Wednesday saw a double-header in this latest episode of the slow leak off the list from 2003 of positive tests for Major League Players.
Never mind the tests were supposed to be for evaluation purposes only, and kept anonymous. That's a piddling detail when we have grist for the public humiliation mill.
The question before the house is how to deal with this ongoing situation. The release of sealed information is illegal, as the player's union head Donald Fehr said on Wednesday.
But what about a nation's right to know what is actually happening in the game? Doesn't the Government have the right to seize these records and disseminate the information contained therein for the greater good?
We are on a slippery slope here folks. What level of intrusion is permitted due to the celebrity status afforded baseball players—along with other professional athletes?
What does this say about a Government, the United States Government, that allows classified information to be leaked in a manner usually reserved when the White House, any administration's White House, wants information to become public but keep it's hands clean at the same time.
This is a dangerous game that is being played.
The players consider this situation to be a knife in their back. The players went along with the request to have anonymous testing to see the percentage of them would test positive, confident in the belief it would not reach the threshold that would show a need for further consideration.
Now they feel manipulated and let down by both the commissioner's office and their union leadership. I can understand where they are coming from, as they have basically been lied to and are now subject to derision and defamatory media reports on information that was never to be made public.
Either the players were too foolish to stop in time to test positive, were too arrogant to care about testing positive, or felt too much pressure to keep their position on the roster to risk stopping their extracurricular medical activities.
What ever the reason, the tests were going to be kept confidential and no names would be attached to the results. Good luck in getting the union to agree to some sort of confidential testing arrangement in the future.
Many media types and fans I've spoken with lean to the "it's got to be all released" crowd. They feel it will be better for the sport to crawl over the rusty nails and broken glass of this situation and get it over with.
Spill all the barrels of blood on the infield and let it soak in. Sure, there will be a couple of months of hell, but until baseball goes through this catharsis, the healing can not begin.
Uncle Sam came along and snapped up all this data just before it was to be destroyed. The given reason was for the Barry Bonds trial, but what was obtained proved to be too enticing for the Feds to keep all to themselves.
Now, the sport suffers from a media devised version of Chinese Water Torture. We get names dripped out a little at the time. The source is, of course, confidential. The paper breaking this latest story is the New York Times, with the article written by one Michael S. Schmidt.
A check of his recent articles shows Schmidt spends the majority of his time covering the legal and drug side of the game. He has obviously made a contact, or contacts, with folks who have this list supposedly of 103 who tested positive in 2003.
The manner in which this information is coming out is, in the opinion of this reporter, scandalous and illegal. Behavior that is as malevolent as the topic being reported on.
What ever adjective you want to use for these lifeforms, one should not include baseball fan, as their actions are torturous to the players, fans and the game in general.
The fans of baseball have taken many hits over the last few years. We can be excused for feeling like the aircraft carriers from both sides in the Battle of Midway. There isn't a team who have not been touched by this scandal, and the reputation of the players, whether innocent or guilty, are in tatters.
The early days of the steroid scandal saw many staunch supporters of law and order, wanting the cheaters to be run out of the game. As time goes on, it becomes apparent if that were to happen, we might not have enough major league quality players to populate all the rosters.
The teams and Commissioner Bud Selig are also complicit. It is often said Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved the game with their chase of Maris's single season record. Who put the game in the position of having to be saved in the first place? Mr's Selig and Fehr fingerprints are all over that particular crime scene.
Instead of "The Steroid Era", this shameful chapter of baseball history should be known as "The Selig Era" for the missteps and lack of character from the commissioner which put the sport in the position it finds itself in currently.
So where should we go from here? We must have the names of those who failed the test in 2003, no matter the level of pain for the players, the fans, and the sport in general. There will be no punishment for them from the league, as there was no rules in place at the time.
We must also have the head(s) of the leakers. They are violating the sanctity of sealed court documents. Such behavior can not be condoned. Even if they feel they are in the right, they should be willing to step forward and fall on their sword.
If not, President Obama should appoint a baseball steroid czar to ferret out the details on the who, what where and how. Lord knows the man loves appointing czars, as if he is going to single handily reverse the unemployment crisis the country finds itself in.
No team and it's set of fans are untouched by this. We must stop playing the blame game for the past. Just suck it up and deal with it.
As Alfred Pennyfeather remarked in Batman Begins, "Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up." Baseball must pick it's collective self up of the ground, brush off the dirt and move forward.
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