Monday, August 5, 2013

It's time to commend MLB

By Jeff

Major league Baseball, and even commissioner Bud Selig, deserve respect and recognition for their complete turnaround when it comes to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Yes, I said it. Bud Selig, the man who made an exhibition game have a major impact on the World Series and has fought instant replay at every turn despite us living in 2013, deserves some props for the stance he has taken on PEDs since the league and its fans were duped by the likes of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds to name a few.

"Do you think Jeter will still be my fake friend?"
Reports are coming out that today will be the day MLB hands out suspensions to those players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun was already hit with a 65-game suspension. Now it's expected that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be banned through the 2014 season. It would be the longest suspension handed out since MLB and Selig revised their drug policy and consequences.

This is the same A-Rod who is one of the most recognizable names and faces in baseball. The same A-Rod who was supposed to be a key player in helping baseball fans forget the steroid era. The same A-Rod who has 647 career home runs and was supposed to give us a clean home run champion.

What I'm trying to say is that this is one of MLB's marquee players, yet the league is going to suspend him for more than a year. Throw in Braun and baseball will be handing out more than 200 games of suspensions between two players who have combined to win four MVP awards.

What other major sports league has done this? Ray Lewis plead guilty to obstruction of justice in a murder investigation, and the NFL didn't suspend him a single game. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape and was suspended four games. If a player tests positive for a banned substance in the NFL, he only misses four games.

And do you really believe that players in the NBA and NHL are completely clean? I haven't heard of a single steroid suspension in either of those leagues to scrubs players, let alone the stars.

There is no question that MLB got themselves into mess they're now cleaning up. They did not have strict PED rules in place when the country was entranced by MCGwire and Sosa's home run race. They gladly turned a blind eye to the fact that these players heads were growing faster than their power numbers because fans were filling up stadiums to watch.

But at least they are working to clean up the mess. They aren't just sweeping the dirt under the rug. They pulled out the Power Vac and legitimately trying to clean up their sport. They are not showing an special treatment to the game's stars. Every player is being treated the same.

It took a while for MLB to recognize the problem in their sport, but it is commendable that they are taking big strides to correct their past negligence.


  1. I lean much more towards your statement in that third to last paragraph. They ignored steroids because it brought fans (read: MONEY) back after the strike. Thing is, the McGuire-Sosa HR race was back in 1998. How much has really happened since then to stop steroids?

    With Selig on the brink of retirement, this is just as much of him trying to clean up his image so that he isn't remembered as the worst baseball commissioner, and one of the worst commissioners of all time.

    The 50/100/life suspensions you could probably argue, don't really deter much. I'm essentially thinking out loud here but there's a few points I'd make. First, if you're a 16-17-18 year old Latin American prospect, and you believe/you're told steroids will help you make it to the majors and have the ability to provide a better life for you and your family, wouldn't you be tempted to do it?

    Also, in the case for somebody like Braun, how much does this really hurt him? Even with the lost money from the suspension, he's still going to collect over $100 million of his contract extension. Then, who's to say he doesn't sign one more big contract before he retires? He lost a season where his team is about 20 games out of first place, but he could still have a career making over $200 million from baseball alone, and that's excluding everything else he'll make money from thanks to his celebrity (Remetee, etc...)

    If Selig really wanted to "clean up baseball" it shouldn't have taken 15 years, baseball union resistance notwithstanding, and not kept it lucrative to do so. To really send a message, life bans/voided contracts would be a better way to do it.

  2. I completely agree that it took too long for baseball to act. They react slowly to most things like rule changes and drug enforcement, but at least they are no longer running from or ignoring the problem.

    Like you said, guys are still going to make millions and profit from the abilities that PEDs, but I think the 50/100/life rule could be deterrent for those 20, 21-year-old players in AA that can't really afford to miss huge chunks of the season.

    I would love to see stricter punishment, but compared to the other leagues, baseball is ahead of the game. Selig has been a bad commish and this is no doubt an attempt to give some sort of positive legacy for himself. I don't like the reasoning, but I like the results.

    I think the teenage Latin American player reference is a little unfair. The guy is going to take the risk for a better life, even if it is a harsher penalty for first-time offenders. Now if we're these highly regarded high school and college prospects who are going to sign lucrative signing bonuses, then yeah, the threat of 50 games probably doesn't deter them that much.

    It's not perfect, but I think the system is getting better. I think the whole A-Rod situation could lead to that voided contracts you're asking for.

  3. This whole A-Rod thing is so fitting for how the post steroid era has unfolded. The evidence is so overwhelming that everyone realizes they're not going to win an appeal, so they all apologize and take the suspension that they deserve. That is everyone except for Alex Rodriguez. Does he really think he can beat this? Is it instinct to cover up or just last resort? I don't think it's a coincidence that the minor leaguers took their suspensions and A-Rod is putting up a fight. I just wonder if him and Barry realize that they're tarnishing their "legacy" by blatantly lying about something that everyone knows is true.

    Like you pointed out, it wasn't too long ago that everyone put their eggs in the A-Rod basket to be the "clean" home run champion. At the age of 32, he had 518 homers. The mythical 800 home run mark seemed to be almost guaranteed. Now, even if he did somehow break Bonds' record, it's not like anyone is going to care. People want a clean champion. There were articles about Chris Davis being on pace for the real record at the All Star break even though there were more articles questioning his PED use. I don't think we're there yet, but hopefully Selig's PED policy will make it so people will eventually assume innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around.