After the "shocking" news yesterday that 2004 postseason heroes David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on the infamous 2003 list of baseball players that used performance-enhancing drugs, an idea popped into many bloggers' heads.
That idea was "hey, this is annoying, just release the stupid list." Ozzie Guillen perpetuated this with his rant, and even won over a few fans. But I am begging people to learn what is actually going on before commenting. There has been an influx of articles on this site alone recommending that "Major League Baseball release the list."
Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG. Major League Baseball cannot do a thing. They can't release the list, even if they wanted to. There is a serious legal battle going on in the courts right now—the MLB players association against the government over who should have possession of the list.
Why do you think that these people who are leaking names request to remain anonymous? They would be thrown in jail if they were found out to have been leaking court-sealed information.
Here's the basics on what went down. The government seized the list. The MLBPA sued the government for possession of the list. I hope you at least took Government 101 and know the basics of our judicial system.
The District Court ruled in favor of the MLBPA, determining that the government must give the property back. The case was appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, ruling that the government could keep the property.
The case is still being (re)considered by the Court of Appeals, and it might be a while before they render a decision. If that's not enough, the losing side is more than likely going to appeal to the highest law of the land—the Supreme Court. Do you know how long this process takes? If you want quick answers, you're not going to get them.
What are the arguments for each side?
Well, the government says they had a warrant which allowed them to seize the list. The MLBPA is saying that the warrant only covered 10 BALCO-related players, so the rest of players' names were illegally seized.
How the courts will rule is anybody's guess. They're not really uniform on this. We have seen this from the split decisions (2-1), the reversing the lower court's decisions, and even the reconsideration of the appellate court's decision.
But the point of this article is to inform. So stop saying "the MLB should just release the list." It's not that simple. In fact, it's very complicated. I recommend reading this timeline of the whereabouts of the list. I also recommend reading these ESPN and SI pieces documenting what could happen.
I could go on and on about how I think the leakers are doing the right thing, even if it is against the law. But I want this to be an informative piece, and I'll keep my opinions to myself.