View Full Version : Tell the Baseball PED Users: One Strike, You're Out.

Tom Montgomery
08-05-2013, 01:14 PM
Excerpts from an opinion piece published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal penned by former Commissioner of MLB Fay Vincent:

The eminent Bart Giamatti—commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1989 before his untimely death—often spoke of why the rules of the game, indeed of all games, are inviolable. Games, he'd say, are defined by rules without which there can be no games. When rules are ignored, the event becomes entertainment and ceases to be a true athletic contest. The result is then professional wrestling or theater—but not sport.

My pal Bart comes to mind whenever I hear about the continuing saga of big-time players violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug policies or refusing to cooperate with MLB investigations....

Obviously we have learned that those who once dared pronounce—rather more hopefully than accurately—the end of baseball's so-called steroid era were wrong....

It is no longer possible to believe these performance-enhancing drugs are not an existential threat to all of competitive athletics, including the Olympic Games, the Tour de France and major professional sports. Sadly, college and even high-school sports are infected by drugs that kids take to be competitive. The undersize college football player who takes the human growth hormone to help him bulk up to 300 pounds so he can play is an often ignored part of the problem.

The full health risks of HGH and similar performance-enhancing substances and compounds are not yet fully known, but most experts believe there are adverse long-term consequences. The problem is real and, as the continuing Biogenesis scandal shows, getting worse. The solution requires the concerted efforts of our athletic and political leadership.

What's needed is an aggressive campaign—similar to the all-out war on illicit drug use and smoking—to end the use of these drugs. At present, many commentators and fans do not agree that the use of performance-enhancing drugs, at least at the professional level, is a problem. They argue that we should abandon this fight and let the players take any drug they wish so long as the games on the field go on. I remind them of Bart's wisdom. We cannot let things come to the point where the Yankees' success depends more on who their chemist is than on the quality of their pitching.

Clearly, the deterrent for use of these drugs at the professional level must be tougher. In Major League Baseball, a violation of the gambling prohibition results in permanent expulsion from the game. As a result, there is no gambling problem in baseball. The same punishment for a first-time drug violation is now warranted—one drug violation and a player is gone from the game, forever....

There is also the need for education and moral leadership to explain to all of those who play sports that cheating is simply wrong. It may seem odd to contend in a world often saturated by moral relativism that there is such a thing as an immoral act. But cheating at games—whether it be cycling, baseball, football or track and field—is wrong, and we had better begin to say so. Otherwise we risk, quite literally, losing all our games.

Mr. Vincent, a former commissioner of Major League Baseball, is the author of "It's What's Between the Lines That Counts" (Simon & Schuster, 2010), the third and final volume of an oral history of baseball.

Read the entire article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323610704578627733251552640.html?m od=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

08-05-2013, 02:44 PM
Honestly, I think the hysteria over the whole PED thing is way overblown and much too much ado about nothing. What does it matter if PED using batters face PED using pitchers with PED using fielders and runners in play?

BUT... if it does really matter, then Baseball has handled it very poorly.

If they REALLY want to get PED's out of baseball, they have to implement REAL penalties for the players AND the teams. Fay Vincent is on the right track, but he leaves out the most important participant in the situation - the TEAM.

Right now, there's absolutely NO penalty for the team when a player is suspended for PED use. In fact, it can be an ADVANTAGE for a team to lose a player for PED use because the suspended player's salary does not count against the salary cap as long as the player is suspended and the team isn't paying him while he's suspended. If a team is not contending for the playoffs and has a high priced player that suspended for half a season, what's the effect on the team? THEY SAVE MONEY! and they have cap room to maybe go out and hire another player. It actually works to the team's (and owner's) advantage.

Until the TEAM faces some significant penalties, there won't be any real effort to curb PED use. On the other hand, if the OWNERS start to take a financial hit when players are suspended, that will change the culture VERY quickly.

Persnally, I think that there should be a list of allowed PED's - HGH comes to mind because it helps players heal quickly from injurues and what's wrong with that ? - and regular mandatory testing. Anyone testing positive fore PED's not on the list will be immediately ineligible to play with pay pending a hearing and the player's team will have to continue to count the salary towards the cap if the player is suspended. That might be a step in the right direction.