Baseball fans in Houston are reacting to the Mitchell Report that names former Astros Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and newly acquired shortstop Miguel Tejada as alleged steroid users. As Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports, baseball’s poorly-kept steroid secret officially came out of the shadows in a big way, with Houston at ground zero.
In Houston, the sting of Mitchell’s report is hard to ignore, with hometown icons Clemens and Pettitte at the top of a list full of All-Stars alleged to have used steroids. Clemens has already denied he used performance enhancing drugs through his newly hired attorney, Rusty Hardin. Houston Chronicle columnist and baseball writer Richard Justice says he’s not sure the steroids revelations will make much of a difference in baseball.
“Long-term, I just don’t know how people are going to look at all these guys. I guess in their heart of hearts, they’re going to say, you know, they cheated, they didn’t do things the right way, but I don’t know that it’s going to impact it any more than that.”
Many players alleged to have used steroids in the past have seen their careers derailed and their reputations tainted, players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro. Justice says the addition of Clemens and Pettitte to the list may cause younger players to think twice before they use performance enhancing drugs like steroids and human growth hormone.
“In every competitive sport there are going to be people who cheat and if you’re smart enough, you’re cagey enough, you can probably get away with it. You know, there’s no test for HGH, so there will still be some cheating. But when people see the news coverage today of Clemens, Pettitte etc., I would think it would have to be a deterrent.”
Scott Barzilla writes for one of the most popular Astros fan websites, Astrosdaily.com and says despite the exhaustive steroids report, people have to step back and realize the investigation was handcuffed from the start.
“George Mitchell and his investigative team did not have subpoena power and so they were relying on a few people to come in and just rat-out names. We don’t know what the motives were for people who were ratting the names. I know we have one clubhouse attendant in the New York Mets who is a primary witness there. And also we don’t know that these 60 or 80 names are the only 60 or 80 names.”
In downtown Houston, baseball fans had mixed reactions to the list of alleged steroid users, which includes Miguel Tejada, who was acquired by the Astros from the Baltimore Orioles just a few days ago.
Fan: “I hope that this gets dropped and people just go about their business, life. I don’t want to see anyone get suspended for this because I think it’s ridiculous to suspend something that you really and truly don’t have proof for.”
Fan: “I’d be more concerned with the image that it presents to the general public and the youth. I think the steroids probably happen everywhere, so every fan in that respect nationwide would be cheated a little bit by that.”
Fan: “I’m going to stay a fan and just hope that these young guys show them what to do without extra.”
Both Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte played for the Astros from 2004 to 2006. Both then re-signed with the New York Yankees last season. Although not official, Clemens is likely done with baseball, but Pettitte is expected to be back with New York next season.