The Commish Online                                                                                
Shootin' the Fat E-mail Style
March 31, 2006

By now, you've read and heard plenty of stories and opinions about George Mitchell, Bud Selig, and the impending investigation of steroid abuse in MLB.  With every passing story, more information is revealed and my opinions of the people involved seem to sway each time.  While still searching for the truth and motives, here is an excerpt from an e-mail conversation I had with a friend yesterday.  Notice how I am self important enough to refer to myself in the third person, YET secure enough to let someone else have the last word.

Here we go!

Does the Commish care to comment?

The Commish is exhausted with the steroid talk.  I get it - steroids ran rampant the past decade (or two), the public PRETENDED to be naive about it (hmmm, wonder how Brady Anderson went from being a leadoff hitter to knocking out 50 dingers-must be the sideburns), the media preferred to cover the story of baseball (and the increasing HR totals) rather than the story of steroids, and MLB was (and still is) completely irresponsible, knowing the situation but seeing the cash roll in and turning a blind eye.  ESPN Radio had a good comment this morning - Golic said MLB has been practicing constant "reaction, not action" when talking about the fact that MLB has only done something AFTER a book comes out.

The bottom line is you can't change the past – home runs were hit, so they must be recorded.  It's up to the public to remind younger generations about the conditions at the time (hitters were juiced in the 90's, the pitching mound was 10 feet high in the 60's, etc.), not the record books.  What you can do is investigate the past, figure out the problems, fix them, and move ahead, but you can't CHANGE the past, which is what many seem to want to do with Bonds.

It makes me chuckle when the NCAA puts schools on "probation," like when they forced Ohio St. to take down their banners and they "took away" their wins.  That doesn't exactly help We Got Screwed St. from advancing to the next round in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.  Fix the problem; don't change the past. 

If Jim O'Brien was the reason for recruiting violations, hunt him down and suspend him, even if he's with U of NewSchool now.  That will make schools think twice about hiring shady coaches.  Instead, they get hired, do their dirty business, succeed, win, get fired after rumors of violations, and the school just has to remove a banner.  Ha!

In the case of Bonds (and the 324 other players, pitchers included, that were/are on steroids), investigate!  If PROOF is found that illegal activity took place, then properly suspend the guilty parties, but let's stop talking about asterisks and taking away records.

Ok, NOW I'm exhausted with the steroid talk.

Yes, I too am exhausted with steroid talk (actually, I'm not- I love this stuff), but I believe this issue is different.  Appointing an outside commission to independently investigate all steroid use will take this issue beyond conjecture and bar room philosophy.  Mitchell and his investigators’ report will be exhaustive, extensive, and make public a myriad of infractions clearly implicating, potentially, hundreds of players.  There is no logical finish line for this investigation, so it will continue to burn through MLB like a China Syndrome.

This act will be a huge ring on the tree of baseball history and will serve to cause people to begin future baseball statements as "Before the Mitchell Commission..." or "After the Mitchell Commission..."

Selig has indicated a willingness to gut the house of baseball right down to its very foundation, if only to rebuild it again.  This is only the beginning of a massive purge, both body and soul, in baseball that will either lead to a Renaissance of the game, or initiate its demise.

No turning back now and, frankly, I am giddy with excitement.  I've always loved a revolution.

See you on the other side Comrade!

One must remember, Comrade, that even revolutionaries are not opposed to keeping a contact in their side pocket for when the need may arise (although Selig is hardly a revolutionary and more a coverer of ass).  George Mitchell is the Chairman of Disney, which owns ESPN, and is also a director for the Red Sox.  Hardly an outside commission.  He also was Selig's guy about 5 years ago when Selig wanted to prove that most teams were "losing" money and an imbalance existed.  So, a former Brewers owner (Selig) whose daughter owned the club after Selig became commissioner hired "independent" Mitchell to tell the public that most teams "lose" money in the hope that the wealthy could further help the "poor."

What was not explained in the report was how much the value of each franchise has increased.  It's like saying you spent $200K on a house 5 years ago, you rent it out for $25K/year but have been putting $30K/year INTO the house in repairs, etc.  You claim that you can't keep your head above water, but fail to mention that the house is now worth $1 million on the open market.

Instead, Mitchell and friends painted the bleak picture of MLB so that Selig would fulfill his agenda (contraction? relocation?).  Now, Selig is back in bed with Mitchell.  Selig got to enjoy the post-strike resurgence, effectively supporting the injection (pun included) of power in the late 90's despite everyone's quiet suspicions.  Now, before Bonds makes a mockery of Ruth and Aaron, Selig (waiting until the last possible second) now needs to right the ship without causing it to sink, so he sought out the guy best fit to bring down Bonds but not necessarily all of baseball.

The near future should be interesting for baseball, but just remember when Bonds becomes the fall guy that plenty of 20-HR hitters and 10-Win pitchers were just as guilty; they just weren't as succesful.

I appreciate your points about baseball "aw shucksing" its financials and I agree it's disingenuous, but so what?  This only proves they are like every other mega corporation in America trying to maximize profits, cut costs, and play fast and loose with the tax law.  As you point out to me everytime I start getting misty about the soul of the game, or get fired up about one more attack on the character of baseball by another low life in cleats, baseball is all about the Benjamins.

But I don't see any dollar signs in Mitchell's appearance and I can't see any reason to impugn his character just because he did some grandstanding for the Man.  Mitchell was a key player in doing the unthinkable when he helped pass the Good Friday Agreement and ebbed the tide of generational bloodshed that flooded the Emerald Isle.

MLB makes tons of money.  I get it.  Selig gives people the heebies.  Understood.  George Mitchell eats lunch with Mickey Mouse who owns ABC which owns ESPN which is filled with athlete apologists and moral high-ground hand ringers who at the same time eagerly lead every SportsCenter with another Barry Bonds update.  Agreed.

So What?

These commissions are ravenous engines fueled by righteous indignation and Ivy League nerd power.  Heck, Kenneth Starr's final report on Clinton getting his [**PG-13**] ran almost 500 pages; more to the point (warning political history coming!): Starr was originally appointed Independent Counsel to investigate the Clintons’ alleged Whitewater real estate misdeeds.  His scope then expanded to include Vince Foster's suicide, missing White House FBI files, and then finally he stumbled on Bill and his definition of what "is" is.  No one remembers that Whitewater was a sloppy land deal, but we all remember that Monica liked [**PG-13**].  Point is, once these counsels start digging, there is no way out and it is a long way to the bottom.  There is plenty of dirt to go around.

Barry won't be the only casualty- just the first.  Plenty of those 20-HR hitters and 10-Win pitchers are going to get muddy too.

But, hell, I'm for it!  Let's get it all out on the table.  Let all the truth out and each and every person can make his own determination, but it will be based on fact and not lies and fog, which is what MLB is today.

Buckle up.