Congress, Baseball, And Steroids: A Big Waste Of Timeby Doug Mataconis
Today was the first day of hearings into baseball’s steroid scandal and the Mitchell Report:
WASHINGTON (AP) — At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in the same, wood-paneled room where Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and others testified three years ago, congressmen mixed criticism of baseball and its players with praise for commissioner Bud Selig and union leader Donald Fehr for progress on the sport’s drug-testing program.
“The illegal use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs was pervasive for more than a decade, Major League Baseball was slow and ineffective in responding to the scandal, and the use of human growth hormone has been rising,” said committee chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat.
“The Mitchell Report also makes it clear that everyone in baseball is responsible: the owners, the commissioner, the union and the players.”
So, here’s a radical idea; let Bud Selig, the owners, and the players handle this on their own. If they don’t do it right, the fans will voice their disapproval, as they did in the years after the 1994 player’s strike, when it took years for the game to regain it’s credibility. The last time I checked, Major League Baseball was not part of the Legislative, Executive, or Judicial branches of government. Therefore, there really isn’t any reason for Henry Waxman to get up on his soap box and pontificate.
Of course, pontificate he will. Hearings will be held, depositions will be taken, and time will be wasted. And the Members of Congress involved will convince themselves that this is a subject demanding their attention:
“This is the American pasttime, great pasttime. It’s a game that really exemplifies who we are as a country and as a people. As you know, our youth look up to our celebrities and the top of that list are baseball players, I feel. And so, it’s important to us that we don’t sit by and allow an issue that has impacted baseball for an era to continue, because it breaks down the faith and the trust.
“Baseball players are role models. And so, Congress feels that it has a duty to take a look and investigate.”
That was what Congresswoman Diane Watson said this morning on C-Span.
Role models ? Well if that’s going to be the criteria for determining when a subject demands Congresses attention, I guess it’s time to summon Britney, Paris, and Lindsey to Washington.