Sports Outside the Beltway

Truth? You want the truth about Steroids?

You can’t handle the truth! But George Mitchell is going to try to find it, and handle it, and then present it to the public.

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell is confident his investigation into steroid use in baseball will yield the truth of what went on, even though players aren’t rushing to cooperate.

Speaking in Augusta, Maine, Mitchell said his investigators have talked to hundreds of witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents. He said the investigation, while proceeding “at full steam,” is being slowed down because he does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or documents, making its work “extremely difficult.”

“I believe that despite my lack of subpoena power . . . that we’ll have a comprehensive report,” Mitchell said yesterday. “What the lack of subpoena power means is it will take longer, not that it will significantly alter the result.”

Mitchell’s probe is the attempt of Major League baseball to put the issue of steroids in the game to bed, for the last time. And if it gets up wanting a glass of water it’s grounded. Forever.

Mitchell not only lacks subpoena power. If he believes that his probe will get to the truth he lacks a firm grip on reality.

The truth of the steroids era will come out someday off in the future. When players feel like they can speak freely about what went on without damaging the collegial relationship of the clubhouse. People like Jim Bouton and Jose Canseco became pariahs in baseball. They broke the code. What’s the code, you ask?

Simple. What happens in our clubhouse stays in our clubhouse. Darn right, we’re not here to talk about the past. And we hope that our colleagues succeed, except when they are playing us. Let’s recall important words of wisdom for the mentor of Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh.

Learn your cliches. Study them.
Know them. They’re your friends.

Crash hands Nuke a small pad and pen.

Write this down.
“We gotta play ‘em one day at a


Of course. That’s the point.
“I’m just happy to be here and
hope I can help the ballclub.”


Write, write–”I just wanta give
It my best shot and, Good Lord
willing, things’ll work out.”


“…Good Lord willing, things’ll
work out.”

It’s not now, nor has it ever been about the truth. Mitchell’s probe will point to a few obvious examples, but without cooperation from players and the real power to get the truth out of people, (guarantees of immunity and subpoenas) no new ground will be broken. The complicit media will dutifully report this “truth” but it will not be over.

This scandal will hound baseball as Bonds chases Aaron through the summer. And it will come back with McGwire second time on the ballot. The announcement that executives will be drug tested won’t make this go away. The sunshine of true disclosure will disinfect the festering mess that plagues baseball. Don’t expect sunlight to break through the clouds of obfuscation anytime soon.

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