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According to a Boston Globe report, David Ortiz and more than 100 other major league players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 were told years ago that they were on the list. Despite telling reporters July 30 that the news “blindsided” him (which may be true since the report came at such a random time), Ortiz was notified in September 2004, right in the thick of a World Series Championship season, that he was on a list seized by the federal authorities along with the test results.
On Thursday, Ortiz realeased a statement about the news, and despite knowledge of his appearance on “the list,” he maintained he was still surprised: “Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.”
After the government raid, the commissioner’s office and the MLB Player’s Association agreed to notify each of the players that the government believed they had tested positive. So that means Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and yes, David Ortiz were made aware of their presence on “the list” in 2004. That also means that Bronson Arroyo (if he’s on the list) knows too.
But, the players and MLBPA never knew (at the time) if the list contained suspected cheaters. So players were just told they were on a list of players as part of an investigation of an illegal steroids ring, and nothing more…not even that they failed the drug test.
Wait, what? The Globe sorts it out:
MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr told House committee chairman Henry Waxman in a letter last summer that the players were not explicitly informed that they had tested positive, but only that they were on a list of players the government had seized, as part of an investigation into an illegal steroids operation. Though Major League Baseball and the union worked together on the testing program, which was meant to be a survey gauging the extent of the doping problem that was damaging both the sport’s image and the integrity of the game, the commissioner’s office said it still is unaware of which players tested positive. “Our office never knew who was on the list,’’ spokesman Rich Levin said yesterday. “We haven’t seen it.’’
Reaction: So, who do we believe? It sounds like most players knew they were on a list, but were never really made aware of a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. Obviously, the whole 2003 list was botched from the beginning. No evidence from the list was destroyed, inexplicably, and the supposedly anonymous list was never supposed to be leaked to the public.
Now…they might as well release all the names at once, or at least wait until after the season.