KANSAS CITY - Commissioner Bud Selig praised the findings of the Mitchell Report.
Michael Weiner, head of the Player’s Association, to no one’s surprise, criticized it.
“I’m as proud of the Mitchell Report today as I was then,” Selig said Tuesday afternoon as he addressed the annual Baseball Writers Association of America’s luncheon.
“I took a lot of criticism at the time internally and externally. No other sport had an outside person come in before.”
Senator George J. Mitchell headed a 21-month investigation into the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in Major League Baseball, releasing a 409-page report Dec. 13, 2007.
“The Report was not productive,” said Weiner when it was his turn at the mic later in the luncheon.
“I don’t think the Report was the right to do, if not for the report, you would not have had a Roger Clemens trial. Roger was exonerated legally, but as Roger would tell you there was really no winner.”
Weiner argued the industry had already adopted drug testing when the Mitchell report was commissioned.
One complaint about the report was that if illegal performance enhancing drugs were not purchased through Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant or the BALCO labs in San Francisco, the player likely wasn’t caught.
“The Mitchell Report will stand as history judges it,” Selig said. “It’s another step in a process that cleaned up a sport. As for the Clemens situation, I’ve heard lawyers debate what it meant, it’s not relative for what the Mitchell Report did. It was part of a very constructive process.”
It did scare the next generation of players and what you see now is a more athletic game.
This spring players underwent blood-testing for HGH for the first time and will be tested in the off season. Weiner said it’s possible there could be in-season blood testing next season.
Selig and Weiner agreed the booing of New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano on Monday night during the State Farm Hume Run Derby went too far. Royals fans were upset that American League captain Cano had picked Los Angeles Angels’ Mark Trumbo over the Royals’ Billy Butler.
“It’s not mandatory to compete,” Weiner said. “I should point out that the players he picked (winner Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Trumbo hit the most homers.) Robinson does play in New York. He plays for the Yankees. He’s been booed before.”
Next year the all-star game will be at Citi Field in New York.
“It won’t be any worse than last night,” said Selig, who empathized with the treatment Cano received. “You can only boo so loud. Cano picked the team he wanted, I understand hometown loyalties.”
Other subjects covered:
* Instant replay. It will expand “when we have the technology” Selig said.
“The game is imperfect,” said Joe Torre, executive vice-president of baseball operations. “For all who want everything to be right all the time, it’s not going to happen. I don’t know why we want everything to be perfect.”
* The 2013 schedule. Team will not play more than 20 interleague games, while no one will have more than one such series on the road in September.
The Mets complain each every year they had six games against the Yankees. Now it will be two or three.
“Next year there will still be traditional rivals plus a series against another division, AL East vs. NL Central,” said Weiner. The Philadelphia Phillies are the Jays rivals now.
With 15 teams in each league next year as the Houston Astros move to the AL West there will be an interleague game every day. One club will finish the season playing without the rules (DH) of its own league.
* The Texas Rangers. “Two years ago they were bankrupt, now they’re going to draw 3.4 million fans,” said Selig. “People told us baseball could not draw in Texas.”
* The World Baseball Classic. Japan has committed according to Weiner. Although players from Japan are not happy with the split they have received from MLB and either want more cash or they won’t be there.
“I’m not worried about player participants from USA players,” Weiner said. “Not all were interested in 2006 and 2009. We’re the only country that feels that. Talk to Latin, Canadian or Asian players. They’ll all excited about the WBC.”
* Indians reliever Nick Hagadone suspended for injuring himself “with a self-inflicted action to his pitching hand.”
“This goes back to the days of Doyle Alexander,” said Weiner, who has been with the union for 24 years. “If a player slams his fist against a door in the heat of the moment — that’s a work-related injury. We’ll see on the 15th if Nick has been suspended without pay.”
* Barry Bonds, who the San Francisco Giants want to hire. “That is between Mr. Bonds and the Giants,” Selig said.
* Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who has produced a film Ballplayer: Pelotero about recruiting in the Dominican Republic. Selig is not pleased with MLB portrayal in the film.
“There aren’t a lot of headlines coming out of this,” Weiner said, “but that somebody has a problem with something Bobby did, that’s pretty big headlines.
“Seriously, I don’t think it’s Bobby’s involvement. I know it wasn’t a complimentary treatment of some of the facets.”