No, I didn't actually read the Mitchell Report, because I'm a fan, and fans, by and large, don't care very much about steroids. (Plus, it's really long.)
Let me warn you that, as is often the case, I'm going to overstate my opinion a bit. In other words, I don't fully believe what I'm saying, but because there is so much preaching and sermonizing in the media, I need to push a little harder on my side of the see-saw.
Here are the two main reasons we don't care:
- We may love sports. But at the end of the day, it's just entertainment for us. Watching a game is entertaining. Reading about sports can be entertaining. And yes, sometimes, watching these guys completely screw up their personal lives can be entertaining. But unlike sports journalists, we have families, jobs (most of the time), other hobbies, important sitcoms to keep up with, dopey blogs to write...and we don't feel like spending our precious entertainment time hearing or reading about steroids.
- It's rather obvious that many of the people on this planet who professionally ride a bike, swim, run, ski, hit quarterbacks, skate with a stick in their hand, and just about anything else that yields large rewards in cash, prestige, or women, will stick a needle in their arse if they think it will help. But for some reason, the sports press drones on about steroids in baseball, and cares not at all about steroids in other sports.
Which is why I've decided Bud Selig was smart to do this. Brilliant, actually. Get as much info out there as possible in one fell swoop. Let the guys on ESPN bloviate about it for a few weeks or so. Do it deep in the wilderness of the off-season, when the World Series is a distant memory, Opening Day is next year, and we're distracted by holidays. And maybe, just maybe the media would lay off a bit.
For the most part, it's worked out beautifully for Bud. There is not a single young star on the list. No David Wright, no Prince Fielder, no Chase Utley. No John Beckett or Johann Santana or Ryan Howard. No MLB video games will appear under Christmas trees this year with the face of a Mitchell Report name on the cover. It's a bunch of has-beens, never-weres, already-knews, and big-whoops. Of the 66 players selected for the 2007 All Star game, the only two in Mitchell's report are Bonds and Brian Roberts, a good but not great player who made the team primarily as the token Oriole. Clemens is the only Hall of Famer, but that's about as shocking as hearing there is gambling at Rick's.
The only downside for Bud is that this thing was timed to come out during the NFL stretch-run, when sports fans in 20 cities would be focused on figuring out whether their team will make the playoffs. But except for the Patriots' undefeated run and each league's 6-seed, there is very little drama remaining in football's regular season.
So, can we move on now?
(Oh, and the part about that guy sticking the needle in Clemens' butt is on page 166...)
Update: According to Jayson Stark at espn.com, who is one of the best baseball writers going, the case against Roberts was ludicrously thin
p.s. apologies to Dave Barry for the asleep at the keyboard joke...