MLB Can Only Blame Themselves for the Melky Cabrera Controversy

By Michael Collins

You would think when a MLB player tests positive for performance enhancing drugs, gets suspended, and comes clean about it publicly, there would be little or no controversy.  But when you are dealing with professional sport’s least progressive league, all bets are off.

Reports have now surfaced that the positive test on San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera actually happened prior to the All-Star break, and that the resulting suspension probably should have happened sooner than it did.

The ramifications of this revelation will ripple through so many ponds, it’s difficult to even get your hands around it.

A lot of things happened that could very well have been a result of the knowledge of those test results, and lot of things happened that might have been different.

Do the Giants pursue Hunter Pence at the trade deadline?  Does Cabrera even get to play in the All-Star game, less yet win the MVP?  Does the National League still win the game, and home field advantage in the World Series?  Do teams that have lost games to the Giants during the time that Cabrera probably shouldn’t have been playing have a grievance – especially if they are chasing a pennant or wild card spot – against the league?

The sad part is baseball – and in particular it’s commissioner – have nobody to blame but themselves.

When the entire blight of steroids and performance enhancing drugs in professional baseball first appeared publicly, the leaders of the game chose to drag their feet and bury their heads in the sand.  I’m sure they were convinced the problem would just go away, that is if they even wanted it to go away.

Instead of taking an immediate stand, and responding in a proactive manner, Major League Baseball did as they usually do, and tried to deflect, misdirect, and misinform.

Instead of simply saying a positive test is a positive test and there is no middle ground, they let the lawyers and agents rule the roost, and set up a system that still makes it nearly impossible for players to be severely punished for violating the performance enhancing drug policy.

You want proof positive of that statement?

This year there have been 70 suspensions in the minor leagues for violations of the minor league performance enhancing drug policy, but there have only been four suspensions of players in the major leagues in violation of their policy.  That’s quite a disparity.

The result:  Melky Cabrera.  A positive test, a union grievance (that was ultimately dropped), a case set to to before an arbitrator (which apparently never happened), and a player allowed to play and have a huge impact on the league during a supposed appeals process.

Commissioner Bud Selig is livid.  No, not because the flawed system has apparently failed, but because not one, but TWO of his decisions are now in question in the wake of a single announcement.

The American League has reason to be upset.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have reason to be upset.  Any player who did well in the All-Star game and stood to receive a healthy bonus if he were named the MVP has reason to be upset.  Any National League outfielder who didn’t even make the All-Star team has reason to be upset.  The fans, as usual when it comes to baseball, have reason to be upset.

But Bud Selig?  He has no reason to be upset.  He is wallowing in a filthy mudhole of his own making, and it’s only going to get worse as more details surrounding this story are released.

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