Dec
19

MLB players should consider cheating.

By

I’ll admit the title is a bit of a misnomer. It should probably be “Some MLB players should consider cheating as it pertains to banned substances some of the time.” Also, before going any further with this, I’d like to point out that this article was inspired by one of my great friends (who will hopefully allow me to share his proposal on how to best resolve this issue at some point in the near future).  For the sake of the article (and dialog in general), let’s put conventional sentiments surrounding ethics as they pertain to athletics on the shelf for a moment*.

* In other words, let’s not just claim players shouldn’t use banned substances simply because it’s “wrong.” Before you all completely hate on me for writing this article, know that my personal beliefs on performance enhancers are not being reflected, but rather, my observations on how players may perceive the current environment are.  I am not really qualified to explain the long term effects of steroids to one’s physical health, so some of my points may be leaps of … ahem, faith. Okay, disclaimers in order … check.

As far as I can tell, the basic motivation for cheating comes down to one primary goal in baseball (and probably sports in general) – that is to obtain a competitive advantage whether it be via skill or durability. For some players, this means transitioning from “subpar or expendable” status to, say, a useful role player. For other players, it may mean going from very talented to exceptional. In any event, I believe certain players in Major League Baseball have much more to gain by cheating then they have to lose compared to others.

Now, I’m not talking about your Alex Rodriguez or your Barry Bonds. Personality traits aside, it’d be completely asinine to claim that either of those players weren’t incredible in their day. Both represent generational talents, who in their prime (and perhaps even past it), would represent an upgrade for any team looking to contend. The problem with cheating for these guys is a matter of perceived legacy. They were always likely to get paid assuming they could stay on the field. If they get caught cheating, the only real jeopardy they’d face is exclusion from the Hall of Fame (assuming the HOF doesn’t change its criteria which I think it will in time). Sure, they may face a suspension as the rules currently stand, but my guess is they’d still typically acquire the big contract more often than not as they’re naturally more gifted than their peers, and being gifted is an expensive commodity.  To put this into clear context, I’m not talking about a guy like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, or any of the other exceptional players in the league.

No, the type of guys I’m referring too are of the Melky Cabrera ilk. Let’s rewind back to 2010. Having been traded to the Braves (in the infamous Javier Vasquez swap) from the Yankees, he was awful. We’re talking a .255/.317/.354 slash line (.292 wOBA) with four home runs bad. For those wondering, that translates out a 77 wRC+ and a -1.1 fWAR. Basically, if all was just in the world, he would have had to pay the Braves for letting him “contribute” to their cause (and he’d probably have to offer a sincere heart-filled apology to [insert generic replacement level player here] for keeping him in the minors). Instead, he was non-tendered as the Braves wanted no part of his $3.1M salary.  But the point stands; at this juncture, Melky barely qualified for any Major League roster spot … anywhere.

But something happened, and no, it wasn’t the invigorating atmosphere of Kauffman Stadium or the refreshingly cool San Francisco air that caused it (presumably). Over the next two seasons with the Royals and Giants, Melky was legitimately good. This past season he was so good, in fact, he even contended for the batting title in the NL (.346/.390/.516, .387 wOBA, 149 wRC+, with 11 home runs). There were rumblings as far back as May, that by the end of the year, he was going to cash in a serious contract too, whether it be with the Giants or another team – some even mused a paycheck as lofty as four or five years, $50-60M (roughly $10-15M per year) which was probably quite realistic. For a guy who was about to potentially face a minor league contract, and who was barely a footnote in Major League Baseball as recently as 2010, that’d be one hell of a pay day.

Obviously, things went a bit differently though. Melky was caught using a banned substance. He didn’t win the batting title (because he withdrew his name from consideration), and he was suspended from baseball for 50 games. Now you’d think that teams might have been worried this offseason that some major performance regression could happen for Cabrera and that his performance as player wasn’t entirely legitimate the past couple seasons. You might reasonably expect that Melky could be an interesting “buy low” type of candidate for a lot of teams looking to strike gold on a player with some question marks along with some potential. Instead, the Toronto Blue Jays set the market with a two-year deal worth $16M – that is to say eight million dollars per season despite the question marks surrounding him! Not too shabby, really.  And if he puts up solid numbers for the Blue Jays for the next couple seasons, he’ll be right back in line for another solid pay day the next time he hits free agency. That’s far more certainty than he had a few seasons ago when he was viewed as nothing beyond a fourth outfielder/depth guy.

