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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report List    

(UPDATE: It's the report. And it's totally different from the list I linked below, which is missing one very important name: F.P. Santangelo. From what I've read so far, the list isn't exactly comprehensive.)

(SECOND UPDATE: The list is B.S. I'm crossing out everything I wrote until later.)

Well, it looks like this is the list. The official list will be announced soon; when it comes out, I'll stick a link in the comments.

General thoughts:

* It's not really satisfying as an ending. It doesn't really decide or reveal anything conclusive. Then again, neither did the Supreme Court shakedown that gave Bush the presidency. In much the same way, they've given us this list as if to say, "OK, can we please move on now?" Fine by me.

* It makes me awfully uneasy to examine this list of names. The McCarthyism parallels at play are pretty terrifying. Our participation implies approval of the methods and behavior, which I don't. Then again, I'm not going to hate Albert Pujols or Jason Varitek forever because of this.

* Weren't a lot of these names already known? Most of this stuff isn't news. Roger Clemens? Mark McGwire? Sammy Sosa? Andy Pettitte? The Giambi brothers? Barry Bonds? Miguel Tejada? Gary Sheffield? We knew this stuff already! They'd all been linked to abuse at one point or another. Even Albert Pujols was tied to some rumors, and he's the only really prominent current player to get named/nailed.

* Albert Belle? Get outta here. That's crazy talk.

* Bagwell's presence is the only one that's extremely disappointing. That's the "oh no, not him" entry for me. He was a just-barely-in Hall of Famer before this... but I guess that's over now. He was so underrated and anonymous as a hitter, the perfect player to defend as a "cause." It's a shame it turned out like this.

For the Sox, this is pretty friggin bad. Not "Albert Pujols" bad... Big Papi and Manny Ramirez escaped a public shaming, and that's the most important development of the list. But it sure looks like Mitchell didn't let conflicts of interest get in the way. Look at how many Sox and former Sox got nailed. Prominent players like Johnny Damon, Mo Vaughn, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Nomar Garciaparra. Minor or one-time players like Rich Garces, Paxton Crawford, Carl Everett, Dante Bichette, Wil Cordero, Manny Alexander, Jeremy Giambi, Julian Tavarez, and Jose Offerman.

And the big upset: there's way more Sox on this list than Yankees. The worst the Yanks get is confirmation of what we already knew about Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi. And even then, all the names except Pettitte (Giambi, Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Kyle Farnsworth) can be dismissed since they were mercenaries... they're not True Yankees. Not one Yankee on that list has had his public perception and reputation changed or damaged as much as Varitek has.

I'm sad that Varitek's on the list. But frankly he could stand to be taken down a peg or two anyway. All that Captain Courageous shit is way overblown. He's a great catcher, a great handler of pitchers, and a great leader, but his reputation has exceeded his performance ever since signing that contract. If anything, that reputation of his ought to help him resist and overcome the shitstorm that the Boston media is about to drop in his lap. I bet they cut him a break, because he's Jason Varitek, team captain and hard-nosed hero to so many.

What I find surprising is how unsurprising the Sox violators are. Privately, I figured Mo would turn up on the list. Nomar too, although I wouldn't be taking it so well if I hadn't read Seth Mnookin's tell-all Feeding the Monster last year and found out what a dick Nomar actually is. Nixon's injury history makes him a no-brainer. And I'm disappointed to see Damon and Varitek on the list, but their career-long resilience in the face of deeply physical play is at least partially explained here. You can look at what we know about them, slide steroids in there, and say ohhhhhh.

But even then, we can think less of these guys, but there isn't any important history to revise. You want to put an asterisk next to Varitek's shitty batting average, or Nixon's 28 HRs in 2003? Take 'em, be my guest. Doesn't change anything.

By the way, that reaction of mine is exactly why the asterisk thing is so stupid. Nobody wants to roll back the unremarkable performances. They just want to undo the symbolic ones, the magical ones that made us feel so good. We came to find out our joyous feelings were false, and we want to lash out. McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Pujols, even Brady Anderson and Bret Boone, they all get asterisks. But who gives a shit about Carl Everett, right? That's where the Bonds defenders are spot-on. If you take away the 73 HRs, you are required to remove everything else, which you just can't do.

Anyway, in closing, let us all pour it on the ground for our beloved Rich Garces. El Guapo's the one that really hurts. Say it ain't so, tons-of-fun!

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