That Steroids List Sounds True, Even If It Isn't

Via the blog The Big Lead (linking to the blog Rotoinfo) comes the most eagerly sought list of names in years. That's right, this is the supposed list of the 104 MLB players who failed the 2003 steroids/HGH drug testing.  

The Big Lead breaks down the list and provides a couple of reasons for why this list is not the actual list, including the exclusion of Jason Grimsley's name, which is kind of a killer to the list because Grimsley has admitted to being one of the 104 players to fail the test. Then there's the fact that there are only 103 names on the list, instead of 104. And the blog Deadspin gives another reason to question the list, primarily being that Rotoinfo stated last month that Lance Berkman was about to be suspended for 50 games because of steroids.  

But anyone who reads the list will find several other reasons why it isn't the real deal (though, seeing the large number of Boston Red Sox, New York Yankee, and Chicago Cub players listed, one can't help but to wish this was the list). First and foremost is the simple fact that there are no members of the 2003 Houston Astros team on that list. Forget about the rumors that have surrounded Jeff Bagwell for years. I prefer to go with Jeff Pearlman's The Rocket That Fell To Earth which states that the Houston Astros and Minute Maid Park were seen as a ground zero for MLB steroids use in the early part of this decade.

And there's the inclusion of Miguel Tejada's name on the list.  

I don't doubt for a second that Tejada used either steroids or HGH. You've got to be the world's stupidest person to believe that he just purchased the HGH but didn't actually use it. That said, if this list was real, and Tejada's name was on it, there's just no way the Feds would have allowed to Tejada to get off the hook so easily for lying to Congress.

Tejada, remember, was under scrutiny for lying to Congress after Rafael Palmeiro ratted him out for being the cause of Palmeiro's failed steroids test. The Feds ended up nailing Tejada for lying about his purchases of HGH because he had stated to investigators that he never discussed steroids or HGH with fellow players, or even heard it discussed -- it ended up that the guy Tejada purchased the HGH from was actually one of his teammates.  

But the people investigating Tejada supposedly had access to this list of 104 names, so I find it hard to believe that the Feds would just let him get away with lying about discussing HGH if they actually had a list that included his name as having flunked a drug test investigating MLB player use of steroids and HGH.

All of that said, if this list were to be the real thing, some things would make a lot of sense.  After all, four-fifths of the Chicago Cubs 2003 starting rotation is on this list as having flunked the test, including Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Clement. So the virtual inability of Prior, Clement, and Wood to make it through at least half a season since then just points to steroid abuse, as does Zambrano's problems with his temper. And also on this list is Mike Hampton, who has barely been able to make it through a month of a season since 2003, and Jose Lima, who hasn't even been able to make it in the Korean or Mexican baseball leagues, much less the Major Leagues since that time.

So though it's been floating all around the internet, this isn't the list. But I wouldn't be too surprised to see the actual list pop-up somewhere before this season is over

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal