Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players' steroid use

NEW YORK -- Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars
-- one for every
position -- and that still wasn't the worst of it for the
long-awaited Mitchell report.

That infamy belonged to Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of
his era.

The steroids era.

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner, eighth on the all-time list
with 354 victories, an MVP and All-Star himself long considered a lock for
the Hall of Fame, Clemens now has another distinction: the biggest
name linked by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to
illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In all, Thursday's 409-page report identified 86 names to
differing degrees, but, while he vehemently denied it through his
lawyer, Clemens was the symbol.

Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a
federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte
also showed up in the game's most infamous lineup since the Black
Sox scandal. Others include 2003 Cy Young winner Eric Gagne and 2000 AL MVP Jason Giambi.

"If there are problems, I wanted them revealed," commissioner
Bud Selig said. "His report is a call to action, and I will act."

President Bush, who once owned the Texas Rangers, said Friday
he's been "troubled by the steroid allegations."

"My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid
era of baseball behind us," said Bush, surrounded by Cabinet
members in the Rose Garden.

The Mitchell Report, he said, means "we can jump to this
conclusion: that steroids have sullied the game.''

"The players and the owners must take the Mitchell Report
seriously," Bush said. "I'm confident they will."

On Friday, Mitchell insisted he provided opportunities for the
players identified in his report to respond to the allegations.

Almost without exception, he said on CNN's "American Morning,''
they declined. So Mitchell turned to union head Donald Fehr.

"I wrote a letter to Don Fehr's office setting forth the names
and the dates and I wanted to tell them, here is what happened,
come in and explain it to me," Mitchell said. "They refused to do

Doping was widespread by stars as well as scrubs, the report
said, putting a question mark if not an asterisk next to baseball
records and threatening the integrity of the game itself.

"Those who have illegally used these substances range from
players whose major league careers were brief to potential members
of the Baseball Hall of Fame," Mitchell wrote. "They include
both pitchers and position players, and their backgrounds are as
diverse as those of all major league players."

No one was hit harder than Clemens, singled out in eight
pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on him came
from Brian McNamee, the former New York Yankees former strength and conditioning

At 45, Clemens has not said whether he hopes to pitch next
Through his attorney, Rusty Hardin, Clemens denied he used performance-enhancing drugs and expressed outrage that his name was included in the report.

"I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea," Hardin said in a statement. "But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger's name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.

"There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he
ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today,''
said Hardin, who called McNamee a "troubled man."

Clemens and Pettitte are from the Houston area and spent three
seasons together with their hometown Astros. Tejada was traded to
Houston on Wednesday.

The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. While a
few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal
proceedings, many of the instances cited by Mitchell were before
drug testing began in 2003.

Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most
egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come
"swiftly" on a case-by-case basis.

"We have approached these cases by looking at the period of
time during which the conduct occurred and what our policy looked
like for that point in time," said Rob Manfred, baseball's
executive vice president for labor relations.

While the records will surely stand, several stars named in the report could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year when his name first appeared on a ballot for enshirement.

Mitchell said the problems didn't develop overnight and there
was plenty of blame to go around.

"Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades --
commissioners, club officials, the players' association and players
-- shares to some extent the responsibility for the steroids era,"
Mitchell said. "There was a collective failure to recognize the
problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on."

Mitchell recommended that the drug-testing program be made
independent, that a list of the substances players test positive
for be listed periodically and that the timing of testing be more

Gagne, Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Troy Glaus, Gary
Matthews Jr., Paul Byrd, Jose Guillen, Brian Roberts, Paul Lo Duca
and Rick Ankiel were among other current players in the report.
Some were linked to human growth hormone, others to steroids.
Mitchell did not delve into stimulants.

"The illegal use of performance-enhancing substances poses a
serious threat to the integrity of the game," the report said.
"Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly
disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises
questions about the validity of baseball records."

A total of 22 Yankees, past and present, were identified.
Players were linked to doping in various ways -- some were
identified as users, some as buyers and some were noted for their inclusion in media reports and
other investigations.

Jose Canseco, whose 2005 book "Juice'' was cited throughout, was
mentioned the most often -- 105 times. Bonds was next at 103. Canseco, who was in New York on Thursday, was denied entrance to Mitchell's news conference.

"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."

It was not clear when in 1998 that McNamee claims he began giving Clemens injections, but after going 5-6 through the first two months of that season, Clemens was 15-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 22 starts from June through September.

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

Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who was interviewed by Mitchell's team on four occasions, also provided
information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids

Radomski identified a number of former and current players he said he sold steroids and human growth hormone to. Checks and money orders, mailing receipts or shipments, and statements of other witnesses were used to back up Radomski's allegations. Much of this was found in Radomski's seized telephone records.

Radomski pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges that he dealt steroids to players for a decade. He then retreated to his
auto-detailing business on Long Island while cooperating with
Mitchell. Radomski worked for the Mets as a batboy and then
clubhouse attendant for a decade beginning in 1985. He later used
the contacts he made while with the Mets to go into business selling steroids and other drugs to ballplayers.