So let’s pretend we’re the proverbial little red devil sitting on the shoulder of the next Melky Cabrera for a moment. We’re going to say. “Son, let’s be honest. You suck. Your dream of being a Major Leaguer could disappear very soon altogether. Go ahead; give yourself a boost while you still can. Maybe you’ll turn it around and extend your career a little while (let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger). Maybe you’ll heal faster from your injuries. Maybe you’ll even become more productive like the Melk Man with a just a bit of help, and you’ll put yourself (and let’s not forget your family) in a better position to earn whatever you can while you can! And if worse comes to worst, you’ll get caught, you’ll face suspension, and you’ll be viewed as a pariah. But then again, that sounds a lot like what’s happening right now. Just consider it. You know everyone else is.”

Of course, ironically, Melky still has the footnote to his name.  He’s just substantially wealthier for it.

Categories : Musings, STEROIDS!
  • Big Member

    About time somebody else wrote something. What’s the point of all the names on the side of the website again?

    • Big Member

      hairytick!

      • radnom

        Actually, it’s a fair point.

      • Get Phelps Up

        There’s 2 Big Members now?

        • michael scott

          that’s what she said.

    • Dillon Currier

      Totally agree. Great article. In a strange way it’s refreshing to hear

  • Bob Buttons

    Problem is that if everyone else cheats you’re basically implying that as a kid you need to cheat to be a major league, which in turn is not a good lesson for an adolescent, that honesty doesn’t mean crap (it’s true a lot of times but it shouldn’t be encouraged), so pretty much every kid who dreams of making to the big leagues cheats, yaddi yaddi yadda, lesson of integrity.

    But, as the disclaimer said, let’s assume that morality aside. Would I risk ruin my name for some quick millions? Maybe. I might not even be caught. Nobody knows what PED does to a specific extent, but it probably helps more than it hurts, and if you don’t care that a lot of people hate your ass, it’d be strange not to.

  • KeithK

    So your thesis is that there are incentives for players to cheat. Well that’s pretty obvious. There are also incentives to cheat on my taxes, fabricate data in my professional career and generally cut corners in all aspects of life. There are lots of reasons why I don’t do these things, not the least of which is that doing so would be wrong.

    Now one could argue that the reason that I don’t and Melky (and other baseball players) do is that I don’t have the possibility of millions of dollars of payout if I break the rules. To me that’s a pretty good justification for taking away the potential payout for baseball players. Lifetime ban for the first offense. That increases the risk dramatically and eliminates the possibility of someone being willing to suck up a single suspension simply to rebuild contract value.

    Maybe lifetime for the first offense is too harsh. Make it at least a year. I doubt Cabrera gets the contract that he did from the Jays if he’d missed an entire season.

    • Big Member

      Yeah… not exactly compelling. Players have the choice of improving at the expense of moral issues and punishment, some think its worth it, some don’t. News at 11.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden

        Well, what I can I say. I write more for me than I do for you. Sorry you’re not entertained…I guess.

        • Big Member

          Reading that from a public blog writer is……. ironic.

          • Craig Maduro

            Well, you got him there….

        • KeithK

          How dare you! I spend good money to.. er, nevermind.

    • jjyank

      You make a good point. Just to add to that, cheating in the real world can often land you jail time. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a much bigger disincentive than a 50 game suspension and a few people on the internet talking smack about the cheater.

      • MannyGeee

        Sports =/= “The Real World”…

        E.G.: just imagine, if you would, if you found out that your accountant had a giant mural of himself in 1/2 Centaur form.

        BOOM

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden

      “So your thesis is that there are incentives for players to cheat. Well that’s pretty obvious.”

