Baseball Must Brace Itself and Reveal “The List” Once and for All

July 31, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

It’s something that every baseball player has heard of, but only a select few are “privileged” enough to be featured on it.

I’m talking, of course, about “the list”—104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in MLB’s survey testing in 2003.

Thanks to the list, shadows have been cast over every player’s performance. Players once regarded as role models have suddenly become reviled, no-good frauds who have soiled the good name of the game.

I’m not out to crucify those who have been leaked. The players were under the impression that everything was anonymous and would be destroyed following notification of a failed test—so it’s not really their fault their names were leaked, even if they knowingly took steroids.

Instead, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the supposed “anonymity” of the list—and what the people releasing the names want from the league.

So far, four players of the 104 have been leaked, causing rampant speculation as to who else’s name is on the list.

The fact that they’ve been leaked in the first place is obviously an issue. If the union was in fact supposed to destroy the samples after testing, then somebody has some explaining to do.

But what may be even more disconcerting may be how the results have been leaked.

At a time when baseball is desperately trying to distance itself from the Steroid Era, the names have slowly but surely trickled from the list into the public eye, courtesy of “lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results of that year.”

In the two articles accusing Manny Ramirez/David Ortiz and Sammy Sosa of steroid use, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times cites these anonymous lawyers as having access to the list.

So what exactly are they doing?

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi described the situation perfectly in a pregame interview before yesterday’s game against the White Sox: “It’s like ripping a Band-Aid off slowly. It’s unfortunate, because we’re trying to get this era beyond us and repair the game. The names keep coming out. It just seems to make it more difficult and last longer.”

First off, I’m very suspicious about these lawyers that Schmidt cites—if they are indeed ripping that Band-Aid off, they don’t appear to be doing it for the good of the game.

If they wanted to help usher out the Steroid Era, they would have released all 104 names at once, not in small bits.

No, the way they’ve been slowly releasing those names to baseball writers and the general public is almost too methodical in a way.

Why they are doing this is puzzling, to say the least. I understand that the whole list is sealed under court order. But that hasn’t stopped them from leaking names up until now, so why can’t they just tell Schmidt all 104 names in one shot?

Maybe they’re afraid of the legal repercussions if they release all the names at once. Maybe there’s something much more sinister at play here—after all, not all lawyers are as upstanding and ethical as they make themselves out to be in those commercials.

Regardless, baseball won’t be able to move past the Steroid Era if the names keep leaking out in this fashion—which is why MLB needs to just brace itself, grab the loose Band-Aid on its arm, and completely tear it off by itself.

Yes, it would reopen the very wounds that everyone has been trying to forget about over the past few years.

Yes, there would be a ton of legal issues that would need to be taken care of first, such as how to get a copy of the list from the union—Bud Selig’s office has repeatedly denied having the list, and Donald Fehr will not just hand it over.

But if baseball is ever going to move on from the Steroid Era, it needs to reveal the other 100 names on the list.

The fact that names have already been revealed compromises any privacy guarantee—there’s no telling how many unauthorized people have access to the list.

Instead of keeping people guessing and casting clouds over current players, the entire list must be thrown out into the open for all to see, eliminating the lawyers’ slow leakage of names while also helping to push Major League Baseball past one of the darkest eras in sports.

Otherwise, we may never escape the Steroid Era.

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