The report by former Sen. George Mitchell on steroid use in baseball is out and it confirms what a lot of people long suspected -- the use of performance enhancing drugs in the sport is widespread. Big names like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mo Vaughn, John Rocker and Miguel Tejada were among those named. (The complete list of players) Wonder how Clemens was such an effective pitcher well into his 40s? Thank the wonders of modern science:
Clemens was singled out in eight pages, with much of the information on the seven-time Cy Young Award winner coming from former major league strength coach Brian McNamee.
"According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens' performance showed remarkable improvement," the report said. "During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids 'had a pretty good effect' on him."
McNamee also told investigators that "during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin."
The report puts an exclamation point on the prevalence of drug use and taints the accomplishments of virtually every player, especially those who saw dramatic surges in their productivity. I personally don't think the use of steroids should be illegal for a consenting adult (there is a lot of hysteria surrounding the matter), but I can see why their use should be banned at the competitive sports level. If a player fears the health risks, he nonetheless would feel pressure to use steroids, lest he lose his job to a teammate who has no such reservations.
Anyone who thinks drug testing solves the problem is dreaming -- some performance-enhancing drugs are undetectable, which is how some elite athletes (such as a certain Tour de France winner) can argue with a straight face that they have never failed a drug test. Virtually every sport is awash in the use of drugs and the Mitchell report at least airs some of the dirty laundry. --Jim Buzinski