Jul
23

Reconsidering MLB’s response to steroids

By
(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

A while back, I wrote a post cynically entitled “MLB players should consider cheating.” The basic premise of the article was simple: the financial incentive for many players to cheat often outweighs the incentive not to (i.e. repercussions such as suspensions or tainted reputations). I used Melky Cabrera as my primary example. He basically went from being a fringy fourth outfielder on the verge of losing an MLB job to a guy who enjoyed a two-year, $16M contract after being suspended for substance abuse and despite obvious performance concerns. Moral relativism aside, I argued Melky is better off now financially than he may have ever been before had he not cheated — a point that I still stand behind.

Given all the hoopla surrounding the Biogenesis scandal, I thought this might be a convenient opportunity to revisit the subject. Has the league taken the appropriate actions for deterring banned substances? For starters, some prominent athletes like Ryan Braun are facing lengthy suspensions (65 games in Braun’s case, which is resulting in $3.25M in lost wages for the rest of the 2013 season). Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz will likely follow with similar penalties of their own along with several other notable players, though it does appear that the players will have some flexibility in the plea bargain in terms of timing, which certainly helps their wallets.

Then, of course, there’s Alex Rodriguez, who will probably face a massive suspension given the abundance of evidence apparently piled against him. Mike touched on this earlier — specifically discussing whether there’s an ideal time for A-Rod to accept his suspension. As an aside, this would also represent the first time the MLBPA has shown limited interest in defending one of its players on this particular matter, and players seem as vocal as ever about having the game cleaned up. Are a few high-profile suspensions enough to stop the majority of players from entertaining the idea of banned substances moving forward though?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I mean, we’re still talking about suspensions as the primary consequence at the end of the day. The “three-strike” rule (50 games for the first offense, 100 for the next, and a lifetime ban for the third) seems to generally still be the preferred avenue of Major League Baseball as a response. The problem with this mode of punishment though, at least as I see it, is that it doesn’t quite solve the issue. Players such as Melky can still take banned substances long enough to possibly earn a big payday without fear of much more than a 50-game suspension if it’s the first offense.  Meanwhile, their respective teams are left out to dry once the penalty is issued. Unless the league makes these suspensions radically more severe (such as an immediate lifetime ban regardless of the substance or the circumstance), I just don’t see it this form of cheating ending as neatly as Selig might hope.

What if the repercussions worked a little differently though?  For example, imagine if the team had the right to void a player’s contract altogether if they were caught taking PEDs? In the case of the Yankees and A-Rod, this would allow them to redirect a lot of dollars to other parts of the team that would otherwise be allocated to one player.  I would have to think that a voided contract would certainly make players think twice about PEDs, though this might also be too extreme for the MLBPA’s liking.

Or, perhaps you could go another direction. Maybe a player who faces a suspension is automatically forced to accept a league minimum paycheck afterward for a couple seasons. If that player is part of some mega-contract already (like A-Rod) and the team chooses not to void the deal, the player would have to accept a few seasons at a discount. This allows the team to keep a player if they choose too, but also have a bit of a security blanket in case he doesn’t perform quite the same afterward. More importantly, the player won’t have the option of cashing in immediately upon return. Basically, he’ll have to prove himself all over again for a season or two prior to getting a big pay day. On the other hand, a player’s career won’t necessarily be over after one mistake thanks to an immediate lifetime ban.

Frankly, I don’t know if either of those options are feasible or even if they’re appropriate suggestions. I think the point here is that a different approach could potentially prove more effective if the league’s expectation is to have a clean game. I don’t think there’s a professional player on the planet who isn’t very conscious about his salary, and if the economic incentives of the game blatantly favor honest play, maybe the vast majority of players might consider it. At least, that’s the theory.

Categories : STEROIDS!
  • idontlikemattwarden

    RAB needs to reconsider you, Matt Warden.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matthew Warden

      Always a pleasure, IDLMW.

      • trr

        Matt, that’s gotta be a friend of yours-

        • Gonzo

          It’s the guy he picked last for kickball in 2nd grade. Old grudges die hard.

        • http://riveraveblues.com Matthew Warden

          I’ve wondered about this.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Perhaps they’re even in your own home…

            • Preston

              Perhaps they’re even in his own mind…

              • Gonzo

                The call… the call is coming from the phone in your other hand!

