Ido not feel bad for Alex Rodriguez. Let's get that out of the way before I explain why baseball and the players union have no business revealing the other 103 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
Rodriguez knew that because of his greatness and his contract, he would always face more scrutiny than anyone else in the game. He knew he had taken performance enhancers when he went on 60 Minutes in 2007 and said he had not.
So he should have known that some serious shame lay ahead.
We don't know who leaked the information about Rodriguez's test. But based on the public stances of the union and Major League Baseball, it seems unlikely that either side was the source. They've remained unified behind the idea that players took the 2003 drug tests on the condition of anonymity.
Could baseball shorten its public relations crisis by releasing the names in one fell swoop? I suppose.
The release would be such a blatant violation of trust, however, that any good faith in negotiating future drug testing would go out the window. That would jeopardize baseball's ability to put the drug issue behind it and could jeopardize MLB's ability to get players onto the field at all.
Look, I understand that the federal government wasn't party to the 2003 anonymity agreement. Prosecutors are under no obligation to respect it. But if baseball and its union double-cross each other for a cheap public-relations payoff, they've got bigger problems than even steroids.