The "Steroids Era," Lots of Blame but No Good Answers?; Stormy Accu-Weather Forecast

Behind The News
December 13, 2007 1:24:34 PM PST
Nothing less than an indictment of baseball. No other way, really, to view the report today from former Senator George Mitchell. He headed up the investigation into baseball's steroid scandal. He blasted the players' union and the game's 30 teams for allowing illegal steroid drug use to flourish. And he named names, dozens of them, including several former and current Yankees and Mets. Among them: Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. In fact, there are more than two dozen players named who have, at one time or another, passed through either Yankee or Shea Stadium.

Mitchell blasted the teams and the players' union for allowing illegal steroid drug use to flourish.

So pervasive was -- is? -- steroid use in baseball, that Mitchell says the best way to handle the scandal is to start over. With a blank sheet of paper. A get out of jail free card, of sorts, to virtually all those players named in the report.

Perhaps it's because taking action against the players would require meeting a burden of proof that baseball simply doesn't have. Perhaps it would ruin the game. Perhaps it's because many of the players are no longer active. Perhaps it's because it raises questions about what to do with Roger Clemens' Cy Young Awards or Barry Bonds' all-time home run record, or Most Valuable Player awards that are now tainted and called into question.

Or perhaps it's because everyone just wants to now look ahead, not backwards.

It certainly isn't a great signal to send to our society -- especially our kids. And what about all those drug users who are behind bars who will now say, "Hey, let's look ahead. Where's my get out of jail free card?"

Good questions, and tonight baseball has no good answer for them. Other than, of course, the answer that will zero the timer, and allow the sport to start over.

So many players are off the hook, but they'll now have to answer to the public -- The fans whose adoration - and checkbooks -- made them multi-millionaires at a very young age. Too young, perhaps.

And those fans don't have to search the web very long to find the denials that now seem to be just flat-out lies. Here's Andy Pettitte a year ago October: "I've never used any drugs to enhance my performance in baseball."

For the record, this week Pettitte signed a one-year contract to return to the Yankees, a contract worth more than $16 million. I can't wait to have the discussion tonight at dinner with my kids about how sometimes people are rewarded even though by any rationale they should be punished.

How do I punish my kids for something they may do when ballplayers are still making millions after they took illegal steroids and their millions are based in no small part on their drug-induced performances? I know I'm not alone among parents in wondering how to deal with my kids about this.

Tonight at 11, we'll examine the scandal and the report and the fallout. Marvell Scott, in for Scott Clark, heads our coverage.

Weather is also big news tonight -- the first winter storm of the season (and don't get me started on this being a winter storm while it's still fall) meant a smorgasbord of a day in terms of elements. Snow, ice, rain, sleet, frozen streets and roads and sidewalks.

I think the official meteorological term is yucky.

Bill Evans, in for Lee Goldberg, has the latest, and he's tracking the next storm moving into our area late Saturday, early Sunday. The computer forecast models are all over the map -- some predict no snow, others call for a lollapalooza of a Nor'easter.

Bill will have the latest at 11.

And this just crossed the wire: Jet Blue, the New York-based so-called low-fare airline, has sold a chunk of its stock to Lufthansa. 19% to be exact.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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