Siberian Baseball

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just one more voice shouting

Before the Mitchell Report is released in a half hour, I figured I'd check in and lay some ground work before everything gets turned on its ear.

I still think that the majority of the hype will fall apart pretty quickly - the easiest parallel to draw is the release of the Starr Report - but that this day will color the view that fans have of this generation of players in history.

If you scour the sports sites this morning you'll see a lot of the same viewpoints, mainly that this will forever tarnish the sport, but will be ultimately unpunishable. I tend to agree with that and think that while it sucks that we'll now have a rash of names - many of which will be difficult to prove - that we can kick around and speculate about, there's too much going on here to actually have any sort of justice.

Baseball can't start taking wins away from teams aided by those on the list and shaving stats from individuals. This is nothing more than a fresh start.

This gives baseball a clean break to turn to its fans and say, "There, we're all better now. No more users after the 2007 season," and then they hold on and pray that the offseason cools everything off. I'd expect nothing less from Bud Selig.

In trying to process what's about to happen, I've tried to draw the lines for myself of what is and what is not acceptable to me. Not for all fans or for the game, but where my loyalties are and what it would take to change my opinion of a specific player or a team or the league.

Worst of all, what would I have to hear to turn me away from baseball forever?

It's the same set of questions from the steroid busts that pop up from time to time and especially with the Barry Bonds circus.

At the risk of setting out the loony bait again by discussing Bonds, I'm not upset that the home run record holder appears to have used steroids, I'm upset that someone so talented felt the need to juice up because he wanted the spotlight.

More than that, he allegedly used steroids out of spite. I hold Bonds to a higher standard - and I believe this bears itself out in old posts - because of his pedigree and what should have been a degree of respect for the game. There, I've now let my inner whiny sports columnist out.

I don't think I'm alone in feeling more sympathetic towards the Kevin Millar's of the baseball world who appear to be scraping to keep themselves in the majors. I'm not defending it or saying it's acceptable, but that's where my line is drawn.

I guess that's why the name Alex Sanchez can float in and out of my mind, while Sammy Sosa will be there forever.

Now, at 12:53 p.m., the hard copies of the Mitchell Report are being passed out by a burly gentleman in New York. There's no audio, so I can't hear if he's singing.

Enjoy the spin cycle.



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