The 2003 steroid list should never have existed in the first place

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That’s what the 9th District Court of Appeals said yesterday anyway:

The federal government illegally seized confidential drug test results of dozens of Major League Baseball players and must now return the records, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data” it was not entitled to have, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

And of course, if there was no illegal seizure, there would be no “list” and if there was no list there would be no leaks like we’ve recently had.

As I’ve said before, It was already ridiculous for people to call for “all the names to be released” given that doing so would be to violate a federal court order. It’s even more ridiculous now that the list’s very existence has been confirmed to be premised on the government’s violation of the Constitution in obtaining it. Of course, that doesn’t stop some folks, in this case the Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg, from continuing to get it all wrong:

Yes, in a perfect world certain names wouldn’t be made public while other names remain secret. But in a perfect world baseball players wouldn’t have used concoctions whipped up in a lab to make a mockery of the records that the game used to hold so sacred. So don’t feel too sorry for A-Rod and company just yet.

How it is that people continue to think of baseball’s PED rules — which, at their heart, are no different from the work rules in your employee manual — are more important than the Constitutional rights of Americans is beyond me, but there you have it. Don’t feel sorry for A-Rod that he was betrayed by his union and fell victim to illegal acts by government agents! He was ‘roiding, and we all have a right to know about that!

Of course oftentimes justice delayed is justice denied, and that’s certainly what we have here. Because years passed between the seizure and the court’s final ruling of its illegality, the list was able to be created and the leaks able to be leaked. In light of that, yesterday’s ruling is of little practical help to the ballplayers’ whose names appear there. Someone still knows the names, and given that they’ve already leaked some of them in violation of a court order, there is no reason to believe that this ruling will stop them from continuing to do so.

Hopefully, however, we will all have a new appreciation for just how outrageous such leaks are, and treat the inevitable release of additional names with an appropriate level of skepticism and disdain.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.