Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sammy Sosa juicing confirmed?

A New York Times article released Tuesday said that former Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was among 104 baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

Citing lawyers with knowledge of the test results, the article claims Sosa, who helped reignite interest in baseball during 1998's pursuit of the single season home run record with Mark McGwire, tested for an unspecified drug. He joins McGwire, current home run champ Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez as current or recent stars who have been linked for PEDs.

Assuming this is true, the revelation does serious damage to Sosa in two ways. One, the possibility of his being inducted into the Hall of Fame is seriously diminished, despite his being sixth on the all-time home run list with 609 dingers. McGwire, who finished with 583 home runs, including a then-record 70 in 1998, has been rejected in each of the three years he has been on the ballot. It also puts Sosa in danger of being charged with perjury following his denial of using PEDs in a Congressional hearing in 2005.

What does the article mean? Sosa has been linked to PEDs for some time during the last several years, especially after the 2003 season in which he served a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat, yet helped the Cubs come within five outs of making it to their first World Series since 1945. Whether this report confirms those suspicions remains to be seen. The sad thing is nobody is really shocked by the report, ranging from players to former Cubs broadcaster and current White Sox announcer Steve Stone.

The biggest problem with this report is that it is anonymous. No one is cited on the record as saying that Sosa did indeed test positive for the drugs. While this has been used in previous newspaper reports to great effect (see Watergate, for example), it does have some problem because of the possibility that, like an poster on an Internet forum, any person can say anything about anybody or anything and still remain anonymous, regardless of whether they are telling the truth or not. In this case, it might be best until Sosa is formally charged or confirmed that he did indeed test positive.

Regardless, the report is another black mark on what was supposed to be the rejuvenation era of baseball following the 1994 strike that cancelled the World Series that year. It also will continue to cast suspicion and doubt on who really is using PEDs and who is actually clean and doing things the way they're supposed to.

Copyright 2009 - Wait Til Next Century.

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