Dec
14

Stark speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the report

By

I’ll just quote at length from Stark’s latest. We can’t repeat this point enough about the whole Mitchell investigation.

So you probably don’t even care that Clemens’ lawyer was using words like “slander” to characterize all this. You probably don’t even care that the evidence is more tenuous than you’d think.

You probably don’t even care that two attorneys who were surveyed Thursday, both of whom now work in the sports world, say they’re extremely dubious that the allegations against Clemens would hold up in court. Not even in a civil case.

You might find that surprising, considering that Clemens is one of the few players in this report whose alleged use of illegal substances was actually witnessed by a living, breathing human being (trainer Brian McNamee) who then spoke with the Mitchell crew.

But one attorney — a man who doesn’t represent players, by the way — said the entire case is “all based on one guy [McNamee], and there’s no documentation.”

True, there are checks written by McNamee to the human smoking gun, Kirk Radomski. But the report tells us, right there on Page 174, that Radomski admitted that McNamee never told him that Clemens (or Andy Pettitte) used steroids or HGH. It was merely implied, Radomski said.

Those implications were good enough for George Mitchell — obviously. But the other attorney we surveyed said that in an actual court, a judge would tell a jury that the testimony of a witness like McNamee, who had made a deal with the government, was “not sufficient for conviction. There must be independent corroboration.”

So what’s the corroboration? Information supplied by another witness who made a deal with the government. Uh-oh.

I’m no defender of Roger Clemens. He’s reaped what he’s sown over the years. But I am a fan of baseball, and today was a sad, sad day for the game because of this unnecessary report.

Categories : STEROIDS!
  • dan

    I have yet to see someone defend the report in any way.

    • kris

      Steve Somers just said in his show he trusts everything that came from Senator Mitchell. I thought he was better than that.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Well, to be fair, I too literally trust the report in that I believe Radomski said those things to Mitchell but whether they’re actually true or not is a whole other beast.

  • zack

    While no real baseball person has defended the report at all, Stark’s comments about the court of public opinion, as fickle and disinterested in actual facts, evidence, or innocence as it is, certainly has been affected. And you can be damned sure that Clemens and Pettitte will be and already are the poster boys for this sham. Not Sammy Sosa or Palmerio, who aren’t in the report. Not Bonds or McGuire, who have their own associations, not Tejada or Roberts, who nobody cares that much about, but two of the symbols of the Yankees for the past 8 or so years. And thats a shame. A shame, that is, that their guilt has been determined by the flimsiest of evidence that wouldn’t withstand any courtroom challenge…

  • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the Hall

    I agree that this report may not have been gone about the right way. Not with the right man in charge. But here is the real problem:

    Does anybody really doubt any of the names on that report did in fact use?

    I dont.

    • steve (different one)

      so what you are arguing is that if you knew someone was guilty, you wouldn’t have much problem sending them to jail even if there was not enough evidence to prove it during a trial?

      let the ends justify the means, right?

      that’s not how it should work in this country.

      • Tyler

        I agree that Clemens can’t/won’t/shouldn’t be convicted of a crime. I think Selig/Mitchell decided that exposing the information they had on Clemens, while short of prosecutable, would have some desirable effect. Equivocating between criminal conviction and imprisonment and publicly releasing a dude’s name in a report is a category error, I think.

        Mitchell might just be saying, “Look, guys, you hang out with shady-ass personal trainers, your reputation is going to get trashed.”

        Major League Baseball, by the way, is well within its rights to seek a discipline structure that operates on a different system with more invasive search rules and less stringent methods of determining guilt that the criminal/legal structure. As long as they don’t explicitly break the law, they’re allowed to work out their own discipline. It shouldn’t be that surprising that drug rules for major league baseball are stricter than they are for the population as a whole. The government can’t up and drug test you without reason, a la, an upcoming trail, probation, etc. Your boss can drug test you any time he wants.

        The legal experts cited above claim that this wouldn’t hold up in a persecution of Clemens or Pettitte. Sure. The real question is, though, does Clemens have a triable case for slander against Mitchell/MLB? That’s how we determine if they overextended themselves with the report.

