Who among us was taken aback by the news that Sammy Sosa used performance-enhancing drugs to fuel his bulked-up career?
We'd already witnessed Sosa's flim-flam act before a congressional committee investigating steroids, his sudden inability to speak English after hard questions came.
We'd already had a chance to look with a long view at his career: skinny guy with promise morphs into mammoth-muscled home run machine, and then, like a changeling in a bad movie, morphs back into a virtual beanpole once the steroid rumors begin to swirl.
When Sosa recently announced his retirement, saying he'd done things the right way and would now wait patiently to enter the Hall of Fame, I wasn't alone in wondering whether he'd stumbled upon a new drug of choice.
And so it goes: according to the New York Times, Sosa's name reportedly is on the list of 104 major leaguers who came up dirty in a league-wide 2003 test. The longtime Cub now joins fellow fraud Alex Rodriguez as the first two unlucky losers whose names have been leaked from a test the players agreed to on condition of anonymity.
Of course, from the game's players union and its league headquarters, there's much gnashing of teeth about the fact confidential doesn't quite mean confidential in this particular case.
Sure enough, it'd be nice to know that secrets can be kept when they are promised.
But there's an even bigger picture here -- doping is steadily unraveling the trust of sane-minded fans.
To say nothing of its ungainly present, baseball's performance-enhanced past continues to cast a dark, tenacious shadow.
At this rate -- 102 names left, one leaked every few months -- baseball and its fans will have to endure days such as Tuesday for about 25 more years. Baseball, baseball fans, baseball players, can you stomach that?
It's time to shake things up. The game needs to adopt a stance that sits squarely, for once, on truth and reconciliation.
The game's players and owners should come together, releasing every name and detail available from the 2003 list. They should do it this season. Importantly, they should do it while showing real remorse instead of their typical menu of slippery misdirection, sliver truths and outright lies.
Think that's off-base? Tell that to former AL MVP Don Mattingly.
"I'd just go ahead -- if there's 103 guys, let's get 'em all out," Mattingly, now a Dodgers hitting instructor, said before Tuesday's game against Oakland. "We'll know who's who and go from there. We'll get it over with."
His was a voice of reason that not everyone shared. In the cramped clubhouse before the game began stood Nomar Garciaparra, who played briefly with Sosa in Chicago. He wouldn't offer specific thoughts on Sosa. He deflected questions about whether baseball should release all the names, saying he had doubts about the testing's fairness.
"I don't believe what I hear or read," he said. "So how can I believe this?"
What was that about slippery?
I figured I'd get more from the man who stood in the next-door locker: Jason Giambi. Snared in the doping trap since 2003 grand jury testimony in which he allegedly admitted steroid use was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, Giambi first trotted out the old Mark McGwire play: How about let's move forward?
Fair enough. So I asked if releasing the entire 2003 list would help baseball do just that, only in a real way.
"It could," Giambi said. "I don't know. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it."
What was that about misdirection?
Look, as much as the players wish it weren't the case and hope we'll all soon be ground into not caring, the questions won't stop until baseball comes all the way clean.
It'll be hard and ugly and still only an initial step -- baseball still doesn't test for human growth hormone, after all. It'll be shocking and painful and scandalous. But it needs to happen.
The sooner all the names come out and shoes stop dropping, the sooner we can do what's best for baseball: we can begin to move on.