Alex Rodriguez was one of the most exciting baseball prospects the world had ever seen when he debuted for the Seattle Mariners on July 8, 1994, a mere 13 months after graduating high school.
Since then, it has been a rocky road.
On Dec. 15, 2007, Rodriguez was named on the Mitchel Report as one of 100 players to have used steroids. One day later, he publicly denied all allegations. Just over two years after that, it was reported that he had tested positive in 2003. From there, it took Rodriguez 10 days to admit to using steroids in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Now with the Biogenesis Scandal, the New York Yankees third baseman again finds himself in hot water. MLB has a Joint Drug Prevention policy that permits three positive drug tests before a lifetime ban is levied. Unfortunately, this policy is clearly not deterring the use of steroids, something Bud Selig and the MLB have been determined to crack down on.
Repeat offenders are a common theme, as Melky Cabrera and Ryan Braun have again tested positive, though Braun’s first conviction was dropped.
Giving players two free passes before a lifetime ban can be placed is proving not to be enough. Rodriguez, though still without a steroid use conviction, admitted to using it for three years, with the Biogenesis scandal still pending. He has never served a suspension for drug use. However, if he is indeed found guilty in the Biogenesis scandal, no suspension would successfully deter steroid use except a lifetime ban.
If Bud Selig is serious about his commitment to ending the use of steroids in baseball, he needs to go above and beyond the current policy and set a precedent that cheating will not be tolerated.
Pete Rose broke one rule and served a lifetime ban. As such, it’s only fair that repeat offenders not be accepted. While Rodriguez is not technically a repeat offender given that he’s never tested positive, he has repeatedly used them in the past and repeatedly lied about his usage. It’s high time that he is finally taught what happens to those who try to lie and cheat their way through America’s pasttime.
But can Bud Selig overrule and deliver his own punishment?
The answer is yes. Ryan Braun, who bypassed the 50-game suspension and went straight to a 65-game suspension, had no previous failed drug test since the first one was thrown out due to possible tampering. Selig used his right to suspend based on just cause as the outfielder was found to be “in violation of the Joint Drug Prevention program”.
That being said, if a lifetime suspension does happen, it needs to be clear that it is for his use of steroids, and not for any other added offenses.
The integrity of the game is at stake. In the past Hall of Fame election, several baseball writers indicated that they would vote for no one from the so called ‘steroid era’ because the entire crop of players from that time were tainted. While it seems like an unfair assessment, it is a testament to the fact that a few bad eggs can spoil an entire batch.
The only solution is to eliminate the bad eggs.