The Mitchell report, an investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball, was released to the public today and showed some interesting findings. Initial reports suggested that Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek had been involved with some sort of banned substance, but these reports turned out to be premature. Needless to say this gave me a scare. There's a short list of names that it would have devastated me to hear they were using PED's and Jason Varitek is on it. Partially because Varitek is such a fan favorite and such a long time red sox, but also because I have always considered 'tek to be a mediocre hitter at best and his contributions to be veteran leadership and the work he does with the pitching staff. His offensive contributions are of minimal importance when compared to most of the other bats in the lineup.
The biggest blow in the Mitchell report for me was Mo Vaughn. Mo spent years as the face of the Red Sox and became an extremely popular local figure for his extensive work within the community, it's sad to hear that this scandal will tarnish his local legacy both as a good player and a good human being.
Eric Gagne was also named by the Mitchell report, but this can be clearly tied to his superlative performance that won him the NL Cy Young award in 2003 and his mediocre performance outside of this season. Thankfully Gagne is no longer our problem and can enjoy falling into obscurity with the Brewers.
Brendan Donnelly was also a short term fixture in the bullpen who was named by the Mitchell report, but when Gagne was acquired it was released that Donnelly was hurt and would spend the rest of the season on the DL after undergoing surgery. There was some buzz about resigning him, but this will now likely fall by the wayside if it hasn't already.
No other recent Red Sox of relevance were named by the Mitchell report. There were, however, plenty of Yankees on the list.
The headliner of this report was none other than the Rocket himself, Roger Clemens. ESPN broke the news that he would be on the list prior to the actual release of the report and this turned out to be more reliable than the information regarding Jason Varitek. This information has permanently tarnished the name of Roger Clemens and taken him down off of his untouchable pedestal with all his Cy Young awards and other accolades. This also may have redeemed Dan Duquette, the man who chose to let Roger Clemens leave Boston because the Rocket was supposedly in the twilight of his career. In retrospect, perhaps the duke was right, maybe Roger was on his last legs and resorted to some desperate measures to get his edge back.
Roger has claimed that this is a complete falsehood through his lawyer, but in all honesty the pieces all seem to fit. His bounce back after leaving for Toronto? His late career renaissance with the Yankees?
Rogers friend and current Yankee pitcher Andy Petite was also named in the Mitchell Report, along with Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, etc.
I suppose I couldn't have asked for this report to turn out better. None of those who have received god-like status in this town have been implicated. The Red Sox that were implicated were either long retired, long out of town or never truly worked into the fold here to begin with. But even with that, I can recognize that this is a sad day for baseball and I get no joy from reveling in what is most likely the worst day of Roger Clemens' career.