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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Great Moments in Bloggy EthicsSo, Marchman posts a link to a guy who claims to have a list of the 2003 drug test failures. Then Jay wonders whether Marchman posting the link is a hypocritical move based on stuff Marchman has said in the past about trafficking in this kind of stuff. I scanned through the list quickly, and then, just as I was trying to figure out whether I would be committing any ethical violation by linking to it, it disappears.
So to sum up: we have an intermittently invisible list of unsubstantiated names creating a hypothetical blogger ethics problem.
In other words, just another day at the office in the steroids era.
UPDATE: I was able to get the list again, but I personally don't feel comfortable reproducing it unless and until it has some sort of confirmation. If you're really curious you can work your way through the above links and try your luck with the wonky link to the actual names. My only comment: if the list is accurate, there are maybe 2-3 names on it that will raise an eyebrow but no one (I don't think, anyway) whose name on the list will cause anyone to alter their perception of baseball history or anything. I think the biggest surprise is the number of fat and out of shape guys listed. The sort of names who make you wonder whether PEDs actually do anything for anyone.
UPDATE II: It's been suggested by those who have seen the list that I am perhaps underselling the names on it. I think there's some truth to that. My point, though, wasn't that there aren't big names. There clearly are. It's that there are very few names who would surprise you if someone told you today that they used steroids. Only one seems like both a big name and a surprise in that regard. That's all I meant.
That said: I am not going to link it and I'm not going to discuss any names on it unless and until there is some confirmation. For what it's worth, though I'm not a reporter, I'm seeking some at the moment.
UPDATE III: Still not discussing names ON the list, but MatthewA makes a good point in the comments: Jason Grimsley's name is NOT on the list, and by all accounts it should be. We'll see what shakes out of all of this, but that omission is a major blow to the list's credibility.
UPDATE IV: Further basis for doubt, from reader Peter:
The list is obviously in Divisional order going from East to West, AL to NL - but testing was reportedly random, a few players at a time, and over the course of the season. So tests would be stored either in the order they were tested or in some other easily sortable data model - like alphabetical ordering, or something that made any empirical sense. This list is a guy who went through the rosters of each team, picked out the names he thought sounded good, and pruned it down to the number he wanted. And there aren't NEARLY enough fringe players here - we've heard repeatedly that the pressure is for people to take drugs to make the leap to the show.
Good point, though it's possible that either (a) the person who got it was working from a hard copy and sorted it or (b) the list was at one point compiled in team order for reporting back purposes, be it to union reps or the ballclubs, or what have you. That said, yes, prudence and skepticism is in order.
UPDATE V: I have spoken with someone who is definitely in a position to know about the veracity of the list and that person says -- definitively -- that the list is a fake. There are multiple names that aren't on it that would be if this was the real McCoy and vice-versa.
Case closed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to beat the living crap out of the blogger who made it up. It's rough out here for a blogger, and we sure as hell don't need anyone else doing things to discredit the medium.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 8:57am
To help further discredit: The Mitchell Report refers to a player that had tested positive in 2003 and was warned by Gene Orza that he would be tested again within 2 weeks of being notified of the positive test in 2004. Mitchell confessed that MLB and the Union prevented him for printing the name in the Report as it would violate the anonymity of the test. (HA!)
Kirk Radomski independently confirmed that account to Mitchell, and later revealed in his own book that the player was David Segui. Always forthcoming about the topic, Segui was the only player to publicly announce his PED use on the eve of the Mitchell Report’s release. To date, he has never denied Radomski’s account.
And guess what? Segui’s not on the list, either. It’s not 100% certainty in the same way Grimsley is, but methinks Segui would be on there, too.
Posted 06/30 at 11:28 AM
kranky kritter said...
“Where are the Manny Alexanders” was my first question.
This list, as an unconfirmed list, should be regarded by everyone as having exactly as much worth as any list that you or I made up by ourselves, using the aforementioned method of compiling suspects and paring to the proper sum.
The only surprise, to me, is that it took so long for one to float to the level of a discussion on a blog linked to a major web site. This list will inevitably be hones in future iterations to some form that addresses the flaws identified here. These later lists will seem more credible, but they won’t be more credible in my eyes.
I simply take it as a foregone conclusion that, much as I’d like to, I’ll never know with even reasonable certainty just who did and did not use. There’s guessing, there’s refraining from guessing, and that’s it.
Posted 06/30 at 12:26 PM
The list seems to have too many big names on it, and not enough nobodies. Seems a bunch more random guys that you barely remember would show up. Like Keith Lockhart, that steroid-addled fiend.
Posted 06/30 at 12:31 PM
It’s been beaten to death already, but considering Felix Hernandez is on the list, and he was in his first year of A ball at age 17 in ‘03, well you know….
Posted 06/30 at 01:13 PM
Felix Rodriguez =/= Felix Hernandez
Posted 06/30 at 04:01 PM