Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report

Read it here. It's over 400 pages, so you may want to make a cup of tea first. A quick scan doesn't reveal any nice clean list or appendix of named of players, so we're going to have to, you know, actually read the thing to get the names. I'm sure someone will have it up soon enough. The names themselves don't interest me nearly as much as the entirety of the narrative. People have been calling this a "list" all week. It's a report, folks. There will be plenty of time to giggle and point at some of the names involved. In doing so, let's be sure we don't forget that there's a lot more to this than the naming of names.

Update: but if you're into that, Deadspin has it here.

My instant take based on Mitchell's comments is mostly positive. I like the "look forward instead of back" sentiment, which makes sense. I mean, who wants to try to piece together the admittedly spotty information we have here in order to try and discipline someone over something that happened five years ago or more?

I was also impressed by Mitchell's response to a question about his alleged conflict of interest related to his connection to the Red Sox. Basically, Mitchell cited his experience brokering peace in Northern Ireland -- he's a Catholic with Republican ancestors -- and said that if the Orange Irish couldn't make conflict charges stick against him, no beat writer for Newsday was going to either.

I'm also somewhat heartened by the comments about how the steroid problem can be blamed on players and clubs, although Mitchell did hedge a bit on that point. While he noted that the players opposed testing and the owners didn't push it, he offered something of an apology for the owners' inaction, blaming it on ownership's concern over the "serious economic issues" of the 1998-2002 period. Mitchell fails to mention that (a) the players had to deal with those same economic issues from their side of the bargaining table; and (b) the players also had a legitimate interest in safeguarding their privacy and due process rights. Both sides are to blame for previous inaction on testing and enforcement, and any effort to say the players were more blameworthy strikes me as dubious.

With that, I'm off to spend the rest of my day with my nose in the report.

Update: I've begun a fisking of the whole damn thing. Click here for installment number one.


Russ said...

I like the "look forward instead of back" sentiment, which makes sense.

Yes, but there's a whiff of stupidity about a 400-page report telling you what's pragmatic.

Osmodious said...

From what I've read so far (both in the report and in the various analyses), I'm not very impressed with the 'evidence' amassed in the report...seems rather circumstantial, at best. Of course, I've not read the whole thing, but primarily using statements from people who are under indictment or investigation themselves (and likely pressured to provide information, with 'juicy' names encouraged, if not suggested) seems kind of weak. (And, as has been mentioned elsewhere, cancelled checks from clubhouse attendants proves absolutely nothing as players pay attendants in all the clubhouses they visit for a multitude of things.)

The reaction of the politicians and media was pretty much as expected, though, wasn't it? Sanctimony from the politicos and sensationalism from the press. It wouldn't be so upsetting/annoying if it wasn't so predictable...

Taylor said...

Just a point of clarification. Mitchell is a Catholic with "little r" republican ancestors. In other words, ancestors from the Republic of Ireland, as opposed to Nothern Ireland. I don't think Sen. Mitchell was referring to any ancestors' membership in the GOP as influencing others' view of his ability to be an impartial participant in the peace negotiations . . . though that would be pretty funny.

Shyster said...

I intended to refer to the Republic of Ireland, Taylor, not the GOP. I had just assumed that you capitalized the R in that case too.

Oh well. I thought it did look a little funny.