Their View: This issue may only be a small part of the problem
The history of baseball divides neatly into eras - the Dead Ball Era, the Expansion Era, the Long Ball Era - and now, as it almost was instantly labeled, the Steroids Era.
Nobody wants to mess with a good thing, and during the Steroids Era, baseball was a very, very good thing. It had made a remarkable recovery from what at the time had seemed a near-fatal self-inflicted wound, the strike that cancelled the 1994 World Series and the 1995 traditional Opening Day.
Why look too closely at year after year of growing attendance and growing revenues, even if some of the big-draw power hitters and overpowering pitchers seemed a little too good to be standard-issue human beings. Now we know they weren't.
Comes now the 409-page Mitchell report, a 21-month investigation by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell into the use of mostly illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Most of it was known or suspected, but it still came as a shock.
He named 91 players, including its best hitter, best pitcher and most, it seems, of its marquee team, the iconic New York Yankees. The names included 31 All-Stars, seven MVPs and two Cy Young winners. One sportswriter posited an “All Juice” team and a formidable roster it is, one any manager would take in an instant.
And this report may touch on only a small part of the problem. Major League Baseball only grudgingly commissioned the investigation under pressure from Congress, and Mitchell was not exactly overwhelmed with cooperation. It may not have been a stonewall but it was close to it. The union's advice to the players: Talk to your lawyer. And, in the end, only two active players did cooperate, one under duress.
The meat of the report came from public sources and two peripheral figures, a former clubhouse attendant and a strength coach. It's fair to wonder what else is out there.
Mitchell placed the blame on “collective failure” by the commissioner, team officials, players and their union. To which we would add the fans that were remarkably indulgent of steroid allegations about their own teams, less tolerant, as Barry Bonds learned, about allegations against their rivals.
He urged commissioner Bud Selig to forgo disciplining the named players, except for the most “serious” cases, whatever that means, which seems a backhanded acknowledgement the problem was too big to go back and do anything about it now.
Mitchell made 20 specific recommendations, weighted toward better testing and more aggressive investigation. Baseball has promised to implement them. We'll see.
- Scripps Howard News Service
The Issue: Government tries to remedy bad investment decisions
Their View: New plan is limited, but this is a positive change
Large-scale government intervention to remedy the bad investment decisions made by individuals never is the ideal course, but the prospect of a million-mortgage meltdown with far-reaching effects on the U.S. and world economies makes some action justifiable.
The deal worked out between the Bush administration and leading mortgage lenders appears to be appropriately limited in scope and duration.
The plan doesn't put taxpayers on the hook with a bailout the nation can't afford. By limiting the freeze to those mortgages that are not delinquent, it avoids rewarding borrowers and lenders who struck deals that were unsustainable from the start.
- The Columbus Dispatch