06/20/09 — OPINION - Sosa latest MLB loser

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OPINION - Sosa latest MLB loser

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 20, 2009 11:16 PM

Enough is enough. We need to put the steroid era behind us.

The latest finger-pointing episode occurred Tuesday when The New York Times reported that Sammy Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003.

What a surprise.

The player's union is fighting to get the list of alledged users back from the government and has refused to discuss reports about the document because it does not want to confirm or deny who is on it.

Who else among the 1,200 players surveyed is guilty? The world may never know.

Anyone who violated the league's substance abuse policy before 2003 is technically "off the hook" because Major League Baseball didn't have penalties for first-time use of PEHs.

The League instituted penalties in 2004 and levied suspensions in 2005. We know those guilty parties.

The steroids probe heated up in 2004 when government agents obtained search warrants for the drug-testing records of 10 players as part of the BALCO investigation. That drama-filled incident led to Barry Bonds' indictment, but the feds found a more expansive list of alledged users on a spreadsheet.

They requested additional warrants and seized a larger group of records.

Three United States District Judges, in their infinite wisdom, ruled the search was illegal. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals smelled a rat and decided to hear the case, which has undoubtedly developed into the longest-running soap opera in professional sports today.

The hearing was in December and the decision is pending.

The losing side could appeal to the Supreme Court.

Enough is enough.

Major League Baseball has become tainted with cheaters and liars, and it's time to clean it up. The entertainment value the sport provides is laughable at best and now every time a player hits a home run, you have to wonder "is he on 'roids'?"

What's even more ludicrous is Sosa thinks he's deserving of Hall of Fame recognition. Record keepers, like they did for Bonds, should place an asterisk by his name to indicate the 600-plus homers are questionable since this recent revelation has surfaced about Sosa's career.

Should Sosa get inducted into the Hall, who could blame Pete Rose for asking -- again -- to have his record expunged and his name placed on an induction ballot? Drug use is no different than gambling. A crime is a crime no matter how big or small, and the person responsible should be held accountable for his actions.

Placing cheaters like Sosa, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco and the list goes on, into the Hall compromises the integrity behind the distinction. The Hall is meant to enshrine those athletes who embody the sport of baseball and don't concede to outside influences that certainly detract from the game.

"To just speculate from an era of how many years it was of who did and didn't do what, it's impossible," said Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry after news broke of Sosa's failed drug test.

"It's just time to put that whole era behind us and move on."

Hendry is right.

Enough is enough.