        • Glen L

          he probably doesn’t … as a “public figure” he would have to show a malicious intent on Mitchell’s part .. which he likely can’t do .. winning a defamation action when you’re a “public figure” is far harder than if you’re an average joe

  • Arthur Vandelay

    Not true! Peter Gammons has come out in strong defense of this report! After all, only AL East Division Rivals have players listed in the report. I wonder how much Mitchell’s goons investigated the Boston Red Sox? Are you telling me Curt Schilling is clean? Are you also telling me that David Ortiz, a bum until 2002, miraculously became a star at the age of 28 after six seasons in the bigs without the help of performance enhancing drugs? Gimme a break.

  • barry

    I just got some breaking news that this report was just a practical joke, they’re actually going to release the legitimate one 5 years from now because they need a short recess to clear their thoughts.

  • Jeff

    I am totally sick of hearing about reports of steroids in baseball. If someone tests positive – fine – suspend him and move on…
    Football fans don’t have to deal with this crap – its ridiculous.

    • E-ROC

      Football fans don’t have to deal with the crap because players are being suspended left and right. Also, their steroid policy is a full decade older than the MLB’s policy and then some. Now, you can argue HGH and that’s fine.

  • bostonsucks@life

    Peter gammons gave mitchell a tugger after this false prophecy came out. Somewhere curt schilling is pulling his pud thanking baby jesus, and thank you to mr.stark for not cock gazing the red sox.

  • Grant

    If at all possible, I lost respect for the editors over at the Post and the Daily “News”, their front pages and headlines are the stuff of The Enquirer. They Couldn’t wait to put somebodies name on the front page under the headline “Cheaters” so they can sell more 0.50 cent bird cage liners.

  • planet

    i cracked up at the comment barry.

    lets face it this whole report is awful. its a compilation of rumors that some school girls wrote up during lunch. being that the mitchell is on the board in the redsox organization it is a bit unusual that the sox have no current/relevant players named and the yankees took it the worst. i heard from this guy who pumps mitchell’s gas that senator mitchell has a vagina for a butthole, this is pretty much fact from what i gather.

  • Rob

    Besides all the problems with the sourcing, I thought this was also really good from Stark:

    “In fact, according to Sean Forman, of baseball-reference.com’s amazing play index, 5,148 players have made it into at least one major league box score since 1985, the year Radomski went to work for the Mets.

    So that means that precisely 1.67 percent of them made it into this report. Shockingly exclusive group, wouldn’t you say?”

    If the survey testing showing 6-7% of players is underrepresenting (as Mitchell himself said), then the actual report probably named less than 20% of possible users.

    Meanwhile, I really hope Clemens sues.

  • tony from the bronx

    Answer me this?Wht would Rodanski lie? His deal with the feds was only to tell the truth,same with Roger’s trainor.Nobody is going to sue because every name mentioned,Mitchell has the goods.The only person I fell bad about is Andy.I hope this doesn’t cause him to rethink his retirement.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Uncorroborated hearsay is not having “the goods.” Sorry.

    • Rob

      He was useless to them if he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. He had something substantial to gain (less jail time) and nothing to lose (except the reduced jail time).

      Roger winning a civil case wouldn’t prove perjury on either of the criminals. And that’s exactly it: because it is all testimony with no corroborating evidence any where, it’s basically one guy’s word versus another. You’re on a jury, who do you believe?

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Give me a break about this report. No one I know has read it and are just going by the snippets in the media which are wrong and misleading. Why is no one questioning the veracity of the “reporter” who had nothing to lose and everything to gain by naming names.

    What garbage.

    We had a 9/11 commission report that was very damning of the government and got less play than this ridiculous report.

    • kris

      I read a few pages, then I had to stop because I couldn’t stop vomiting on it.

  • Moses

    I imagine this has been mentioned before, but with the exception of the great Paxton Crawford–how is there not a single member of the Red Sox on this list? Tell us Mr. Board Member?

    Not that it matters–being on this list is no more probative of use than being off it. I actually don’t get the point of any of this–the whole game used steroids. Clemens was juiced when he stared down Manny Alexander–hooray, everything balances out! Everyone–the players, the owners, the fans, the umpires–looked the other way for a decade or two.

