photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
The Mitchell Report is out, and it’s all everyone is talking about. There’s a lot of information in it (and a lot of repeating, which is kind of infuriating), and, yes, some names.
Since I know you’re here for the names, these are the Tigers (or, more precisely, guys who were Tigers and may have used during their Tigers career) listed in the report:
And of course Gary Sheffield.
Take a moment to snicker. Guffaw if you have to. Go on, get it all out.
Now, the most interesting thing may be the names NOT in here. There are a few Tigers in particular that I’m sure some of us were worried about, and there’s nary a whisper of their names in this report. There are also names on here that are linked much more solidly to illegal activity than others. It’s important to remember a few things.
1. The Mitchell Report relies very heavily on information obtained from Kirk Radomski, a Mets clubhouse guy who served as a key witness (and apparently steroid trafficker to the stars). Radomski gave names of guys he knew, guys he had worked with. Kirk Radomski was NOT the only source of steroids or HGH available to Major League Baseball players. Duh. But this particular report is very weighted by his statements. Just because Radomski didn’t name someone does not necessarily clear them, it would simply mean that they may have obtained their drugs in other ways.
You also have to remember that, as a supplier, Radomski is in deep trouble about all this. It’s in his best interests to name as many names as possible, regardless of how flimsy his evidence is for any particular player.
2. One of the other big methods of proof here is paper trail material: checks and notes and so on. Rob Parker, who was on ESPN, noted that this completely ignores guys who paid for their drugs with cash or otherwise left no paper trail (i.e. guys who weren’t idiots about it).
3. Hearsay is not the same kind of evidence as a positive test result, or a signed note saying, “Thanks for the steroids baby, they work so good!! My nuts are already shrinking! Love and kisses, Jose Canseco!!” For instance, the only evidence of Nook Logan’s steroid involvement in this report is Radomski’s word that Nook was referred to him by Rondell White, he sold and shipped one kit of HGH to Nook, and the fact that Radomski had Nook’s phone number in his cell. No paper documents are included, and so we basically only have Radomski’s say-so indicating that this is how it went down.
Now, I don’t especially believe that Kirk Radomski had any particular reason to lie about Nook Logan. It’s not as though Nook is a big name, the type that’s going to make him look like some sort of brave martyr for releasing it. But that level of evidence is simply not the same as direct testimony from a trainer saying he injected Roger Clemens in the butt with steroids (which, by the way, is not a mental image I wanted, ever, but is in fact in the report), and you can’t treat it the same. But there it is, listed in the report in much the same way as everyone else, regardless of the kind of evidence presented for each name.
Fernando Vina (ha ha ha ha ha omg) allegedly bought steroids or HGH from Radomski from 2000-2005, which would include his sterling 2004 season in Detroit. This was a year during which Mr. Vina hit .226/.308/.270. Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there: DON’T DO STEROIDS. IT MIGHT MAKE YOU HIT LIKE FERNANDO VINA.
Radomski had checks from Vina, some of which are included in the report.
Rondell White, according to Radomski, started buying HGH and steroids from him in 2000. A package with Rondell’s name on it was seized from Radomski’s house dated 2005, which puts his steroid use within the range of his ’04-’05 Tigers career. Radomski claims that he personally walked Rondell through proper steroid use and HGH injection over the phone, and that Rondell said he needed the stuff to “stay on the field” because he has a body made of tissue paper.
Radomski has checks from Rondell, which are included in the report.
We also get this curious statement:
Radomski noted that White often overpaid Radomski for the performance enhancing substances.
Mitchell Report quote
I wonder what the heck that’s all about.
Other interesting non-Tigers names in the report: Rogers Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts (pretty circumstantial evidence, fwiw), Chuck Knoblauch, Miguel Tejada, Jack Cust, Mo Vaughn, David Justice, Paul Byrd, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Paul Lo Duca (I suggest you read the report just to read his section, as it’s pretty funny) and loads more.
For Tigers fans, this report is not nearly as bad as we feared. There are no current Tigers named, so the report does not, in any immediate sense, have much impact on the team. This does not mean that The Steroid Menace is clear from the air over Comerica. It mostly means that, if any Tigers used steroids, they weren’t dumb enough to do it with checks and Kirk Radomski. I hate to say it, but that may be the biggest lesson that ballplayers will take away from this whole mess.