The 2003 List Gets More Public

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz had their names leaked this morning as being part of the list of MLB players that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003 during what was supposed to be a secret test conducted by Major League Baseball to find out the extent of the problem. They are not the first, proceeded by Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez among others. For Ortiz’s part, he did confirm that he was informed that he was on the list.

Ortiz was supposed to be one of those names that would elicit a big reaction from the baseball fandom at large. Roughly 12 hours after the news first started breaking, it seems that the expected reaction amongst fans is far more tepid that the one the media forecasted. Big surprise there as it certainly appears that fans, for the most part, simply do not care anymore. Ortiz did not let the media storm deter him from leading the Red Sox comeback win over Oakland in Boston today.

I am not writing to discuss what should be done about the 2004 record books, or anything like that. It is my, unsubstantiated, belief that a large portion of baseball (and football and basketball and and and…) players were juicing in some form or another. And that includes pitchers as well as hitters before you start mouthing off about how home run records from the era all need to be asterisked.

I did want to point out though that probably the best result for MLB at this point would be if that entire 2003 list was leaked at once. That way the media could handle it all in one news cycle and be done with it instead of names getting floated out piecemeal every couple of months to start the story anew. Of course, MLB itself cannot just release the list as per conditions of getting players to agree to the test in the first place, but I wonder if there is not a way for MLB to engineer a way for the list to become public knowledge while avoiding liability.

Whatever happens, I am glad that the reactions that I have been reading and hearing since the news broke has mostly been one of uncaring. Let us move on already.

We hoped you liked reading The 2003 List Gets More Public by Matthew Carruth!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

newest oldest most voted
Mike
Guest
Mike

The agreement was that the names would not be released. I wouldn’t abandon that just because it is convenient to do so.

The mistake here was devising a system where you could correlate the names to the results when in fact only the aggregate data was relevant. I wouldn’t compound those mistakes by reneging on the deal and releasing all the names. It’s probably government sources that have leaked this info anyway, not MLB or MLBPA sources. Either way, MLB or the MLBPA shouldn’t facilitate the release of the list, as they’d lose what little integrity they have left. If a player wants to out himself, fine.

I’ll be sure not to enter into any agreements with you.