It’s hard to believe that six years ago, the game of baseball was so riddled with steroids, that a league-wide anonymous test was called for to see just how many men were on the juice.
The agreement was simple. If the positive results were over 5%, then MLB would implement a drug policy regarding steroids. If not, then no change would be issued. Surprise! About 7% of the league tested positive. MLB and the Player’s Association came to an agreement that these names would never see the light of day.
There’s a problem with that agreement already. Since the United States Government has seized those test results, they are the gate keepers to all 104 names. There was no law, and no judgment that came down to create a gag order on those names. There was no testimony in front of a Grand Jury or in front of the U.S. Senate. So what does that all matter? Simple. They just aren’t held to the same guidelines as the MLBPA and MLB. They can release any name they want without fear of a law suit. There is nothing holding our government from releasing those names.
So it began in February, when it was leaked from an anonymous source to Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in that 2003 test. It followed this week when another leak dropped into the hands of Michael Schmidt of the New York Times, who reported that Sammy Sosa (Surprise again!) also tested positive in 2003. Whoever leaked those names, although anonymous, probably faces no real legal repercussions for their actions.
Now it raises a new point. Why not the other 102 names? Let’s honestly look at the league in 2003. Are there any names that would rock Major League Baseball the way that names like Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa would? I know that there was a suspicion of Slammin’ Sammy’s steroid use since he suddenly forgot how to speak English in front of Senate, but still. To think that he was a cheater when he and Mark McGwire were busy saving baseball from itself is not only disheartening, but it really makes you question the validity of what you watched during that period of time. So if the other 102 come out, what is the worst that can really happen?
Let’s see the names. Let’s see just who was a cheater and who wasn’t. It can only help at this point, seeing how arguably our biggest player right now has admitted his use in not only the year he was tested, but several clutch years prior. Can it be much worse? I know there are plenty of pitchers that were so dominant in that era, so healthy, that one could really understand if one of them was exposed as a steroid user.
Same goes for a lot of those home run leaders throughout the 90s and early 2000s. What are they holding back that would flat out rock MLB to its foundation? Or are the other 102 names just a bunch of nobodies and minor leaguers? It’s really a question that boggles my mind, as it just aggravates me that we have to sit and watch every few months as a new “steroid scandal” is all over the news.
Ozzie Guillen came out yesterday and said the rest of the names should be released, so MLB can deal with the backlash all at once, and be done with it. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly. It can’t be that bad anymore. I think it would be best for MLB and the Players Association to just say “Here are the guys who did it, they’re guilty at that time, they are the reason we are cleaning ourselves up now, so let’s move on.”
Regardless of whether or not the 102 remaining names are released, all names are going to be tainted, and those players will forever face scrutiny over their involvement in the league in that time period. This goes especially as we get closer to those players retiring and heading for eligibility for the Hall of Fame.
The 102 names on that list can taint numbers on both sides of the ball. It could make a 400 home run hitter a 600 home run hitter. It could make a 20 game winner a 15 game winner. Additionally, as a hitter, that 20 game winner could have been the reason you didn’t hit the ball another couple of times. Hitters could have been robbed, and pitcher’s numbers could have suffered at the hands of those power hitters.
It’s a big disaster overall. The healthiest thing at this point is to release the damn names. Let it all hang out, and let us be the judges of those who belong and don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. More appropriately, let the Baseball Writer’s Association of America judge that when the names come out.
It also raises a question of whether or not the actual leak should come out. Already the leak was questioned by Chicago White Sox player Paul Konerko. While he was taking time from batting .250 in the past month (obviously he wasn’t busy being on base or being productive for the White Sox), he addressed the Chicago press, who wanted to know what he thought of Sosa’s positive test. He replied with, “Some guy writes an article, the sources aren’t public.
One of two things needs to happen, Either whoever is going to report, these sources, put your name behind it and put your face out there and tell people who you are. Or someone admits to it and that’s what happened in the Alex Rodriguez thing. That’s the only two ways that this becomes a story. Obviously, you guys [the media] are standing here, so it’s a story. But I just think it’s just sad it has come to the fact that news now is on reports, unnamed sources and that kind of stuff.”
Well let’s be honest, Paul. No one likes a rat. In fact, I think we all hate rats. Isn’t that right, Mr. Conseco? Thought so. So a rat is going to have a big target on his head from 102 angry former and current baseball players, who definitely do not want their names being uttered in the same sentence as steroids. They’d rather bring the whole ship down so their precious names appear in tact (while, in reality, all names, including their own, look crappy). So this guy isn’t dumb.
Let’s remember the murder that just happened to David Jacobs, the steroid dealer. He was confirming names with the FBI, and was found dead as a result. Who really believes that anyone is going to come out and admit who they are? Stop being delusional, Paul. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. And stop crying about who is hiding while saying the names. How about you cry about the guys who cheated to get ahead in the game? I’d even go as far as to say that perhaps a feeling of guilt may cloud Mr. Konerko’s head, and he too would like to know who is giving away the names from his precious fraternity. Stop worrying about who the rat is. Start worrying about the 102 guys who were tainting the game.
This could be the best thing for baseball, because it gives us a concrete look at who was using and who wasn’t. It lets the writer’s know that they are giving their vote to a legitimate player. Additionally, it could help that guy who was teetering on the edge of getting the 75%, who played the game clean, to finally get that extra vote, based off of his playing at a disadvantage. Sure the number might be lower, but it really helps to put in prospective that he faced XX pitchers who were known steroids users during his playing career.
Also, it can let the BWAA know if they are wasting a vote on a guy who cheated to get into the Hall of Fame. This could let another guy who is on the brink of getting in, who played the game clean, his well deserved admittance into the Hall. While additional scandals may turn some people away from baseball, it may be the healthiest thing right now for it. I believe people are just getting sick of all the finger pointing and all the lying. Just come out with it already. Sure, those players may not be happy about being outed, but they are cheaters anyway. Who cares what a cheater has to say? Let the chips fall as they may, and come out with the names of those 102 players for the sake of the game we call America’s Past Time.
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Erik Espenberg is a native New Yorker who is an avid fan of the Yankees, Rangers, and Jets. When not writing for Camel Clutch, he can be found killing his brain cells playing assorted video games. He can be contacted at [email protected].