Thirteen suspensions later and the 2nd big wave of performance enhancing drugs is supposed to be over, right? I would not bet on it. Even though baseball has the harshest penalties going of any American based team sporting group, it just is not enough. Why wouldn’t any player that is on the edge of being great take a fifty game suspension for the big contract the following year?
In case you have not heard, there were thirteen suspension handed out recently by Major League Baseball. All but one of those were for a mere fifty game suspension, the other being over two hundred games for A-Rod, a special case by any standard. Not that I am saying this is what happened, but the fact that the other twelve players took the suspension suggests that this weighs into the calculations. Assume I am decent player. I use some PED to get my stats up for a year or two. I negotiate a HUGE salary before or after I am caught and serve my already noted penalty of fifty games – which is NOT even a third of the typical season these days.
If baseball wants to get tough and actually give a darn about the kind of message it is telling its fans and even the players, it needs to start banning for life on at least second offenses – for any drug use, PED or illicit otherwise. On first offenses there should be a minimum of a one full season penalty, if not more. I personally, lean toward a couple of years minimum for first offenses and any usage would go way down pretty darn quickly.
Think about it, Pete Rose is banned for life and will probably never get in the Hall of Fame for his gambling. It has sent a message that was originally sent back with the ‘Black Sox’ scandal. ‘Bet on baseball and you are out of baseball.’ You just do NOT see or hear much about that in general, because the rules are known and the penalty is stiff. Do the same thing with drugs and the problem, as well as the bad image, goes away.