The players should expect to face similarly tough questioning when they come to the Hill. "Athletes in America are modeled by youth and adults alike," Souder said last month. "Voluntarily lead now or you will be required to behave as leaders should," he demanded. Witnesses should heed these warnings or expect to face the wrath of Souder.
Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.: At the January hearing, the Massachusetts Democrat focused on the rising number of therapeutic use exemptions given to ballplayers taking amphetaminelike substances such as Ritalin or Adderall, commonly prescribed for attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders. These drugs are deemed "performance-enhancing" by Major League Baseball, but exemptions are granted.
Tierney, rattling off statistics about a sport that loves its stats so dearly, pressed Selig and Fehr about the fact that the number of those exemptions is skyrocketing. "In 2006 the total number of players that were subjected to testing was 1,356, and there were 35 therapeutic use exemptions granted. Of those, 28 were for ADD or ADHD medications. In 2007, that number jumped significantly. Of the 1,354 players tested, therapeutic use exemptions granted were 111, of which 103 were for ADD or ADHD medications. Now, that would make that almost eight times the normal adult usage in our population amongst baseball players."
In response, both Selig and Fehr defended the current policy whereby players must apply to an independent program administrator for these exemptions by presenting documents from a physician. Whatever line of questioning Tierney chooses, witnesses would be smart to pay close attention when Tierney addresses them this month.
Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn.: Never one to back down from any confrontation in a hearing, Shays already proved that he is a force to be reckoned with during the January hearing, going after baseball's three-strikes-you're-out policy. "I don't know how you have collective bargaining for cheating," he told Selig and Fehr last month. "So tell me why a player should be allowed to cheat three times."
Although he was outspoken, that hearing was more important than the upcoming one, noting his opinion that the players shouldn't come to Capitol Hill at all, Shays can still be counted on to be a vocal presence during the hearing. After the more senior members have had their say, it's Shays who can enter the game in the late innings and play a vital role in the course of the hearing. And seeing as the 2005 hearing lasted 11 hours, Shays could be a force to be reckoned with if this hearing heads to extra innings.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, D-D.C.: A local made good, expect the D.C. representative to take special interest in the back-and-forth between Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee. After all, it was Norton who questioned Mitchell in January on the credibility of McNamee's allegations about Clemens' steroid use.
"Since the report was issued, Andy Pettitte has said that Mr. McNamee's statements about him were true, so they confirmed the testimony," Mitchell responded. Now Norton will get her chance to hear from both Clemens and McNamee in person.