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MLB really has no plan when it comes to PED punishment

Sep 21, 2012, 5:45 PM EDT

Bud Selig

I often defend baseball’s PED testing regime. I think its official punishments are good. Fifty games is a lot for a first offense, as are the financial penalties that go along with the suspensions.  But it really has no clue what it’s doing when it comes to secondary sanctions like the one we saw imposed today on Melky Cabrera.

Was it not foreseeable that a person who tests positive for PEDs might one day win a batting title or an ERA crown?  Apparently not, because it wasn’t an issue until Melky tested positive and Andrew McCutchen‘s hitting fell off a bit.  Now there’s all this unsatisfying scrambling.

Thing about is, just this year Major League Baseball was thinking about things like this.  It passed a rule making PED-positive players ineligible for the All-Star Game.  Why didn’t it think about statistical or postseason awards then?  Where was the imagination? Why was what seems so dreadful now — a PED cheat winning the batting title — not a looming menace then?  And what about other problems? Just this week 30 players were nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award. What if one of them tests positive after they win? Do we retroactively take it away? Or do we realize that, heck, David Ortiz won it last year, so why should we even care about such things now?

I think no one thought too hard about it because, in reality, baseball think about it like I do, and no one at Major League Baseball truly cares about such things.  It only becomes an issue when people in the press start grumbling about it or asking Bud Selig about it at press conferences.  Then some negative public relations-adverse reaction occurs, leading to ad hoc rules like the Melky Cabrera Rule.

Major League Baseball will get a lot of pats on the back and atta-boys as a result of this.  But let’s not pretend that this is some sort of well-though-out thing as opposed to a way to get out of some bad P.R.

  1. phillyphever - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Craig, enough already. This is getting old.

    • meteor32 - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Enough telling the writers what they should and shouldn’t post on their own blog. It’s been old for quite some time.

    • Reflex - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      MLB are the ones who made the issue public again.

  2. thebadguyswon - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Thing is, almost every baseball fan you meet couldn’t care less about PEDs.

    But the whole “MLB has no plan when it comes to PED punishment” shouldn’t surprise anyone with Bud Selig at the helm.

  3. willclarkgameface - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    I bet Selig got Melky and his reps behind closed doors and told them to piss and moan in public so the egg on the PED face of MLB isn’t as bad as it should have been.

    Melky should have won that batting title and just because Bud saw that it was probably going to happen I think he finally got off his used car salesman ass and tried to cover it up.

    Bud sucks. We need a new commish.

  4. psunick - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Why on earth does Selig get blamed for this?

    – Cabrera took the steroids

    – the rule is stupid to begin with (wait until the NFL tries it for the QB rating. “If he had played, and threw 40 incomplete passes, he would win!)

    – all parties agreed to this action.

    I just think that, when writers have nothing to write about, they use the “Bud Selig is ruining baseball” angle.

    But, he isn’t.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      “the rule is stupid” is a silly argument. For it is a rule, just like any other baseball rule. I think the save rule is stupid. Shall we ignore that too?

  5. psunick - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Maybe so.

    But, the All-Time Award for the stupidest sports rule ever?

    The “Tuck Rule”

  6. fuddpucker - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    I think the most important thing to come out of this issue is that PED’s are still a huge problem in baseball’s cheating culture.

    If players in KC (Melky, Frenchy) are using PED’s then it’s just rampant throughout the league.

  7. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Or an MVP… Yea I’m talkin to you Ryan Fraud

    • bla bla bla - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

      Yeah… because now that Braun’s off the juice his numbers are way dow…. no, wait, that’s not it.

      Oh yeah… because his numbers last year were so much better than they had ever been befo…. no, that’s not it either.


      • saints97 - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM

        He still tested positive.