      I think the larger point is that the incentive not to cheat doesn’t always seem to outweigh the potential reward gained by banned substances in the hyper-competitive environment that is MLB. And, obviously, the decision to do it isn’t as always as simple as “it’s wrong.” As you note, there are millions of dollars at stake and the penalty for a first offense really isn’t all that harsh for the player. If anything, I’d argue the rules penalize the team more than anything.

      But the point still stands. If you’re Melky Cabrera, are you better off now than you were a few years ago? I mean, the guy is substantially wealthier, has apparently apologized for his mistakes and has a clear conscious, and is moving on with his career.

      I’m not saying people should cheat. The point is that given the current structure of the rules surrounding this, I can understand how a lot of guys (particularly fringe players) take that chance without a whole lot of hesitation. And to Bob Button’s point (above), I can’t help but wonder how many players aren’t caught compared to the number who are.

      • Jacob

        See Jeter, Derek. Or an even lesser player see gardner, brett or the thousands of other players who chose failure to be an amazing baseball player over dissapointment and los of respect from millions of fans and even worse, your family

        • Ted Nelson

          Both Jeter and Gardner could be using some sort of PED for all we know… I wouldn’t just pick out guys who don’t hit for power and assume they’re clean.

          • Rocky Road Redemption

            If they are, they need a better PED, because what they’re using ain’t working.

            • Ted Nelson

              Jeter is closing in on 40 and was the 2nd best hitting SS in baseball last season… if he’s taking something it is definitely working.

              PEDs aren’t just about bulk and strength. They can help you recover faster and help with quick twitch stuff as well.

          • smurfy

            I would differ a bit. I’m sympathetic to Andy, who used steroidal shit to heal from a repetitive malady. What else, I do not know, but to me it differs from a pitcher or hitter, on a weight training goal, to better himself thru chemistry.

        • OldYanksFan

          Melky’s family, from the pool in the back yard of their mansion, say Fuck You!

          Yeah… what a terrible stigma. He netted at least $10m from his cheating. I’m sure his family feels terrible.

          Bottom line, as mentioned above, is that 50 days is total bullshit. I’d say a full year, and you forfeit 1/2 of your next 2 years of salary.

          Unfortunately, if the punishment doesn’t compare to the potential gain, very few will worry.

          • Rocky Road Redemption

            Agreed completely.

      • Coach

        What about the role of the coaches and player captains in discouraging cheating, or not. Cheating news broke today from US Speed skating about the coach pressuring players to bend the rules (pun intended): http://www.npr.org/2012/10/05/.....als-skates

    • Marcus

      Well why don’t we create an analogy between professional athletes and our working lives that’s better than the analogy of PEDs = cheating on taxes. If there was a substance that gave you better cognitive ability, more energy to make it through the days/weeks, helped you remember things better, made it easy to communicate with clients, or any other performance enhancing ability, would you take it? Would it be “cheating”? Or would you think it was putting you at an unfair advantage compared to your competitors? Is that cheating? If there were such a drug, performance (of people, of the overall economy) would be better, and benefits would spread to society as a whole. [Some might argue we already have it: caffeine. But I digress...]

      I frankly have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the performances of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, A-Rod, etc. I really think people just get on their high horse to denounce them all when all they’ve done is improve the experience of the game. I know I’m in a minority, but I think people should stop and think about it for a second. Would we go back in time to not have Mark McGwire beating Maris’s record? Or watch Bonds beat McGwire’s record? I think PEDs have been a plus in terms of baseball’s main purpose: entertainment. Yes, it’s a bad influence on young athletes, and I agree with the controls that are put in place now.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        Does my workplace forbid me from using such a drug? Because if so then yeah, and if I was caught they would be completely within their rights to fire me. But instead in baseball you just get a bigger contract.

