Should the Other 103 Names From the 2003 Steroid Report Be Released?

Joseph DelGrippoAnalyst IFebruary 9, 2009

The biggest question in the Alex Rodriguez steroids debacle is who outed Alex’s name and why weren’t the other names leaked, too?

The fact that Alex’s name was the only one leaked lends credence to a vendetta atmosphere, and in my opinion the most likely candidate being someone in the Federal Government. Nearly every step of the Feds ongoing BALCO investigation has been muted by Judge Susan Illston, including the most recent one of possibly throwing out solid evidence against Barry Bonds. That’s what you get with liberal judges and Bonds is expected to go on trial March 2.

The constant jump through hoops treatment by Illston could have led one or more frustrated Federales to leak the known info. This leak then is not a vendetta necessarily against Alex, but all of baseball. Would there be another story this year now other than steroids? The fact that a team such as the Cincinnati Reds could ride their young players to a unexpected NL Central Division title will be lost in a sea of steroid talk.

When the Mitchell report came out in December 2007, I was completely against naming names of the PED users. Much of the news in there was primarily second hand; this guy said so and so was using, I got Radomski’s name from that guy, some checks were written and a few Federal Express bills of lading, etc were obtained.

I felt the only evidence in outing a player should be positive drug tests and that’s it. Naming names at the time was only going to expand the steroid talk.

The Mitchell report had much to be desired, but what it did do was let the casual baseball fan and layman know was that this steroids era was over and that drug testing was now mandatory (although still random). I felt that lives need not be ruined (see Roger Clemens) in the report, but reputations and legacies should be questioned if the player tested positive (see Rafael Palmeiro).

But, everyone wanted their pound of flesh. The public wanted to know about Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds and anyone else of stature so they could rip them and call them phonies and cheaters. But, if the name were released then I felt the steroid era would linger even longer than need be because of lawsuits and accusations.

The Mitchell report was only initiated because Bud Selig wanted to quell the firestorm from the raid of Kirk Radomski and also didn’t want the Federal Government get involved in MLB. Mitchell being involved quieted the public AND Congress. If the names were not released but stricter testing was mandated for the future, then the steroid talk would eventually go away when the games started again.

It would have been better for the game. The game will always go on, but now with the Bonds perjury trial coming up and possibly a Clemens and Miguel Tejada perjury trial (both resulting from the Mitchell report), the steroid era is only getting stronger and longer. Naming names at the time has led to the alleged lying by the players and the subsequent trials and defamation lawsuits.

The situation was getting worse with the names being mentioned.

But, now that Alex’s name was leaked from the 2003 report, and with his subsequent admission, unless the 103 other names are released, there will continue to be that dark cloud over every player of the era, many of who are still playing today. Every active 2009 player who played in 2003 would be under suspicion, no matter how clean they appear.

Ken Griffey, Jr., Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Todd Helton, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Vernon Wells and Carlos Delgado (who played with Canseco/Clemens in 1998) are now all under that cloud...unless the 103 names are released.

Even though those 103 names are sealed and under court order, they need to be released so the game can move on and not be under that cloud of suspicion. I know the names were never supposed to be made public, but since the Players Association failed miserably to their subjects, the list (and names on that list) are now known by many people, and should be released to the public.

The legal rights of those on that list be damned. This is a complete 180 turn from my original thoughts back in December 2007, and naming the names now is the best thing for the great game of baseball.

Afterwards, we can can back to the game on the field in 2009 like whether the Rays can repeat, will AJ Burnett make more than 10 starts and will the Mets choke for a third straight season?

In 1989, when Pete Rose was banned for life by A.Bartlett Giamatti, the commissioner said: “One of the game’s greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts…It will be debated and discussed. Let no one think it did not hurt baseball. That hurt will pass, however, as the great glory of the game asserts itself and a resilient institution goes forward. Let it also be clear that no individual is superior to the game.”

That last statement of “Let is also be clear that no individual is superior to the game” is the key and rings true today just as it did 20 years ago.

Indeed, no individual is superior to the game, especially the 103 remaining names on the “A-Rod” list.