      • Glenn - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        He could very well still be using PEDs. The idea that just because someone has not been caught means that they are innocent is naive. Baseball is not clean just because there is testing. It is not hard to beat the MLB protocol. Cycling and the Olympics have much more rigorous testing and athletes in those endeavors cheat on a regular basis. I have no idea if Ryan Braun is cheating or not, but you cannot say for sure that he is not.

      • willclarkgameface - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:54 AM

        Braun did test positive.

        And are you going to sit there and believe that MLB players aren’t a step ahead of Buddy boy’s PED list? Please. While I don’t believe that most of the individual athletes are all that smart, the chemical technicians they hire to keep them “in shape” are in fact smart and I do believe that the players do get the real deal conversation of what exactly is going into their bodies.

        (most) Players are NOT clean. If you believe that, you’re just silly. There is too much money at risk and as we’ve seen over the last 30 years of baseball, that’s really all that matters in the end. Any time money is involved in American conversation, it always wins.

    • Lukehart80 - Sep 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      As someone pointed out earlier today, disqualifying Cabrera from the batting title means that Ryan Braun hit .500 or so for the next two weeks and McCutchen and Posey both slump, Braun could end up winning the Triple Crown, which would lead to some pretty hilarious doubling back and/or even more convoluted decisions by Selig.

      That would be a treat.

  8. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Yea what a great rule can’t Play in the all star game. That only effects players caught in the first 30 -35 games. After that suspension carries thru the all star game and obviously the second half of the season rule is null. Bud your a dope

  9. frn27 - Sep 22, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    I am and have been a very avid fan of baseball and I damn well care. Harsher rules, bigger consequences period. If any working man tests positive for an illegal substance say goodbye to your job. MLB gives you two chances and still let’s you win awards in the same season you get caught for using, dumb. First offense, 100 game suspension, your team gets wins taken away based on your WAR, sateam also gets fined. Make it know we don’t tolerate this in the slightest. How do we know steroids make a difference? Players wouldn’t be risking taking them if they didn’t. If nothing else they help with injury and recovery time. This isn’t rocket science. What about everyone else who is using that doesn’t get caught? If they haven’t gotten caught nothing you can do about them. That shouldn’t be a reason or excuse to not punish the ones who did get caught. Wake up! Bring integrity to what appears to be the most dirty game in sports. You use and there ate consequences, period. Why is this so difficult to understand or implement?

    • willclarkgameface - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      Harsher rules and bigger consequences are always on the tips of our tongues. I say can the offender for 162 games, no pay. And if he comes back and tests positive again, another 162 games, no pay.

      Wouldn’t THAT send a message? Like you said, those of us in the general work force would get fired for a positive test. These guys get to take a 50 game vacation, spending the millions they already made, only to come back and have their job waiting for them. It might not be there in playing time, but with the way these MLB contracts are allowed to exist, you ride the pine you still get paid so I ask again, what do these guys care?

      The problem with all of this is that the Union will strong-arm any attempt by Bud (mostly weak attempts) to clean up the game because they know their guys are using and they don’t think it’s fair to have such harsh penalties and that these guys need to provide for their families…boo fucking hoo…

      Don’t take drugs. It’s that easy. I know most of these dopes weren’t around in the 80s to hear Nancy Reagan preach about this shit, but it’s true in any decade: don’t do drugs.

      But again, this always comes back to the money and I just don’t think Bud, the owners, the players, or the fans for that matter want the game to be clean. And when I say fans I mean pink hat fans, the johnny-come-latelies that sit in the stands and text and use Facebook to post pictures of their $12 nachos.

      We watch a filthy, economically spoiled sport.

      Now what?

    • pasta09man - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      @frn27, I like your idea a lot. Games taken away from the Team based on your WAR. Even better, lets decrease your yearly statistical output by subtracting your WAR against your statistics. I’m talking to you Barry Bonds for an example. If you subtract each seasons WAR against each seasons HR totals. Bonds would have a revised carer HR total of 594 HR’s rather than 762. Still HOF worthy but not the all time Home Run King!

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