  • LK

    The problem is that there will always be ways to get away with it. For all the mountain of evidence they supposedly have on A-Rod, he apparently hasn’t tested positive.

    • Preston

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....andal.html
      Of the 14 listed players, Cabrera, Colon and Grandal all had suspensions and Braun tested positive (and Alex supposedly tested positive during the first year of testing before there were penalties) and that was before blood testing for HGH. If the expectation was that testing was going to eradicate the stuff from the sport, they failed. If it was to catch a good amount of the cheaters to both punish and deter steroid use, they’re doing a pretty good job.

  • Oy

    MLB Players Union giggled.

  • mitch

    Interesting thoughts, but i’d imagine there would be some huge roadblocks to make those things happen.

    I think the real solution is to figure out a way to catch a higher % of the cheaters. People won’t stop cheating until they know they’ll get caught.

  • Gonzo

    There’s no way that happens. Melky got paid, but we live in a world where someone gave Frenchy $16mm not too long ago. At least Melky can sub in at CF in a pinch.

    Melky also had a career year in his age 27 season. I’m not saying he wasn’t helped by PEDs, but who’s to say his age and a .379 BABIP didn’t help more?

    • Gonzo

      Before the RAB police get me. I should say, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. No way is too much for this crowd.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Do they, or according to some, “we,” have a paddy wagon?

        • Gonzo

          Heck yeah, but it’s a sweet paddy wagon.

          • jjyank

            “Dude, your bed is a car.”

            “Yeah, but it’s a fucking sweet car.”

            • Gonzo

              That is an amazing movie. It’s so awesome.

            • jsbrendog

              my mom said they’re gonna get me a cb radio so i can talk to other carbeds

              • jjyank

                *roommates

                Sorry. Love that movie too much, the quote must be pure!

                • Gonzo

                  “Wow… where do you get your weed?”

                  “From you, Dante.”

                  “Oh… THAT’S RIGHT! What’s up, Mr. Cheezle!”

                  That cracks me up every time.

                  • jjyank

                    Dante is the fucking man.

                    I love the scene at the beginning.

                    “Why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling for the past half an hour!”

                    “Sorry bro, I was putting up my Christmas tree!”

                    “Dude…it’s July.”

                    “Get the fuck outta here, it is??”

                    “Uh dude? Why are you naked?”

                    “Oooohhh shit, I AM naked! Come on in.

                    “…your ass is tanner than my face.”

                    “It’s not tan, kid. It’s bronzed.”

                    • Gonzo

                      Dante is the man!

    • Gonzo

      Someone gave Brandon League $27.5mm!!!

  • Game Overbay

    Why this topic is ridiculous:

    1) Athletes have always taken performance enhancers – Greenies, Coffee, Amphetamines, LSD, corticosteroids, HGH, Multi-Vitamins, Omega-3, BCAA’s, Protein, etc

    2) Technology is a performance enhancer – Bats, Gloves, Helmets, Cleats, pitch tracking, body metrics, MRI’s, Ace Bandages, ice bath whirlpools etc.

    3) It is entertainment – Actors/Actresses get plastic surgery to prolong their careers, athletes should be able to take physical enhancers to extend theirs too.

    This whole argument is a bunch of self righteous blowhards that want to maintain some imagined “integrity” because they have a romantic view of their favorite players from when they were a child.

    I say let them take whatever they want… they are Adults in a free society, and should have dominion over what they ingest.

    • Gonzo

      Willie Mays used greenies! Get him outta the HOF!!!

      • Game Overbay

        And Doc Ellis’ No hitter shouldn’t count either!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vUhSYLRw14

        • jjyank

          While incredibly awesome, I don’t know if I can count LSD as an enhancer of anything. For anyone that’s tried it, I think they’d know how it would probably more likely cause most players to go 0-4 with 4 Ks and then get arrested for trying to beat the pitchers brain in for throwing things at you.

          • jsbrendog

            i was going to say this. no way it is a performance enhancer.

        • vicki

          you articulately summed up exactly my opinion on the subject. just one note: acid is NOT a performance enhancer (believe me). dock pitched his no-no despite the drug, not because of it. and it remains the most impressive feat in history.

