A-Rod. Sammy Sosa. Manny Ramirez. Barry Bonds. And now, Big Papi, David Ortiz.
Five baseball superstars. Five tainted athletes. Five wronged men.
These five, of course, have been exposed as having tested positive for a banned substance in the now-infamous 2003 test approved by Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association. A test of which the results, who tested positive or not, were to forever remain anonymous. Well, nothing lasts forever. Certainly not promised anonymity. The consequences? A-Rod, Manny, and big, lovable, beloved David Ortiz, branded with an invisible scarlet S for steroids. They have been done wrong.
Hey, I’m as big a baseball fan as there is. The purist in me is devastated that whoever used steroids forever derailed the integrity of the game. However, the pragmatist in me knows that the real world is infinitely more complicated that the simplicity of an idealized world of baseball. In reality, it’s a hard game, played by hard men who constantly have to make HARD decisions. I may not like the decision that AT LEAST 104 of these men made, but I understand the circumstances in place that drove them to enhance their body performances.
104 men. Until recently, they thought they were protected from the truth being known. They were promised that in an agreement. For the five men who have been outed, what a way to learn the lesson that agreements are too often not worth the paper they’re written on.
Wait a minute…there are 99 others on that list. In light of what the five confirmed steroid cheaters are being forced to deal with, they are in a degree of misery. And they need company.
Look again at the five names. A-Rod: arguably the single most polarizing figure in the sport right now. Sammy Sosa: America needed confirmation that he used steroids like we need holes in our heads. Manny: no surprise there. Barry Bonds: the ultimate baseball villain, further vilified. Only Ortiz’s name on this list has some mild shock value, but the whispers about Papi have been out there for years.
What I want to know…no, what I’m pretty damned close to demanding to know, is who is on this list that baseball’s PTB are trying to protect? After all, these same people are constantly saying that we must bring baseball back to its purity, at least as much is as humanly possible. To my way of thinking, then, doesn’t it make more sense for ALL 104 names to be revealed at the same time? If there are names that would truly shock and devastate us, then why not get them out in the open, grieve the horrible news, then move on?
Let’s face it, for reasons we don’t need to pussy-foot around with, the five outed superstars have reps that evidently have little value in protecting. If I really wanted to go there, I could make a racially-motivated case. But I don’t wanna be Skip Gates here. I just want real justice. And until those other 99 are pushed into the harsh spotlight of public opinion, the five are being done an injustice.