A Look Back and Ahead

(AM Links provided by Guest Blogger Brian Beaupre. Brian can be reached here.)

The big news from yesterday is obviously the long-anticipated Mitchell Report, which named names (had to slip that one in there). Personally, the report itself doesn’t reveal anything to me that I couldn’t already figure out with my own eyes. Take my favorite victim of the report yesterday, Roger Clemens, for example; what athlete over the course of time gets stronger, throws the ball harder, and has the energy/recovery time to pitch well into your 40’s? You can throw Barry Bonds in the mix here, but you get my point. I was convinced Clemens and Bonds were doing something, not just because their necks were the size of a basketball, but because they achieved success at a time in their careers when that just doesn’t happen; nobody gets physically stronger and develops a quicker recovery time as they get older, let alone as they inch toward their 40’s and 50’s. I hate to throw blanket assumptions or “I told you so’s” out there, but did these guys showing up in this report really surprise you as someone who has watched baseball for years?

I think if this report had more current major league players involved, it would strike a stronger chord with some, including myself, as ~80% of the players referenced are retired, or approaching retirement, and can step away from the shadows of these details. One other thing that stands out to me is the recurring time frame for usage we see in the report, where, as we suspected, 2000-2003 is where the heavy activity falls. Not only is this the time frame, but you’re able to see the network of how these things happen, as it truly is just a bunch of buddies on the same team, who travel the same circles, passing on the information of a guy, who knows a guy, etc. Moving forward, I can only hope the present day major leaguers involved in this report don’t refute these claims and just admit to their usage, apologize, and move on. Any lame vitamin/supplement/I don’t understand how to read ingredients on a bottle excuses will just magnify the already tarnished image of players who will take the field in April with this hanging over them.

I really wanted to hype Sunday’s Pats game too, but as I open the links, this seems to be the top story. For me, the Pats pursuit of perfection and home field throughout the playoffs is more exciting than a 409 page snoozer, but as is becoming customary, I digress…

Mitchell Report

Bob Hohler recaps a crazy day for baseball, and highlights the past and no longer present Red Sox that appear in the report. Jeff Goldberg recaps the damning evidence that these players left behind, like checks, personalized post-its, etc. I guess I never understood why any of these guys would be so dumb as to leave a paper trail, let alone personal thank-you notes. Steve Buckley has an excellent piece on the perception of Roger Clemens moving forward, and the whether yesterday’s events will tarnish his legacy the way it has with Barry Bonds. I, for one, hope he gets the same backlash that Bonds has received, and hope that the same writers, media members, etc. who claim Bonds doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame, asterisk, whatever, come to the same conclusions for Clemens. Sean McAdam also details the now permanent link between Clemens and Bonds, as both were driven to be the best and want more than they already had. Steven Krasner focuses on Clemens’ inclusion in the report, highlighting the evidence against him. Michael Silverman has more on Clemens being the most notable name in the report. Gordon Edes has Clemens’ lawyer somehow issuing a statement refuting the facts of the Mitchell Report, claiming Clemens now has “no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations.” Sure.

Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t see yesterday as a particularly good day for baseball, and wonders what good, if any, will come from this report when we look back on December 13, 2007. David Sandora has a brief recap of yesterday’s events and public comments. Tony Massarotti wonders what we really got out of this report, and digs deeper into the question of whether the general public (outside of the “keepers of the game”) actually cares about performance enhancing drugs, in any sport. Don Amore has another recap of the report and what Bud plans to do with it. Paul Doyle wonders what effect the report will have on teenagers’ decision to use performance enhancing drugs.

Now on to the Old Towne Team’s involvement in the report yesterday, which was minimal. Given the obvious conflict of interest questions raised about George Mitchell, one wondered whether no Red Sox would appear at all, or if they would be referenced as frequently as any other team to avoid speculation that there was bias involved. Yesterday’s findings sure didn’t do anything to subdue the criticism. Amalie Benjamin has the details on all of the former Red Sox mentioned in the report, including the email correspondence between Epstein and his scouts during the offseason last year, when they were looking into Gagne and Donnelly. Makes you wonder why they still signed both of them, right? Jim Donaldson asks that very same question in light of the email communication revealed in the report. Jeff Goldberg has more on the communication between the Sox baseball ops department mentioned in the report, and has the Sox denying they were leaked Donnelly’s details before hearing about the report. Joe McDonald runs down the complete list of players with Red Sox ties mentioned in the report. Rob Bradford details the emails and focuses on the presence of Gagne and Donnelly in the report.

Jose Canseco, the man who was on the soap box for years about steroids, was denied entry into Sen. Mitchell’s press conference. Duke Castiglione caught up with Jose for a little Q & A.

Ok, enough.

Patriots

Karen Guregian has Rodney Harrison stepping up his game at the perfect time for the Patriots. Jennifer Toland also has Harrison bringing his game to another level as of late. David Heuschkel has the Patriots practicing outside in preparation for this weekend’s weather, and addresses what makes me most nervous about this game, in that poor weather becomes the great equalizer in a football game. Remember the Steelers/Dolphins game a few weeks ago? Christopher Price has more on the Pats preparing to play in some rough conditions this weekend. Guregian checks back in with a piece on what I think was the biggest injury we have suffered this year, Sammy Morris. Although Kevin Faulk has done a fantastic job in getting tough yards, and more importantly, blitz pickup, Morris was not only able to spell Maroney (as humorous as that sounds), but he exceeded our expectations as a downfield runner.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider discusses the good health the Pats have been blessed with this season, generally speaking, and highlights the importance of the defensive line with an aging linebacker group. Right on cue, Shalize Manza Young has the Pats placing backup NT Mike Wright on IR. Guregian’s notebook has more on Wright’s injury and what it means for the team moving forward.

Check out Patriots Daily, where Scott Benson takes a look at the rich getting richer with Pats holding on to the 49er’s pick in the draft.

Bruins

Yes, they actually played last night, I even got offered $19 loge box tickets. Not enough to drag me out to the Garden in that weather. Kevin Paul Dupont has a weary Bruins team falling to the Devils last night, as they played their third game in four nights. Steve Conroy has more on the Bruins unable to continue their hot streak with a win at home. Conroy’s notebook has Auld losing his home debut as did Tuukka Rask last week. Dupont’s notebook has the Bruins engaged in trade talks to improve their depth on the forward and defensive lines. Barbara Matson has a piece on Mike Mottau, a BC alum and Quincy resident, returning home with the enemy last night.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett’s notebook has KG leading the NBA in All-Star votes. Jeff Howe has a piece on Ray Allen discussing his stint with the Bucks, as they come to the Garden for tonight’s game. Marc Spears checks in with KC Jones, who believes the C’s and the Garden are back, claiming Wednesday night he was watching “beautiful basketball. I remember the good old days with the Larry [Bird] and Bill Russell teams and it’s back.”

Thanks for checking in with us today, this weekend’s action includes, but not limited to; Bucks at Celtics tonight, 7:30pm, Blue Jackets at Bruins tomorrow night @ 7pm, and Sunday the Pats take on the Jets at Gillette @ 1pm (finally), and the Celtics visit the Raptors at 1pm as well. Can’t imagine the ratings for that one will be through the roof. Feel free to shoot me any comments at [email protected], and have a great weekend.