Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada are the big names in former Senator George Mitchell’s blockbuster steroid report (PDF) that was issued today. The long knives will be out for them. The Internet is already ablaze with anger directed at players who “cheated.” Fans want records expunged and players booted from America’s pastime.
But what about baseball owners who had to know what was going on in their clubhouses? The Mitchell Report illustrates how deeply team officials were corrupted during the “steroid era.”
Consider the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of Major League Baseball’s most hallowed franchises. The Mitchell Report includes memos written by Dodger officers about two players: catcher Paul LoDuca and pitcher Kevin Brown.
Here is what an official wrote about LoDuca, whom the Dodgers were trying to unload to the Florida Marlins.
“Steroids aren’t being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest. . . Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives... . Can get comparable value back would consider trading. . . . If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05.”
And how about six-time All Star pitcher Brown. Let’s go to the Dodgers transcript:
“Kevin Brown – getting to the age of nagging injuries . . . Question what kind of medication he takes . . . Effectiveness goes down covering 1st base or running bases. Common in soccer players and are more susceptible if you take meds to increase your muscles – doesn’t increase the attachments. Is he open to adjusting how he takes care of himself? He knows he now needs to do stuff before coming to spring training to be ready. Steroids speculated by GM.”
And what did the Dodgers do with their suspected steroid user. Less than two months following that report on Brown, the team traded him to the New York Yankees.
There is enough shame and hypocrisy in the Mitchell Report to cover players, baseball team officials and owners.