What does the MLBPA and MLB Need to do Regarding Steroids?
The cat is officially out of the bag. As you probably already know Alex Rodriguez has fessed up to his steroid use after he was outed by seized failed drug tests from the Mitchell Report research. What happens now with Major League Baseball is the question that I have been thinking about all day.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this is the biggest black eye in the history of steroids. This is bigger than Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi and Andy Pettite put together. The problem with A-Rod is he was always that good. There was no spike with A-Rod, no huge body change, nothing that pointed directly to steroids (unlike Brady Anderson, et al), so when news came down that he had failed drug tests it seemed more malicious, like he had personally deceived me. I think this is the main reason we are going to see such backlash against the Yankee third baseman, the other being his incessant denial of ever using performance enhancing drugs. The one good thing he has done so far, however, is admit that he took them and was wrong. By taking the honest approach he has kept himself from getting into the same sort of trouble as his ex-teammate, Roger Clemens.
As he has admitted to it, and has at least apologized to the fans, let’s give him a small break for the time being, because there is a more pressing issue. What does Major League Baseball do about the other positive drug tests? Here is my idea. Release them. Release every name from every drug test ever taken since 2003 up until today. Let us know who was cheating. Let us ridicule them for a few months. Then let them go back out there and compete on an even playing field. Show everyone who the ones who took the easy route are, and let them take their beating, but here is the catch, from here on out, lifetime ban…
That’s right. No more 40 day suspensions. No more sweeping it under the carpet. No more secondary tests and appeals and excuses. Lifetime BAN. If you take steroids for any reason other than a doctor has prescribed them to you, you will never play the game of baseball in America again. Sound a little harsh? Fine. But try telling guys like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays why their records keep falling at the hands of guys with expanding biceps and head sizes. Ask Pete Rose if he thinks it’s fair that he isn’t in the Hall of Fame because he was gambling on his team, but guys like Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, McGwire, and the rest, will be given a fair shot to make it to Cooperstown (I’m not saying they will get in, but their names will at least be put on the ballots).
The “Steroid Era” happened. No one can deny it. I would not be surprised if over 15% of all baseball players in 2002 were juicing in some capacity. What would surprise me though, is if steroid cases didn’t drop dramatically if there was more than a wrist slap for a major violation. At this point we need to go ahead and write off 10 years of baseball. Between 1994-2004 stats will be inflated. Homeruns fell in bunches, balls were hit to the moon, we had utility guys hitting 25+ HRs a year all while looking like linebackers, so just forget it. Forget about that 10 year period. It’s over and those players will be punished for it at some point, either by the MLB, by the fans, or by their own bodies which will reject them after their playing days.
Major League Baseball needs to end this now. I am tired of having the sport I love marred by the use of PEDs. Do football players use steroids? Yes. Do basketball players? I don’t know, probably. Have you ever heard the names Ray Lewis, Ben Wallace, Marion Barber, Terrell Owens, or LeBron James linked with Performance Enhancing Drugs? No. But you have heard A-Rods. You’ve heard Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Jason Giambi’s. They are the equivalent of these guys to their respective sports. The household names. The role models (Ray Lewis and T. O. might be stretching that), the faces of their sport, and yet here they are, defacing it.
I’m not pinning this on A-Rod by any means, there have been countless numbers of stars who have disappointed an entire generation of baseball fans. McGwire and Sosa enthralled an entire country for a whole summer. They turned all of us into 1950’s apple pie Americans. That summer the resounding mindset was one of “aww shucks, let’s go to the park, grab a dog and a beer and watch these boys hit some dingers”. I woke up every morning to see if they had hit another one, paid attention to every detail of that Homerun Race, and loved every minute of it. Until now. Now that I know that the greatest homerun chase in history (next to Mantle and Maris) was done by two cheaters. They didn’t deserve that. They didn’t deserve anything. Without steroids, those guys might have been 30+ a year home run guys. They could have still been great, but we won’t ever know. We will never know how McGwire would have really stacked up to Babe Ruth. If Brady Anderson would have hit 10 HRs in a year, much less 50. And if Bonds would have ever come close to 755.
I think that is my main problem with the whole steroid issue. I think it most everyone’s main problem. We can’t compare the greats anymore. We now have no measuring stick to decide who the great ones really are. Mantle wasn’t on steroids, maybe drunk a few games but not on steroids. Babe Ruth looks like Fred Flintstone, but that didn’t keep him from breaking every record imaginable. Willie Mays didn’t take supplements to help him stay out there day in and day out. And Pete Rose didn’t use a thing but hustle to get to 4,000 hits.
Release the list. Let us know who the cheaters are. Allow the to take their lumps like A-Rod, and Giambi and Pettite have. Test the players harder, more often, and more stringently. Revise the rules. Change the penalties. Enforce them. Then kick everyone who has the audacity to spit in the face of the league, the fans, and the history of the great game the hell out when they do it again.