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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Showdown at the OK Corral: MLB Might Seek To Suspend 20 Players Because of PEDs Use

They ignored it for a while.

A long while.

They celebrated the (inflated) statistics of the (inflated) users.

The Lords of Baseball profited.  You, yourselves, needed a financial PED after the disaster that was the 1994 season (the one that resulted in a labor dispute and cancellation of the World Series).

The Knights of the Keyboard marveled.  Yes, you, Messrs. Olney, Stark, Kurkjian, Verducci, Gammons.  You didn't question.  You marveled at the Herculean numbers. 

Hall of Fame considerations are now a mess. 

But somehow, some way, even if too late to nail the worst abusers during the worst period, Major League Baseball could be taking a stand

No doubt, the MLBPA will be taking one, too.  They will defend all players to the max.  Bet on that.  They'll do so under the theory that if they were to give an inch, MLB will try to take a mile and reserve all gains that the union has gotten since its inception.  That's how they'll think.

The Lords have self-inflicted so much embarrassment and humilation that they have to be worried.  The same way match-fixing has undermined the integrity of some international soccer leagues, PEDs have undermined the integrity of the game.  Many fewer are playing baseball and watching it since, say, 30 years ago. 

Today on ESPN Radio, I heard a good explanation regarding the loophole in the system -- the "three strikes and you're out rule."  That enables ballplayers -- such as Melky Cabrera -- to make a business decision (brushing up against the rules) to make about $16 million over the time that he's run afoul of the rules.  The reason the players are daring here is because they get three strikes.  At the third strike, they'll get banned.  Some players -- according to the reporter on ESPN -- have suggested fixing this loophole to enable MLB to ban a player on his second violation.  Some fans would say that's even too lenient.  But the fact of the matter remains that if the rules enable someone to make $16 million over a time when he cheated, they are bad rules. 

This ought to be a bigger battle than a pennant race between the Red Sox and Yankees.  The stakes are huge -- money for players and the long-term integrity and credibility of the game for everyone.

It's about time.


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