"If there were problems, I wanted them revealed," Selig said. "If there were individuals who engaged in wrongdoing, I wanted those facts to come to light. If there were recommendations that would improve our drug testing program, I wanted to improve them. His report is a call to action. And I will act."
Mitchell issued a series of recommendations, among them to let a third party independent of owners and players run the sport's drug testing, to increase random year-round tests, to establish an investigative unit to pursue allegations of drug use beyond testing and to record every package received by a player in a clubhouse.
Mitchell's report indicated human growth hormone has replaced steroids as the performance-enhancing substance of choice because baseball does not test for human growth hormone.
The owners have funded research for a urine test -- and Fehr said the players would agree to such a test if one can be developed -- but said current blood tests for human growth hormone are of "dubious or little practical value."
In his report, Mitchell cited a "widespread misconception" that baseball did not ban steroids and other performance-enhancing substances until 2002. Baseball expressly prohibited the illegal use of steroids as far back as 1991, according to the report, but did not test for them until 2003.
Although the union had consistently opposed testing without reasonable cause, thus "delaying the adoption of mandatory random drug testing in major league baseball for nearly 20 years," Mitchell also chided owners for not pushing for testing sooner "because they were much more concerned about the serious economic issues facing major league baseball."
Said Mitchell: "With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that baseball missed the early warning signs of a growing crisis."
In general, Mitchell said, his corroboratory evidence included other interviews, phone records, shipping documents, canceled checks and money orders.
"Many players are named, their reputations adversely affected forever," Fehr said, "even if it turns out down the road they should not have been."
Fehr said he welcomed Mitchell's suggestion that active players not be suspended but said the union would fight on behalf of any player who might be disciplined. Mitchell said Selig should grant amnesty to those players and look to the future.
Said Mitchell: "Spending more months, or even years, in contentious disciplinary proceedings will keep everyone mired in the past."
Yet Selig insisted he would consider suspensions "on a case-by-case basis" and act "swiftly" in doing so. "I think, frankly, that is a byproduct of this investigation that I need to address."
The Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Jose Guillen for $36 million last week, well aware he would be suspended for reportedly ordering steroids and human growth hormone. On the day Guillen signed, Selig suspended him for 15 days.
Times staff writers Dylan Hernandez and Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.
A dark day for the game
Mitchell names 86 players as users and spreads blame for 'steroid era'
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