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Taking a Look At Sammy Sosa Through Richard Griffin's Eyes

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I was going to totally ignore the leak of Sammy Sosa's name being on the list of 104 players that failed the 2003 steroid test, but then Richard Griffin  wrote about it and said some things that I just had to comment on. Like:

following Tuesday's story in The New York Times naming Sammy Sosa as part of the same list of major-league drug offenders, fans find themselves in despair for the future of the game and its right to their continuing loyalty. Say it ain't so, Sosa.

I don't know folks, I'm a pretty big baseball fan, am I in 'despair for the future of the game'. No. Are you? Didn't think so. Am I surprised that Sosa tested positive. No, I don't think anyone is. I'm likely as naive as anyone about steroid use, I don't believe Canseco's '80% were using number'. If he had said 40% I'd likely have nodded my head up and down. If you said anywhere between 40% and 60% of players were using, I wouldn't argue.

But Sosa, yeah him I knew was using. When Sosa went from a guy that could hit 10 or 15 homers in a year to a guy that would hit anywhere from 40 to 66 in a year. Yeah, we guessed. He went from skinny to ripped in no time. When he went nuts on Rick Reilly when Reilly suggested that he 'take a test' after Sosa has said he was willing to be tested at any time, we knew he was using. There is no surprise or 'despair' here.

This drawn-out litany of guilt is baseball's version of the infamous water torture. Drip, drip, drip. When will it stop? We're all going insane.

Speak for yourself Richard, I'm as sane as I ever was.Yeah I know, insert your own joke here.

But who or what are we supposed to be mad at? Sosa? A-Rod? Bud Selig? The Times? The union? Mark McGwire? Barry Bonds? Rafael Palmeiro? The U.S. Congress? The F.B.I.? BALCO? The Mitchell Report? Maybe we should just be angry with ourselves for wanting to believe this would all blow over and leave at least a semblance of innocence?

I don't know, being mad at someone seems to be wasted energy. But if you need someone to blame, how many times did Bud Selig try to get himself into a picture with Sosa and McGwire during their big home run season? Could blame Bud for the lockout/strike that cost us a World Series and made us want something good to cheer for that we didn't ask or want to ask questions when McGwire and Sosa were hitting balls out of the park at historic rates.

Maybe we should be mad at the reporters who ignored that was right in front of them at the time. Doesn't it make the reports co-conspirators? Richard, you were there at the time, didn't you see any of this? It is hard for me to take writers that were there at the time being 'holier than thou' now.

Maybe we should be mad at society as a whole, who doesn't cheat in some way these days. Heads of corporations lie, cheat and steal. University kids take Ritalin to cheat on tests. Everyone cheats on taxes. How many folks have a radar detector so they can cheat on the speed limit?

Yeah I know, it's a stretch, but maybe we shouldn't waste energy getting 'mad' at guys that took steroids so that they could make more money and get our applause.

But fans shouldn't be angry at the attempt to clean up the mess – the reason for the existence of the '03 list. Instead, be mad at the players like A-Rod, Sosa, Palmeiro, Bonds and Miguel Tejada; those who looked right into the TV cameras and told us they weren't cheaters. That is betraying the game.

In hindsight, McGwire, who refused to talk about the past, only wanting to look ahead to a future without drugs when called to Capitol Hill as part of that fateful 2005 panel, looks like the one player with integrity. Back at that time, because of his refusal to deny, he seemed the guiltiest. By taking the Fifth, at least he didn't lie.

'By taking the fifth...he didn't lie. Ok, but then he didn't tell the truth either and wasn't that the point of the whole exercise. If he wasn't going to talk, why was he there? No I'm not giving McGwire a pass because he didn't talk.

What should have happened in '03? As soon as the 104 positive results triggered mandatory testing for '04, the physical list linking urine samples by number to names should have been destroyed, ensuring anonymity. But as soon as federal warrants were issued and the investigators got control of the list of positives, leaks were simply inevitable.

Yeah I agree, I think it is unfair that the players were sold on the idea of the 2003 test by being told the names wouldn't come out and then, well they've come out. But then I think there are thousands of things in life that are more unfair, so this isn't the cause I'd stand up and fight for.

This latest embarrassment will likely have no long-term effects on baseball the game. But it will have a long-term effect on Sammy Sosa the player. Who's next?

Do you really think it will have an effect on Sammy? I think Sammy was already thought of as a user and wasn't going to get elected to the Hall of Fame even if his name wasn't leaked now.