          • jsbrendog

            agreed

          • Preston

            5. The Internet
            4. The Pyramids
            3. The Great Wall of China
            2. Man on the moon…

            1. DOCK ELLIS THROWS A NO-NO ON LSD!!!

            • vicki

              werd.

          • Wolfgang’s Fault

            The Grateful Dead, ’65-’69, are a pretty strong argument otherwise.

            Exactly what “performance” did it fail to enhance for you? Inquiring minds & all . . .

            • vicki

              way before my time, though i have friends with tapes. jerry will take you there.

              once upon a time i played the pinball game of my life on acid. no pressure, no need to keep the secret.

              answer to your question: bartending. it was HARD. crazy hard.

    • Twains Yankee

      I like this. I think I would like to see it well regulated. This carp could hurt you…Lyle Alzado

    • mitch

      you know there’s a difference between something that enhances performance and illegal PEDs?

      I do agree with you to an extent though. Too much stuff is banned. A lot of the “illegal” substances should be allowed if regulated properly.

      You can’t just let them do whatever they want though. Then you’ll end up with Ken Caminiti’s all over the place.

      • Game Overbay

        Indeed… regulation would be necessary, just as it is with alcohol.

        A developing human should not take the more hard, physically altering substances in an unregulated black market fashion.

        That’s a totally different scenario than a fully grown adult, under the supervision of medical professionals, using a biological technology to enhance physique/reaction time/endurance.

        Take Tiger Woods for example… he had laser eye surgery that improved his vision to 20/15… should that have been illegal? Was that fair? How is that different than doing a cycle of anabolics?

      • I’m One

        They’re illegal. If you’re caught, you get punished under the law. Otherwise, who are you hurting? Primarily, yourself. Yes, potentially some other people may be drawn to the money and use PEDs to try to help them get there, but I don’t see this as big an issue as MLB makes it out to be.

        If, however, MLB truely wants to clean the game up, then yes, the penalties should be harsher. First offense 50 games, 2nd lifetime ban. Matt’s suggestion may work as well.

        • CP

          They’re illegal. If you’re caught, you get punished under the law.

          Most of these drugs are legal with a prescription from a doctor. Or at least equivalent drugs are legal. I mean, I watch baseball games and see commercials for artificial testosterone.

          • I’m One

            Therefore, if it’s prescribed, it shouldn’t be illegal in baseball. I’m fine with that. Personally, I don’t care what they do to their bodies. It’s only entertainment. But like I said, if MLB wants to do something, make the penalty very painfull.

          • EK

            Totally agree, those commercials are on during most sporting events on tv. Leagues be it MLB, NFL NBA, PGA take the advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical companies and tell the players they cannot use these things. Seems a little hypocritical to me.

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        & where do you draw the line between acceptable and over the line? Hell, you make it ok in any respect, & everything’s ok. Have licensed MD’s legally shooting guys up w/pharmaceutical grade PED’s before games in the locker room, ’cause, you know, the “fans” & the TV execs & the sponsors want & need to see home runs.

        Players should be tested regularly, no PEDS should be acceptable or permitted, & both player & team ownership should suffer some financial loss in the event a player is found to be using. What the breakdown of that should be, I’m not sure.

        If ballplayers can excel while under influence of LSD, they not only get a pass, they win a free Joshua light show for their hometown fans & ball club at their very next home performance. First 200 fans at the gate suitably psychedelically attired get to go to “fantasy” camp & get “off” with the player during the following “off season.”

    • trr

      Your post is the height of inanity. Comparing athletes and entertainers in this contest is somewhat absurd. Athletics are contests of physical skill and acumen, not who can ingest the best/most drugs. You do seem a bit threatened or offended by people with mstandards, as seen in your rather feeble attempt to analyze them…

      You want to see a show, go to the circus kid.

      • DF

        I think you’re unfairly denigrating Game Overbay’s argument.

        The only real difference between, say, Gatorade and steroids, is how well they work. Gatorade absolutely enhances your performance. It’s a chemical compound that lets you push your body harder and recover from exertion faster. The difference between drinking Glacier Cherry Gatorade and rubbing The Cream on your muscles is one of degree, not kind.

