“I believe we accomplished our objective of providing a thorough and fair accounting about what we learned about how the steroids era occurred, what happened and what ought to be done about it,” Mitchell said. “In a report of that length, 409 pages, including thousands of details, names, dates, facts and otherwise, I think it has held up quite well.”Parse that comment carefully. He's not saying that he provided a thorough and fair accounting of the steroids era. He's saying he provided a thorough and fair accounting of what he and his staff learned about that era. Those are two very different things.
As I write in my article about the Mitchell Report in the 2009 Hardball Times Baseball Annual, the famous report didn't learn all that much. It certainly didn't come close to providing anything approaching a comprehensive look at how steroids came to baseball, what they meant to baseball, and what, exactly, baseball was to do with all of this new information after December 13, 2007. All of which, I humbly offer, would be useful stuff to know.
The Mitchell Report was never intended to do that, however. Its primary purpose was to serve as the very public signpost marking the end of The Steroids Era. To give the teeming masses what they wanted – blood in the form of many named-names – while assiduously ensuring that not too many rocks were turned over and not too many apple carts were upset. To highlight baseball’s dirty past in just such a way that allowed people to believe that it was all in the past so that baseball could rid itself of its P.R. problem and look forward to its glorious future.
If Mitchell wants to call the Report a success he can. He should just be accurate about the very specific way in which it was successful.