        • Marcus

          But come on, really extend the analogy. Does your work put a lot of pressure on you to perform? Does your work care more about your performance than enforcing the ban? Does your work have the ban only because of outside pressure? Because “against the rules” is not really thinking deeply about it. It depends on why they have those rules. I think the main concerns should be health and influence on young people. But these guys aren’t Lyle alzado shooting ridiculous anabolic stueroids with some back room doctor. I’m not saying they’re 100% safe with no side effects but they are working with sophisticated doctors. In short I think the concussion problem in football is a MUCH MUCH MUCH bigger deal with regard to health and influence on youngsters than the PED scandal in MLB.

      • smurfy

        The only reason it was valuable to see Barry (US) Bonds was to see what would be doable by the very best, if it were humanly* possible. If it were in the strike zone**, it was hit so well that, well, you shouldn’t wonder.

        **Amazed me, how he could wait out a breaking pitch, and slug the cutest curve or slider. Plenty time to spit on the outside pitch. Same for Manny, the Uncanny.

  • jjyank

    This is appropriate for this: Enjoy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMSJrrr9zXo

  • LK

    The reality is there is a time coming where there will be PEDs that do not have adverse health effects, and when that happens there won’t be any non-Luddite rationale for excluding them from athletic competition.

    • Bob Buttons

      Not just Luddites have integrity, honest hard work and pride.

      • LK

        Can you provide the rationale?

        • Bob Buttons

          Honest hard work: You’re doing the work through efforts and dedication, not a gulp of magic pills or taking short cuts

          Pride: Doing as well as others when they are cheating and you aren’t

          I suppose that you’ll enjoy a day where headline is “Player Caught Not Using PEDs”

          • LK

            I don’t really think what you’re saying refutes my argument. The reality is that hard work is not the only factor in making an MLB baseball player, whether you’d like to admit it or not. I could work harder than anyone else on earth, and I still would not be an MLB-caliber player, because I don’t have enough natural talent. This would be true whether or not I used PEDs. Moreover, there are many things available to players today that were not available to players of the past, which those players might consider to be short-cuts as well: access to professional nutritionists and trainers, private planes, video on opposing pitchers, modern surgeries, etc. The list is endless. The vast majority of players work very hard. Some of them don’t, and are still able to succeed in MLB due to their vast physical gifts.

            “Pride: Doing as well as others when they are cheating and you aren’t”

            This is a loaded statement because you have to define the term cheating. Does stealing signs count? What about all the workout supplements that allow you to exercise harder but are not banned by MLB?

            • Bob Buttons

              No point trying to explain anything anymore. Just because I can’t explain what non-Luddite views there are doesn’t mean that there isn’t any. Just like how the mind-body relationship cannot be explained and there are many different ways to look at it.

              I can’t offer any rationale doesn’t mean that there isn’t. There are many things that have yet to be explained, discovered or proven, because they haven’t been noticed, or people really don’t care about them.

              • LK

                Well, I’m convinced.

                • Rigoleto

                  There are plenty of PEDs that don’t have adverse health effects-they are called protein shakes, vitamin pills, etc. and they weren’t available in the past, they are examples of high technology, and they are approved by the FDA (in some cases) because they don’t have adverse health effects.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matt Warden
      • All Praise Be To Mo

        Great article that brings up a lot of valid points. Imagine if the Mick had 2 good legs his whole career…

  • Havok9120

    Holy cow, when was the last time we saw one of the Weekend Writers?

    • Big Member

      Heh, certainly none of the past 40 weekends, amirite??

    • Chris

      and he’s writing on Wednesday!

  • CG

    LK: why would you say that? The best anabolic steroids were developed decades ago after considering anabolic/androgenic/liver-toxicity concerns, with certain ones selected along certain ends of each spectrum and for other practical concerns. The more benign steroids, such as testosterone, are far better for you than smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day… the adverse health effects of non-oral steroids just exaggerate existing differences between male and female health (e.g. men have more heart problems, colon and prostate cancer) because your male hormones are increased.

    • LK

      PEDs are not limited to steroids.

      • CG

        So do you expect an entire new class of PEDs to become invented that have no health impact anytime soon, or ever? Anabolic steroids are never going to get there; the best molecules have already been synthesized and tested decades ago. HGH, insulin, and epi (going to all sports) are all natural materials ramped up to unnatural levels.

