To be continued
While it's not hard to see why all concerned parties would like to view the Mitchell Report as both a coda and as a "vehicle for moving forward," as one MLB executive put it, the reality is far less tidy. Two ongoing criminal investigations -- BALCO and the Albany DA's prosecution of a wide-ranging Internet pharmacy pipeline -- are likely to reveal the names of additional players and distribution channels. In fact, sources close to the Albany investigation tell SI.com they believe the litany of names released on Thursday was "not at all a full and final" compilation.
Furthermore, there are also other large-scale, ongoing probes
Inasmuch as their interests and objectives often conflicted, the Mitchell investigation team, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association found a sliver of common ground: Each party sought to portray the release of Thursday's report as the end of a troubled, drug-addled era in baseball. As solutions and recommendations for detoxing the sport were bandied about like so many fungoes, the theme of "closure" echoed throughout the day. Minutes into his press conference during which the report was revealed, the former senator talked about "bringing a close to this troubling chapter."
But for all the information and names -- new and rehashed -- aired in Mitchell's report, perhaps more revealing were the omissions. The majority of evidence accumulated by Mitchell clearly came from the BALCO and Albany investigations. In an offshoot of the BALCO case, former Mets clubhouse attendant
Though it does not mark the end of baseball's Steroid Era, Mitchell's report does help contextualize just how sensationally rampant steroid usage in the game has become. Lost amid the mania over the "big names," the report also offers many reasonable suggestions going forward, particularly with respect to testing.
Clearly, tasking Major League Baseball with administering the testing of its own stars was a near-fatal conflict of interest. (To say nothing of a public relations debacle.) If Major League Baseball and the Players' Association can accept and implement the report's recommendations -- improve testing administered by an independent body -- it will mark a meaningful step toward a cleaner sport.
Yet unfortunately, even with full cooperation of all parties, it's hard to envision the curtain being drawn on the "Culture of Cheating." Sadly, the cat-and-mouse game of performance-enhancing drug use will persist as long as technology allows. The creation of one designer steroid undetectable under the available testing procedures could easily occasion Steroid Era 2.0.