    The implications? Life-time statistics are skewed, but didn’t we know that anyway? I mean, just the availability of modern training with or without drugs would skew lifetime statistics…

    One thing however, and one doesn’t know for sure, but it sure makes A-Rod all that more best-player-ever-y. The fact that the guy slimmed down to perform better inclines me to believe in the integrity of his workout regimen–but steroids do other things besides making you big. So who knows?

    Either way this is an overblown mess which is fodder for a sensationalist media which apparently is headlined by the ny times…

    • Rob

      Honestly, that’s why I think the only clear effect of the era was more homeruns.

      1-3 mph to fastballs + 5 to 10 feet for long fly balls = increased homerun rates

  • tony from the bronx

    Canceled checks. Phone records,credit card reciepts.Not hearsey.Read the report .Mitchel did not report names that he didn’t have corrororating evidence.Give Mitchell a little respect.He knows what he can prove and would not take a chace to be sued for libel>none of the players named will sue.Why?Because Mitchell has more the hearsey!

    • Rob

      Well, it can be argued that the canceled checks from Clemens and Pettitte (and others too) were for a trainer. That the trainer used money for PEDs don’t prove anything of what he says, specifically that they went to the people he says they went to.

      And honestly, in reading the report, I don’t think Mitchell does draw that distinction. He’s reporting hearsay and innuendo, even as it’s coming from extremely limited sources. Stark does a great job of laying that all out.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      No, it’s not more than hearsay. The canceled checks mean nothing. He was a personal trainer. Mitchell can’t be sued for libel, but the trainers can be.

      Mitchell does not know what he can prove. If he had to prove anything, he would be very very hardpressed to do so.

      Mitchell did a crap job with the report and didn’t care because he had a YANKEE trainer and a METS trainer and no Red Sox trainer. The reason the Yankees figure so prominently is because that is they guy under federal investigation. It’s not fair or accurate.

      The report is a biased hatchet job and anyone who doesn’t know that and see that is ignoring it.

      • mehmattski

        In addition, there ARE NO cancelled checks for Clemens, Pettitte, or any of the players McNamee…uh.. named. So whereas Radomski’s suspects have cancelled checks and in some cases shipments delivered, McNamee’s suspects have entirely hearsay.

        • Rob

          I thought McNamee (how great is that name for an informant though – it’s the cheap, junk version of sworn testimony) had payment records from Clemens and Pettitte as a part of his work with them. Still, they wouldn’t show if he gave them PEDs as a result.

          Am I wrong?

          • steve (different one)

            i think you are, at least for pettitte. there is nothing from pettitte.

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    The bottom line is that the report should’ve just talked about the PED culture in baseball, and how to halt it for real. Unless there was to be a systematic effort to discover who used, and to punish them, NO names should’ve been named. To focus on only a few networks of user — via Balco, the Mets and Yanks trainers/clubhouse people, and the Dodger network was a joke.

    Now morons everywhere think only the Yanks/Mets/Dodgers were using and that everyone else has been cleared. The fact that Nomar went from stringbean to hulk and back to (injured) stringbean? Hey, he wasn’t named. That Pudge and Tek lost massive bulk in one offseason and after that couldn’t hit water jumping into the ocean, hey they weren’t name either.

    A. Joke.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      Absolutely. It should have been name everyone or name no one. To name only a few is a complete travesty.

  • YankeeSupporter

    George Mitchell works as a director in the front office of the red sox, why would you use someone that has direct relationship with a team to make this investigation and not use someone with no strings attached to his a#$9(.

  • zack

    At least ESPN has an article or two up questioning the report, shockingly. SI only has ridiculous praise. Heyman calling it “a homerun” and Verducci waxing poetic on how Bud “did the right thing” and Mitchell “got lucky” etc. NEver ask the media to actually think or go against the grain…

  • Rob

    I’m actually impressed by the coverage on ESPN.com. I didn’t however watch to see if it carried over to the network.

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    The Players’ Association should demand Selig’s head on a platter by the way. Some have noted that this report was a shot fired across their bow more than anything else. Selig, as an owner, has been in the bag for them always. He’s got to go.

    • Count Zero

      Exactly what I said yesterday — this was round one for the next CBA. That’s the bottom line.

      Riposte from MLBPA expected soon.