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Baseball Doping Report Names Dozens of Players

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Say it ain't so, Moe and Roger and Andy and Chuck and Miguel.

BLOCK: And Jason and Jeremy and Gary and Barry and Eric, Benito and Randy and dozens of others who were named today in the Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.

SIEGEL: Former Senator George Mitchell spoke in New York today.

Mr. GEORGE MITCHELL (Former Democratic Senator, Maine): For more than a decade, there has been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by players in Major League Baseball, in violation of federal law and baseball policy. The response by baseball was slow to develop and was initially ineffective. Other investigations, no doubt, will turn out more names and fill in more details. But that is unlikely to significantly alter the description of baseball's steroids era as set forth in this report.

BLOCK: We're touching on the Mitchell Report at points throughout the program today. And NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now.

Tom, 400-plus pages in this report, a lot to summarize, but what would you say the key findings are?

TOM GOLDMAN: My speed-reading ain't what it used to be, Melissa, but I will try.

BLOCK: Uh-huh.

GOLDMAN: Everyone involved in baseball over the past two decades: commissioners, club officials, players' association, players. They all share, to some extent, the responsibility for the steroids era, George Mitchell said today. There was, he said, a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and deal with it early on.

BLOCK: Now, of course, we mention some of the names that were popping up. And that is one of the sensational parts of this is who exactly George Mitchell names in his report.

GOLDMAN: Dozens of players, and they range from superstars to marginal players. But certainly two that jump out, two that we really haven't heard that much about before, although there have been a few reports: Roger Clemens, thought by some to be the greater - perhaps the greatest pitcher ever, certainly the greatest pitcher of his generation, an 11-time all-star, seven times won the Cy Young Award. He and Andy Pettitte, who was his teammate both with the New York Yankees, pitching teammate - and with the Houston Astros in more recent years.

And they were both hooked up with a person who testified to George Mitchell, a personal trainer named Brian McNamee, who is a strength and conditioning coach for a couple of teams where these guys played. And according to the report, McNamee injected Roger Clemens with steroids several times in 1998, 2000, 2001. And then he also injected Andy Pettitte, according to the report, with human growth hormone to aid in repairing an injury in 2002.

BLOCK: Tom, George Mitchell today seem to make a very clear point that he didn't think baseball should impose discipline for past violations. He talked about a fresh start for these players unless it were really egregious cases where they needed to protect the integrity of the game. That seems like something that will be pretty controversial.

GOLDMAN: It will be controversial. Of course, everyone is trying to pore through this thing and figure out, well, what are the egregious transgressions here and that will be forthcoming as everyone goes through this. But, you know, he talked about his work in Northern Ireland in 1998 when he tried to broker - when he did broker a peace accord there between Catholics and Protestants, and how he convinced the warring parties there to leave the past behind and move forward. That's his very strong message to baseball today as well. Leave the past behind. We need to know about the past, but leave it behind. Let's move forward.

BLOCK: And in terms of moving forward, he does come up with some ideas for how to fix this problem or at least address it.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, he does. Everything from, you know, stiffening drug testing to having an outside independent agency oversee the drug-testing program to allow steroid investigations, to look at things other than positive test as investigators go after potential dopers.

BLOCK: Okay. NPR's Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks a lot.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

BLOCK: And our coverage of the Mitchell Report continues at npr.org. You can read the full report and get a timeline of the baseball steroids investigation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.