Even if you're not a baseball fan you have probably heard of the Mitchell Report. Former Senator George Mitchell has been putting this steroid investigation together for over a year and half now and it is expected to be released sometime in the next week or so, and will supposedly feature many, many names of Major League Baseball players involved in steroids. The report will apparently include some big names too.
In the spirit of gleaning entertainment from the cheating and public humiliation of others, a few of my buddies and I decided to put together a special Mitchell Report Pool to celebrate what is sure to be one of baseball's darkest hours. The rules were as follows:
1. Each participant (total of four) drafts a team of eight players.
2. Draft lasts eight rounds, serpentine order.
3. Players must have played in 2007 at the Major League level.
4. Barry Bonds is ineligible for the draft.
5. Participant with the most names featured on the Mitchell Report wins.
6. In the event of tie, total combined salary of the players featured on the list wins.
These rules made Jason Giambi the consensus number one pick. With his robust salary and already admitted steroid use, PLUS the fact that Giambi actually spoke to Mitchell as part of his investigation, you could say Giambi is the LaDanian Tomlinson of fantasy steroids.
The draft order was determined by an evening of Texas Hold 'Em.
This was a particularly interesting exercise because nobody really knows what the parameters are for inclusion on the Mitchell Report. The biggest question I have is whether or not guys that already have been suspended by Major League Baseball will be included in the report. If so it makes sense to cherry pick from the list of guys suspended since the steroid policy went in place. If not, however, those guys just turn out to be wasted picks. Add to that the fact that most of the suspended guys so far have turned out to be middle of road players and in the event of a tie your salary total isn't going to be high enough, and you can see that there was some serious strategy (guesswork) going on.
Some of this cast of characters you may remember from the pickup basketball game that settled the argument once and for all about who the greatest basketball player of all time was (Editor's Note: Game settled nothing). In addition to the three from that clash of titans was a fellow who I shall refer to as Kevin Youkilis only because of his affinity for the Boston Red Sox and not at all because of the similarity in facial hair or because the gentleman in question dressed as this player for Halloween.
1. Jason Giambi - Youks
2. Jay Gibbons - Jordan
3. Miguel Tejada - Kobe
4. Paul Byrd - Bird
Number one and two weren't surprises, especially with Gibbons just this week being suspended for steroids after years of claiming he would never touch the stuff. Tejada could be considered an outside risk as a first rounder, but with his significant dropoff and power it probably isn't much of a stretch.
1. Gary Sheffield - Bird
2. Gary Matthews Jr. - Kobe
3. Jose Guillen - Jordan
4. Rick Ankiel - Youks
Again no major surprises. Sheffield claims he never knowingly took steroids although he has admitted to taking them in the form of a cream. All three of those other guys have had their names mentioned in connection to steroid investigations, with Guillen being nabbed alongside Gibbons earlier this week.
1. Scott Schoeneweis - Youks
2. Troy Glaus - Jordan
3. Aaron Rowand - Kobe
4. Juan Salas - Bird
A shocker in the third round by Kobe as he throws out not just a former Phillie, but a beloved one who famously ran into a wall while making an over the shoulder catch, breaking his face. Rowand would incidentally be the only Phillie taken in the draft.
1. Guillermo Mota - Bird
2. Milton Bradley - Kobe
3. Roger Clemens - Jordan
4. Brian Roberts - Youks
Bird went with back to back relief pitchers as the crafty veteran started to cherry pick off of the already suspended players list. I wanted to take Roberts here but went with my heart and took Clemens. Man I can't stand that guy.
1. Ivan Rodriguez - Youks
2. Mike Cameron - Jordan
3. David Ortiz - Kobe
4. Neifi Perez - Bird
It was at this point abundantly clear that Kobe was rolling the dice in this draft and going for the shockers. The choice of David Ortiz garnered an unkind response from Youks. When I politely pointed out that Ortiz's numbers skyrocketed between 2002 and 2003, Youks became even more agitated. Meanwhile Neifi Perez was taken for the first time in a fantasy draft of any kind.
1. Ryan Franklin - Bird
2. Josh Beckett - Kobe
3. Eric Gagne - Jordan
4. Jerry Hairston Jr. - Youks
In response to the remarks from Youks, Kobe fired another shot by selecting Beckett. Not wanting to miss the fun I snagged Gagne, which made 3 Red Sox in 5 picks.
1. Rafael Betancourt - Youks
2. Sammy Sosa - Jordan
3. Craig Biggio - Kobe
4. Dan Serafini - Bird
I have to say that I believe Sammy Sosa in round seven is the steal of this draft. Bird makes a very tricky pick by taking Serafini, who pitched 3 games in the entirety of the 2007 season.
Round Eight - Final Round
1. Aubrey Huff - Bird
2. Carlos Delgado - Kobe
3. Andy Pettitte - Jordan
4. Mike Piazza - Youks
Wanting to complete the Clemens-Pettitte love connection, I took ol' Andy with my final pick.
Looking back over the teams, it was clear that crafty old Bird had assembled a team of middling players, many of whom had already been suspended for steroids. If it comes down to a tiebreaker he is toast.
Kobe took the most risks with names like Ortiz, Beckett, and Biggio that would absolutely rock the baseball world. They are all fan favorites and any one of them would be a PR nightmare.
Youks diversified nicely with a couple of guys already caught and the rest featured prominently in previous investigations. Youks even included a flier on Piazza with his last pick.
As for me, when I took names already suspended, I took recent suspensions hoping they would still be immediate/relevant enough for inclusion in the report. Otherwise I stuck with guys that had already been named in investigations.
Now we just wait like kids before Christmas for the report. Hopefully Santa brings plenty of needles, Jose Canseco told me it's a bad idea to share.