After enduring the Mitchell press conference this afternoon and following the reactions later in the day from Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, I can definitively say that I am choking on my ambivalence.
I'm disgusted by the players who may have flaunted multiple federal laws, the most basic notions of fairness, and the integrity of a game many of them would presumably claim to love.
But I'm just as disgusted by the carnival that Major League Baseball staged today wherein the names of dozens of players were splashed across every form of media in the English-speaking world--the Spanish-speaking world too, I imagine--and effectively identified as law breakers and cheaters without anything even resembling due process.
I'm guessing that many, most, perhaps all of the players named did what the general public now assumes they did. But in a country that purports to believe that you're innocent until judged guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of peers, that really isn't the point.
I hope any player who is so inclined hires legal counsel and drags MLB through the courts system until it hurts. The plight of those players who might in fact be innocent of the implied charges brings to mind the case of former U.S. Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan, who famously said after being acquitted on corruption charges in a New York City courtroom, "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"
Baseball Prospectus fed Kosuke Fukudome into their PECOTA player performance projection machine and threw the switch.
PECOTA's guess at Fukudome's 2008 numbers:
.289 AVG/.410 OBP/.504 SLG/15 HR/58 RBI/94 SO/70 BB
BP's Chief PECOTA-Keeper, Nate Silver, says those numbers make Fukudome look an awful lot like Boston's J.D. Drew.
More from Silver:
PECOTA holds Fukudome’s playing time projection down because he missed about half of last season due to elbow surgery. If he’s healthy in spring training, that should no longer be a concern. And look at that pretty OBP! Fukudome is unlikely to be a huge power threat, but that on-base ability should address one of the Cubs‘ primary areas of weakness.
The question, of course, is whether they’ll be smart enough to put him in the leadoff spot (Fukudome also runs pretty well) and demote Alfonso Soriano.