Mitchell Report on Baseball Gets Mixed Reactions Melissa Block talks with Tom Goldman about reaction to the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drug use among Major League Baseball players, including comments from baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
NPR logo

Tom Goldman talks about reactions to the Mitchell report on All Things Considered (Dec. 13)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mitchell Report on Baseball Gets Mixed Reactions

Tom Goldman talks about reactions to the Mitchell report on All Things Considered (Dec. 13)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


After George Mitchell spoke today, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig had this to say.

Mr. BUD SELIG (Commissioner, Major Baseball League): His report is a call to action, and I will act. Senator Mitchell has made 20 recommendations. All of which I embrace.


That's the baseball commissioner. The players union is expected to make a statement within the hour.

BLOCK: And NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us.

Tom, Bud Selig talked about dealing with players today. If action is needed, he said action will be taken. But we just heard George Mitchell say, look, let's not deal with the past. Let's deal with the future. What do you think Bud Selig might be talking about in terms of discipline?

TOM GOLDMAN: Suspensions, fines. It could be along the lines of what happened last week with a couple of Major League players: Jay Gibbons of the Baltimore Orioles and Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals, who were given 15-day suspensions at the beginning of next season, apparently, not for positive drug test, but for what they call non-analytical positive stuff - things unrelated to a positive drug test.

As you point out, former Senator Mitchell said, don't punish - and this was probably the most striking part of Bud Selig's talk today for about 20 minutes to the press, where he diverge with Mitchell. And he said he will deal with each active player named in this investigation on a case-by-case basis and determine the best course of action.

BLOCK: This will be a case, I assume, where the players union would be strongly opposed, and we heard George Mitchell talking about how little cooperation he got from the players union. Only - I think one interview with the head of that union.

GOLDMAN: Absolutely right. And, you know, all along, they did not cooperate in this and, you know, really suggested the players that they not cooperate with former Senator Mitchell. Everyone is kind of licking their chops for the next press conference, which will be Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, to find out how he is going to respond to this. So far, it's been George Mitchell, it's been Bud Selig who are on the same page. But it's going to be very interesting to find out what the union feels, what potential action they make take.

SIEGEL: Tom, what do you think is the possibility, if any, of Major League Baseball owners saying, Bud Selig, you commissioned this investigation. It says we're all to blame. You've been the commissioner for quite a few years. The buck stops with you. Goodbye.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GOLDMAN: Not much chance of that. Yeah, if it's…

SIEGEL: Not much chance?

GOLDMAN: Not much chance. And if it's any evidence - I mean, Bud Selig was asked about this at the press conference this afternoon. You know, does he accept any of the blame? I mean, George Mitchell didn't excoriate him certainly in the report, but he said, you know, yes, the buck stops there as well as the players' union. And Bud Selig was evasive. He said he respects Senator Mitchell and then quickly shifted into how the future was important, moving forward with the recommendations. I think they really want to get that.

SIEGEL: You cover a lot of doping stories in a lot of sports. What did you make of the commissioner's statement that baseball has the toughest drug-testing policy in pro sports?

GOLDMAN: Well, three years ago, you certainly couldn't have said that, and it depends on what pro sports you're talking about here. When they started testing in 2003 - laughably weak. They've upgraded it several times since then. And they do have a pretty strict policy now, you know, when you compare it to other major American professional sports. If you compare it to Olympic sports, I think people would still say it's laughably weak.

BLOCK: And Tom, one last thing. Bud Selig talked about testing for substances that aren't picked up on drug tests now, like human growth hormones for example.


BLOCK: What would they do about that?

GOLDMAN: Well, they're trying right now to develop a urine test for human growth hormone. Major League Baseball has put some money into that - not a huge amount. But, you know, they will never go for blood-testing. They're waiting for urine tests. It doesn't exist. We have to assume that players are probably taking advantage of that.

BLOCK: Okay. Tom, thanks very much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

BLOCK: NPR's Tom Goldman. And in addition to our coverage elsewhere on the program today, there is coverage online. You can read the full report from George Mitchell at

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. 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.