As the baseball season moves into meaningful, pennant-race territory in August, MLB appears ready to take its next big swing against PED users. Numerous outlets, including this report from the Chicago Tribune, are reporting that the fates of those players connected to the Biogensis lab will be learned this week . The timeline is convenient as the remaining schedule for the 2013 season approaches the 50-game mark.
Brewers OF Ryan Braun is long-gone on a 65-game suspension and there is only one huge star remaining on the list of offenders. There are meaningful players like Rangers OF Nelson Cruz and Padres SS Everth Cabrera, very important parts of their respective teams whose losses will force moves to be made to make up for their expected departures.
But the biggest name of all on the Biogenesis list is Alex Rodriguez and reports have already surfaced that MLB is going for a suspension for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014. And that A-Rod isn’t accepting it.
The whole idea of first-time offenders only getting 50 games is on the table here and this one will be messy, no doubt. But this is a much-needed development and having it include big names, right in the middle of many intriguing playoff races, is an excellent way to underscore the movement to clean up the game.
What happened, or didn’t happen in the past needs to be wiped away and I no longer have any energy to talk about whose fault it was. Bud Selig turned a blind eye while Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were chasing down history, the MLBPA didn’t want to allow testing, etc. This is all old news that needs to be pushed to the side while the players and owners work together to get PEDs out of the game. To not do anything now because nobody did anything then would be more stupid than anything that has taken place to date.
Is the commissioner a crusader for all that is good and right in baseball? Are the players, of their own free will, adamantly opposed to anyone who stains their game and its hallowed records? Probably no, and no. We’re at a juncture where many factors have come together to make both sides stand up and shout to the public that they are against PEDs, wheras in the past, they both had plenty of incentive to look the other way.
The game is healthy now from the standpoint of fan interest, TV money and any other measure you can use. The NFL is still the big dog, but MLB is doing just fine these days. We’ve already seen the all-time home run record surpassed by an obvious juicer. We thought A-Rod would come along and knock Barry Bonds aside, but hey, what do you know, A-Rod doesn’t look to be clean himself.
And let’s not forget or underestimate the “nobody likes him” factor. First Barry Bonds, then Alex Rodriguez?
MLB is taking bold steps to move past the “steroid era,” whatever time-frame that may end up being, and there’s no better place to start than with a once-sacred cow like A-Rod and the phony 2011 NL MVP and shameless liar, Ryan Braun.