        Now it’s eminently reasonable to think there needs to be a line drawn somewhere, and to leave Gatorade on one side of it and steroids on the other, but it’s not like an argument otherwise is some ridiculous, out of left field stance to take.

        I suspect that in 50-100 years, body enhancements are going to be completely normal and no one will think twice about them. Yet they give me the creeps today, for reasons that I often don’t think stand up to rational scrutiny.

        • Game Overbay

          Thanks DF, that is indeed the point I am making.

          And I think a lot of people are grossly misinformed about the benefits, risks and rewards of steroids and other performance enhancers in much the same way the public was misled about other drugs such as Marijuana… it’s almost like a new form of “Reefer Madness” that is going on.

          A great documentary to watch on the topic is “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1151309/

        • mitch

          It’s also a difference of kind. It’s not that hard to separate out performance enhancing drugs. We can draw the line somewhere within that particular sub-category of “performance-enhancers”

        • Ed

          Gatorade absolutely enhances your performance. It’s a chemical compound that lets you push your body harder and recover from exertion faster. The difference between drinking Glacier Cherry Gatorade and rubbing The Cream on your muscles is one of degree, not kind.

          No, not at all. Gatorade is just water with some sugar and some basic minerals in it. Its just basic nutrients. You’re simply supplying your body with the basic essentials it needs. If you don’t drink the Gatorade during the game, you get the nutrients with your next meal instead. At most, the negative effects of taking the Gatorade come from having too much sugar.

          If you’re taking steroids, you’re messing with body chemistry. You’re overriding the body’s natural balance of hormone production and altering it. You’re forcing your body to do things it wouldn’t otherwise do, usually with negative effects on your long term health.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I think it’s impossible to have this discussion without considering the “do nothing” option. It deserves its place.

        • jjyank

          “I suspect that in 50-100 years, body enhancements are going to be completely normal and no one will think twice about them. Yet they give me the creeps today, for reasons that I often don’t think stand up to rational scrutiny.”

          I can agree with this. You’re probably right.

          • wolfgang’s Fault

            “I suspect that in 50-100 years, body enhancements are going to be completely normal and no one will think twice about them. Yet they give me the creeps today, for reasons that I often don’t think stand up to rational scrutiny.”

            Way to rationalize the troubling ethics issues away. How about the athlete who chooses not to go for the synthetic body or performance enhancements & desires to compete on an even playing field against (mostly) non-chemically or physically enhanced competitors. (S)He’s either out of luck and quite possibly/probably a career, or compromises their own values (& physical health) & participates. Not a world I’d willingly choose to be a part of.

            Let’s see where the planet is at in 50-100 years. As my Aunt Rachel used to say, we should all live so long.

            • vicki

              your argument is the best one, especially when we talk about kids – minors – who maybe can’t afford the good stuff, or who want to live longer and healthier.

              i won’t bother with the batting helmets (jorgie’s eschewing of batting gloves?) point. i will say that i want to watch gladiators. they get the paychecks for a reason, and that reason isn’t moral superiority.

      • Game Overbay

        They are entirely analogous… In the end it is only theater for the entertainment of the masses. It takes skill and acumen to perform and entertain in many other venues too.

        People who can eat the best diet, afford the best equipment and trainers, dedicate the most time during the day, are at a distinct advantage… are you saying we should handicap all of those people by “leveling the playing field?” That sounds like socialism to me.

        The only place two people face off in a physical endeavor that has any meaning beyond entertainment is on the battlefield… and you better be damn certain those people are doing what they can to get an edge over the opponent. Hell, the USAF prescribes amphetamines to pilots.

        In the end it’s all about personal liberty and the freedom to make the choices that you see fit for yourself, and if that means using biological technology to enhance your ability to do your job, then that is your choice.

        • Preston

          I agree to an extent. I think the problem is that trying to outlaw things leads inevitably to abuse. Instead make them legal, but regulate them. Instead of A-Rod having his idiot cousin go to the Dominican and pick up some haphazard thing off the shelf (or go to an unlicensed quack like Bosch) let a professional, qualififed doctor prescribe him what will work best and safest for him in a way that’s coordinated with the team and MLB. Most of the side effects of steroids are negligible compared to other “acceptable” medications that people take daily. Let’s allow these guys to boost performance and prolong their careers in a safe and transparent way. Because otherwise they’re going to do it in the back alley’s, and that’s how you get a bunch of Ken Caminitti’s dropping dead.

