REUTERS/Peter Foley

Right now, baseball insiders are drilling through the 409-page Mitchell Report, the full report of the investigation on the use of steroids led by Former Sen. George Mitchell. As lists of names come out, a question is becoming clear among casual fans of the sport: Who?

The Mitchell Report is loaded with names, but they are names that are forgettable, to put it kindly. Pete touched upon it, but as a much more casual fan than he is, I’d like to offer my advice to folks out there like myself.

First, understand that it’s a lot of names, and that the list isn’t comprehensive. They made it a point to stress that presently there is no way to detect Human Growth Hormone, which it’s speculated is the most frequently used performance enhancer, other than a blood test.

The fallout from this, I expect, is a lot of denial. These reports mostly come from interviews with former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski as well as Brian McNamee, a former New York Yankees trainer, and not from physical test results. That means that the players, if they feel it in their best interests, can deny everything.

ESPN has called it an “All-Star roster,” but it isn’t. Sheffield, Bonds, Giambi, Clemens, Pettitte, Tejada; these are some big names, though many of them had already been reported. The bulk of the names on the report are nobodies. Read it if you want a good laugh, or some pretty solid proof that steroids != baseball greatness.

The actual press conference was painfully dull. George Mitchell is a terribly boring man, and he spent a half-hour lecturing the media about their obsession with the names. He said, “Instead, I hope that you concentrate on my recommendations.” Well, of course you do. You want to be remembered for being the guy who had the great idea on how to fix baseball, not the guy who ruined it by releasing a report that made fans feel betrayed.

Please, don’t read the report. Find a site that just has a list of names, and read that. The actual report is bogged down by hundreds of pages of history, and while it’s actually quite readable and not full of lawyer-speak (“WHEREAS…”), the time you spend reading it will leave you empty inside. Let the experts read it and tell you what’s important. Then, remember that they’re “baseball experts,” disregard everything they say, and make your own opinions on the issue.

Because Mitchell talked to a member of the Yankees clubhouse, he has a couple of big-name Yankees. Especially here in the NY metro area, you’re going to hear a lot about Clemens and Pettitte, and deservedly so. But just remember that this list doesn’t end at these two men, and if Major League Baseball is smart, they’ll find a way to detect HGH and launch a full investigation into every team. Only then will we really be able to comprehend the extent to which steroids is affecting baseball.

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