When the Mitchell Report broke last week, we here at the Saloon got into a pretty heated debate with a few of our readers (or more specifically...one reader). However, the process wasn't at all as intellectual as it sounds. We were actually debating whether the Report itself was overrated or not. We didn't actually debate what the Report was about or what it meant to baseball.
A few days after the Report, Andy Pettitte admitted to HGH use. He said he did it twice in 2002 to try to recover faster from an elbow injury. Pettitte is quoted as saying, "If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days."
So what do you believe? Are you Pro-Pettitte or Anti-Pettitte?
You have to admire Andy Pettitte for coming clean. Instead of most of the people who blame positive steroid tests on tainted supplements or just flat out deny everything, Pettitte admitted when he took HGH and the exact conditions he took it under. He wasn't "juicing" in the traditional sense. He wasn't trying to gain an edge over the batters he was facing while on the mound. He was doing what most players that are labeled as "gamers" do: getting out onto the field by any means necessary. Andy was hurt, Andy saw a way he could get better quickly, and Andy took the chance.
We preach to kids from such a young age the value of being tough and being there for your teammates when they need you the most, and that's exactly what Pettitte did. And since he took HGH in 2002, technically he wasn't doing anything that would lead to a suspension/disciplinary action from MLB. HGH was not a banned substance at that time.
Andy Pettitte is a class act, rarely, if ever, complains, and is one of the toughest guys out there. He is driven by winning and I'm sure he's one of those guys that goes crazy when he's hurt because he's not out there helping his team win. It was this competitive drive that led him to making a mistake that shouldn't cloud the rest of his career or anything he's done in years past.
What's the first red flag that pops up in regards to Pettitte's supposed "apology"? It's that it's not even an apology at all. Let's take a look again:
"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days."
If? IF? Pardon me, Mr. Pettitte, but that's fried bullshit on a stick if I've ever seen it. That's like shooting someone and then saying "If what I did was wrong, then I'm sorry." What do you mean "if"? Of course what you did was wrong! Sure, HGH wasn't a banned substance in baseball in 2002, but it sure as hell wasn't legal in the US without a proper prescription. Just because something isn't technically banned by MLB does not make it ok to do. I'm sure extacy isn't on the "banned" list in baseball, but you can bet your ass that doesn't make it ok to pop a few and start rolling in the clubhouse. Look, if you have to go through a shady doctor or a shady trainer or a shady dentist, or a shady anyone for that matter, just to get something to help you heal faster, you've gotta know that what you are doing is wrong.
I know as well as anyone else that a lot of athletes are found guilty in the court of public opinion before there is enough proof to convict them. After all, there are dozens of players in the Mitchell Report that have had their reputations destroyed over the word of some clubhouse attendant. But in Pettitte's case, the evidence is pretty damning. Here's a guy that's pitching extremely well for being a 35 year old, is best friends with another pitcher who just so happens to have pitched extremely well into his 40's. And they both share the same trainer who told George Mitchell that he supplied them both with performance enhancing drugs.
Pettitte saw what steroids could do for Clemens, bringing his career of dominance back to him later in life. Are we to believe that Pettitte saw this first hand, but still had the willpower to stop taking HGH after 2 doses? And does HGH help you heal that much faster after using it only twice?
But let's give Mr. Pettitte a fair chance. Let's say that all of that is coincidence. it still doesn't change what we have in writing. When the Jason Grimsley story broke and Pettitte was named as a PED user, he went into full-blown Rafael Palmeiro mode:
"I haven't done anything."
So Pettitte says he's never taken PED's. Now the Mitchell Report comes out, and he basically says "Ok, I did steroids for a little bit, but only to get on the field again."
Let's take a basic look at that:
"I didn't do anything."
"Ok, yes I did."
How can we possibly believe anything this guy says? He denied everything until he was backed into a corner and then "comes clean" with an apology that wasn't even an apology.
Chew on this: If the Mitchell Report had never existed, would Pettitte have ever admitted to his HGH use? I don't think so, and you would be a fool to think that he would.
So where do you stand? Is Andy Pettitte a liar that can't be trusted, or a stand-up guy for admitting his past mistakes and coming clean?