Friday, March 31, 2006

Mitchell Has Multimillion-Dollar Link to Baseball

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, tapped to oversee an investigation of steroid and other illegal drug use in baseball, is not only a member of the Boston Red Sox board, as has been widely publicized, but also is chairman of Disney Corp., parent company of ESPN. The network connection means that Mitchell has a proprietary interest in Major League Baseball's eight-year, $2.4 billion broadcast contract, which entitles ESPN to present a number of games throughout the season. U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a Hall of Fame ex-major league pitcher, has criticized the selection of Mitchell on grounds that the former senate minority leader has a potential conflict of interest. Bunning contends baseball would have been better served by a more neutral individual.