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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Feds Get Baseball Drug Results

In a blow to the confidentiality which owners and players alike agree is essential to MLB's drug testing policy, federal investigators working on the BALCO matter have obtained a complete list of all drug test results from 2003. This outrageous prosecutorial overreaching will almost certainly doom any attempt to broaden MLB's drug testing, as demanded by Congress and requested by MLB.

The investigators clearly have a right to know whether the 10 players who testified before the BALCO grand jury perjured themselves. Beyond that, though, there is no legitimate reason for anyone outside of MLB and the MLBPA to possess this information -- the records of a private-sector drug testing policy negotiated with great care, subject to all parties' agreement and understanding that the results were to remain absolutely confidential. But as law professors contacted by the New York Times note, there's nothing the parties can do once the government served a warrant and obtained the information and samples.

According to the Times, prosecutors intend to re-test all samples in their possession for THG -- a drug that was not on the banned list last season. One anonymous MLB insider quoted by Newsday called the seizure "a potential disaster." Another said it had the potential to create "hysteria."

I call it "a disgrace, but unfortunately par for the course for John Ashcroft's Justice Department." If Ashcroft or one of his minions ever asks you for a urine sample, give it to him -- on the spot. Tell him he can wring what he needs out of his trousers.

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