Baseball’s war on steroids
Ian CroppCroppogandaUsing steroids is not OK, and we need to know this.Right now, steroids are treated with the same impunity as J-walking, but that is only if you are caught. Welcome to the wonderful world of baseball. Or should I call it the sovereign nation of baseball because the laws of the nation I am a citizen of don’t apply to MLB.
Here’s an example: Would it be OK for a business to inflate their financial records? No, unless that company happens to be the U.S. government. So, why is it OK for MLB to inflate its statistical records with steroids?For the past few years, MLB has tacitly approved steroids. There is the written policy on steroids that says they are illegal and you will be punished, and then there is the double secret memo that says, well, let’s ask Jose Canseco what it says.Even now, the MLB’s policy on steroid usage is laughable, and Bud Selig knows this. But what are we to expect when the juicing days of home run kings ushered in more fans and revenue for the game? MLB gave players carte blanche as long as they hit homers that brought home the bacon, but now the period of salutary neglect is over.Enter the period of crime and punishment. Dostoevsky would marvel at such a piece of fiction. For a positive test, players are “smacked” with a 10-day suspension without pay. A second positive test equals a 30-day suspension, a third positive test equals a 60-day suspension, and a forth positive test equals a one-year suspension. By the time someone tests positive for the forth time, I think they should be less worried about a suspension and more worried about their ability to procreate. Let’s take a look at a sport whose steroid policy is a little less anemic, track and field. This sport seems to get the message that steroids are bad, not only for your body, but for the integrity of the sport. That is why the U.S. track and field body adopted a zero tolerance policy for doping. That’s right, one positive test, and you’re banned for life. This may be too big of a step for MLB or other sports to take, but anything is better than the baby steps the players union let MLB take.There should be a one-year ban for first time usage, and a lifetime ban for the second infraction. Why is it that baseball players seem to think they deserve third, forth, and seventh chances? I didn’t think unions were used to establish an environment in which federal law is not applicable. Who am I kidding? The players union is less of a union, and more of a drug cartel.
What is more amazing is that baseball never took the initiative to crack down on its own. They should have realized that in due time, all the phonies are exposed. After all, Milli Vanilli’s lip-synching antics spelled an end to the band’s career. It finally took an intervention by the government to spark a change in MLB’s policy. In case you missed it, MLB’s appearance in front of Congress was a kangaroo court. I was waiting for Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan to argue the case, but I guess it wasn’t that important.After the spate of positive tests, including one by a non-patsy, Rafael Palmero, MLB continued its so-called hard-line stance. The league is now airing a commercial that shows what happen to your body if you use steroids. Too bad the commercial doesn’t air as often as MLB games, where the public can see what can happen if you do use steroids – you’ll earn fame and fortune. Let’s play a quick role-playing game to exemplify the impact of the MLB’s steroid policy. The MLB will be a dad, and I’ll be a 10-year old boy. Me: “Dad, is it okay to break the law?” MLB: “Son, if you have enough money, you can break it a few times. You’ll just get a smaller allowance.”This isn’t the message we want to send.The message we want to send is that it is unacceptable to use steroids, or any performance enhancing drug, no matter what.
Athletes don’t need to be perfect role models, but they shouldn’t be any worse than par. This means that they shouldn’t be treated with less impunity than other citizens. Last time I looked, steroids are illegal, which means if you use them, you are committing a crime. You need to be punished for committing crimes. I learned this before I knew how to swing a bat.If MLB doesn’t step up and start a war on drugs of Bush-like proportions, then I’m going to call New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer and ask him to indict the league on fraud. I like home runs as much as anyone else, but not when I know the person hitting them is juicing.So I’m making two amendments to my baseball constitution, and I urge you to join. Amendment I: All fans have the right to root for the Boston Red Sox, and take all actions that this entails. Amendment II: Any MLB player who looks like an East German athlete shall be whisked away to the American baseball gulag of Kansas City. Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado
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