The long awaited Mitchell Report came out today, the culmination of a lengthy and thorough investigation into the use of banned substances in Major Leage Baseball. The most anticipated portion of the Report was the List of players connected with anabolic steroids, HGH, amphetamines, and other performance enhancing drugs. Here are some of the notable names mentioned:
Manny Alexander - Red Sox utility infielder in 2000. This name shouldn't come as a surprise, since he was caught with steroids in his car back in '00. A clubhouse employee took responsibility for it, but we all knew that was bogus.
Barry Bonds - duuuuuuuuuuh
Kevin Brown - Former Yankee starting pitcher, and once the highest paid pitcher in baseball.
Jose Canseco - He wrote the book on steroids in baseball. Literally.
Brendan Donnelly - Red Sox reliever this year. The Sox just passed on tendering him a contract, making him a free agent. Donnelly missed most of the '07 season on the DL.
Jason Gambi - Can we put an asterisk next to the 2003 ALCS? After all, it was his solo homeruns that chipped away at the lead before all hell broke loose in the 8th inning.
Jeremy Giambi - He must have gotten his from a different guy from his brother's supplier.
Eric Gange - He exploded and became one of the best relievers ever for 2 years, then he came back to Earth, as we all witnessed. Nevertheless, he wore a "Yankees Suck" shirt at the parade, so I forgive him.
Andy Pettite - Just resigned with the Yankees.
Gary Sheffield - What a surprise, another former Yankee on the juice.
Mo Vaughn - Say it ain't so, Mo. Say it ain't so.
I have yet to peruse the Mitchell Report, but some reports on the Report also say that Nomar Garciaparra, and Jason Varitek were on the List. But they've also been absent on several other lists I've seen, so I don't know what to think. My reason for not discussing these two guys is not my pro-Sox bias. I hate Nomar and would love nothing more than to revel in his downfall.
And here's the biggest name on the List...
Roger Clemens - Maybe Dan Duquette was right, perhaps the Rocket was in the twilight of his career before seeking the shelter of the athlete's little helper. I've heard two varying stories about Roger's steroid/HGH usage. One has him starting when he became a Blue Jay. Another has him beginning in 2000 with the Yankees.
Roger starting a cycle in 2000 might make the most sense. In 1999 and 2000, Clemens was mediocre, going a combined 27-18 with an ERA of 4.13. Then in 2001 he goes 20-3 with a 3.51 ERA and pitches 220.1 innings.
Clemens was a great pitcher before 2000, a first-ballot Hall of Famer for sure. But his performance since then has caused many "experts" to argue for him to be considered the greatest of all-time. Perhaps now they will realize that they were wrong.
The artificial extension of Roger's career garnered him over 100 more wins. He's also added 1,356 more strikeouts. Roger now sits 8th all-time in wins, and 2nd in strikeouts. But how much of these impressive figures were aided unnaturally and illegally? How much does that matter when considering a player's legacy?
It is impossible to determine what would happen if a player were to take PEDs. They could improve, stay the same, or even get worse. By the same token, it is impossible to determine what would have happened if a player DIDN'T take PEDs. Roger may have still gotten those 100 wins, and 1,356 strikeouts. He may still have gotten the 2001 AL Cy Young, and the 2004 NL Cy Young. We simply don't know.
However, that lack of knowing is a result of Clemens' own cheating. It is his own behavior that will lead to his legacy being tarnished, his numbers being questioned, his career looked at suspiciously. The public may condemn Roger, but it is he himself who hath damned him. I, for one, shall not weep for Roger Clemens.
In fact, I take great joy in the fact that his name will be dragged through the slime and the mud. Call it Schadenfreude, call it bitterness, call it what you will. I call it hatred. I hate Roger Clemens. He's a liar. He's a greedy bastard. He's a coward. And now, he's a cheat.
People once argued that his name be in the same sentence as Walter Johnson, Christy Matthewson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and the other great pitchers. Now his name sits aside Jose Conseco's, Jeremy Giambi's, Manny Alexander's, Sammy Sosa's, and John Rocker's.