Dope Springs Eternal
Slate writers and editors dissect the Mitchell report.
Metcalf: Right, politicians are grandstanding poltroons, and all bachelors are unmarried men. So what? Do we want someone with teeth to continue looking into this, or not? We can't both rag on the politicians for taking up the cause and the teams for saying, "Let's move on." Assume everyone, from Fehr to Selig to John McCain, is a self-serving dickhead. Is there anything we want to know that we don't? Are we willing to go back through the same old mud to get it? How do we want the testing policy to be revised? The voice of an old fogey, but a sport in which Bret Boone hits one-handed home runs is almost totally uninteresting to me.
Levin: Well, if you don't like to watch guys like Bret Boone hit one-handed home runs, you're in luck. The MLB home-run rate was way, way down this year. I'm not dumb enough to believe that MLB's current testing program has eradicated drug use in baseball, but the Mitchell report is a historical document. It mostly lists guys who took steroids between two and nine years ago. That's why I think the Mitchell report is almost useless as a referendum on baseball's standard operating procedure vis-à-vis drug use. It is, though, a wonderful piece of literature and invaluable as an oral history of the game's drug age. (The Glory of Their Vials, anyone?) Never has there been a better depiction of how the modern clubhouse operates, with the intimate relationships between players, trainers, and the occasional batboy from the wrong side of the tracks. And one thing we haven't talked about is the complicity of MLB front offices. This note of "an internal among Los Angeles Dodgers officials" in the section on Paul Lo Duca is fascinating: "Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade. ... Florida might have interest. ... Got off the steroids. ... Took away a lot of hard line drives."
Metcalf: Maybe this fine piece of literature will motivate someone to make the testing regime meaningful.
Wilson: Here's my count of teams mentioned in the section about Radomski. Disclaimer: Some guys played for six teams, but we can't assume they took steroids while playing for each team. Still interesting, though.
East: New York 14, Toronto 5, Boston 9, Baltimore 13, Tampa Bay 3
Central: Minnesota 4, Detroit 6, Chicago 1, Cleveland 9, Kansas City 7
West: Oakland 6, Los Angeles 8, Texas 7, Seattle 7
East: New York 13, Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 5, Florida 6, Montreal/Washington 9
Central: St. Louis 8, Houston 6, Cincinnati 8, Milwaukee 4, Pittsburgh 6, Chicago 7
West: Los Angeles 11, San Diego 7, San Francisco 6, Arizona 5, Colorado 9
Levin: If I'm a Chicago White Sox fan, I'm asking why our guys aren't willing to compete with the rest of the league.