SPORTS: The Mitchell Report

BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY Former Senator George Mitchell has wrapped up his 21-month investigation into the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in baseball. Today at a press conference Mitchell will “name names” (reportedly 60-80 players). It should be fascinating theater. Will he just read the names, one after the other, like disaster victims? Or will there be music and highlights, with Mitchell intoning, “The next career going down in flames belongs to a small town kid…”. I can’t wait. Is today the day Alex Rodriguez loses his status as “Golden Boy/Future Rescuer of the Home Run Record”? Was Miguel Tejada traded yesterday because his value will be reduced today? How about Aaron Rowand, who signed a free-agent deal yesterday (with San Francisco, of all teams)? What current or former Phillies will be implicated (can you say “Bobby Abreu”)? The baseball world holds its breath. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: What a letdown. I wanted A-Rod. I wanted Pujols. How the hell did Mike Piazza skate? He was with the Mets, for cripes sakes. Are you telling me Mike Piazza was smart enough to leave no trail when so many others were not? I wouldn’t have given him that much credit.

There were so few surprises among the names sited in the Mitchell Report. Almost all had been fingered orblooddoping.jpg whispered about previously (Miguel Tejada, Gary Matthews Jr., Jerry Hairston Jr.). Paul Lo Duca and Brian Roberts were perhaps unexpected. But it was no shock to see retired players Kevin Brown and Lenny Dykstra implicated.

Thinking back, how could we have not seen that something was up with Lenny “Nails” Dykstra. He went from a small and speedy slap hitter to a bulked-up slugger. With temper issues. Dykstra hit nineteen HR in 1993, more than double his career average. It seemed too good to be true when he was launching clutch home runs in the ’93 series, when in 6 games he hit 4 of the Phillies’ 7 bombs. Good memories for Phillies fans. But tarnished now?

I was psyched to see Roger Clemens called out. The Great Rocket. Too important to play the whole season, just takes millions and shows up when he wants (probably after the drug tests have been done!). Does his naming in the Mitchell Report surprise anybody? An immensely strong hothead dominating well into his 40s? Except for 2007, when he sucked. Do I have a Roger Clemens axe to grind? Umm, perhaps. I hope this keeps him out of the Hall of Fame. And it might…Mark McGwire didn’t make it this year in his first chance.

As for A-Rod, today was not his day. But as they say in sports, “Wait till next year…”

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