At Radomski's shop Thursday, an athletic-looking man in a black jacket who identified himself as Radomski said he had no comment.
"Talk to my lawyer," he said. "This is private property. Please

Radomski is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 8.

Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids, was among the
former players named. So were Kevin Brown, Benito Santiago, Lenny
Dykstra, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn, Todd Hundley and Fernando Vina.

Vina, who played for five teams and worked as an ESPN baseball analyst in 2007, was mentioned in Mitchell's report as part of interviews with Radomski. According to the report, Radomski met Vina in 1993 while the latter was in the Mets' minor league system. Radomski told Mitchell's investigators that he sold anabolic steroids or HGH to Vina "six to eight times during 2000 to 2005" and the report included three checks from Vina to Radomski reflecting purchases of HGH and steroids.

According to the report, Vina's name, with an address and two telephone numbers, was listed in the address book seized from Radomski's residence by federal agents. Mitchell said Vina did not respond to his invitation for "an opportunity to respond" to the allegations.

"We had no idea, but will talk to him about it," Josh Krulewitz, ESPN vice president of public relations, said of references to Vina in the report. "We aren't going to comment further at this time."

Mike Stanton, Scott Schoeneweis, Ron Villone and Jerry Hairston
Jr. were among the other current players identified.

"We identify some of the players who were caught up in this
drive to gain a competitive advantage," the report said. "Other
investigations will no doubt turn up more names and fill in more
details, but that is unlikely to significantly alter the
description of baseball's 'steroids era' as set forth in this

"The illegal use in baseball of these substances also victimizes
the majority of players who don't use them. We heard from many
former players who believe it was grossly unfair that the users
were gaining an advantage," Mitchell said.

The report also says Pettitte, during his stay on the disabled list from April 21 to June 14, 2002 because of elbow tendonitis, "wanted to speed his recovery and help his team." According to the report, "McNamee traveled to Tampa at Pettitte's request and spent about 10 days
assisting Pettitte with his rehabilitation. McNamee recalled that he injected Pettitte with HGH that McNamee obtained from Radomski on two to four occasions. Pettitte paid McNamee for the trip and his expenses; there was no separate payment for the human growth

"According to McNamee, around the time in 2003 that the BALCO searches
became public, Pettitte asked what he should say if a reporter asked Pettitte whether he ever used
performance-enhancing substances. McNamee told him he was free to say what he wanted, but
that he should not go out of his way to bring it up. McNamee also asked Pettitte not to mention
his name. McNamee never discussed these substances with Pettitte again.

"After the 2001 season, Pettitte, like Clemens, continued to use McNamee's
services and to serve as a source of income after McNamee was dismissed by the Yankees. In a
2006 article, Pettitte 'acknowledged an ongoing relationship' with McNamee. Pettitte was
quoted as having said that he still talked to McNamee about once a week.' "

"I have advised Andy that, as an active player, he should refrain from commenting until we have had an opportunity to speak with his union and other advisors," Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, said in a statement. "At the appropriate time, he will have something to say."

Through a spokesman, the Yankees said they are reviewing the report and would not have any comment.

The Mitchell report took issue with assertions that steroids were not
banned before the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.

They had been covered, it said, since management's 1971 drug
policy prohibited using any prescription medication without a valid
prescription, and were expressly included in Vincent's 1991 drug

"Steroids have been listed as a prohibited substance under the
Major League Baseball drug policy since then," the report said,
although no player was disciplined for them until the 2002 labor
agreement provided for testing.

Mitchell questioned whether players were tipped off about
testing. He said a former player, whom he didn't identify, claimed
he had been given two weeks' notice of a drug test by Gene Orza,
the union's No. 2 official, in September 2004. Orza did not respond
to a message seeking comment.

Mitchell is a director of the Red Sox, and some
questioned whether that created a conflict, especially because none
of their prime players were in the report.

"Judge me by my work," Mitchell said. "You will not find any
evidence of bias, special treatment, for the Red Sox or anyone
else. That had no effect on this investigation or this report, none

Giambi, under threat of discipline from Selig, was the only
current player known to have cooperated with the Mitchell

"The players' union was largely uncooperative for reasons that
I thought were largely understandable," Mitchell said.

Fehr made "no apologies" for the way they
represented players.

"Many players are named. Their reputations have been adversely
affected, probably forever," he said. "Even if it turns out down
the road that they should not have been."

About two hours after the report was released, two congressmen
at the forefront of Capitol Hill's involvement in the steroids
issue asked Mitchell, Selig and Fehr to testify at a House
committee hearing next Tuesday.

California Democrat Henry Waxman and Virginia Republican Tom
Davis -- the leaders of the panel that held the March 17, 2005,
hearing at which McGwire, Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa testified -- want
to know "whether the Mitchell Report's recommendations will be
adopted and whether additional measures are needed," they said.

Also, a congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing on Jan.
23 relating to steroid use in professional sports.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.