George J. Mitchell, the former senator of Maine, spent the better part of a year writing a 400 page report that says Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were not the only major league baseball players who used illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.
In fact, Mitchell identified 89 other major league players including:
- Hall of Famer Roger Clemens
- seven former MVPs
- 20 men who played for the Yankees
- players from all 30 major league teams
Out of all the investigating, only one player cooperated with Mitchell: The Yankees' Jayson Giambi. What did you expect?
So let me ask you this. Did you think that Barry, Mark and Sammy were the only users? Did you have to sit down and hold on to something when you either read about Mitchell's report in the papers or listened to it on radio or television? Were you astonished that Lenny Dykstra, the bloated up little Pete Rose clone who led the Fightins' to the World Series in 1993 was a 'roid man?
Come on, let's get serious about all this.
I remember when I discovered my entrepreneurial skills in high school. You see, at my high school you were either born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or you stole it from the cafeteria, and I was definetly in the cafeteria group (Lisa, don't let my neices read this).
At my high school, at least with those I kept company with, you proved you were in the cafeteria group, or from the Hill, in one big way: You smoked. You not only smoked but you smoked in school, which, like performance-enhancing drugs, was a no-no. Later, if you quit smoking, like me, okay. But if you continued smoking you are most likely dead now.
The place at school where most Hill kids smoked was the boys room. It was our sanctuary. The silver-spooners wouldn't even enter the boys room so I'm not really sure to this day where they went to the bathroom. Perhaps they simply held it in. The teachers and principals had to catch the smokers with a lit cigarette. Just a smoke-filled boys room would not implicate you. Can you see the parallel here?
Anyway, I invented the wet paper towel trick at my high school. That's right, I'm not making this up. Upon entering the boys room, with some 20 kids from the Hill puffing away, you would pull several paper towels out from the dispenser and hold them under running water. Ring them out, then light up.When the look-out spotted a school official heading toward the boys room and gave the signal, like: "Put out them butts, Miller's comin'," you simply wrapped the soaking paper towels around the lit cigarette and drop the whole mess in the trash. You could never be implicated.
I also played high school baseball and several of us--I won't mention any names besides Pete and Gary--did some smoking in the locker room boys room between games of a double header. The wrestling coach caught us. He couldn't believe we were smoking between games of double header. We swore up and down that it wasn't us. He was both astonished and amused and let us go (besides, our team would have lost the second game if he would have busted us). Another parallel.
If you asked me today if I was smoking in the locker room between games, I most likely would say no, especially if my three children were anywere in listening distance. Unless, of course, I was being asked by a grand jury. Yea, sure.
So I ask you, what did the Mitchell report actually do? We know they juiced up, we know Bonds and McGuire weren't the only players to juice up, and frankly, there were a hell of a lot more players who juiced up than the 89 Mitchell named. In fact, I think Mitchell should be barred from the game for only coming up with just 89 players, who, if I may add, were dumb enough to be caught. Even old man Miller back in high school could name more Hill smokers than that. That is, if he's still amongst the living.
So let's do this, shall we? Forget about the players who juiced up. Let's stop tattletailing like the silver spooners use to do, let's let Barry off the hook and reinstate Pete Rose to the Hall and let him counsel young players in spring trainging every year against the evils of gambling, and forget about all this crazy steroid stuff. How the hell can you prosecute Barry when Roger, Sammy, and Mark are sitting home counting their money?
But be damn sure about this: Make your drug testing stringent and fool proof enough that people who love baseball won't have to worrry about any more juicing up. Can you do that major league baseball? As a fan, I don't care about the past. I care about spring training and the start of the 2008 baseball season. And I don't want to see any more Phillies' players showing up for camp looking like Lenny.
PS: And get Pete Rose back in baseball, did I mention that?