SportsProf

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Baseball's House Afire

Wow.

First, Jose Canseco tells all, and, yes, for the Major League Baseball Players Association Canseco's book is the equivalent of Mrs. O'Leary's cow. Canseco kicked over the lantern, so to speak, and, in the process, gave Commissioner Bud Selig the fuel to burn down Donald Fehr's one-time fireproof house to the ground. Think Bobby "The Brain" Heenan smacks down legendary Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin. From agreeing to a wimpy 10-day suspension for a first-time violator of the steroids policy to demanding a 50-game suspension for the same offenses with, seemingly, the U.S. Congress acting as his tag-team partner, Selig is now a man on a rampage. Think of your high school classmate with the runny nose who always forgot his homework who comes back to your reunion with the starlet on his arm and millions of bucks in the bank because he invented something to make toilets work better.

That's Bud Selig today.

And now this.

On top of all this. And this. And this.

How many other cleats are going to drop in this seemingly neverending saga?

Okay, so you don't like Jose Canseco, he was flamboyant, undisciplined, failed to get the most out of his talent, and so forth. But with Tom House, you have the guy who caught Hank Aaron's 715th HR while standing in the Braves' bullpen and who made a name for himself as a pitching coach. Will baseball's spin machine come out in full force and try to discredit House? Or, will House, who probably has more credibility than Canseco (that's probably a safe bet, but we shouldn't talk about those either), be the dagger that the one-time 98-pound weakling Bud Selig uses to put the players' union in a bad place and keep it there?

Will the players' union master House, or will House master baseball?

Who would have thunk it?

But after you get over the big story, the equivalent, potentially, of Buster Douglas's beating Mike Tyson, then you have to look at the real result -- that baseball will have a meaningful drug policy that addresses steroids, human growth hormone and amphetamines. All within the shadow of potential threats of the U.S. Congress to step in and impose rules itself.

See what Congress can do when it really puts its mind to it?

But this battle is far from over, either. Don Fehr and Gene Orza won't simply roll over on this one.

You can bet on that, too.

Because there's one thing when you turn into a potential champion from being the 98-pound weakling. People will start wanting to take shots at you, too.

Even when they're fighting an uphill battle.

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