Steroids Report Names 85 Baseball Players

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In a 400-page report, former Sen. George Mitchell identified 85 baseball players linked to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

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This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News, your home for news, information.

Today, a lot of wind beneath a lot of wings. It's my tearful goodbye.

I'm Luke Burbank.


Yeah, there's Kleenex all over, abounding. We're all dabbing our eyes.

I'm Alison Stewart. It's Friday, December 14th, 2007.

Okay, you can just gloat for a minute. How good did it feel when you woke up this morning knowing I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn?

BURBANK: It felt so good that I took a picture with my Apple brand iPhone and e-mailed it Laura Conaway, our online editor, who immediately posted it. And even though it's 3:45 and even though I can't see straight, there's a look of joy that radiates from my face that I think says it all. But, you know what, we got two more hours of radio to do. So, how about we get to it?

STEWART: All right, all right. And some more Web goodies, by the way; that's a hint. Coming up on the show, we're going to dive into the Mitchell report looking into the steroid abuse in Major League Baseball. Did you hear about this, maybe?

BURBANK: Something about it.

STEWART: We're going to talk to T.J. Quinn from ESPN.

BURBANK: Also, there's a guy who is under house arrest or, really, it's a boat arrest, and he is down to his last packages of ramen noodles. The tale of a trip to the Solomon Islands have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

STEWART: And a new feature here, regularly happens on Fridays, rejected New Yorker cartoons.

Matthew Diffee is going to come aboard into the studio and show us what the editors the New Yorker decide was too tasteless and an unfunny to publish but which we find hilarious.

BURBANK: Mm-hmm. Plus, Korva Coleman will be here today with today's headlines in just a moment.

First though, here's the BPP's big story.

Mr. GEORGE MITCHELL (Former Democratic Senator, Maine): The use of steroids in Major League Baseball was widespread.

BURBANK: Like a shot in the arm, you knew it was coming, but it still feels kind of shocking when it arrives.

That was former Senator George Mitchell yesterday delivering his much-anticipated report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

STEWART: Let's get to the major points of the report. One, players use of performance-enhancing drugs was rampant in baseball for more than a decade; two, the teams, commissioner's office and players union were all slow to react and in many cases turned a blind eye to warning signs. Although the anti-drug policy's enacted in '04 and '05 helped out, many players switch to human growth hormone, which does not show up in a urine test. The solution: more testing by the independent group and a focus on changing the future instead of focusing on the past.

BURBANK: Aside from Barry Bonds, who, of course, was already under a huge cloud of suspicion, probably the biggest player accused of steroid use in this report is pitcher Roger Clemens. Although Clemens' former trainer told the commissioner he injected Clemens with steroids on multiple occasions, Clemens vehemently denies the accusations through his lawyer.

STEWART: And Donald Fehr, the head of the players association, said yesterday that some players had been named without quote, "sufficient proof." He also had this to add.

Mr. DONALD FEHR (Executive Director, Major League Baseball Players Union): Many players are named; their reputations have been adversely affected probably forever even if it turns out down the road that they should not have been.

BURBANK: You know, one of the things that stands out when you look through the exhibits in the back of this report is that there is an amazing paper trail. There are notes from team executives and remarks that shows that they kind of knew certain players were under suspicion of steroid use.

George Mitchell talked about these notes when he spoke with NPR yesterday.

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Mr. MITCHELL: Club officials routinely discuss the issue of steroid use in evaluating players; that's documented in the report. It was and has been recently widespread in baseball and so it suggests that there was, in fact, a knowledge of what was occurring.

STEWART: And talk about a paper trail, at the back of the report, they've got copies of pages and pages of checks written by enough different Major Baseball League players to fill several rosters along with shipping labels with players' names on them. Now, most of the checks are made out to Kurt Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty to steroid-related charges in April. Radomski agreed to cooperate with Mitchell's investigation as part of his plea deal.

BURBANK: There are even handwritten notes from catcher Paul Lo Duca, one of them on L.A. Dodgers stationary. Another note reads in part, quote, "Kirk, sorry I haven't been able to call you back because my phone is toast. Please leave your number again because I lost all of my phone book with the other phone. Thanks, Paul."

STEWART: And that is the BPP big story. We're going to get into the Mitchell report in more detail in just a minute when we talk to an ESPN investigative reporter, T.J. Quinn.

But first, here's Korva Coleman with even more news.

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