In what is being called “baseball’s most infamous lineup since the 1919 Black Sox scandal,” former ME Sen. George Mitchell’s 21-month, $20 million, 409-page investigation on the prevalence of steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball alleges that at least one player from each of the 30 MLB teams was juiced. More 85 former and current players are on The List.

ESPN.com’s exhaustive coverage of the Mitchell report leads off with these damning grafs:

Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars – one for every position – and that still wasn’t the worst of it for the long-awaited Mitchell Report.

That infamy belonged to Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of his era.

The Steroids Era.

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner, eighth on the all-time list with 354 victories, an MVP and All-Star himself long considered a lock for the Hall of Fame, Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In all, Thursday’s 409-page report identified 86 names to differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his lawyer, Clemens was the symbol. …

No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.

Danny Knobler, who blogs the Detroit Tigers for MLive.com, expressed the thoughts of many when he complained that the Mitchell report offers “only glimpses, mostly of what we already knew, occasionally of what we suspected but couldn’t prove and then of a few things we never even bothered to consider.” For instance, this post on Scout.com protests that the report is based on flimsy evidence and provides no closure to the steroid scandal:

All his discoveries did, with some shaky information included (such as a few flaky interviews to unfortunately impeach the morals of a few players; Jack Cust, Todd Hundley, Brian Roberts) was add uncertainty and question marks to how people will view the past 15 years of the nation’s pastime in future generations. The naming of players from all skill levels, present and past – small infielders like Chuck Knoblauch to a vast number of forgettable pitchers – may change the way some fans view the steroid era. But to me, dragging someone like former Philadelphia Phillies’ spark plug Lenny Dykstra through the mud does not derive any real benefit.

One thing is certain, though. The report showed that a couple of individuals, more than backed into a corner, were willing to testify against their former colleagues, such as former New York Mets’ clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, the key to Mitchell’s entire investigation.

The mentioning of certain names in this report, in some cases solely as the result of one witnesses’ testimony, in concrete evidence and even hearsay, could scar some of the included players’ images forever.

The Toronto Star takes the view that since the evidence against the named players is documentary (receipts, checks, e-mail) and not failed testing, no one will be convicted and the report will have little or no impact: “Much like the controversy surrounding Bonds’ chase of Henry Aaron, once it was done, it became insignificant. The fans will forgive. Attendance will increase. The game will move forward. At least, that’s what baseball is hoping.”

The List included pitchers and batters, which calls into question numerous records, awards and stats. Since it is impossible to go back re-assess each play based on whether either the pitcher and batter facing each other was juiced, the history cannot be rewritten and Hall of Fame votes cannot be recast. The legacy of The Steroids Era is The Asterisk Era.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.

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