MLB, the Mitchell Report and the IOC
- Updated: December 20, 2007
After close to two years we now have the results of the Mitchell Report on PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) in major league baseball. One question now has emerged on the lips of many. What do we do about it?! Roger Maris didn’t cheat when he hit 61 HRs, but did get an asterisk next to it because the league, at that time (and still does) played more games than it did when Babe Ruth hit 60. Maris had more chances to break the record and he got penalized for it, but he did nothing wrong. All of the grief he got over it would have been better addressed to MLB for increasing the amount of games played per year! Did they not foresee the possibility of records like this being challenged because of the additional games per season? They should have! If you have yet to see the movie 61*, produced by Billy Crystal (who is not in the movie), I highly recommend watching it at least once.
On the other hand, look at what baseball missed out on when the nation went to war in WWII. A number of all-star players lost time due to their service in the war. How many more hits, RBIs, HRs, etc. would a player like Ted Williams have compiled in those years lost to military service? If anyone has these projections (and the stats as they are currently), please post them in the comments here & I’ll put them at the end of this post ASAP!
As far as accomplishments like the MVP and Cy Young Awards goes, you can remove them from the record books and award them to their rightful owners (the runner-ups) just like the IOC has done in the past. Most recently with the stripping of the 5 medals won by US women’s sprinter Marion Jones in the Sydney Games. This can be done! The question is if the MLBPA will humble itself for the integrity of the greater good of baseball. Why bite the hand that feeds them any longer? Hasn’t enough damage been inflicted already? The Mitchell Report hasn’t stopped the bleeding, it was just a band aid on the wound that is infecting the integrity of the game of baseball!
Personally, I think baseball should work closely with the IOC and adopt a policy that either matches that of the IOC or comes awefully darn close to doing so! Soon both baseball and softball will be removed from the Olympics until the MLB drug policy is more closely aligned with IOC standards. This has already been established by the IOC and unfortunately, softball is more guilty by association in this case. Both sports will need to reapply starting in 2009 for re-entry into the Olympics moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, this will be a hard thing for most die-hard fans to swallow. I assume that a lot of players that are loved and looked upon (right or wrong) as heroes will have tarnished public opinions. But for the greater good of baseball, I think it has to be done! More names need to come out, punishments put forth and policies changed or else baseball will fall from grace as the National Past Time. That is, if American Football hasn’t already replaced it.
I think this is a job that is beyond current commissioner Bud Selig. This happened mostly during his watch. The only reason we are even discussing this topic is because a higher influence has forced the hand of Major League Baseball. They would not have done so on their own free will! MLB needs a commissioner like the NFL’s Roger Goodell. Someone who will stand up to infractions, someone with a backbone, someone who is not wishy washy! I repeat, major league baseball needs a new commissioner. Let Mr. Selig go back to ownership of the Brewers.
By the way, I do not think that the commissioner’s office, MLB player agents nor the organizations themselves are without fault here as well. This is a dynamic that the IOC does not have to deal with. Where else does the fault lie? Who else knew this was happening to our beloved sport, yet turned a blind eye to it? Most of this group will walk away without blame and without accusation of any wrong doing and that is a shame, but it is more than likely not going to ever be addressed. That is biting off way more any anyone could ever accomplish. Those who knew will just have to deal with their guilt on an individual basis. I wouldn’t want to be one of them!
Comments on this high profile topic are very much welcomed and encouraged!