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Answers to Mitchell Report questions

Answers to Mitchell Report questions

The Mitchell Report, issued Thursday, received immediate response from all corners of Major League Baseball. The report and the reactions to it address many questions, but some remain unanswered.

Here are some of those questions and answers.

Who is George Mitchell?
Mitchell served as a U.S. senator representing Maine from 1980-1995 and was majority leader from 1989 through the end of his senate career. Currently, he's chairman of DLA Piper, the law firm MLB hired for the steroid investigation, and a director of the Boston Red Sox. He was chairman of The Walt Disney Co. when the investigation began.

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What prompted the commissioning of the report?
Commissioner Bud Selig asked Mitchell in March 2006 to head up Major League Baseball's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by players. The creation of the commission occurred on the heels of leaked grand jury testimony in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case and the subsequent publishing of "Game of Shadows" by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, a book that detailed the BALCO case and alleged steroid use in sports.

How comprehensive is it?
The report is 311 pages long and features 32 pages of evidentary documents, including copies of canceled checks, handwritten notes and delivery receipts. The report also includes testimony from current and former players, club and personal trainers, clubhouse employees and front-office staff.

The cost of the investigation has been reported to be as much as $20 million. Selig said reported figures were higher than actual, but it can be assumed that it cost more than a few million dollars.

Who are the players named?
Eight-nine players -- including seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars -- were mentioned in the report. Among the most prominent names were Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada and Eric Gagne. Players who had previously been linked to suspected steroid use included Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield. Retired stars such as Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Matt Williams were also included. Here is a complete list of players named in the report.

What disciplinary action will be taken on active players named in the report?
That remains to be seen, and it will be up to Selig to take the first step on penalizing players. Mitchell recommended that the players named in his report not be disciplined, but Selig left open the possibility.

What about the retired players?
They are out of baseball's jurisdiction.

Will being named in the report have an impact on a player being selected for the Hall of Fame?
McGwire, who for three years held the single-season home run record with 70 before Bonds hit 73 in 2001, and hit 583 homers in his career, received 23.5 percent of the vote from the baseball writers last year, his first time on the ballot. Many writers viewed his highly evasive performance during a congressional hearing in 2005 as evidence of his steroid use and said it was a primary reason why they did not vote for McGwire.

It's conceivable that the same may occur with players named in the Mitchell Report. The most obvious future Hall of Famer named is Clemens.

What will happen to any records set by players named in the report?
Whether their playing records should be struck or altered will certainly be a matter of public debate. It's unknown whether Selig and Major League Baseball will take such action.

How will this affect any current free agents named in the report?
Ultimately, time will tell, and recent history provides a mixed reading of the tea leaves. Bonds, who was indicted last month on four counts of perjury and one for obstruction of justice, has not yet signed a deal for 2008 and may not find a home next season. But the Royals signed Jose Guillen to a three-year, $36 million deal with the knowledge that a suspension for violation of the drug policy was looming. And Mike Cameron has drawn interest despite the fact he'll miss the first 25 games of next season for twice testing positive for banned stimulants.

Are there any legal consequences for the players named? Is the report legally binding in any way?
No.

What's the union's position on the report? Does it stand by the findings?
Don Fehr, executive director of the Players Association, acknowledged that a drug-testing program probably should have been implemented sooner than 2002. However, he was quick to point out that the report did not indicate that the current program -- twice re-opened and strengthened since 2002 -- isn't working.

The union's primary complaints about the report are that the investigation was unilaterally implemented by the Commissioner and that it has left players vulnerable to possibly being unfairly accused. Fehr said the union will defend any player who is disciplined as a result of being named in the report.

What's next? Does this mark the end of baseball's steroid investigation?
It marks the end of Mitchell's steroid investigation. What comes next will be up to Selig, the owners and the Players Association.

Daniel Rivkin is an editorial producer and Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["drug_policy" ] }
{"content":["drug_policy" ] }