    • jim p

      Actually it’s because of lots and lots of kids — some estimates in the millions over the last decade — fucking up their bodies for life, because that’s what you have to do to compete with people who cheat.

      None of the drugs or supplements you listed are the same as HGH and steroids.

      It ain’t about righteous blowhards — it’s about self-absorbed pricks who’ll cheat to get what they want, at the expense of honest peers. It screws everyone, including the fans and young athletes. Why the hell should there even be a question as to who really deserves being honored as the best in their game?

      Give Aaron Mays and Ruth the shit Bonds was taking and he wouldn’t be in the top four.

  • Twains Yankee

    Real interesting take. I think the CBA specifically states that teams can’t void a contract for a drug suspension, However, that may be a deterrent. My guess it would deter older players who are just hanging on but the younger ones might welcome the extra shot at Free Agency.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    The union would never go for it and, as a vehemently pro-labor guy, I’m not sure I’d still agree with it if I sat and thought about it long enough, but the ability to void a contract because of PED use sure passes the sniff test for me right now.

    • DF

      As a fellow vehemently pro-labor guy, I don’t think this is a good idea. It lets teams pretend like they don’t know what’s going on, essentially allowing them to stick their heads in the sand and benefit from a player’s PED use without any risk attaching to them.

      Maybe, maybe, this would be ok with me if the player loses the salary and the team still has to pay the money into a charity fund or something like that. Or perhaps gets hit with a massive luxury tax penalty of some kind.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I like that. There should be something there that puts some pain on owners from benefitting from the brief time they’re performing on PEDs. I know there may be cases where PED use may come as a complete surprise. Maybe there’s a work-around there. I have no clue. I’m sick and in bed right now.

        We get distracted by the large amounts of money getting thrown around that its easy to forget who is on what side here.

    • LK

      If the Yankees are willing to put $10M dollars in my name in the Cayman islands, I definitely sold PEDs to A-Rod, Teixeira, and CC and will testify under oath to this effect. 189 should be a piece of cake!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Just for shits, add Nuney and, say, Reid Brignac.

        “But he hit .100?!”
        “Can you imagine if he didn’t?!”

  • dontsucktoday

    If I could set things, I’d keep the suspensions, but also add the voiding if contracts since the main bonus of PEDs are financial. Or something like Matt suggested some reduction of salary for the full length of the contract. Plus a two year ban from the playoffs (longer for multiple failed tests) and intelligible for any postseason awards (MVP, Silver Slugger, ect).

  • Dan

    I love the idea of making their contract voidable if they’re suspended for PEDs. It would be a massive incentive not to juice.

  • Oz

    Could the club sue the player for misrepresentation, arguing that they’re paying a salary for performance inflated by PEDs?

  • Joe

    I believe the biggest deterrent for these players would be an automatic voiding of their MLB contract if they are caught as well as a suspension for the remainder of the season (minimum 50 games, otherwise the remainder of the 50 games rolls over to the next year). This would be followed up with them only being eligible to sign a 1 year contract when they return with a maximum of 50% of the annual average value that they earned in their prior contract. If they stay clean afterwards they should then be treated like any other free agent. This would help clean up the game for the honest players, as well as give teams a lower risk opportunity to make sure the dirty players are as good without the use of steroids. It would also take away the perception that steroids helps you make more money.

    • Preston

      Some players would benefit from their contract being voided. If Evan Longoria’s contract was voided he would immediately sign for far more money.

  • WhittakerWalt

    I think it’s clear that the best way to do PEDs is to be Andy Pettitte. You can do the exact same shit as ARod, lie about it, then get caught and apologize and everyone thinks you’re a swell guy.
    It’s really a great system.

    • LK

      A-Rod really has sucked at being Andy Pettitte his whole career. Just think how beloved he’d be if he’d gotten that down.

      • jsbrendog

        well in his defense it is really hard for a righty ss/3b of spanish descent to be a left handed white dude from the south. but seriously, fucing arod didnt even TRY!

