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Report: MLB not interested in tiered steroid penalties

Mar 13, 2013, 7:17 PM EDT

Bud Selig AP AP’s Ken Rosenthal reports that MLB has shot down a union plan that would set up different penalties for those who test positive for perf0rmance-enhancing drugs.

While the current system calls for a 50-game ban for a first violation, 100 games for a second a lifetime ban for a third, the union is reportedly open to harsher penalties for intended cheaters. One possibility for such a harsher penalty would be a one-year ban for a first violation and a lifetime ban for a second.

However, the only way the union would go that route is if the door was still open for unintended violators to serve lesser penalties. If a player could demonstrate that his positive test was the result of a tainted supplement, then the punishment could revert to 50 games.

Personally, I’m all for such a system; it’s fine to let the true cheaters rot if the door can be left ajar for someone who wasn’t necessarily trying to game the system. MLB, however, views such a plan as a non-starter, according to Rosenthal.

Baseball views different sets of punishments as impractical, sources say, believing it would be difficult to establish which players used intentionally and which did not.

To some players, the distinction is important, but baseball considers “strict liability” an important part of its program. Under strict liability, a person is responsible for his offense regardless of culpability.

Yes, it would be difficult to establish. But it’d also be worth it to try. A fringe player could essentially have his career ended by a one-year ban. Even if you can’t get it right all of the time, it’d still be worth adding that shade of grey to separate the black and white.

Anyway, such an idea seems out for now. Which likely means that union will be disinclined to any sort of changes to the current rules until the collective-bargaining agreement expires after 2016.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    What difference does it make if guys like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez can keep getting around the in-place testing system?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      When has Arod got around the in place testing system?

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:22 PM


        Biogenesis ring a bell?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:13 PM

        So you take handwritten notes that have just a player’s name on them, that are disputed by the attending “doctor” himself as gospel?

        I hope you aren’t a policeman.

      • dowhatifeellike - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM

        You’re right, he didn’t get around anything because he was found to be using in the Mitchell report. MLB just didn’t have a penalty for it at the time.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM

        Where there is smoke there is fire.

        And there is smoke emanating from A-Rod’s hip bones rubbing together from all his steroid abuse….

        Oh wait, that’s just circumstantial, much like Albert Belle’s hip problems….but then, he’d NEEEEEVER cheat either, right?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:38 AM

        Gator has already issued the verdict.

      • paperlions - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:41 AM

        Of course Church, that is how it works. Bosch is a liar and not to be believed, unless something he says or (allegedly) wrote by hand confirms what people want to believe, then it is 100% true and can be used as the basis for contract termination and (as far as I can tell) public hanging.

  2. hackerjay - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    If they did something like this, then wouldn’t all the labs just sell “tainted” supplements to all the players that wanted to cheat? Why not just have a hearing after the failed test where the player can plead their case. If they are found to have used unkowingly tainted supplements, then they don’t get a reduced punishment (if any). Otherwise, make it a year or whatever.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    It should be an automatic lifetime ban for samples that come back with obvious, no-way-that-could-happen-naturally results.

    Keep the tiered system for everything that falls into the grey area.

  4. elmo - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Expanding the gray area of “intent” can only make enforcement more complex and difficult.

  5. historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Ok, but it sounds like the burden is on the player to prove that it was unintentional. That would require more than just his word. MLB wouldn’t have to prove if it was intentional or not. It would be on the player to disprove it was intentional. There’s still an assumption of guilt then.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      Sounds like an unintentional intentional walk.

      All I know for certain is that Craig would never agree to this.

      • Old Gator - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        It’s immaterial. A tiered punishment system would be too confusing for a gibbering idiot like Bud Light anyway.

    • dowhatifeellike - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      It would be in MLB’s best interest for the league to provide free supplement testing. Do that and the “I didn’t know” excuse goes out the window, whether the player had his stuff tested or not.

  6. romoscollarbone - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    The contracts are worth too much to have quasi-subjective penalties that include banishment. I like 82, season, life. Also I wouldn’t be against a positive test making a players contract non guaranteed so if their production dips the team can wipe their hands.

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