        There was talk about SARMs being in development in recent years, but to expect them to have no health impact is a bit of a stretch to say the least.

        • LK

          I wouldn’t want to get too specific in my predictions due to the fact that the future is so uncertain, but yes I expect entire new classes of PEDs to be invented, and I also expect entirely new classes of performance-enhancers (not necessarily drugs) to make their way into the discussion as well, perhaps related to genetics. I think we’re currently drawing a very arificial line between what we decide is legal for our athletes to do and what we decide is illegal, and I think that line will be impossible to maintain with advancing technology. Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.

        • smurfy

          I know! Medicinal marijuana. Coupled with meditation.The pitcher will be able to focus, to hit the spot. He can refine his actions, his delivery, to replicate it every time he desires. Duck!

  • Walter

    My dad who played in the Minors for 3 years and never went anywhere always said that if he could go back in time he would have used them. I always disagreed with him, yet I see his point. As a fan… I hate them. They don’t make the game better… they make the game a lie. It makes me mad that my brother (who just got a full ride to play D-1 baseball and may get drafted this Spring) potentially has to compete with PED users to make it. He says he would never take them because nothing is worth the long term effect on your body (see Rodriguez, Alex). I hope that baseball can find a way to eliminate them from the game… but we all know… where there’s a will… there’s a way. Cheaters will cheat to get ahead, that’s inevitable. I would love to find a full-proof way to eliminate them for good though…they’re bad for the game and the people who play it.

    • smurfy

      right on, piss test every day, against steoids. Gotta work, to discern the previous use of the humanm growth hormone, or others. Oh well, every day, another sucker.

      Don’t think Ty Cobb took any tho. Probably snorted whiskey, enthusiastically, but one could not say that was performance enchancing, except psychologically.

  • Jabronie

    A point missed in the “cheating” label is that before the MLB’s CBA in 2005 there was no rule making PED’d illegal in baseball. Of course they are illegal by law, but MLB never had a rule saying “this is forbidden” -so then how can you call it “cheating”?

    • Bob Buttons

      Go read the actual rules for MLB. It might be in there.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloa....._Rules.pdf

    • Jacob

      It is a drug, drugs were forbidden

    • Ed

      Use of controlled substances without proper prescriptions was banned for decades.

      The only thing the 2005 CBA added was testing and pre-defined punishments. Before that, you basically had to be caught using, and punishment was at the commish’s discretion.

  • Jacob

    Cheating like this is not acceptable at all, doing steroids is also considered as doing drugs and those are awidely unaccepted by society also

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      A bit simplistic, no?

    • jjyank

      “widely unaccepted by society”

      Clearly you’ve never been to college. Or at least not the one I went to.

      • Jacob

        Hey I didn’t say that it was not used, just a lot of people hate it.

        • jjyank

          Ha, no, I meant that it’s accepted too. Not PEDs, but you made a reference to drugs in general. In 4 years of undergrad, I could count the number of people who never did an illegal drug on 1 hand.

  • tyrone sharpton

    get off mah lawn, melky

  • dkidd

    hypothetical: in 5-10 years, parents who can afford it will be able to alter the genes of unborn children to strengthen their muscle fibers. is that cheating?

    • Holy Ghost

      Awesome!

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Ever see Gattaca?

      Great Great movie.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    It’s not just the incentives for cheating–somebody mentioned taxes, professionally–it’s the ramifications for being caught. I can’t cheat on my taxes, because professionally it could lead to losing my position. If I lied about my professional qualifications and got caught, ditto.

    So Melky didn’t get to win the batting title. Did he give any money back? Did he never work in this business again?

    Hell, he even got a post-season share!

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    I really could care less if these guys want to risk their health using PEDs. With the amounts of money at stake, you really can’t blame them and I really don’t consider players of the 90s and 2000s cheaters since I believe the vast majority were using some type of PED therefore it was essentially a level playing field.

