A suspension of 211 games for Alex Rodriguez too harsh? I’m pretty sure I can hear your groans from here, but really, I think we’ve lost focus of who’s really to blame here.
I’m in no way defending Rodriguez and his use of PEDs. I think he did so knowingly and lied, and definitely deserves to be suspended. I also think Rodriguez should not be allowed to play baseball while he awaits a decision on his appeal. That appeal is a desperate move for a aging superstar that may not get to play ever again.
Rodriguez is definitely the villain and deserves to be. But MLB deserves just as much, if not more of the blame when it comes to drug use in baseball.
MLB has had a tough time trying to clean up its sport. Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were the two cover boys for steroid use in the 90s, and baseball sat back and did nothing to clean up the sport. The decision has always been to just suspend the players without pay and welcome them back with open arms. Though a second violation would deter many from repeating a failed drug test, many players cheat the system anyway.
It’s a soft stance on a issue that has many fans upset with the lack of policing.
Fans are already outraged as it is with the lack of instant replays and blown calls by the umpires, but cheating just ruins the game, period. Ryan Braun and Rodriguez are just more products of baseball’s pudding-soft testing guidelines and punishments.
As many as 12 other players were also included in the latest batch of suspensions, with many being suspended for the remainder of the season. But MLB needs to do more. For one, these guys should be out for good. With such a big impact in games, these players have altered the sport in a way that sullies it in the long run. How can a game like this have any credibility?
And what to make of the Hall Of Fame? Players like this have been celebrated but also received an asterisk next to their names, as in “this record counts … kinda”. It’s fitting because that’s the flimsy stance baseball has taken on the issue of steroids. Baseball already suffers from a perception that it is mind-numbingly boring, but now it has to contend with the general perception of it being a tainted game.
It’s doubtful that MLB will take a tougher stance than they already do, and I expect the MLBPA would also object to any increase in suspensions or fines as it relates to steroids.
With just a few headlines to cheer about this year, it’s a shame that the season has been wrapped in controversy by players who couldn’t do it the right way. And you won’t see me out in front defending those players. But if you want someone to blame, blame Bud Selig and baseball.