[McGwire welcomes Sosa to the Mitchell Report.]
*** Update 06/17/09: On rereading the NY Times story, there is no proof that Sammy Sosa tested positive for anything. The NYT only reports an accusation from an attorney Schmidt uses as a source. While it will come as no surprise if Sosa should actually test positive, Schmidt’s only source is someone familiar with the 2003 testing results “ the same results tossed out of Federal Court in the Bonds case because they are inconclusive. Schmidt offers nothing to bolster the 2003 testing results in his story. So, while I kid Obama, Sox fans, etc., I’d really like to ask the Times, what else have you got?***
The obvious attempt to demoralize the Cubs on the eve of this year’s North Side/South Side Chicago Civil War Reenactment fools no one, Mr. Obama. It smacks of Cub fan Rod Blagoevich’s fall from the grace as you ascended to the White House. A cheap shot, SIR*, and I hope Bobby Jenks gets bitten by a clubhouse rat tonight and Ozzie gets hit on the head by falling concrete in the Wrigley media room. [* nasty formality, borrowed from Keith Olbermann.]
In 2009, it’s a bigger surprise that Sosa announced his retirement than that he tested positive for, so far, unknown PEDs. In 2004, the Federal government confiscated 104 confidential drug tests of major league ballplayers that they had no jurisdiction to take. Since then, the once confidential tests have dribbled out one by one to nail a number of players “ most recently, A-Rod “ and today, Sammy Sosa. To no one’s surprise, Sosa failed a drug test during his stay with the Cubs. In true Cub fashion, Sosa managed to test postive for PEDs only in his rapid decline as a power hitter, when he hit 40 HRs after consecutive seasons in 98 and 99 when he hit 60 or more each. I mean, a Yankee takes PEDs, they win pennants. Us?
For the majority of sports media, Sammy the Dope Fiend is the story to cover, as they reexamine Sosa’s asterisk-bait records, his recent “retirement” from active player status, and his claim to “calmly wait” for his call to the Hall of Fame. My only question is how Sosa managed to test positive in 2003 and yet stay off the Mitchell Report which, apparently, did not have the 104 tests available to them. If the latter, it means anyone named on the Mitchell Report was done-so outside of the testing by MLB, so there’s much more evidence to come, and much more evidence out there than suspected if the Report did not need the 104 tests.
The other story, the one worth covering, is this: Illegal search and seizure, followed by the release of confidential medical records used to destroy private citizens careers and reputations, because some anonymous gov’t hater says so. And If you want to debate that players “deserve” this, please post those comments to Murray “backne” Chass’ blog. It’s irrelevant compared to the violation of basic Constitutional rights going on from the Bush Adminsitration up through, one assumes, Obama’s Justice Dept. Until last week, Sosa was history, a punchline everywhere but Vineline. Then his retirement brought him into the news and his positive medical records leak out to The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt. A-Rod was the last victim of the release of these records, and it coincided with his Ynkee media implosion via Sports Illustrated and ex-Times staffer Selene Roberts. A-Rod is always a headline,with off-season Page Six appearances, dvorce court, hooker dates, Madonna photo ops, and everything else that makes him a perfect target. Sosa’s arrogance last week cost him some apparatchik’s ire.
Today’s story brings us a little closer to at least knowing whose doing the damage, when Michael S. Schmidt tells us, “Sammy Sosa, who joined with Mark McGwire in 1998 in a celebrated pursuit of baseball™s single-season home run record, is among the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year.” I’m just guessing, but I don’t see an obvious motive as to why an MLB Players Union attorney, currently fighting for the records to be returned, would want Sosa information leaked. Then again, I still don’t understand why the union never followed through on its promise to destroy the records in the first place. To my mind, that leaves the Feds who confiscated them. Schmidt’s story is here. Schmidt, of course, is bound to cover a story like this. It’s every other reporter’s job to find out if our government is currently using our tax dollars to destroy private citizens’ careers.
From The New York Times:
The 2003 test that ensnared Sosa was the first such test conducted by Major League Baseball. Under guidelines agreed upon with the players union, the test results were to remain anonymous but would lead to testing with penalties the next year if more than 5 percent of the results were positive.
That is indeed what occurred. But for reasons never made completely clear, the test results were not destroyed by the players union and the 104 positives were subsequently seized by federal agents on the West Coast investigating matters related to the distribution of drugs to athletes.
The union immediately filed court papers alleging that the agents had illegally seized the tests, and over the past six years judges at various levels of the federal court system have been weighing whether the government can keep them. An 11-judge panel in California is preparing to rule in the case, but regardless of its verdict, the losing side is expected to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
As the union feared, the names on the list have begun to emerge. In February, Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez was on the 2003 list, and Rodriguez subsequently acknowledged that he had used steroids for three years. Now, Sosa™s name has been disclosed.
The lawyers who had knowledge of Sosa™s inclusion on the 2003 list did not know the substance for which Sosa tested positive. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified as discussing material that is sealed by a court order.