The List

There is nothing more damaging for Major League Baseball, its players, and fans than The List. The List contains the names of the 104 players who tested positive for steroids in the 2003 season when anonymous testing was done by MLB officials to see if the sport needed real testing. Of course, everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows how the samples were supposed to be destroyed, but weren’t and then were seized by the federal government and now the names on that list are slowly trickling out.

One MLB analyst compared it to Chinese Water Torture. As soon as the league recovers from the devastationof learning about one name, another name is revealed. First, it was A-Rod. Then Sammy Sosa. Now, it’s Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Who is it going to be in October when one obnoxious lawyer decides to overshadow the World Series and drop the name of another superstar? The List almost seems mythical, but in fact, it is very real. It has been seen by hundreds of people, from the actual testers to MLB officials, to MLBPA officials, to dozens of lawyers. There are plenty of people with access to The List. What doesn’t make sense to me is how a reporter is able to get one or two individual names every couple of months, but the leak won’t reveal anymore. Does the guy wake up and just decide to drop a bombshell on the sport?

The state of the sport is being left up to these couple hundred of people. People all around baseball are calling for the list to be released. The names will leak out. Whoever has released the names of Sosa, A-Rod, Ortiz, Manny, and others isn’t going to stop now. Maybe it’s more than one person. Maybe it’s some Yankee or Red Sox fan with a vengeance. If reporters can get to these individual names though, they will eventually make their way to the whole list. It is purely a matter of time. MLB should be looking at a way to limit the damage and that can be done by releasing the list now.

I’m not entirely sure that they have a copy of the list anymore. I don’t think they do and releasing it officially would probably be illegal since it is currently sealed by the federal government. However, if they can find a copy and accidentally leave it for a couple hundred reporters to find, that would make everything a lot easier. The fans and media would have dozens of names to look at with disgust and call a cheater. At least each player wouldn’t be singled out though and no individual player would have the scrutiny of the entire baseball world. It would be much smaller. much more contained, and much less damaging.

First, it was the Mitchell Report. Now, it is The List. This is all a part of the road to a recovery, but hearing the names individually drags out that road. Forty years from now, it won’t matter. The List will be out there, either through MLB, reporters, or a judge unsealing it. However, whether or not MLB releases it can change whether we are talking about The List in 2015 or whether the saga ends this year. It’s a pretty easy decision.

Of course, the MLBPA has been fighting to keep The List a secret for a long time now, but is that really fair to the superstars who have already been revealed? The Players Association needs to do a 180 and realize that a lot of players want this thing released. Fans and the media want to see it, scrutinize it, and move past it. Let’s get this pain over with and reveal the cheats, because in the end the names are coming out anyways. MLB and MLBPA must see that it is in both of their best interests to release The List and continue on the road to recovery of this wretched era.

If I were a player on The List, I’d make a preemptive strike and admit to taking steroids. The media is eventually going to find your name, whether you’re a superstar, a pitcher, or a utility player. By coming out and admitting that you used steroids, a player will garner respect for doing so. He will be admired, like Jim Parque, and used as an example for others on that 2003 list to follow. I feel confident in saying that the whole List will eventually be revealed. If you’re on it, why not get the pain over with now and also reap a little reward by doing so out of your own volition. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but my legacy and reputation are not at stake.

The other problem is that I’m not sure that players know that they are on the list. Ortiz was surprised to find out he tested positive, but what confuses me more is Bronson Arroyo’s comments that he thinks he’s on the list. That clearly shows that he doesn’t know if he’s on it. By saying that he thinks he’s on it, Arroyo is admitting guilt. I believe that he honestly doesn’t know if he’s on The List, because he has no reason to lie. I was under the impression that the MLBPA informed the players who tested positive that they tested positive. Apparently, this isn’t true and would make it very difficult for players to admit they are on The List, if they don’t know they are on The List.

Check back later tonight for my reaction as a Red Sox fan to Big Papi and Manny being on steroids.


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