2 Down 102 To Go

June 18, 2009 | Thyrl Nelson

In case you missed the “news” this week, another of the 104 names being held in secrecy by the government, from the list of confidential samples given during MLB’s 2003 survey testing has been leaked.


Yes, if you believe the report, Sammy Sosa has been officially linked to steroids or performance enhancing drugs. In other, related “news”, the sky is blue, water is wet, and the O’s stink.


When Sosa gave his retirement statement, just over a week ago, the timing was curious. But the comments that Sosa made during the announcement, left many believing that evidence of Sosa’s use of PED’s was forthcoming.


Sosa, who had seemingly become an afterthought in the steroid scandal thanks to the likes of A-Rod and Manny Ramirez, inserted himself right back into the forefront of the conversation, by making statements about patiently awaiting his induction into Cooperstown. Sosa said that his numbers alone should stand up, and that he wouldn’t allow rumors or accusations to tarnish his legacy. (not in those exact words, obviously)


To many, including myself, this led to speculation that Sosa had indeed been caught, and was now engaging in proactive damage control. My guess was that Sosa was on the 2003 list, and further, that by retiring, he was negating the rights of the player’s association to negotiate for him, with regards to releasing the names on the list.


Due to my rudimentary understanding of law, labor negotiations, and union policies, I couldn’t say for sure that legally, that would hold weight. But it would seem to make sense that if baseball were negotiating to have the list released, then Sosa, by removing himself from baseball’s union, could also negate their right to negotiate on his behalf.


So far, the chain of events seem to support the conspiracy theory. And perhaps in his voracity to distance himself from the rest, Sosa has instead outed himself to a degree. For now, he’ll be forced to stand alone, amidst the speculation.


My guess would be that the rest of the list is coming soon, I think Sosa was betting on that too. If it never comes, Sosa will have made a mistake. If it comes out, and the names of retired players are redacted, Sosa’s mistake will have been raising suspicion with his comments, rather than quietly filing his paperwork. Let’s face it though, Sosa was convicted in the court of public opinion a long time ago anyway.


Personally, I think the list should have been destroyed a long time ago. Ultimately, this is just another example of what happens when the government gets involved in sports. It seems that every time the government pokes their collective nose into the business of the sports that we love and know, it only serves to illustrate how little they know about those sports. It also leads me to wonder how little they know about the other issues and aspects of society on which we’re trusting them to know more than us. But that is certainly the subject for another whole blog, some other time perhaps.


The list was never meant to be made public, and in fact wasn’t even a list at all. Before the Bonds’ trial, the list was 2 lists, on separate coasts, one with serial numbers and results, the other with names and serial numbers. Why the government needed to create and preserve a list of 104 names, in order to verify a single name on the list, in order to pursue a case that still hasn’t been made is beyond me, and is also probably best left  for another blog at another date too.


If it were up to me, we’d burn the list today, much to the chagrin of Sammy Sosa I’d bet. Instead, I’m guessing that, right or wrong, we’ll be seeing the other 102 names soon. Since they continue to leak anyway, better to get it all over with at once. Like the proverbial band-aid, it will ultimately hurt a lot less that way in the long run.