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.
So here’s where things really get interesting.
Roger Clemens has enlisted the aid of Houston attorney Rusty Hardin to combat the allegations put forth in the Mitchell Report, the Houston Chronicle reported this evening. Hardin got right down to work and issued a very strongly worded statement:
“Roger Clemens vehemently denies allegations in the Mitchell report that he used performance-enhancing steroids, and is outraged that his name is included in the report based on the uncorroborated allegations of a troubled man threatened with federal criminal prosecution. Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive. There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today…
“The use of steroids in sports is a serious problem, it is wrong and it should be stopped.
“However, I am extremely upset that Roger’s name was in this report based on the allegations of a troubled and unreliable witness who only came up with names after being threatened with possible prison time.”
If that doesn’t sum up the problems with the Mitchell Report — witnesses coerced by the threat of jail time to come forward — I don’t know what does.
Meanwhile, this game is just getting started. Who knows what Roger Clemens did or did not do? I sure don’t, and I don’t think anyone, other than Roger, really does. The real test though will be the threat of a law suit. If one of the players named in the Mitchell Report files suit, this whole charade will blow up in everyone’s faces. Yikes.
Update: For all of you legal eagles out there, ESPN’s Lester Munson has up a Q-and-A on the legal issues. If you want to know why players probably won’t sue or face many suspensions, that’s the article for you.
Representatives Henry A. Waxman and Tom Davis are jumping back into the fray. The two are going to ask Senator Mitchell, Commission Selig and Donald Fehr to come to Washington next Tuesday so that a bunch of politicians can look good on camera. I guess the House of Representatives has no other pressing issues to deal with today. Remember, folks: The Mitchell Report was commissioned to placate Congress. Mission Accomplished.
Here’s something to debate: Senator George Mitchell shouldn’t have named any name if he couldn’t name them all. This is a report based on testimony from one guy who’s trying to cop a plea to avoid jail time and another trainer fired. While I’m sure a lot of it’s true, there are a lot of names dropped in there with tenuous connections to steroids and other PEDs. When all is said and done, Mitchell wouldn’t have had anything to work with had Radomski avoided arrest, and the Senator hardly went further. This is a sham.
Eduardo Perez speaking on MLB.com just asked, “What’s this going to solve in the long-run?” And my answer right now is simple: Nothing. This report will surely piss off the Player’s Association, and it casts baseball operations people in a bad light too. This report is probably one-quarter complete at best and just shouldn’t be out there in this format.
“Proof is testing positive,” Perez just said, and that pretty much sums up the validity of the Mitchell Report.
Yeah, we’ve overdone it with the steroids stuff. We’re about 15 minutes away from the press conference, so it’s time to start the official thread. For those of you at work, we’ll throw up names and other revelations that come about during the conference.
Before they begin naming names and alleging allegations, I want to make sure these two thoughts are understood:
1) That a player is named in this list does not necessarily mean he did steroids. Unless, of course, it is accompanied by an acceptable amount of evidence.
2) That a player is not named in this list does not necessarily absolve him.
Let the fireworks begin.
Update by Ben: Get your report right here as a PDF. If you want to read the parts about the Yankees, jump to around page 175. There you will find the story of Andy Pettitte. He supposedly requested and used HGH to speed his recovery from elbow tendinitis in 2002.
Update by Joe: So Kevin Brown not only sent Radomsky a package with $8,000, but he didn’t make Radomsky sign for it? And we had this goon on our team for two years. Ugh.
A full list of players named in the report after the jump:
Right now, a supposed list of names from the Mitchell Report is making its way around the Internet. We’ve gotten a few e-mails about it, and a few other blogs have posted it. But we’re not going to yet.
We’re not posting this list because it is pure speculation at this point. No one sending this e-mail has seen the list or the Mitchell Report, and we don’t know from where the list originated. We’re not going to smear players in advance of the publication of the report, and as The Big Lead notes, MLB is denying the accuracy of the list making the rounds. When 2 p.m. hits, we’ll have coverage for you, but not until then.
In a similar vein, as this list makes the rounds, the response seems to be some mixture of shock and outrage. But why? A few of the players that are bound to show up on the real list were named in the Jason Grimsely affidavit in 2006. It’s repackaged old news.
Meanwhile, Mitchell’s evidence is based entirely on things he heard and not things he knows. So he read the newspapers in 2006 and knows that Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens were mentioned. So he’s heard the same Miguel Tejada B-12 vitamin rumors the rest of us know. Great.
This report is an exercise in futility designed to rile the masses. In that vein, it will be a great success, but where it counts, it’s a failure tainted by biases and a non-objective stance. The sooner this is out and over with, the better off baseball will be.
Tim at MLB Trade Rumors speculates that The Viz may have reached an agreement with the Rockies. If true, the Yanks would get a sandwich round draft pick as compensation, and depending on where some remaining free agents sign, this pick could be as high as #39 overall. At worst it will be #46. So basically it boils down to this: the Yanks traded Vizcaino to the Rockies for LaTroy Hawkins, a draft pick between #39 and 46 overall, and about $8-10M in salary relief. Sweet deal. · (10) ·
From the Nevada Appeal:
Darrell Rasner Sr., Rasner’s father, said his son will resign with the Yankees. By not tendering a 2008 contract to Rasner, the Yankees will be able to remove Rasner from their 40-man roster.
But Rasner will still be invited to the Yankees Spring Training with a chance to make the 2008 Major League roster. Rasner’s father said his son will be given the chance to make the Big League club as a spot starter and long reliever.
Good news. Rasner wasn’t flashy, but he was pretty darn effective early last year before going down with a finger injury. He’s well-suited for a spot starter/long relief role (he throws strikes and keeps the ball in the park), and is a nice guy to have ready to go at the upper levels.
hat tip to commenter steve (a different one)