Confidence is low that steroid test results will stay confidential

Commentary

December 29, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

If you're wondering why the Major League Baseball Players Association disagreed with this week's appellate court ruling that will allow the Justice Department to use the confiscated results of confidential steroid testing in future prosecutions, you need only to look at the recent comments of the lawyer for embattled superstar Barry Bonds.

Michael Rains hinted Wednesday that he has a government source who cast doubt on whether prosecutors will gain anything from the test results that would help in their investigation into whether Bonds committed perjury when he told the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative grand jury that he never knowingly used steroids.

Rains may have been blowing smoke when he intimated that he had received some inside information about the results, which were seized by investigators in 2004, but it's hard to see how anyone could be confident in the ability of the leak-filled federal steroid investigation to keep anything secret.

I suppose you could make the case that the 100 or so players who tested positive in the pre-disciplinary stage of the MLB steroid survey ought to be exposed as cheaters, but there supposedly was an ironclad collectively bargained agreement to keep the first wave of testing confidential.

Certainly, as a matter of law, two private entities do not have the right to conspire to conceal the evidence of criminal activity, but the Justice Department should (and probably will) try to keep the list confidential except where specific evidence must be made public at trial.

Trouble is, that list is going to pass through a lot more hands now, and I'm willing to bet that it will find its way into public view before very long.

Little victories

When you're trying to climb back from nine straight losing seasons, you take your victories wherever you can find them, so the news that Barry Zito has jumped to the National League is good news for the Orioles.

Zito was never coming here, but there was speculation that he might be headed for the New York Yankees after reports surfaced that they are trying to deal Randy Johnson back to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead, Zito accepted a reported seven-year, $126 million contract from the San Francisco Giants that will make him the highest-paid pitcher in the history of baseball.

Pro Bowl snub, Part 2

If Ravens fans thought that some deserving Baltimore players got passed over in the Pro Bowl voting, they ought to take a look at ESPN.com's 2006 All-Pro Team, which is selected by senior football writer Len Pasquarelli.

Seven of the 11 offensive starters are from the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts, and the only Ravens representative on any of the teams (offense, defense, special teams) is Adalius Thomas.

That's not much respect for what might be the best team in the NFL right now, but the Ravens should have every opportunity to prove that on the field over the next few weeks.

Happy star

It didn't take long for the Dallas Cowboys to put their Monday meltdown behind them. Coach Bill Parcells and his players are back on the same page, proclaiming the coming playoffs to be a "new season" in which the controversy of the past week will be quickly forgotten.

"We're going to forget everything that happened in the past and go forward and hopefully make a little five-game run here," quarterback Tony Romo told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

I'll believe it when I see it, but maybe cornerback Terence Newman actually got through to some of his teammates when he basically called on them to shut up and play.

"People need to just start playing and stop talking so much," Newman said. "It's a show-me league and talking is not going to do anything."

Wonder whom he was talking about.

No real controversy

Don't know why there is any debate over who should be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Miami's Jason Taylor has 13 1/2 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. Shawne Merriman has 16 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.

Taylor wins the statistical battle, unless you want to extrapolate Merriman's numbers over 16 games, which would essentially reward him for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

Bear essentials

Chicago Bears fans weren't entirely thrilled when the NFL flexed the schedule for Week 17 and moved the game at Soldier Field from the afternoon to Sunday night, placing it in conflict with countless New Year's Eve events.

If that wasn't bad enough, the team announced it will cut off alcohol sales at halftime.

I'm sure that's the responsible thing to do, but can you imagine having to watch Rex Grossman without an anesthetic?

Headline follies

This week's funny headline comes from Sports-Pickle.com, the Maryland-based sports and satire site on the web: "Rocky VI sadly less pathetic than actual boxing."

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

The Peter Schmuck Show airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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