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Mitchell Report Is Ultimately Inconsequential

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In the aftermath of the release of the Mitchell Report pundits and fans alike have been expressing a variety of opinions and emotions associated with certain big name players being either in of out of the Mitchell Report, simply known as “the list.”

Nobody should get too comfortable just yet. If anything everyone needs to brace themselves, prepare themselves, for the other bigger and more damaging shoe to drop in the form of the federal investigation into the steroid issue, the investigation that relies heavily on the testimony of former New York Mets clubhouse boy Kirk Radomski.

On page 139 of the Mitchell Report, the second paragraph, Mitchell states that Radomski’s involvement with this investigation was done in cooperation with the federal government, and that anything Radomski told Mitchell and included in his report was approved by the feds. Furthermore, Mitchell could not use anything Radomski told him that dealt with anything involving the ongoing federal investigation. Certainly the feds weren’t going to let Mitchell do or say anything to compromise their long-term, high-profile and no doubt expensive investigation.

Of course the apologists and sports pundits who don’t want to deal with this issue and wish that it would just go away will criticize the Mitchell Report as being unnecessary, too expensive, flawed, etc. The sports reporters who are being critical of the report and questioning Mitchell’s motives are the same guys who didn’t want to be bothered with looking into how and why baseball players started to resemble pro wrestlers, and how and why 40-year olds were bigger, stronger and just as effective as – and in some cases better than – 25-year olds.

But the Mitchell Report is just an appetizer, a side salad that’s being served before the main course. And that main course is the 3-pound steak in the form of the indictment that will come as a result of the federal investigation that involves BALCO Labs, Barry Bonds, Victor Conte, Greg Anderson, Kirk Radomski, various Olympic and other athletes, Signature Pharmacy, and others. The critics of the Mitchell Report are being incredibly myopic when they claim the feds were used by baseball to intimidate witnesses into testifying and naming names.

The feds weren’t on hand to give baseball’s investigation clout they were just protecting their case, a case that they have spent a lot of time and effort building. And anybody who is relaxing or expressing relief at not being on the list – or because their favorite player isn’t on the list – is missing the big picture.

Those who are criticizing the report for being incomplete because it's based on the testimony of a few people are off-base, as history – both recent and distant – proves that there doesn’t have to be a crowd to create a criminal enterprise, or to bring one down.

Victor Conte was basically a one man show at BALCO, and over a half century ago a lowly mob grunt named Joseph Valachi provided information to federal authorities that allowed them to understand the dynamics of organized crime. Valachi gave the feds the names of over 300 people and the Valachi Papers resulted in the downfall of the powerful mob boss Vito Genovese, and helped law enforcement earn their first win against organized crime. The chain of events that were started as a result of one man’s testimony wound up bringing down organized crime.

The power of one man’s testimony can be quite compelling and effective, and those who disparage the Mitchell Report on this note are ignorant of history.

Those who have been shocked by the contents of the Mitchell Report might want to go Rip Van Winkle on the day the feds announce the details surrounding the indictments in their case, as they will surely not be able to deal with the fact that a handful of drug dealing guys were the sources of information about drug taking baseball players. The impact of the Mitchell Report will probably be minimal but not for the reasons stated by its critics; the Radomski federal investigation will be the earthshaking event that relegates the Mitchell Report to a footnote.

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About Sal Marinello

  • alessandro

    Actually, you’re right. That’s how they take down mob syndicates and families. It’s probably how they got Vito Rizutto – 25 years of data and info. they collected.