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3.30.2006

Peek-a-Boo. I Can See You. And I Know What You Do. 

So put your hands on your face/
And cover up your eyes


I can just see Bud Selig in a red flower-pot "energy dome" hat and yellow haz-mat suit, can't you? Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Selig!

The Commish reportedly spent last weekend playing Game of Shadows 4: Ultimate Batting Cage Fighter on his X-Box and was concerned enough to order his own investigation into the whole steroids thing -- which apparently didn't pop up on the Budster's radar screen until a year or two ago. Good Gosh Almighty! Injecting in the backside? That's gotta hurt! Honey, come look at this. Mmmm-kay, Bud.

So George Mitchell, former Senator from across the aisle and well up to tha noahth, ayuh, will dig into baseball's wicked weiahd Troubles and see if all this fuss is worth slapping a few wrists ovah.

News of MLB's investigation has brought a fresh round of "T'row-da-bums-out!" from one side and "Witch-hunt!" from the other, so in my usual Libran way, I'm going to get all Solomonic on your asses. Proceed with the investigation, but let the facts fall where they may, including at the feet of Bud and the MLB owners, yes, even the Giants, who either nudged-and-winked or put their fingers in their ears through their game's tater-filled renaissance. This may save Baseball Village by doing some serious near-term damage, but no one said it was easy being Solomonic.

I'll make one other extended comment for now, which I think I've written before in the comments of this or another blog:

Yes, Barry was probably ingesting all sorts of shit you wouldn't want your kids or even your Clydesdale to take; yes, it was illegal in a, well, legal sense, but ahem, cough, not necessarily in a baseball sense, and if you want to call that cheating, it's hard to argue otherwise.

But here's the part where I grab you by the lapels: if Johnny Bench, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jax, Rollie Fingers or some other legend admitted today that he wouldn't have performed as well as he did without "greenies" -- the illegal-without-a-prescription amphetamines freely available in big-league clubhouses for many years -- would you argue that his records, his individual and team achievements, should be asterisked, invalidated, and his plaque removed from the Hall of Fame?

Don't say, "Well, until it's proven, it's only theoretical." Because you can be sure that someone somewhere in the Hall of Fame or in the record book got a nice lift more than once on a criminally muggy August night in Philly or Hotlanta when the old back or leg or elbow was barking like a bloodhound. And really, what's the difference between what Bonds did and a couple greenies twice a week to extend a hitting streak or Cy Young season or 3,000-hit chase?

So investigate away, but don't expect to emerge from it with asterisks blazing. Indeed, let's get the truth out: who was doing it, who was supplying it, and who was letting it happen. There may not be criminal charges to file or record books to amend, but better to know the truth. And if George Mitchell doesn't blow the whistle on Selig and whoever else was playing ostrich while the big bucks flowed in, please feel free to wrinkle your nose at the unmistakable smell of skunk.

Skunk, in this case, could come in a couple flavors:

- Skunk a la scapegoat (Mon dieu! So zhoo-ci! So tahn-daire!): MLB will lay it all at the feet of Bonds, Giambi, Conte (Victor), Greg Anderson, etc. This would be baseball's version of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-pile defense: leave 'em alone for a while, and they all squeeze into a bathroom stall. Who were we to know?

- Skunk a la Congress, in which the beet-red faces of Your Local Representatives would hopefully drain back to pale and dyspeptic after Mitchell -- one of their own, after all -- spends a few months speaking in dulcet tones that "not all the facts have yet..." and "very concerned that all parties..." and "it's critical that we get to the bottom..."

I think the latter is more likely: investigation as time-bider until the MLB bosses figure out how to build the best CYA, and I don't mean California Youth Authority or Canadian Yachting Association.

When the higher-ups tell you they didn't know what was happening, be very skeptical. It's their job to know.

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