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Don't ask us to forgive, forget

December 14, 2007

Excerpts from commentaries around the country on the Mitchell Report:

Everybody involved with Major League Baseball wants to move forward, from steroids investigator George Mitchell to the guys in charge of washing uniforms. Of course they do. Moving forward connotes action. It means rolled-up sleeves. Getting things done. Solutions.

But must there be squealing of tires as they drive away?

If Mitchell and the others don't mind, some of us would like to linger awhile at the scene of the crime. We were robbed of an entire era of baseball. It matters not that it was done at syringe-point instead of gunpoint. We wuz robbed.

So please, Sen. Mitchell, don't ask us to move on just because MLB finally has acknowledged that widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs was a part of the game for the last 20 years or so.

We need to hang back so we can absorb exactly what was taken from us. Give us that, at least. Allow us to walk among the guilty and shake our heads at what they did to our game.

-- Rick Morrissey,

Chicago Tribune


Now, Roger Clemens joins Barry Bonds in baseball's version of hell. It's a slow burn that lasts a lifetime, then, after death, lingers as long as the game is played and tongues can wag. In baseball, a man's triumphs and his sins are immortal. The pursuit of one often leads to the other. And those misdeeds are seldom as dark as their endless punishment.

On Thursday, the only man with seven Cy Young Awards came crashing down the mountain of baseball's gods and ended in a heap beside the only man with seven Most Valuable Player awards. What a sport. Half the players of the last 20 years may have cheated, but who gets nailed? The greatest slugger since Babe Ruth and the greatest power pitcher since Walter Johnson.

Clemens and Bonds now stand before us like twin symbols of the Steroid Age: cheats, liars, ego monsters who were not satisfied with mere greatness and wealth but, as they aged, had to pass everyone in the record book, break every mark and do it with outsize bodies, unrecognizable from their youth, that practically screamed, "Catch me if you can."

The whole sport whispered as both walked by. Now, everyone can speak aloud. Not because their guilt has been admitted or proven beyond any doubt, mind you. That would be too clean and easy for us, for baseball.

But the Rocket and Barry stand convicted in the court of public opinion, in Bonds' case by his flaxseed-oil defense and now, in this thunderclap Clemens catastrophe, by the direct I-injected-him-many-times-in-the-buttocks testimony of his own personal trainer.

This time, the Rocket's out of gas and the bullpen is empty.

-- Thomas Boswell,

Washington Post


The Steroid Era was populated by frauds.

It was presided over by a power structure that knew it was happening, and the lowest equipment man to executive in the highest corridors of power all conspired to hide it.

The public was systematically deceived.

The record book and rosters are polluted with cheats.

-- Johnette Howard,



Paul Lo Duca comes across looking like a two-bit street dealer, there were some juicy new details about Barry Bonds himself, and we finally found out why former pitcher Kevin Brown was perpetually surly despite making $15 million a year.

They even detailed a steroid party in an Albuquerque apartment, where Lo Duca and four minor league teammates got together before a game to shoot each other up in hopes it would help them get called up to the Dodgers later that year.

All in all, a pretty impressive piece of work considering players refused to talk and the players' union stonewalled him at every chance.

But even George Mitchell admitted it was just a peek into the sleazy underbelly of baseball, where who knows how many players spurred on by the success of Jose Canseco 20 years ago couldn't wait to get their hands on drugs that would help them play better.

For that, a lot of players (Sammy Sosa anyone?) can be breathing easier. So can a lot of general managers and owners who kept signing players to huge contracts even though they knew they were juiced.

-- Tim Dahlberg,

Associated Press


Baseball's day of reckoning finally arrived Thursday. The only person who might have enjoyed it was Barry Bonds.

If he's the face of the Steroid Era, Roger Clemens is now the right arm.

Many Hall of Fame voters have said they won't vote for players they believe cheated. McGwire won't get in and has turned into Howard Hughes since retiring. Clemens is arguably the greatest right-handed pitcher in history. Now he'll have to endure some of the scrutiny given the greatest home-run hitter.

-- David Whitley,

Orlando Sentinel


Let's not be naive. It's not just baseball. And let's not lose perspective on how this report will impact baseball, which is not at all as this winter's deals show.

Baseball has grown from a $1.3 billion business in 1993, at the start of the steroid era, to more than a $6 billion business today.

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