    The one problem I have is if you just turn a blind eye to PED usage, MLB could potentially become like professional cycling where you really could not compete at the highest level unless you were using PEDs so people who ordinarily would not use had to make a tough choice between being potentially elite or just a fringe performer.

  • Holy Ghost

    I’m probably in the minority but I sort of miss the pre-Steroid ban era.

    Not just for the homeruns and offense.

    I also miss seeing great players extend their careers well into their late 30s(ie Bonds, Palmiero, Clemens, etc).

    These days it seems like we’re going back to the pre-steroid era in terms of the length of careers. It seems like most of these guys are dropping off a cliff production-wise after they turn 30.

    • trr

      yes, it’s called normal

      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

        sometime abnormal >> normal

      • Holy Ghost

        Normal isn’t as entertaining. Seeing these guys hit their prime in their 20′s and decline years in their early 30s is not so fun as a fan.

        It’s their bodies. If they want to take the risk so be it.

    • OldYanksFan

      Me too. These days, it would be impossible to see a middle infielder on the wrong side of 35 hit .300.

      • All Praise Be To Mo

        Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or have no idea about Derek Jeter’s past few years.

  • There’s the Door

    Mike Axisa,

    The writing in this post is so poor that I have very little idea what the author is trying to say. Please get him an editor next time.
    If he’s actually advocating PED use without tongue in cheek, then don’t bother getting him an editor.

    • Steve

      I gotta say, I’m a little confused by your response, Door. Are you saying you’d be okay with the article if the author is advocating steroids? Maybe someone ought to get you an editor. #justsayin

      • There’s the Door

        Um, no. I’m saying the opposite. As in, “don’t bother editing it, just throw it out.”

    • Jim Is Bored

      Someone didn’t read the article.

  • TomG

    Good article. The moral question isn’t nearly as stark from the player’s perspective. These are men, not abstractions. If they don’t use, they’re out of baseball with no real training to do anything else job wise. Most of these guys have dedicated their lives to the game just to get to the cusp of success. Melky Cabrera signed as a 17 year old, this is all he’s ever done.
    On the other hand, if they break a rule that has no real consequences as far as personal punishment, they can secure a lifetime of security for their families. Their kids and grandkids are in elite private schools with the type of money we’re talking about. I don’t even think you can call that greed, just about every man I know would take that deal for their families. What if your kid needs an operation down the road and you decided to keep your conscience lily white instead of risking a 50 game suspension, talk to me about morality then.

    The financial punishment for getting caught using PED’s needs to be way harsher for them to be discouraged by this class of player, and the punishments need to be more nuanced. Lifetime bans for a first offense should exist under the right conditions.

  • CS Yankee

    One of the biggest points missed in this piece is that it doesn’t state that he worked his ass off after his NYY/Atl career.

    Melky was known of being “lazy” and after his piss-poor year in Atlanta, he matured/adjusted/corrected/started his workout program and went to the AAAA Royals team. PEDs made him a star, he likely was a decent starter if he put in the time.

    PEDs mean different things to different players. In cases like Jose Canseco it meant that he could be an actual player (he was a runt & couldn’t put on weight or mass). Melky likely had the body style to succeed but was lacking the dedication required to be great.

    Jose…PEDs made him an get there and excel into a star.
    Melky…PEDs made him a star, after he got there.

  • Wayne

    It’s unhealthy to anyone whether your job is on the line or not . The fact that its taken doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. Especially to people who are vulnerable not to mention the example you are setting for the youth! Whether a player is good or not you are encouraging someone to do something that is unhealthy and life threatening. The fact that are other things that peope do that are not healthy doesn’t change that and neither does the fact that their career is at stake. This article is encouraging unhealthy living and is a disappointment in so many ways!

    • Evan

      I didn’t get the impression that the author was advocating players take steroids. I think he was just saying that the current system is relatively easy going with the penalties so a lot of players are willing to take the risk.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    I’m sorry Matt, I like the weekend writers but this is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

    People cheat for a reason-to play better and thus make more money. So of course in that sense it’s a good idea to cheat. It’s a good idea for me to cheat in school too. Or to cheat in cards. Sure I may get caught, but if it’s AFTER I win the money why should I care?