    • jjyank

      Didn’t Andy do HGH though? I’m not defending it’s use, but if I remember right (and I’m too tired to research anything right now) he took HGH to recover from injury faster. Yes, still cheating, but I don’t think it enhanced his performance like someone A-Rod or Braun may have taken. Seems like a lesser offense to me (and a one time offense at that, I think), and he handled it pretty well.

      • jsbrendog

        yeah it is mind boggling that hgh which is proven to help you heal faster is banned but the platelet ich blood spinning transfusion or whatever is legal, cortizone and other pain killers are legal and encouraged. They also numb the pain and increase the chance of reinjury don’t they? it’s just a completely out of whack system. Isn’t caffeine/red bull banned at a certain level too?

      • LK

        “Pettitte verified McNamee’s claim, admitting to using the HGH on two occasions in 2002.” “He denied any further usage of HGH during his career.”

        “On February 13, 2008, in an affidavit made public as part of a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform, Pettitte admitted to additional injections of HGH twice in one day in 2004, using HGH obtained via prescription for his seriously ill father.”

        It’s wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’m too lazy to find a more reputable source.

        Sounds like he used, admitted it (while lying about further use), then admitted that further use where he had used his critically ill relative to obtain some illegal drugs.

        • jjyank

          Ahh gotcha. Still though. He didn’t use after admitting to using.

          • LK

            Just like Ryan Braun never used at all, right?

            • jjyank

              I’m not sure I follow. I’m not even defending Andy here, I’m trying to help explain part of the reason why fans largely give him a pass.

              I don’t really give a shit about PEDs anymore to be perfectly honest. I don’t even have an opinion on Ryan Braun.

              • LK

                Oh I don’t give a shit about them at all. I think all this stuff should be legal, and we should see if Barry Bonds 2.0 can hit the 4 train to be perfectly honest.

                I was just pointing out that if you take any of these guys at their word, none of them come out looking so bad. People believe Andy’s case is different because they want it to be different, not because it is.

                • jjyank

                  Fair enough. And being a 24 year old who grew up idolizing Pettitte, I probably am one of those people. I still don’t think what he did was a big deal though.

                  • LK

                    I don’t think what he did was a big deal either. I just also don’t think what A-Rod/Bonds/etc. did was a big deal, and I’m in a very small minority there.

                    • jjyank

                      I’m kinda with you there. I’m certainly not enraged by it. I kinda wish they didn’t do PEDs, but I understand why they did.

                      All I want to happen now, is for baseball to move on. Put the penalties in place if you want to catch cheaters in the future, but I had all the mud-dragging that’s been going on.

      • WhittakerWalt

        Except that *initially* he lied about his PED usage, just like every other one of these “scumbags” that everyone hates so much.
        So why is Andy different?

        • jjyank

          Because I don’t really consider HGH a PED, that’s why. I don’t really see the “performance enhancing” part of the acronym when Andy used HGH to recover from an injury faster. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me, to be perfectly honest.

          • Preston

            HGH literally stimulates growth. It’s the reason Barry Bonds and Mark Mcgwire’s hat and shoe sizes changed in their late 30′s, they literally started growing again. If used in short dosages for an injury it will help you heal, if abused it turns you into a freakish cave man.

            • jjyank

              Okay. But we don’t really have any reason to believe that Andy did abuse it.

              • WhittakerWalt

                He used it and lied. If he was a different player, someone who’s not Andy Pettitte, we’d never take his word about anything ever again. His story wouldn’t pass the smell test.
                But we like Andy and he has a cute drawl, so it’s all OK when he does it.

                • jjyank

                  That’s your opinion. Not mine. I wouldn’t give a shit if Andy was a Sand Diego Padre either.

                  • WhittakerWalt

                    Which part is my opinion? I was observing, not stating my own opinion.

        • Preston

          Andy Pettitte, is a sincere and nice guy. I’m a big A-Rod defender but the guys an ass, he has a messed up personal life. And before we bring race or ethnicity into it, Big Papi has similarly avoided trouble from the leak that he tested positive and he didn’t even admit to it, the results of his investigation into how the failed test could have possibly happened are still pending. Moral is, we’re willing to forgive a nice, affable guy who’s a cheat. We are not willing to do the same for a vain and egotistical, ass. So really this has little to do with steroids and is more of a popularity contest. Barry Bonds and A-Rod are easily to of the least liked players and guess who the two poster children of steroids are.

