Report Should Answer Many Key Questions

What is going to be the standard of fairness applied in deciding to publish -- or not publish -- names within the report?
An agent tells this story: One of his clients was asked by the Mitchell investigators to address a question of steroid impropriety that came out of the information from former Mets bat boy Kirk Radomski. The player was shown a canceled check in his name, written to Radomski, and asked to explain what it was for. The player responded: He didn't know. Because it could've been for anything from a McDonald's run for a group of players to clubhouse dues or something else. But the player said he knew this: It wasn't for performance-enhancing drugs. And, in the end, the Mitchell investigators backed off.

Is a benign canceled check combined with the word of a former Mets bat boy enough to include a player in the report? And no matter what the intention of the Mitchell investigators is, the reality is that if a player's name is in this report in relation to steroids, he will be effectively convicted in the court of public opinion.

And you can bet that if there is even one name that we haven't heard before, the union is going to have a lot to say, in its own news conference, about how the report was generated.

Will there be an attempt to generally estimate what percentage of players used steroids during this period, in lieu of hard evidence?

Will there be a Red Sox player named in the report?
Because of Mitchell's affiliation with the team, that is a question being asked by more than a handful of executives around the game.

Will the report identify weaknesses and recommend changes in the league's current testing program?
Based on an ESPN.com story from T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the report will call out baseball for not acting earlier, and will recommend year-round testing, greater transparency in the program, and outsourcing the drug testing program to an independent agency.

Will the report go so far as to recommend some way that the commissioner might handle the statistical accomplishments of players connected with steroids?

Will the report cite what investigators consider to be the failures of the media that covered the sport?

Was the idea of a Mitchell investigation a good idea?
Would it have been better for the commissioner to simply stand up, in March of 2006, and acknowledge mistakes and move on, rather than paying tens of millions of dollars to air a small portion of the sport's dirty laundry?

Stay tuned for the answers to these important questions and much more.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

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