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Sammy is guilty, but we have no right to know it ...

I have to confess I took a couple of days off for something as frivolous as golf, thus I have been remiss in keeping up my blog postings. I know there are countless individuals capable of handling something as pedestrian as that from virtually anywhere, but I ain’t one of them.

Upon my return to the office, I see newspaper and online accounts of Sammy Sosa’s name being added to the ranks of those on that infamous 2003 list that indicates players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

This comes about a week after Sammy’s unsolicited announcement that he was now officially retired and would calmly await his inevitable election to the Hall of Fame. Ahem.

The timing may be coincidental, but if it is it’s one helluva coincidence. I don’t know about you, but I would like to know who this guy is who gets to sit back and decide: a) ballplayer A has said something annoying; so b) He gets to tie a can to his ass on the basis of Item A. That’s a lot of power for any individual, anonymous or not.


The resulting uproar is as expected: outraged sanctimony, garnished with righteous indignation. Yipee!

Me, I’m more interested in the aspect of all of this that is ongoing rather than that which is historical trivia. The List. I capitalize list, because I suspect that this particular list is going to become a proper noun fairly soon.

Here’s the part I find so interesting: we wouldn’t know any of this if the players association hadn’t agreed to the 2003 testing, which hinged on the results being kept confidential. I can’t shake the suspicion that if this were actually some kind of legal proceeding, rather than an impromptu public stockade, all of the evidence would be summarily tossed out because of the way it was obtained.

The reality is that the only reason the “evidence” even exists is because the players, through their association, agreed to the testing on the basis of that confidentiality. That ought to count for something, but it doesn’t really seem to in the court of public opinion, which seems to lap up every new revelation with an ardor and enthusiasm not unlike that which captivated the baseball world and the nation in 1998. It’s grand theatre, which is not quite the same thing as being right.

And I’m not quibbling here. It was wrong for players to be using those substances in 2003, but my mother used to stress to me that two wrongs do not make a right. They shouldn’t have been using that stuff and it’s wrong that they did. It’s also wrong that we are going to torpedo them – apparently one at a time – on the basis of evidence that should never have seen the light of day.

As a duly installed member of the public, I confess I have absolutely no moral or legal right to be privy to that information. Doesn’t matter who the other 102 names are, it is all data that is “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and should thusly be excluded.

I will blog another time about the implications of the other 102 names dribbling out in the coming months/years. Or maybe the pressures will prompt some large disclosure en masse, or maybe somebody will get tired of having that particular sword hanging over his head and “confess.”

No matter how it comes about, it ain’t right.