Does this picture startle you? It scares the shit out of me. A face like this shouldn't be ubiquitous unless it's on the front of a box of oatmeal, should it? I don't think so. But apparently our intrepid representatives in D.C. think so, because Mitchell was back on his bully pulpit Tuesday, only it was on the taxpayer's dime as opposed to baseball's. Mind you, taxpayers have subsidized the latter to such a degree that it's irrelevant to distinguish between the two parties at this point.
I appreciate that Mitchell might have been at a loss for something to do now that he's both saved Ireland and saved the children of America from the dangers of improved bat speed, but a full congressional hearing seems like a bit of a reach for this particular workaholic. Perhaps I'm the only person standing in this particular line of thought, but the Mitchell Report felt a little light after the initial mediajaculation w/r/t the list of names. I'm not particularly interested in getting back into the particulars here, but suffice to say I can't imagine what on earth made Congress think that enough had changed post-report that a brand-new hearing needed to happen. And after reading Jayson Stark's live blog, I have no more of an idea than I did before.
What strikes me as interesting, though, is that these kinds of media circuses continue to take place. It's facile to say that politicians simply enjoy grandstanding, though that not to say it isn't true. However, politicians often act in accordance with maximum utility in mind; they rarely continue doing things that don't play well with constituents (at least not publicly), because nothing is more important than the next election for most career politicians. If you're to accept those premises, then clearly politicians have concluded things like the steroid hearings play well to the public and make them appear more ... congressional?
Despite its supposed status as a true marketplace of ideas — the ideal newspapers long claimed to represent despite the obviousness of that industry's inability to juggle unabridged honesty and the need to attract advertising — it appears the sports department of the blogosphere has adopted the same kind of ideological rigidity and hegemony that we often accuse the sports media of having. I can find nary a good sports blog that hasn't expressed some measure of outrage over these congressional hearings, not to mention fatigue over the steroid issue in general. If we're to believe that sports blogs represent the "common man's" outlook on sports, then one would think the Henry Waxmans of the world would take the hint and stop interrogating Donald Fehr. But they haven't, which leads me to believe that we're all missing something here in the blogosphere.
It might be a reach, but I see this as analogous to Ron Paul's run for the Republican nomination. If the primaries were held on the internet, Paul would win in a landslide not seen since the last time Fidel Castro held an "election." The momentum his campaign has generated on the internet — not to mention the insane outpouring of campaign contributions that is composed almost entirely of small donations counted in the low hundreds — would lead one to believe that Paul is not only a viable candidate (he's almost certainly not, which causes me no small amount of sadness) but that his ideas really hold water with a large percentage of the American populace.
Such must be the same with steroids in baseball. The interweb cognoscenti has thrown up its hands and said that we're all tired of it, but obviously has miscalulated exactly who the "royal we" in this case represents. Leeches don't affix themselves to corpses, only bodies that still pump blood; the fact that the U.S. Congress is still involved indicates that the heart of the steroid issue is still pumping. Now, it's just a matter of figuring out why, and perhaps in the process discovering if maybe we're the ones who are missing something.
I realize there's no point to this, but I just felt like riffing.