I’m not the sports guy here at The Rumpus–that’s Brian Schwartz, who’s better at it than I could ever be. But I am a more than casual fan of baseball, and the story of steroid use is one that may not lose currency for another ten to fifteen years, assuming that it ever disappears.
The most recent ejaculation on the subject came with the news that
Pedro David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are on the now infamous 2003 list of players who tested positive for, well, something. Maybe steroids, maybe some other performance enhancing drug; no one’s being all that clear on the matter, and that’s in large part due to the way that test was handled.
In the world of professional journalism, there may be no bigger bunch of hyper-sanctimonious blowhards than baseball writers, and since this story really broke with Jose Canseco’s 2005 book on the subject, they’ve in large part been looking for the next player they can “out.” (Precious few of them did any reporting on the story when the rumors were rampant, it should be said.) Now they’re calling for “the list” to be made public, and damn the consequences.
Craig Calcaterra feels differently, and really nails the media on this.
And what is to be gained by such a release? The satisfaction of the media, who would love to report and opine on this some more, and the satisfaction of the general public who either gets off on the salaciousness of it or, more commonly, simply wants this all to go away and thinks the quicker the names are out the more likely that is to happen. Call me crazy, but I don’t think my rights to privacy and to the security of my personal medical information are something to be preserved or denied based on how good a story this makes for someone.
Exactly. Baseball players are people with legal rights first and foremost, and their private medical records ought to remain private, unless they agree otherwise. And I think, in the long run, Bill James will be right on this, that the players who astounded us during the steroid era will be elected into the Hall of Fame, the teams who won championships won’t have asterisks pounded into their rings, and our grandkids will look at steroid use the way we look at the spitball and popping greenies. For all the talk of the “purity of the game,” the truth is that baseball has never been particularly clean; it only seems so through the lie of nostalgia.