Baseball reacts to Ortiz, Manny news
Players wonder whether names on list should be revealed
Add the names of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to those that have been leaked from the list of 104 players who tested positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs during Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing. And the big question now on the minds of many observers -- ironically, in the wake of supposedly anonymous identities getting leaked by unauthorized, unnamed sources -- is, what will happen with the rest of the names?
"Can somebody in baseball, please -- we're all begging people -- get that stupid list out and move on?" White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said on Thursday night in Chicago. "This is ridiculous. This is embarrassing. This is a joke. Whoever is there is there, get them out and that's it."Every week we've got to come up with this thing. It's getting old. We all know the list is out there. It's like, who's going to be next? I think we should do it. Believe me, if that list is going to be out there, it's not going to be any problem for baseball. Maybe people will be upset, disappointed. But there are already a few names out there. Maybe they need to talk about it. Maybe we need to talk about this every week to get people's attention, but it's not the right way to get attention." Prior to Thursday, the names of Barry Bonds, Jason Grimsley, Alex Rodriguez, David Segui and Sammy Sosa had also been made public. Ortiz confirmed Thursday's report, which first appeared on The New York Times' Web site, quoting unnamed sources, was accurate. Ramirez has declined to comment. A-Rod, when asked about the latest revelations, said, "He's my friend and I care for David. I have nothing else to say about it." Several of his Yankees teammates were more expansive in their responses. "That list, names are going to keep coming out," Mark Teixeira said. "I agree with everyone else who says just put it all out. It's ridiculous. Just let all the games go on and let everyone deal with it at the same time. Every two months things come out. It's not good for the game. It happened in 2003. Let it all come out, let everyone talk about it for one or two days and then we can move on. I don't understand how something that was supposed to be anonymous can come out in the first place." "Too bad for everyone, once again, we're sitting here talking about it," added Yanks shortstop Derek Jeter. "I'm pretty sure someone will come up with something else. I'll stick to what I said before: Not everyone was doing it. You're talking about 100 people. There are a lot more than 100 people playing baseball. It's unfortunate that we have to sit here and talk about another name a couple of months later. I wish that wasn't the case but unfortunately it's the situation." The Players Association is ardently against releasing the names. Regarding the '03 results, the Players Association was supposed to destroy the tests, but officers of the federal government, investigating the case against the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, seized them under a warrant from an MLB-approved lab. They are still in government possession and the union continues to contest the seizure with the case at the federal appellate court level. The tests are supposed to be under court seal and the union again on Thursday said it would fight to maintain that legal privacy. Major League Baseball declined to comment and deferred queries to the union. "That list was supposed to remain confidential, so whoever is leaking it, I can assure you, he isn't from the Players Association," said Dave Bush, a pitcher with the Brewers. "I don't know who has it or who knows about it, but that list is not supposed to be out there. At the time that test was taken, it was to remain confidential. The situation we're at right now -- with testing -- is because of that '03 test, so it's irrelevant who was on it. It's sensational now." "This is all kind of pointless to be honest," said Jonathan Papelbon, Boston's closer and a teammate of Ortiz. "What's the point of even talking about [what happened] six years [ago]? That's the way I feel about it. I don't see the point of releasing any names." "From a players' standpoint, it's not going to do any good to see the people you love and you care about have their name tarnished by the entire list coming out," said Mariners veteran Mike Sweeney. "In the same breath, if it does come out [in its entirety] maybe we can move on. I think the entire list will eventually get out." "I wish they would just get the whole list out there," added Seattle left-hander Jarrod Washburn. "It's bad for the game to keep dragging it out. It stinks that all of these guys used performance-enhancing drugs, but when names on the list keep coming out every couple of months, it just keeps opening a wound that we're trying hard to close." In 2003, 5-to-7 percent of the players tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs, reaching a threshold that led to the establishment of MLB's current drug policy that includes random testing and was renegotiated three times. In '03, there were no punitive measures and the names were not supposed to be disclosed. Suspensions and/or fines began in '04. As far as performance-enhancing drugs are concerned, the current program calls for a 50-game suspension for the first positive test, a 100-game suspension for the second and a lifetime suspension with a right to seek reinstatement after two years for a third. All three are accompanied by a loss of salary for the suspension. A different set of penalties apply if a player tests positive for a stimulant. Ramirez, who now plays for the Dodgers, is the only Major Leaguer to violate the drug policy this season. He lost 50 games from May 17 to July 3, a suspension that cost him $7.7 million of his $25 million salary, which is partially deferred. "I see both sides of it," said White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who tossed only the 18th perfect game in MLB history on July 23. "When we got tested, they said it never was going to come out. So for that reason I can see it not coming out. But it seems like it's giving baseball a bad name. Every couple of weeks, every month, one name gets leaked out here and there. It's almost like, get it all out and get it over with and go forward." "Don't just keep busting out two to three names a year or whatever it is," said Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro, who played with Ortiz and Ramirez on the '07 Sox. "Just get it out there now, get it over with. I'm pretty sure some people are going to have different opinions. So many good things have happened for the game. We've got all this good stuff going on and it just goes back to the names coming out. It hurts the game. Hopefully we can just get it out of the way, get it over with and enjoy the game for what it is." "I don't sit here and judge people one way or the other," said pitcher Derek Lowe, another former Boston teammate who now plays for the Braves. "Everybody has the opportunity to take stuff or not take stuff. I don't think they're bad people for doing it. I'm probably in the minority. Baseball is baseball. You still have to get guys out." Lowe and Johnny Damon, who both played with Ortiz and Ramirez on the Red Sox, wonder if the news will taint Boston's 2004 World Series championship team. "That probably is what's being said, and that's what makes guys like me upset," said Damon, a member of a team that swept the Cardinals in the '04 World Series and is now playing for the Yankees. "I was never in that conversation with guys who said when and where they would do it. It wasn't in lockers. That's the tough thing. I've never been in that conversation." Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis are the only players remaining on the active roster from the Red Sox teams that won the World Series in 2004 and '07, although Youkilis played a minor role in '04. The '04 Red Sox clawed back from an 0-3 deficit in the American League Championship Series to defeat the Yankees and win the first World Series title for the franchise in 86 years. "I clearly didn't know of anything that was going on," said Lowe, the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the '04 World Series. "Fair or not fair, you have to look at both sides. In 2003, people said everyone was going to get tested, but nobody was ever going to know. From what I understand, people who were taking it at that time were notified that they had failed. But at that time, who cared?"
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.