I never thought much of George Mitchell when he was in the Senate, so maybe I was predisposed to view his report on the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in major league baseball with a jaundiced eye. Notwithstanding that disclaimer, the “Mitchell Report”–which so far I’ve read only in part–seems like a pretty tawdry product. It is largely a compendium of headlines and rumors with not much new information. The Mitchell Report’s blockbuster revelation was its identification of Roger Clemens as a steroid user. Clemens and fellow Yankee Andy Pettitte have headlined pretty much all the news accounts of the report.
Curious to know what Mitchell’s evidence against Clemens was, I reviewed the relevant portions of the report. All of the information about Clemens comes from interviews with Brian McNamee, a trainer who worked for the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees. McNamee was swept up in an earlier steroids investigation and, as I understand it–this is not clear from the report–he has been threatened with criminal prosecution, but not actually prosecuted. He is now cooperating with federal prosecutors by naming others who allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs.
That McNamee once trained Clemens is not in doubt. Until recently, however, McNamee denied that Clemens had anything to do with illegal drugs:
McNamee denied any knowledge of steroid usage on the part of Clemens and Pettitte. “As ballplayers they are different when it comes to their work ethic, how hard they train, how diligent they are,” McNamee said.
Now, McNamee tells a different story. As related in the Mitchell Report, McNamee says that his association with Clemens began in 1998 when Clemens was pitching for the Blue Jays and McNamee was a strength and conditioning coach for the team:
On or about June 8-10, 1998, the Toronto Blue Jays played an away series with the Florida Marlins. McNamee attended a lunch party that Canseco hosted at his home in Miami. McNamee stated that, during this luncheon, he observed Clemens, Canseco, and another person he did not know meeting inside Canseco