I agree, most things I might say have already been said, but I think this one particular road is an interesting one:
1. Given that it was a survey, how was it that only 104 players were detected? Is my working assumption that roughly half of baseball was cheating wildly off?
I don't think your assumption is wildly off. I just think your recollection of the testing procedure is off.
As I recall, the threshold that would trigger automatic testing under an agreement between the players and owners was a 5% positive rate. It was widely assumed that the threshold would not be met, since players had advance notice about the testing and it was assumed that many users would simply avoid detection by going off their cycle well before the testing period.
There's no question in my mind that some did this, but it's also clear that others played it differently. They "knew" that there would be no consequences for a positive test - since the results were suposed to be anonymous and the owners promised to destroy the results - so they kept right on using and didn't give a damn if they were caught. (Oops.)
One other thing to remember is that many players who were using did not test positive in this test because they were not using a detectable steroid. Specifically, we know from pre-trial testimony that Bonds' sample came back "negative" because the standard steroid test didn't detect "the clear." Only after the Feds identified which sample was his and re-tested it did they determine that Bonds did have the designer steroid in his system.
Sounds a bit like the prisoners' dilemma
. Most of them have to stop using in order to avoid future testing, but if they stop using, they're at a competitive disadvantage. So it seems a great many of them still chose to use anyway, thinking they'd be part of a group less than 5%. But at a population of 25 players * 30 teams, 104 players is still like 14% of major-leaguers (not counting promotions/demotions). It seems their calculation was a bit off. I guess most of them don't exactly have Brian Bannister-levels of math comprehension.
I think a reasonable assumption is that far more than the 14% figure from the list were using, but I find it hard to believe that it was as high as 80%, at least in 2003. But I would believe 25% or 30%. That would mean half of them stopped using when threatened with stricter testing regimens.
Then there's also Bud Selig's bluff in regards to the 2003 testing. He (and the MLBPA) probably established what they did on the assumption that far fewer than 5% would come up positive, so they could safely say to the media "see? It's not a big problem!" and get on with it. They clearly didn't count on being so wildly off with their estimates, and were hoist by their own petard - and now find themselves in this pickle.
Lastly, I don't think it's blind naivete to suggest it's possible - even likely - that many players stopped using after they instituted stricter testing in 2004 and beyond. The risks may have outpaced the upside, even before the automatic 50-game suspension was put in place. But given the evidence against them, it's clear that Ortiz is now no more or less culpable than Rodriguez, and maybe moreso given his outspoken criticisms.
I still think there's a chance that the rampant
-steroid era ended with 2003, though. Far from a proven idea, of course, but with the publicized cases of the past few years, MLB may finally be getting a handle on the problem.