Tuesday, February 10


Even a casual follower of baseball has by now learned the news that Alex Rodriguez was one of 104 players who tested positive for illegal performance-enhancing substances in 2003. Sports Illustrated first published the story and A-Rod himself confirmed it a few days later.

It's obviously a significant blow to the game's already-eroded integrity, and columnists are falling all over themselves to write the most earnest columns about what a terrible thing this is for the sport. Agreed, but what surprisingly few people have pointed out is this: the tests were anonymous. In fact, the players' union agreed to them ONLY under the condition that they be anonymous and that no players testing positive would have their name released or otherwise be punished. The agreement was that mandatory testing (with consequences) would be put into place the following year if more than 5% came up positive (it was about 8.7%). The only reason anyone found out about A-Rod's results is that the federal government seized the test records for their case against BALCO and someone leaked his name.

What annoys me the most, then, is that SI writers Selena Roberts and David Epstein decided to publish the story even though these results were supposed to be confidential. This shows absolutely no respect for an individual's privacy and for the agreement that was made between MLB and its players. Frankly, I feel that Roberts and Epstein had no right to make this information public. Even though he's now a certified cheater, I think this situation is totally unfair to Rodriguez.

Adding fuel to the fire, Curt Schilling has now come out and said that the other 103 positives should be identified, rather than just singling out the highest-profile of the violators. I do not agree with this. His point is that the 1094 players who were clean are now guilty by association and deserve to have their names cleared. Perhaps, but they're also innocent until proven guilty, and the tests, once again, were supposed to be anonymous. I can't over-stress this. The best solution would be for no one's name to have been made public at all, but we can't go back in time and stop SI's attention-seeking blabbermouths, so the best approach from now on is to keep the remaining 103 names confidential, as all 104 of them should have been.

One final question: why 1198? If you tested every team's 40-man roster, you'd get 1200. What happened to the other two?

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