- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

Major League Baseball - tear down that so-called veil of confidentiality.

The drip, drip, drip of names from the 2003 list is the cancer on the game that refuses to go away, Sammy Sosa being just the latest.

The agreement, brokered between management and labor, granted anonymity to the 104 players who tested positive.

That anonymity is being ignored by those who expect their anonymity to be honored by journalists while mocking the anonymity of the players. The anonymous leakers could be from management or labor, depending on their agenda.

The surfacing of Sosa’s name was not so much news as it was confirmation of what everyone suspected to be true along about the time he shattered his bat and cork was found lodged in the wood.

Sosa follows Alex Rodriguez, no longer feared as a hitter and taking a rest on the bench for two games.

Bud Selig, the commissioner with the ragged legacy to repair, ought to release the rest of the names to get out in front of the story. He ought to do it for the good of the game.

That would result in a three- or four-day crush of bad news before the game could begin to distance itself from the steroids era.

If Selig elects to do nothing - and doing nothing is what landed baseball in this mess - he can be certain of the story persisting far longer than it should have.

The outrage over Sosa, subdued as it was, stems largely from the 1998 season, when Sosa and Mark McGwire took the nation on a wonderful ride and obliterated Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark.

No one likes to feel duped, and Sosa and McGwire duped us all, starting with the Maris family.

Sosa can forget being admitted into the Hall of Fame despite his 609 home runs. That is the fate awaiting all the cheaters, some in denial, none bolder than Roger Clemens.

McGwire, with 583 home runs, has been overwhelmingly rejected in his first three years of eligibility on the Hall of Fame ballot. That position of the baseball writers is not about to change, even if Cooperstown has opened its doors to cheaters in the past, namely to pitchers who used saliva, emery boards or Vaseline to get the ball to dip, flutter and dance past hitters.

Like Clemens, Sosa may have a problem with the Feds after he, too, denied using performance-enhancing drugs under oath before members of Congress.

“I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs,” he said in 2005, two years after his positive test result. “I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything.”

Selig appears inclined to say nothing, do nothing and hope it all goes away, even if, deep down, he knows more names are destined to surface.

The releasing of the names should not be a management/labor issue. It is in the interest of both sides to control the message instead of those with anonymity controlling it.

Both sides ignored the sight of men showing up to spring training in the ‘90s with 30 additional pounds of muscle. It was said to be the magic of weightlifting, the magic even working on previously thin body types.

Now they are left to ignore the leakers. They know who is on the list, big names and small. Come clean with them all. It won’t eliminate the statistical damage that was done to the game. But it will start the healing process. It will put an end to the back-to-the-future sense that permeated the latest revelation.

Sosa should have been old news by now, unable to dredge up bad memories.

That is the power of that 2003 list.

First Rodriguez, now Sosa.

Who will be next? And there will be a next unless Selig intervenes.

Selig cannot restore his legacy. The steroids mess happened on his watch, after all.

But he can initiate the cleansing process by releasing the names on the list.


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