I was truly afraid that an important Red Sox player would be on the list.
Besides the impact it would have on the team’s ability to repeat as champs next season, why would having an important Sox player on Mitchell’s list be so terrible?
1) Because these guys are almost like family to us. We sit in our living rooms and watch them play every night. We read about them every morning in the paper and we talk about them every day at work. We cheer hard for them. We admire them. We marvel at what they can do as human beings. We imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. If an important Sox player were on the list, the process of readjusting my opinion of the person would hurt.
2) My son, along with the millions of kids in Red Sox Nation who wear the player’s t-shirt, would suddenly realize that their idol was a cheater. And that would be simply devastating. And that’s a conversation with my 8-year old son that I would like to avoid forever.
3) The magic and pride of the 2004 and 2007 World Series victories would be significantly diminished. After 86 years of demoralizing baseball inferiority, we’re finally at the top of the heap in Major League Baseball — and it would be a shame to give New Yorkers the ammo they crave to shoot down our accomplishments.
Many others have written about names of players they were surprised were NOT in the Mitchell Report, but here are the non Red Sox players I was most RELIEVED were not in the Mitchell Report:
2. Derek Jeter (sure, he’s a Yankee, but he’s also The Man)
3. Nomar Garciaparra (my son’s first favorite player, and still a favorite)
4. Pedro Martinez (would hate to see our 2004 season sullied)
5. Ichiro Suzuki (I like to believe that a human can do what he does, drug-free)
And finally, a quotation from Curt Schilling that really resonated with me (perhaps because, like him, I’m a parent of several children who look up to major leaguers):
“I think the bigger picture is the one that’s getting totally buried in this avalanche, is the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of kids that think this is the way to go,” Schilling said. “When you think about the fact that the two greatest players of our generation, arguably of all-time, the greatest hitter and pitcher that ever lived, are potentially the poster boys for cheating, it’s a horrible, horrible testament to today’s athlete.” (see full article here)