her music), more often than not, she’s right on the money, never more so than in today’s New York Times column about former Senator George Mitchell’s elusive steroid report.
The report cannot remain a nebulous, endless pursuit, because closure and context are too important. Was doping systematic, with a flaxseed potion in every locker? Were baseball officials enablers, strategic in their ignorance? Or was the Steroid Era really confined to six degrees of Jose Canseco?
The unknown won™t deter baseball™s fan base of unconditional lovers. Attendance has never been better. But an unfulfilling report by Mitchell is in the worst interest of baseball players, particularly the former stars up for Hall of Fame consideration.
Cal Ripken, is also a headliner on this year™s ballot. Since the antidoping policy was implemented in baseball, pitchers and infielders as thin as bat handles have been nabbed juicing. It is not unreasonable to wonder if Ripken™s ironman stamina was all natural.
Senator Mitchell needs subpoena power he™ll never have. With it, he could compel everyone from Barry Bonds to Jason Giambi to meet him, but as Mark McGwire proved, a subpoena can force a man to testify but it cannot lead him to disclose anything.
Disclosure is about trust. The union is encoded by mistrust. As has always been the case, and with admittedly some success, players have rebuffed all outsiders to follow Fehr™s mantra of procrastination: Wait it out, dig in, and you™ll win.
Not this time. For players to ignore Mitchell is to dismiss what is truly in their best interest: closure.