Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Major League Baseball Hands Down Suspensions


If you have been following baseball at all in the past decade you might have heard that steroids have been a part of baseball. Furthermore, if you have been following baseball in the past three years you might have hard that steroids have and will be getting players suspended from baseball.
Well Monday, August 5, 2013 brought the biggest suspension to date in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB).
A total of 13 players including New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli, Detroit Tigers Jhonny Peralta, Texas Rangers Nelson Cruz, San Diego Padres Everth Cabrera, Seattle Mariners Jesus Montero, Philadelphia Phillies Antonio Bastardo, New York Mets Jordany Valdespin, minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Cesar Puello and Sergio Escalona, as well free agents Jordan Norberto and Fautino De Los Santos were on the list of players linked to Biogenesis.
All of the players except Rodriguez accepted their 50-game suspension on Monday.
Rodriguez who was subject to being suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and the entirety of the 2014 season, for a total of 211 to 214 games, is scheduled to appeal the ruling that will come down on Thursday, August 8, 2013.
A few other players, including a local one, Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon as well former San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera and San Diego Padres pitcher Yasmani Grandal will not serve any time this year as they had already served their 50-game suspensions last year and this year for their involvement with Biogenesis.
The announcement of the 13-player suspension comes on the heels of Milwaukee Brewers former MVP Award winner Ryan Braun being suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season, 65-games, for the same issue, performance enhancing drugs.
Braun who came up positive for elevated levels of testosterone after winning the MVP in 2011 was the first piece in the puzzle to go down this year.
Braun had publically denied the use of any performance enhancing drugs or steroids and threw the test collector for his urine sample under the bus in front of the MLB. But it was made clear this season that Braun had been using some form of performance enhancing drugs and he was a cheater, despite his lengthy denial of the situation.
While 13 players have been suspended so far, the biggest fish for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to fry, as it would be is Rodriguez.
Just over four years ago Rodriguez claimed to have used steroids for a three-year period while he was on the Texas Rangers, from 2001-2003. But he was not reprimanded because MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) had yet to come up with its current system for punishment.
In the week up to Monday’s suspensions Rodriguez and his publicists continued to deny that he had any involvement with Biogenesis or any other performance enhancing drugs outside of his admitted use from 2001-2003. Rodriguez and his camp also stated that the Yankees and MLB were plotting against him, to keep him off the field, and that the Yankees were trying to rid themselves of his large contract.
As of Monday afternoon neither the league nor the Yankees responded to the claims of Rodriguez or his group.
So what does this do for Major League Baseball?
Rodriguez, who is the frontrunner in all of these allegations was supposed to be the savior for baseball after Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds blemished the game of baseball by taking steroids and putting up inflated numbers.
Even so, Rodriguez was the youngest player to reach 500 home runs and again 600 home runs, and much like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa, he has now been linked to some form of performance enhancing drugs or steroids.
For baseball this is a deep wound that wont go away. It’s as if Bud Selig doesn’t want it to go away either. Almost as if he has some vendetta set out on this generation of baseball and their players to rid every player and their records of any recognition.
The current system of suspensions under commissioner Selig’s watch is 50-games for the first offense, 100-games for the second offense and a life long ban for the third offense is just making players work harder to play around the rules. All of the suspensions are without pay. In addition, another player can replace a suspended player on the active roster. If a player is on the disabled list, the suspension is served while on the disabled list.
What this looks like to me is that if player “X” gets caught once, “X” works twice as hard not to get caught a second time. After the second suspension for “X”, player “X” is now a liability for any team that wants to sign them because one more failed test and you lose that player for the season and for longer.
I believe the best way to deal with this is to raise the level of the punishment immediately. Make it clear that performance enhancing drug use like steroids  will  not be tolerated.
A first time suspension should be the remainder of the season, no matter what time frame. The second suspension should be the remainder of the season and a full season after. The third punishment for a positive drug test would be the same as the current one, a life long ban from baseball.
But this likely won’t happen because Selig, like any good business owner wants his business to succeed, and for baseball, performance-enhancing drugs are part of the game.
But for the players in the game and trying to move their way up the ranks and into the major league, it hurts their chances to do it the right way, the clean way with so many other players getting away with the usage.