Thursday, December 13, 2007

Notes on the Mitchell Report

I'm just starting to wade into this beast. But here's a few passages that jumped out at me:

-Though Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant (Let's Go Mets!!) who provided a great deal of the information in the report, was a distributor of steroids and other performance enhancing substances, the report says that he "did not, however, observe or participate in the use of performance enhancing substances by any player named in this report, with one exception..." pg. 146 which essentially means that despite whatever evidence he has about selling drugs to players he has almost no evidence of their use. So we can expect plenty of players falling back on that as a defense.

-One guy who will have trouble with that is Roger Clemens. A guy named Brian McNamee told Mitchell that he, "inject[ed] him with Winstrol, which Clemens supplied. McNamee knew the substance was Winstrol because the vials Clemens gave him were so labeled. McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided. Each incident took place in Clemens’s apartment at the SkyDome." pg. 169 A little further the report says "According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens’s performance showed remarkable improvement. During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids “had a pretty good effect” on him. McNamee said that Clemens also was training harder and dieting better during this time." pg. 170 McNamee has a similar story about working with Andy Pettitte.

-"For human growth hormone, Radomski approached patients as they were leaving pharmacies and offered to purchase a portion of their just-filled prescriptions... As word spread that bodybuilders were interested in human growth hormone, individuals who had just filled their prescriptions for the substance went to gyms looking to sell the excess portions of their prescriptions." pg. 144

-As Radomski was a Mets employee you'd expect quite a few of the Amazin's. And they're in there, including Lenny Dykstra, David Segui, Todd Hundley, Matt Franco (who claimed he did not know Radomski or ever purchased steroids from him in an interview with Mitchell), Todd Pratt, Mo Vaughn, Mike Stanton, and current or recently current Mets Scott Schoeneweis and Paul Lo Duca.

-Regarding Hundley, one of my favorites as a kid, the report states: "Radomski has known Hundley since 1988, when Radomski worked for the Mets and Hundley played in the Mets’ minor league system.380 Radomski stated that, beginning in 1996, he sold Deca-Durabolin and testosterone to Hundley on three or four occasions. At the beginning of that year, Radomski told Hundley that if he used steroids, he would hit 40 home runs. Hundley hit 41 home runs in 1996, having never hit more than 16 in any prior year. After the season, Radomski said, Hundley took him out to dinner." pg. 163. This shocks me; I've read several books on steroids, including Game of Shadows, and I've always assumed that the main reason to take steroids is to build muscles and to maintain your health and recovery time over the course of a long season. Guys like Bonds and others would always say that steroids can't help you hit a baseball, let alone a home run. But what to make of a season like Hundley's in 1996, the year in which Hundley broke the single season record for home runs by a catcher and also the single season team record for the Mets? If he was indeed on steroids, then they did certainly help maintain his fitness over a long season — he played 153 games, the most Hundley would play in any season, and a lot for any catcher, given the particular wear the position takes on the human body — but they surely must have given him some sort of additional edge. For those who also believe steroid use can also contribute to the risk of debilitating injury will find circumstantial evidence in Hundley's case as well; just two seasons after his breakthrough, Hundley became a regular visitor to the disabled list with elbow problems.

-I wouldn't say I was pleasantly surprised to see the name "John Rocker" on this list. But I also wouldn't say I was disappointed about it either.


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