          • WhittakerWalt

            Except that’s a completely horseshit way to clean up the sport – if that’s really what any of this is about. If it’s wrong, it should be wrong even if the guy who breaks the rules is someone we like.
            HGH is a banned substance and Pettitte lied about his usage. I don’t see anyone calling for his head, and that’s totally arbitrary.

            • Preston

              The punishments handed out have been for violating the rules. I don’t think any of it is a popularity contest. They will pursue the evidence they have. The public opinion reaction is a totally different story, and yes it is horseshit.

              • WhittakerWalt

                So why don’t they go after everyone who showed up on the Mitchell Report? Those are official documents of cheating, but none of that seems to matter. Not when they have the big shiny prize of ARod to aim for.

                • Preston

                  Because steroids weren’t outlawed by baseball at the time. So how can you punish players for breaking a rule that wasn’t in place? Now there are rules in place and baseball should punish accordingly.

  • Paul D

    One thing that cannot be quantified is what affect do these drugs have on performance? Some say little to none, however, you could take the opposite view that says some of these guys have been using since high school and would never have had the talent to make it to the majors without performance enhancers. I do not think this can be dismissed even for guys that are assumed to be as naturally talented like A-Rod and Braun.

    • vicki

      i can’t guess about kids today, but of course players of arod’s generation started in high school. anyone who took his career seriously sought every edge he could get. i believe that includes some sacred cows who i won’t name here.

  • Darren

    Sorry, but until the owners install a real commissioner, they have ZERO credibility and I hope the players continue cheating and getting away with it.

    SELIG AND EVERY SINGLE OWNER KNEW ABOUT STEROIDS IN THE ’90S AND NOBODY GAVE A FUCK.

    N word please, are you seriously telling me Selig knew nohting about it, and NOW he’s the sheriff riding in to town to clean it up. That fucking joker played a huge role in the fact that numbers mean nothing, lots of players are going to suffer bad health, and every single great year has an asterisk.

    • WhittakerWalt

      It seems pretty arbitrary and vindictive to be doing all this now. Does anyone really think the owners give a shit?

      • vicki

        this.

        note to hypocrites: steroids saved your sport from irrelevance after the embarrassment that was the strike.

      • Darren

        Hypocritical lip service and bullshit.

        Like the owners care.

      • Preston

        The owners started to care the moment the fans did, which was around the time that the single season HR record became a joke and was broken by one of the least popular players in the history of the game.

        • WhittakerWalt

          Yeah, except the record actually fell 3 years earlier, to two players who were adored by the fans (and Mike Lupica), and the result of that was *crickets*
          So basically if it wasn’t for Barry Bonds we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

          • Preston

            I agree, going back to my point about player popularity. I also think that there was a factor of uniqueness. HR record chases were supposed to be special once in a lifetime thing. Everyody was ready for one when Mac and Sammy did it. When Bonds did it, it began to feel cheap. Not defending it, it just is what it is.

    • Pasqua

      Agreed 100%. I echo this sentiment below.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    I find it shocking that any athlete would ever use performance enhancing drugs. I guess this is the slippery slope we come to after we’ve allowed Gatorade to take over sports instead of good old fashioned natural refreshments like water. Ryan Braun owes the state of Wisconsin an apology. He should behave like other legends of Wisconsin sports that conduct themselves with integrity, like Brett Favre. Wisconsinites deserve a clean hero that would never dirty himself or his team, like Clay Matthews.

  • Pasqua

    I don’t like the idea of giving the league / individual teams the right to void a contract or pay a player on a “downside guarantee.” Reason being, it paints the league and the organizations as the “wronged party” who now get to enact some kind of justice or retribution when, in reality, EVERYBODY knew that PED’s were part of the game and chose (for years) to turn a blind eye because the drugs played a part in funneling tons o’ money back into the game. To give ownership the right to essentially shred a contract is like treating the accomplice to a crime as a victim.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Matthew Warden

      I agree with you Pasqua, to an extent. Over the last 10 years or so (probably longer), the league (and ownership) has not only known about substance abuse, but passively (if not actively) encouraged it.

