Who Is Player X?

Buster Olney of ESPN Magazine has interviewed an anonymous MLB player about steroids. (Im at a public terminal and can't open a second browser window, so no link--but it's easily accessible via the ESPN.com MLB page.) It's a good read and feels like a honest take from a veteran player.

But whenever a mysterious source appears in a news article, or someone is interviewed on TV with face screened and voice digitally altered, I always want to know who the hell it is. Of course anonymity is important to protect sources' safety, reputation, job status, etc. But anonymity can also hide an agenda.

So, the question is, why is Player X giving anonymous interviews? The most obvious reason is that MLB has placed a gag order on steroid talk on everyone under its jurisdiction. Whatever the penalty is for talking, X doesn't want to incur it.

He's also talking because he wants a better testing regime and is adding his voice to the growing murmur of discord among the players aimed toward their own union.

So who is he? Can we piece his identity together from the tidbits he lets slip? Over the course of the monologue he reveals that he's a veteran, he's only got a few years left, he dips (ie, uses chewing tobacco); he's not just a veteran but a guy who's been around long enough so that young players come to him for advice. He stagnated in Double-A ball (when he first considered taking steroids, but didn't), and he suffered a serious dropoff in performance in the past couple of years (when he again considered steroids). And he knows how to read, which narrows it down to about half the active players. If you glean anything else, or hear any rumors, let me know.


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