    So why did we need an article telling us that the reason people cheat is to get better? And that getting better is a good thing? Of course it is. that’s why you risk cheating to do it.

    This was dumb, dude.

    • Herby

      Bad articles happen when the most exciting news is resigning Ichiro..pretty bad premise, pretty bad ideas…not worthwhile conclusion…so don’t jump on me for my article…but I’ll write it anyway.

    • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

      Well you have the right to feel however you want about my article. Your refund is surely in the mail…

      I think, though, that you may have missed the primary point of the article. What motivated me to write this piece was a conversation I had with a buddy of mine about how under the current rules and regulations of MLB are such that for a lot of players the risk of punishment really seems overshadowed by potential reward.

      I am not sure players would take the chance nearly as frequently if, say, they faced a two year suspension for a first time offense. Or if their paycheck was directly impacted. My example was Melky Cabrera who basically saw his career go from floundering to a decent payday. But hey, that’s just my take.

      But, yeah, thanks for your candid feedback. Duly noted.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        Whoa whoa whoa Matt, get off the high horse with this refund bullshit. I’ll turn this around on you-you don’t HAVE to write here you know. If you don’t like the feedback, please stop at any time, it’s your prerogative. Just like it’s my prerogative to comment.

        If that was your point, then I agree-the penalty definitely needs to be stiffer. I just think it’s something I could have written in a blog comment in this sentence:

        “They really need to make the penalty for steroid use stiffer. I mean Melky got caught but is EARNING money because of it. Not cool.”

        But yeah, if that’s what you meant it’s not as dumb as I originally thought. But then instead of “MLB players should consider cheating”, which is dumb, it really should be “MLB should either scrap the steroid rule or make the penalty stiffer”-which is an interesting conversation.

        • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

          Look man, you and everyone else are obviously more than welcome to offer your opinions on anything I write. I get that it’s a public forum. But come on dude…when the very first sentence of your includes “this is one of the dumbest things I have ever read” don’t be shocked by a little bit of sarcasm in my reply. No hard feelings.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    The argument “I don’t care about PEDs because it’s more fun to watch baseball with PEDs in the game” reminds me a bit of the “human element” umpire argument-that getting rid of umpires would rob us from some of the most memorable moments in baseball, a la the Jeffrey Maier incident. Sure it made for a more exciting game, but on the other hand there are rules, and just because the game is sometimes cooler when they’re broken doesn’t mean it’s okay to break them.

    The players who used PEDs broke the rules. While I sympathize with a lot of them and probably would have done exactly as they did, I still shouldn’t have.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    What I’m seeing here is that a lot of the guys here are willing to give players a pass because they would have probably done the same thing. I probably would have to.

    But you know what? That STILL doesn’t make it right. When you cheat at a game, it’s not ethical. If I can win a million dollars cheating in a game, it’s not ethical. If I can win a million dollars if I cheat when everybody else is cheating, it’s still unethical to cheat. All of these things just make the situation more unfair. None of them make cheating okay.

    I think there should be less of a stigma on whistle blowing-when you’re in a competition weeding out people who are getting an unfair edge should not be looked at as a bad thing.

  • Mike HC

    I think it is more likely Melky always at the very least dabbled with PED’s, but just got serious about his training after his disaster with Atlanta. Even among the players using PED’s, the ones with the most discipline and smartest training will surpass more amateur, less disciplined training techniques even if the players are also using PED’s.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

    Nice article Matt. It’s food for thought especially with a very interesting HOF voting coming up that will be heavily influenced by PEDs.

  • Here Comes the Pizza

    This is a relevant topic in today’s baseball culture and the PED debate is sure to continue. I am disappointed in the Jays for offering Melky that much. Who knows what was the PEDs and what was his work. Players should have stronger incentive not to cheat.

  • Roseanne Emile

    i always admire baseball players because i love baseball so much..

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