Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where Are We Going from here?

"On a long road, miles to go,
It's winding and cold and covered with snow
But I ask you what we all want to know
Where are we going from here?"

--Blackmore's Night, "Where Are We Going From Here?"

So now that the Mitchell Report is out, and the "Mitchell 86" are rightfully or wrongfully excused, the question now becomes: What next?

Do you punish the offenders? I am going to break ranks with the majority and say I agree with Bud Selig--you have to take everything on a case-by-case basis. Someone who asked about HGH once but never actually used it is far different from someone who injected themselves with steroids for five or ten years, consistently.

What should the players do who are named? If you're guilty, fess up. It's that simple. Purists will probably never forgive you entirely, but at least both parties can move on--denying it, if you're guilty, only makes you look like a bigger fool in the end. If you're innocent, stay that way.

What about people getting into the Hall of Fame? This is a tough one--I've felt for a while that McGwire and Bonds should not be allowed into the Hall, so, by that logic, I would have to say that Clemens, if he is guilty, should also be barred...but if you consider what he did while on the Red Sox, it's likely he would have been Hall of Fame caliber anyway. Then again, the same is true with Bonds and when he was on the Pirates. Unfortunately, this is a question we will be debating for a long time to come.

What do you do now? You get an independent testing body. You make sure the random tests really are random. You screen clubhouse managers ad any package coming into the locker room that's, say, large enough to hide whatever drug of choice. You don't just go after the players, but you go after the suppliers as well.

Are there criticisms of the Mitchell Report? Galore. I need not recount them all for you, as I am sure you are well aware of most of these.

What now? We move on.

Take the hits and move on. Don't let it become the defining moment of baseball--1919 certainly is not; neither should this be. Rise above it.

The fans will still be there come April 1st, because, as always, there is nothing higher than the game.

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