Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Mitchell Report

Just when I was getting ready to put the finishing touches on my presidential choices former Senator George Mitchell got behind the mic and released his findings. I didn't take the time to read the 400+ pages. For me, The Mitchell Report is of interest because I wanted to see the names. When I saw that over 80 names were included I felt I should see which team had the most accusers. What I did was use the fine statistical resource, Baseball-Reference, to find out which teams each player listed has played for over the course of his career. This only includes team played for through the 2007 season. I realize that in many cases the player may not have used performance enhancing drugs while on the team but go along with me here. It was hard enough trying to chart all of the names and teams, let alone read The Mitchell Report and figure out when they supposedly took the drugs. Now, I did not double-check the teams I marked for each and every player so it's reasonable to assume there are some inaccuracies. I assume the numbers to be fairly accurate though. Without any further ado, here is the list:

22 NYY
18 BAL
16 LAA, NYM
15 CIN, LAD, SD, TEX
13 BOS, CLE, SF
12 FLA, KC
11 ATL, CHI(N), COL, OAK, PIT
10 ARI, PHI, SEA, STL, TOR, WAS
9 MIL
8 HOU
7 DET, TB
5 MIN
4 CHI(A)

It certainly made my day when I counted the tallies and the Yankees showed up at the top. My disdain for the Yankees is obvious so I was fired up to see they have paid more players on the list to wear their uniform than any other team. To be honest the teams that suprised me most were the Mets, Giants and A's. I figured since the Mets former clubhouse slappy, Kirk Radomski, and BALCO (located in the Bay Area) were major players in this saga that those teams would be leading the charge. I didn't do anymore statistical analysis than what is shown above but a quick glance at the list does tell me one thing, I think. The top part of the list is dominated by teams along the East and West Coasts. The bottom of the list seems to consist of teams in between. I'm not sure what this means but it is interesting.

The only thing I conclude from the names provided is that performance enhancing drugs were a big deal in baseball. There is no way this is close to an exhaustive list of names. If somehow we had access to all the names that ever cheated in this way it wouldn't surprise me if every team had just about the same number of offenders.

My last point on The Mitchell Report is that no matter how much people want to bad mouth MLB for steroids and this report at least they are doing something. Everyone wants to pile on MLB for turning a blind eye and putting this report together without subpoena power. I ask you, what's the NFL doing? Players are being suspended on a weekly basis and when they return it's as if nothing happened. Whenever Barry Bonds plays all the announcers can talk about is steroids. When Rodney Harrison plays all they talk about is how much he loves the game. When Shawne Merriman plays all they talk about is how dominant he is and that he has really cool commercials.

Whether the media, public or both has forced MLB's hand I can't say. You never see MLB praising the virtues of its players that have tested positive. If the NFL doesn't watch out they are going to wish they learned from the backlash MLB received from steroids. Since the NFL is the most arrogant pro league in American sports they probably won't. They will feel really foolish when it happens because they had MLB's debacle as a chance to learn a lesson.

1 comment:

elmazz said...

All I have to say is if for no other reason than to expose that NY team for what it is (despicable) I am happy to see them topping the list. I admittedly not a huge baseball fan, always take great satisfaction in any bad press for the only "bought" team in MLB. I hope they get banished from the league!