Baseball's saga of sorrow continues. The latest hero to be toppled from his pedestal is Sammy Sosa, the joyous Dominican who, together with Mark McGwire, brought baseball back from the edge of despair with their home run derby in the 1998 season. That was a glorious season that reminded us why we love this game. Sammy's trademarkable jump after connecting with a dinger brought him fans nationwide. His career total of 609 home runs paved an expressway through the New York State backwoods to Cooperstown. Of course, we have now learned it was only an artificial game of fantasy baseball. The recent disclosure that he was among the remaining 103 names on the list of positive drug testers was another punch in the stomach.
By now, baseball fans may have developed an immunity to further insults such as this revelation. The Sosa disclosure has spawned a debate whether the time has come to lay out all the remaining 102 names on the list and get on with the post-steroid era. Yet, the curious Manny Ramirez suspension suggests that we may not be done after all.
No one seems to have acted upon my suggestion in an earlier blog that Major League Baseball and the Players Association create a bipartite Truth and Reconciliation Commission to clean up those aging matters. Those who argue against full disclosure remind us that the players had been promised complete confidentiality when they took the tests in 2003. That promise seems so flimsy in retrospect that players who relied upon it were naïve. Nothing remains sacred anymore, not even a person's word.
Who then is disclosing the information about the 2003 tests? The list is in the possession of the U.S. Attorney's Office which would have no apparent motive to feed the press this information drop-by-drop. Of course, these leaks are in violation of a court order. Certainly a complete data dump would result in a contempt citation, so we are left with this periodic waterboarding. Having read Professor John Yoo's memos, I know that this is not torture. It only seems that way.
Perhaps we can make these periodic disclosures into a game of sorts. Who will be the next drip? Check the Mitchell Report for the usual group of suspects. Email in your choices. We'll set the odds. The payoff is the usual with these matters. Nothing.