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Mike Trout is pro-lifetime bans for first time PED offenders

Aug 12, 2013, 5:11 PM EST

Mike Trout Getty Images

Add Mike Trout to the growing Get Tough crowd among major league ballplayers. He was on the Boomer and Carton show today and said:

“I think MLB is definitely moving in the right direction with getting these guys. For me personally, I think you should be out of the game if you get caught. It takes away from the guys that are working hard every day and doing it all-natural. Some people are just trying to find that extra edge.”

He’s not the first player to say such a thing. He may be the best to have said it. And it’s just further evidence that we’re going to see players be receptive to any league overtures about toughening up the PED penalties, possibly as soon as this winter.

As for how that ultimately goes? As we’ve noted several times around these parts, it’s one thing to say “let’s get tough.” It’s another thing altogether to put a plan in place that is fair and won’t lead to guys losing their careers or contracts over false positives, inadvertent ingestion of banned substances and the like. And if you do build safeguards against such things into the system, you may be altering the overall framework significantly, from one of zero tolerance and automatic suspensions to one in which every positive test leads to, in effect, a fully-litigated court case.

Which, sure, if that’s the system they want, that’s the system they can create. But I do think their answers about that would be very different if asked in a meeting in which actual plans were on the table vs. being asked in a talk radio context where the overall assumption is that everyone agrees at the outset and no one poses the tough questions and hypotheticals to the players.

  1. earpaniac - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Can’t they just put out a list of everything that is “ok” to take? If a player wants to take something that’s not on the list, he submits it to MLB, pays for the testing and if its ok, he’s good to go. I don’t see what the big deal is.

    • mvp43 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Yes, I don’t see why that can’t be done. Maybe it just makes too much sense, that’s why?

    • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      I’ve actually wondered why the union does not come up with an ‘approved’ list of supplements that are known good, as well as strike a deal with suppliers who can guarantee the supply chain for those supplements.

      Or, alternately, they could just educate the athletes that that stuff really does nothing for them so they can stop wasting their money. Not that they’d believe it of course, but everyone wants to believe a magic pill can make them better I guess.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        I’ve actually wondered why the union does not come up with an ‘approved’ list of supplements that are known good, as well as strike a deal with suppliers who can guarantee the supply chain for those supplements.

        Opens the MLBPA up to a huge liability, because as ez mentions below, not everything is listed in the ingredients in supplements. So MLBPA supports one supplement, someone dies, guess who is getting sued?

      • Reflex - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        I guess that’s my point, athlete approved supplements would actually have a guaranteed supply chain, including liability agreements. It produces an accountability chain, and if something happens they know exactly what to blame.

        It would also open the doors to actual empirical testing of these supplements in a controlled fashion.

    • ezthinking - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      Quite an easy answer. There is a list of banned substances. Trouble is manufacturers are less than forthcoming on the contents of their products. Then you have new products and the entire supplement market that don’t have to pass FDA and so its all a gamble on what’s in a product. Then there’s dropping someone a mickey in a drink to get them to pee hot. You think there isn’t a fan so obsessed as to dose a player who is the rival of their team? Fans have killed other fans, what’s some dose in a drink if a hot pee could end a career?

      Some problems are simple. Some solutions are complex.

      • mornelithe - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Ban for first abuse that’s proved intentional? 50g if MLB can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt?

    • surefooted1 - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      The NFL and NFLPA used to have an approved supplement list but did away with it in 2011.

      http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/7/29/4569638/nfl-nflpa-supplement-list-suspensions-peds

  2. tbutler704 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Mike Trout is a good kid from New Jersey. Just like myself as well as our next President.

    • js20011041 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Cool story, bro.

    • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Yeah, I’m looking forward to Corey Booker’s run myself. Might not be 2016 though, seems too soon…

      • mybrunoblog - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        Yeah Corey Booker has done such an incredible job running the City of Newark his future is bright. I may even vacation in Newark this summer it’s gotten so beautiful there. Oh, wait a minute…..

      • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        You may wish to reset your expectations for what a mayor is personally capable of or responsible for in a certain timeframe…

      • cohnjusack - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        Hey Bruno,

        (note: I don’t think most mayors have the ability to produce large scale change as cities are largely affected by things pretty far outside of their control. But things certainly haven’t gotten worse under Booker

        Booker took over as Mayor in 2006. Here are 2011 statistics v. 2005 statisitics

        http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Newark-New-Jersey.html:

        Homicide: down 10%
        Rape: Down 33%
        Assault: Down Down 20%
        Arson: Down 72%

        So, crime is down. What about employment?

        Unemployment in Newark is up about 61%
        BUT, unemployment across the US as a whole is up 57%, so that’s basically a wash

        I can’t find any annualized data on household income to really make a comparison. But I certainly can’t find anything pointing to Booker being worse for Newark. He took over a shit city that is still pretty shitty, but now not quite as dangerous. What else did you expect?

    • autmorsautlibertas - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      tbutler704 must be referring to the turncoat tub of lard, Chris Christie. Booker does not even stand a chance of gaining the nomination even if Hillary does not run.

  3. misterj167 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Nice to see, when someone is about to cut you throat (metaphorically speaking), you gladly hand them the knife.

    What happens if Trout ever gets a false positive? It’s not like that never happens after all. Would he just walk away from the game?

    • misterj167 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      “cut your throat…damn typos

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I am in favor of a lifetime ban for any baseball player who appears in cheesy Head and Shoulders commercials!

    • youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      The halos would lose half of their team on that policy.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Yep! Players who live in a glass house should be careful where they throw stones.

      • km9000 - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Wait, so an Angels player has actually advocated banning players who appear in Head and Shoulders commercials? Huh.

  5. rickyspanish - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Define “all natural”.

    • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      No shit. I love asking people that. I also love asking the anti-GMO people to show me a non-GMO food.

      • fraudguy - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Those were naturally modified foods, created by killing off any strains that didn’t conform to our exacting standards.

      • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        What is natural about that? And what about hybridization?

  6. paperlions - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    How did we get to the point that over a few years attitudes changed from “who gives a crap?”, which was the attitude of nearly everyone 15 years ago….to “Ban ‘em on the first positive!”

    This feels like the logical conclusion of illogical and unnecessary oneupsmanship: “Oh, you think a player should get a life time on the first failed test? Well, I am tougher on steroids and thing they should be banned for life just for walking into GNC. You can’t be too, careful.”

    Considering what is at stake, which is actually almost nothing in the grand scheme of things. I have no idea why a flat 1-year ban for each offense wouldn’t work just fine. Fail a test, gone for a year. Fail another one, gone for another year. Careers are short and primes are even shorter, a few failed tests would essentially be a life-time ban for most players.

    • Reflex - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      Stop being so logical on this! Steroids defy all logic!

  7. philsieg - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    It’s wonderful to be young and infallible.

    • southofheaven81 - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Seriously. Let’s see how he feels in 8 years, when the aches really set in…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Eddie Harris: Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeo up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up I just…
        Eddie Harris: [wipes his nose]
        Eddie Harris: …wipe my nose.
        Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball?
        Eddie Harris: I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.

  8. cocheese000 - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Trout is one to talk considering he was juicing on that one episode of jersey shore….

  9. antaresrex - Aug 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    To the MLB and the PA: copy and paste the WADA Code into your next CBA, gentlemen. S.O.P. is generally two years for the first failed test, life for the second, plus specific guidelines for other flavors of violations.

    The fact that the WADA allows two strikes for all but the most egregious offenses makes the calls for zero tolerance look overly reactionary. Consider also that the NFL policy isn’t nearly as restrictive – and who was the last NFL player to say that their drug policy wasn’t strong enough?

    • ezthinking - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      WADA wants to ban caffeine as a PED. Think about that with you next cup of joe, soda, red bull, …

      • antaresrex - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        I’m not saying they need to have the same list of banned substances – only that the sanctions seem reasonable.

    • clemente2 - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      You should look more into WADA–it is a perfect case of a policing mechanism taking over the operations of the whole organization. WADA exists to exercise WADA power. Do not wish it on baseball.

