Okay, enough already with this slow leak of the names of Major League Baseball players who reportedly tested positive during the infamous 2003 performance enhancing drug testing program.
First it was Alex Rodriguez, then Sammy Sosa and now the New York Times is reporting that two sluggers from the 2003 Boston Red Sox: Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz also were among the 104 players who tested positive during the period.
Of course, fans of the rival Yankees are already saying “told you so” and claiming the two World Championships claimed by Boston in 2004 and 2007 are now tainted.
I guess they are choosing to ignore that the New York roster of that time period (as well as during their earlier championship seasons) was filled with players who have either admitted to using a PED or who have been accused of such.
The truth is that if your idea of a perfect baseball league is one that doesn’t include players using every possible edge (regardless of whether they are ethical or legal) to be better–and wealthier–then all of Major League Baseball has been tainted for quite some time.
I’m not by any stretch condoning the actions of anyone who purposefully used a performance-enhancing drug to become a better player. In fact, I think these players not only cheated the game and their opponents, but also have forever changed how most fans feel about their athletic heroes.
However, at some point we have to accept that things have changed and then move on. If not, and we continue to chase an innocence that no longer exists, we will end up continuing to have days like this when we get hit with another shot to the gut as more players on that infamous “list” come to light.
It is time for a total cleansing.
Instead of letting Sports Illustrated or the New York Times dictate how and when the rest of the names of players on the 2003 list are revealed, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association need to take the lead and jointly announce all the names at one time.
Sure there are probably issues regarding player privacy and union negotiated agreements that will have to be worked out, but both the union and league office have already made such a mess of this situation that at this point all that should matter is that they put this situation completely behind the game.
Because it has already been determined that these players are not subject to suspensions under the current drug policy, they can consider it their one free pass.
Until all 104 names are publicly announced, the reality is that every player is guilty, or at least treated with some doubt every time they blast a mammoth home run or throw a 98-mile per hour fastball.
The current system has forced players like Albert Pujols to make bold statements saying, “you can trust me” or “I’m really clean, honest.”
Of course, given all the players in recent years that have boldly proclaimed their innocence only for us to later discover that they were not telling the truth, it doesn’t really matter what a player says in a magazine or on television. Heck, it evidently may not even matter what they say to Congress.
So, if the players, owners and league officials really want to get past this steroid thing and return the full focus back onto the field, they have to stop hiding behind reports, tests and rulings. Instead they should accept that the only way to stop talk of how the game has been tainted is to provide the public with the full truth about just how wide spread the use was and who was involved.
Doing so may provide some temporary pain and embarrass a number of high-profile players, but it sure seems to be better than this current pattern of a slow, yet equally painful release.
Besides, if the past is any guide, fans are willing to forgive and forget, as long as they know what it is they are forgetting.
Check out Dean Hybl's sports blog: Sports Then and Now, to read about more great athletes and moments in sports history.