Mitchell report won't bring closure

Updated: December 11, 2007, 8:52 AM ET
The decision of Bud Selig 20 months ago to commission the Mitchell investigation surprised even some of his closest advisers, and shocked many team executives. Producing a cogent and highly detailed summary of the steroids era, they felt, was all but impossible, because the use was believed to be so widespread and, at the same time, deeply hidden in a maze of clubhouse whispers, personal trainers and overnight packages.

Almost no active players would participate, they predicted -- correctly. Obtaining corroborative evidence would be extraordinarily difficult, they predicted -- correctly. Even if some players either admitted their use or were cornered with evidence, the executives said privately, the publishing of a few names would effectively create a false impression about the context of steroids use in baseball. If thousands of players used the stuff, the executives wondered, then what was the purpose of pointing a finger at a few of them?

And this was the rhetorical question about the investigation heard most often from baseball executives: What good can come of this, in the end?