Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bias? What Bias?

It is with trepidation that I even wade into the cesspool that is the steroids debate, but Jack Cust opened his mouth, and the Yankees are currently playing Oakland, and I don't really have anything else I want to write about right now, so here goes....

For some unknown reason, Cust gave an interview with the AP yesterday, in which he touched upon his name being in the Mitchell Report and railed against the entire investigation, claiming it was biased due to George Mitchell's presence on the Red Sox Board of Directors:
With all the other stuff going on, with a lot of the guys coming out recently — big-name guys — to me it's kind of funny they spent all that money on the Mitchell Report and a bunch of hearsay and the guy who made all the money off it happened to work for the Red Sox. Were there any Red Sox on the report? To me, that's kind of a joke. How does that happen? It's coming out now with guys on that team. The guy worked for the Red Sox — they spent all kinds of millions of dollars — and then no one there had their name brought up.
That's not entirely accurate. Off the top of my head, two players were named in the report for events that took place during their tenure with the Sox: Paxton Crawford and Manny Alexander. Not exactly world beaters there, but it's a start.

I'm not sure where to begin this. First, the report was an absolute mess from the word "go", and will likely stand as the biggest in a series of blunders that has marked Bud Selig's now seventeen year tenure as Commissioner. While an investigation into steroid use in the sport was likely warranted, Bud jumped on that train about fifteen years too late, closing the barn door long after the entire stable of horses had run out. Choosing a principal investigator with a potential conflict of interest was a poor decision*. Sending him out to lead a multi-year, multi-million dollar investigation without any sort of subpoena power or any ability to grant immunity was a poorer one.
*As was naming an owner to serve as "acting" commissioner for six years, then letting him keep the job for an additional eleven and counting...

Without any ability to force people to talk to him, Mitchell was grasping at straws from the start. Exactly two active Major Leaguers spoke with him: Frank Thomas, of his own volition, and Jason Giambi who had the option of either cooperating or being suspended after he committed the cardinal sin of stating that baseball as a whole was wrong in the way they handled performance enhancing drugs.

Without player cooperation, nearly the entire Mitchell Report was based on the testimony of stool pigeons Kurt Radomski and Brian McNamee, who were forced to cooperate as part of federal plea deals. Radomski was a longtime clubbie with the Mets, McNamee a former strength and conditioning coach with the Yankees. Around which city and which teams do you think the majority of the report would focus?

While I do find it curious that there is a general lack of players from Mitchell's organization appearing in the report, I'd imagine that's more a result of the investigation being toothless than it is a function of any bias. If anything, the recent revelations of positive tests from both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz (illegally leaked by employees of our federal government by the way, who in turn possess that information via a direct violation of labor law) should illustrate that no team, no clubhouse, not the Red Sox, not the Yankees, not anyone, was immune from this garbage.

As for Cust, I can understand his frustration with carrying the scarlett letter of being named in the Mitchell Report. His inclusion was tenuous at best, hearsay at worst. On a daily basis, Cust is likely surrounded by both teammates and opponents who did things as bad, if not worse, and haven't been outed.

That said, Cust was given every opportunity to respond to Mitchell, and like all card carrying MLBPA memebers, he refused to do so. From a legal perspective, I can understand that position. But if Cust, or any other of the accused, punts on his opportunity to clear his name, he loses much of his right to complain about it. And that see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil mentality is exactly how the MLB and MLBPA found themselves in this mess in the first place.


  1. I gotta give you props on that picture.

    New to the blog, and enjoying it. Fuck Youk.

  2. Good point about Cust being able to respond and not doing it, Matt. Notice that he doesn't claim he was wrongfully accused, he just is angry that he was included in the report when others weren't.

    Even if A-Rod doesn't really think it, it's pretty respectable that he hasn't been outwardly bitter that he was outed for his failed test before anyone else was.