By David Little – @dlittlemlb
On May 15th, 2018 Robinson Cano was suspended 80 games for the use of Furosemide, a diuretic for blood pressure which could act as a masking agent for other performance enhancing drugs. There was a collective of shock and wonder, as one of this generation’s greatest baseball players was caught red handed using a drug which may indicate he was using others. Parts of his great career are now coming into question, most notably his World Series championship run.
A team loses its star, and is almost guaranteed not to make it to the postseason. Fans collectively reeled at this information, felt distrust and anger, and wondered why such a gifted athlete would treat them like this. Children who looked up to the star questioned if he was the true hero they believed him to be, as his jersey hung in their closets.
Its clear that the use of PEDs has a ripple effect on the game we love. The question then becomes how do we stop it?
I’m not going to dive into the moral debate of steroid use, or the historical facts of its slight on our game. I’m not going to hypothesize who may have used what or when. But I am going to offer a simple solution that will take this burden away from our game.
Since 2009, the year the Yankees won, there has been 41 suspensions handed out for the use of PEDs. Two players have been suspended for a whole year, while only one, Jerry Mejia has been permanently banned from the game. Some notable names from the 41 include, Robinson Cano (obviously), Starling Marte, Marlon Byrd, Dee Gordon, Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez (won a MVP), Miguel Tejada (Won a MVP), Ryan Braun (won a MVP), Carlos Ruiz, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera, and Manny Ramirez.
Those are some BIG names. I’m not even including some of the lesser names, but you get the idea. Clearly, PED use is rampant, and the penalty is not “scary” enough to get players to lay off the stuff.
So here’s how we fix it: Simply, go after their money. A player is going to be concerned about their money, because that is their livelihood. There aren’t many players with a side hobby to get a degree or diploma. If they are scared of one, losing their income, and two, not being allowed to play the game they love anymore, they might be more motivated to say “pass” the next time the figurative man in the trench coat in the alley offers them some drugs.
So how do we do it? Really simple. First time offence, 1-year suspension. Second time, lifetime ban.
I played university football and had to get tested. We simply declared our medications, only used supplements that were approved by the team (guaranteed no cross contamination), and didn’t use drugs. I never saw a single guy “piss dirty.” If we hit them hard, and consider the things that matter (money and the game), players will either get really complicated drug protocols like we have seen in the Tour De France, or Olympic games, or they will comply. There’s always a way, but there’s a counter as well.
Enough is enough, lets ends this for the good of the game, the players, and the fans.
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