      • antaresrex - Aug 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        Well, I don’t want for one second to see WADA actually in charge of anything having to do with MLB, lest you get the wrong idea.

        I’d like to get back to the topic by arguing the merits of a two-strike policy against a zero-tolerance policy. I feel like if it weren’t for home runs being ruined forever, people wouldn’t be so outraged. The calls for zero-tolerance seems to lend credence to the accusations of “witch hunt.” Two years for the first offense seems long enough to have a pronounced effect on a player’s career.

  10. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    They are ALL into big bans for 1st time users…until the day they get caught.

  11. gatorjr - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    A-Rod is a cheating BABY and should be banned and his contract voided and he should be fined 50 to 60 thousand!!!

  12. Walk - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    There is a number that players can call to see if a substance is banned on not. If any of the sports I watch moves to using the wada for banned substances I am quitting watching that sport. The clowns at the wada should not be encouraged. Note that alcohol and a lot of heart medicine and blood pressure meds are listed at only a cursory glance.

    http://list.wada-ama.org/by-substance/

    • Kevin S. - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Ask JC Romero how calling the hotline worked out for him.

  13. losanginsight - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Come on Trout. You know your 1st baseman has 8 years left on his contract. Why do you want to ban Albert?

    • cocheese000 - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      Trout is a company man.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Arte and company probably wouldn’t mind Pujols getting the heave-ho.

  14. edelmanfanclub - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    I have this discussion so frequently. People make mistakes, so I think a first time offense should be suspension for a year. Second time should be a ban. Two times means you just don’t get it or care.

    • km9000 - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      If the mistake you’re referring to is a false positive, then yeah, that’s probably why they won’t go to a lifetime ban for a first offense. If you’re referring to a player deliberately and repeatedly using steroids, I think calling it a mistake is too generous.

      • edelmanfanclub - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        The mistake is taking something that would cause ONE positive test. That is wrong, but I can understand why athletes do it (competitive edge). That warrants a suspensions. Second positive test means they didn’t learn from their original mistake and don’t deserve the privilege to play in the MLB and they should be banned.

  15. romoscollarbone - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    None of these biogenesis guys failed a test. So was that Trouts way of saying this is all hooey. I’m all for cleaning things up. But it rubs me the wrong way that handwritten notes and a disgruntled employee are what brought all this to light.

  16. joerevs300 - Aug 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    You are not going to solve this problem outside of a lifetime ban for a 1st offense, period. It’s a lot more out of control then the players want us to believe.

    If you’re dumb enough to not completely check through what you are putting into your body, and it makes you a false (or real) positive, is that supposed to be the professional sport’s fault that you participate in because they didn’t promote the “banned” list enough (My favorite current one is the “Adderall” excuse in the NFL, there has been no less then 5-10 players suspended for that over the past year…either a lot of them truly have ADHD or hyperactivity, or someone figured out using that could gain a significant edge in competition. One or the other).

    It’s highly unlikely a player’s “A” and “B” sample are going to produce a false positive, so I fail to see where that has any relevance. If they truly AREN’T doing PED’s, their B sample will be negative and they’ll be fine.

    The only other alternative is to have no policy at all. Let the cheaters cheat. Open season. Let Bonds, Sosa and all the PEDer’s into the HOF. Why need a policy if it’s going to hit innocent people?

    • cggarb - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      “You are not going to solve this problem outside of a lifetime ban for a 1st offense, period. It’s a lot more out of control then the players want us to believe.”

      The only steroid problem in baseball is the one that Bud Selig and the late-to-the-party media scolds have created.

      The NFL is just fine. Of course, it’s likely that all those guys are clean, right?

  17. onbucky96 - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    All natural? Come on Mike, we all know the best things in SoCal are made of plastic.

  18. foreverchipper10 - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    If the suspensions are increased why not go to an 81-game, one year and lifetime ban? It stiffens the penalty and allows wiggle room in case of a false positive. Who is to say that someone’s dinner can’t be spiked somewhere by a rival fanbase just to have a star player thrown out of the game forever? I understand that the players want it out of the game and I do too but a zero tolerance policy doesn’t account for every variable.

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