I’ve sort of lacked writing posts lately. If you’ve seen my other blog, you’ll know I’ve been sick. I hope you can forgive me.
I’ve been sort of formulating this post in my head for a few months now, and just got around to organizing some thoughts on the subject. And, let me be the first to admit that I am well aware that there are facets of this topic that even I don’t fully understand, but I have a basic idea and I think it’s enough.
It’s apparent that the steroid problem has not been fully eradicated since new rules were put into place in 2005. This year alone we saw 5 players suspended for the use of steroids. That was more than twice the suspensions in 2011 and half of the suspensions in 2005. It’s getting better, but there are still those who are refusing to adhere to the rules, or think they are above them.
Like I said, this season we saw 5 players suspended for steroids, Guillermo Mota, Freddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon. Melky Cabrera’s suspension has been highly publicized. Just when we though we had seen the end of the media attention around his 50-day suspension, Cabrera himself asks Major League Baseball on September 21 to no longer consider him for the National League batting title. Personally, I found it absurd that someone who was proven to have used a banned substance would still be considered for the title. MLB complied with his request and removed him from the race. While MLB Commissioner Bud Selig called it a statement of regret, to some it was more like a cry to remain relevant.
My opinion: He’s only sorry because he got caught. It’s like a little kid.
Cabrera was suspended on August 15 which was more than halfway through the season. The Giants had spent some of the season second to the Dodgers, but at the time of Cabrera’s suspension (and I believe the rest of the season) they remained atop the NL West. We all know how the postseason went for the Giants. Winning elimination game after elimination game, and eventually winning the World Series last night.
Would the Giants have been in a postion to make it to the World Series had they not had Cabrera or had Cabrera not been using steroids? I don’t know that. I’m not a psychic (sorry to disappoint). It should be noted, however, that two of the suspended players were Giants. I will say they did definitively win the World Series, no questions asked. Jim Leyland was spot on last night when he said that the Giants beat them. That it wasn’t like this was game 7 and they got a fluke hit, they came out, they played and they won. The Giants got hot at a really good time.
Cabrera was the All-Star Game MVP after leading the NL to a win an home-field advantage for the World Series.
But, should steroid punishments be more strict? Should the league be doing more to eliminate the use completely? Could the league to more?
I think so.
Right now there is only minor accountability for their actions. Yea, players are suspended, but what does that really mean? They still have whatever contract they were on. It’s almost a slap on the funny bone (because, yea it hurts to hit your funny bone, but you survive it and are fine tomorrow morning).
The rules for steroids are much harsher in the Olympics than our pro-athletes. Interesting. According to the BBC, the first five finishers in any Olympic competition is tested. Also tested are two random competitors. These athletes are not allowed out of the venue, because the testing is done immediately after the competition. There is also random testing done throughout the Olympic Village during the entirety of the games. Athletes are given a chance to test a second sample which was taken at the same time as the first, and they can plead their case. If they IOC finds they did use a banned substance, they are thrown out of the games. There is no whining, no complaining of bias; it’s just part of the games.
In Major League Baseball, however, it results in suspensions: 50 days, then 100, and finally banned. Although technically the rule states 10 days, then 30, then 60, then a year before the Commissioner steps in. Either way, it takes a bit to get banned. It takes a bit to get more than a slap on the wrist. This season, all suspensions except Mota’s were 50-day suspensions.
What if we punished the entire team when a player is suspended? There’s accountability there, right? When I was playing sports, a lot of coaches had the same strategy: if one player makes an error, make everyone run except the player who made the error. We certainly didn’t want to run when someone else made an error, and after one or two runs, we were certainly putting the pressure on everyone to do well. If the league threatened to take wins away or some kind of punishment for the entire team when one is taking steroids, you can bet that players will at least be thinking twice before they “use a substance (they) should not have used,” as Cabrera explained it to the media after his suspension.
They would also be held more accountable by fans. How angry would San Francisco fans be right now had the league taken 20-30 wins from them. There would be fans in the streets for an entirely different reason, and we would most likely have a different World Series Champion. But right now we have a team who may or may not have gotten there thanks to his use of a knowingly banned substance. He didn’t care that he messed up; he cared what he could get out of it and hoped he didn’t get caught.
Even if MLB stepped up and placed a rule like this (not that I ever expect them to), it’s not going to entirely erase the issue. We’d be fooling ourselves if we thought that was ever possible. Let’s face it: there are some incredibly selfish people who really don’t care what happens to the rest of the team and are only out for themselves. But, it may reduce it even further.
Our responsibility as fans is exactly as I stated, we should be angry at whichever player chooses to use. If you’re a San Francisco fan, you should be angry at Cabrera because maybe you wouldn’t have had to win so many elimination games had he not been using a banned substance.
It’s just a thought.
(FYI: all suspension info came from http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/steroids_baseball.shtml)