This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
A few short hours ago, the much-anticipated Mitchell Report on steroid use in Major League Baseball was released. Personally, none of it was shocking to me. It was found during the course of the investigation that players from all 30 clubs have used illegal substances. Mitchell categorized the use as "widespread," not "isolated cases."
Actually, the report would be more accurately named "The Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee Report." Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse manager, and McNamee, a personal fitness consultant, provide the lion's share of the damning evidence in the report. And Mitchell was clear and forthcoming in stating at today's press conference that there was MUCH that he didn't learn.
There are a myriad of other sources, beyond Radomski and McNamee, who could multiply by many times the 60 or so names listed today as users. Even the players themselves, none of whom were willing to cooperate with Mitchell and name others, could cough up dozens of teammates who were injecting steroids and popping testosterone pills at the locker right next door. Logic dictates that the widespread use Mitchell ferreted out is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Senator Mitchell was compelling today when he asked us, both the media and the public, to refrain from focusing on the individual names and instead turn our attention to his recommendations to create a truly independent department of investigations, outside the auspices of the League. But human nature compels us to scan the list. And doing so causes the eyebrows to rise.
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, Yankee superstar Andy Petitte, four-time All-Star Paul Lo Duca, American League MVP Mo Vaughn, six-time All Star Kevin Brown. Eric Gagne, Chuck Knoblauch, Lenny Dykstra. From the Minor Leagues up to the All-Stars, there has evidently been a long-standing clubhouse culture of beefing up with performance drugs. Do any of us believe that a certain future Hall of Famer such as Roger Clemens will simply let today's revilement of his name and reputation roll off his back?
There may be only one giant, forgive the pun, of the game who has breathed a sigh of relief with today's revelations and that's Barry Bonds. He's no longer the lone, persecuted villain.
Unlike Marion Jones and Olympic athletes caught cheating with drugs, who forfeit medals and have their names erased from record books, the punishment buzzing around these baseball players is not voting them into the Hall of Fame. That seems to be Mark McGwire's lot; and it could well be what in the end comes down on Bonds and Clemens.
If we could turn back the clock forty some years, if we could sit invisible in the NFL locker rooms of the 1960's, we would find reverse deja-vu. The steroid use was widespread indeed. The NFL recognized the problem and instituted tough policies. For the most part, the press and the public were never privy to that entire drama. The NFL went through their drug crisis before the current press knew how to infiltrate as thoroughly as they do today.
Had today's press core covered presidencies since George Washington's days, how many of our leaders would we have discovered had extra-marital sex? Bill Clinton wasn't the first. He simply served during a new era of zero privacy among public persona.
I am very confident in my assertion that many, if not the majority, of Major League Baseball players tried to augment their physical skills with performance drugs over the past 20 years. Let's accept that fact, forgive those players, forget about punishing case by case, and call today, December 13, 2007, the first day of baseball's "post steroid era."
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images