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Will MLB Play Hardball or Pitch Out in Recent Scandal?

Following in one of the myriad of articles about A-Rod and his possible ban from Baseball.

Here’s the summary:

  1. Word around the MLB camp-fire is that unless A-Rod caves in and undergoes a lengthy (200 game is the number rumored) suspension he may be banned for life.
  2. There is a possibility that he will be suspended from life which would keep him eligible for Hall of Fame.
  3. A-Rod was involved in recruiting other players for enhanced drugs (14) many of whom would face lengthy suspensions (most 50 days as 1st time violators)

The bottom line is that these players including MIL OF Braun violated well known rules regarding performance enhancing Drugs.  There is a big difference between working within the game – the spit ball of lore comes to mind.  The use of Performance Enhancement Drugs does as much much damage as the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 and Pete Rose betting on baseball games while he was a manager. 

It’s really time that baseball take the needed measure of doing what was done to those others who ruined the honesty of the game, ban them for life – no reprieve. The same should be done to juicers Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and yes, Barry Bonds.  They should have their records removed from the history books.  Thankfully the HOF committee has seen fit to keep this troika of cheaters well down in the ballot, but that doesn’t go far enough.

Roger Maris “earned” his record of 61 HR’s even with eight extra games and despite his taciturn nature is a credit to the game.  The same can be said for Hank Aaron who was basically scandal free in his career.  True it is believed that he used “greenies” pep pills but to compare the stimulant effect to what has gone on since the late 90’s is just stupidity.

Here’s the solution to avoid arbitrary enforcement.  Use of performance and body enhancing drugs is a lifetime ban on the first offense.  The players know the rules and while this deprives them of an income it does nothing else.  Today, countless everyday life people face harsh penalties for drug use, DWI etc.  By making the sport clean, as Landis did in 1920 – and yes he had his faults which were legion, the game was put above-board.

I could care less if a person using drugs whether they are narcotics or performance enhancement drugs in their personal life.  However, when baseball gives a slap on the wrist compared to the “millions” that the players gain by breaking the rules – the temptation is too much for many of them.  Ban them and be done with it. 

Drug testing of this sort is not a violation of life or liberty.  It has no punishment other than exclusion from a job due to violation of rules. The same needs to be said though of “all” members of society, particularly those who are in the “elite” class.  Firm application of sanctions sends messages that justice is equal and should in reality be blind far more often than current practice to mitigating circumstances. 

A-Rod – the other three players, and numerous others with Braun at nearly the top of the list deserve the special status afforded to Rose, Gandil, Cicotte, Shoeless Joe, Williams, Risberg, Felsch, Buck Williams, and McMullen.  Ban them for life as a very real lesson that the game is greater than any one or small group of players.

I am not saying he is a saint, but I remember when the Jeter/A-Rod comparison started.  I was laughed at by many when I said Jeter was by far the better player because of the Rings on his fingers and who he was and what he meant to the team.  I was right.  Baseball needs more players like Jeter who epitomize what is good about the game and what “can” be good about society.  Hard work, self sacrifice and a commitment to excellence are all models – and it may sound corny – which baseball can emulate to society at large. 

Baseball has been at its best when it has been ahead of the curve – Jackie Robinson in ’47 (which was way too late) is an example as well as rightfully pausing when Dr. King was murdered in 68 along with some teams and many players offering the same sign of respect to Senator Kennedy later in that horrible year of 1968. 

Equity and integrity at times must take precedence over the concept of “the free pass” which is “never” to be confused with Mercy as that trait requires another losing what is most dear for the good of another.  It’s time for MLB to play hardball with these guys and to not “pitch around” this issue.

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Will MLB Play Hardball or Pitch Out in Recent Scandal?


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