      I think if the goal is to have a clean league now though, ultimately the league and the teams will have to comply with a new code of conduct, and will have too encourage its players to do so as well. Presumably, this shifts the burden of accountability onto the players heading forward since they now exist in an environment with new defined expectations.

  • OldYanksFan

    Many people here are off topic. The topic is NOT ‘should PEDs be allowed in MLB’. The topic IS what deterents should be used to enforce CURRENT rules in MLB.

    While speed limits on certain roads have been changed, and reefer laws are changing (in some areas), whatever the current laws are, there is a system of deterents in place to ‘motivate’ people to adhere to the law.

    Maybe one day PEDs will be allowed in MLB. But they are not now. And over the last 5 or so years, MLB’s policies on PEDs have been explicitly expressed. There is ‘no ignorance of the law’ excuse anymore.

    A batter does not get 4 strikes.
    A batter does not get awarded 1st base after 3 balls.
    These are the rules.
    And they apply equally to all players.

    In MLB, PEDs are illegal, and many folks, including many players, very much want to see them eliminated from the game. Thusly, we have ‘deterents’.

    What this post questions, is are the current deterents effective in helping to eliminate PEDs in MLB. And I think the answer is an obvious NO.

    We need stronger deterents to effectively enforce the current MLB policy on PEDs.
    For me, it’s one year suspension and optional voiding of a contract for the 1st offense, and a total ban (ala Pete Rose) from baseball on the 2nd offense.

    (and really…. LSD is a performance enhancer? Not any of he shit I’ve done!)

  • Rizi Walnutz

    Void contract. That’s it. Once you do these substances you become less when you stop. You are more prone go injury. You’re worth-less.

  • Matt s

    Very pragmatic solutions regarding the increased penalties. Financial gain is definitely the motivating factor for most players and this would address that problem. I consider myself pro-union too but I think harsher penalties protects the players and encourages a healthier athlete.

    Regarding the debate above..the danger of anabolic steroids should not be minimized. They seriously can fuck up your body regardless of how “responsibly” they are used. HGH on the other hand could be regulated and used for injured players to recover faster I think I would be okay with that.

  • Csonk

    Morality issue v historical issue…
    I don’t care if Joe-blow takes roids’, thats his business. Altering one’s DNA is messin’ with an area where NOBODY knows what the future holds. However, in baseball, there are historical records that define the game & they becomes distorted when one individual utilizes artificial means to create the historical reference of his day. We (fans) are left with no reference point. We cannot ‘compare’ Babe Ruth & Alex Rodriquez….hell, the game within itself has done a relatively poor job allowing that to be taken from us….lowered pitcher’s mound, armor to take fear out of being hit, taking away the brushback pitch as a strategy, and making the strike zone rediculously small – add in the science of actually building your body via strength training (w/out the PED’s) and the Babe wouldv’e hit 1,000 HRs. Back on topic – with the level of ‘enhancement’ available out there it cannot be a level playing field if one can do & another cannot, or will not, artificially. So they have to be removed from the game. The only way to do this – aside from ridding the game of the total ass-clown that is Bud Selig (who is LARGELY responsible for where the state of affairs finds itself today), is to harshen the consequence.
    1st offense = 1 yr. ban/suspension w/out pay – followed by monthly testing the remainder of a career and a 50% reduction in contractual obligation for the 1st year back.
    2nd offense = GONE, lifetime ban with no opportunity for reinstatement. Contract null & void.

  • deadrody

    How about, after your first offense, your contract immediately goes from guaranteed to 100% non-guaranteed, just like an NFL contract.

    Then, when you come back and suck, the team can cut you at any time with no consequence to the team.

  • OldYanksFan

    The Midget is not dumb!

    Mighty Mouse
    ———— 2B HR
    Home: 168 53 .322 .387 .502 .889
    Away: 102 43 .284 .354 .412 .766

    Lazy Dominican
    ———— 2B HR
    Home: 151 107 .301 .347 .502 .849
    Away: 202 091 .314 .360 .506 .866

    So Robbie is elite wherever he goes.
    The Midget is only worth talking about in Fenway.