Despite Rampant Steroid Usage, MLB has Huge Balls
In what has become a super-scandal of sorts (Roidsgate, anyone? No?), the MLB could be suspending 20+ players due to their connection with a Florida group called Biogenesis. Assuming that most of the accused parties are suspended, this will be another damaging blow for baseball as it continues its quest to make the game clean.
Some of baseball’s biggest names are connected to Biogenesis. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers and the already disgraced Yankee Alex Rodriguez have all been listed as suspects thus far. This is great and terrible news.
On the surface, this is ugly. The war on steroids has been exhausting for the MLB as it fights to regain the image of America’s beloved pastime. The problem is that you need stars to sell every sport and when those stars appear tarnished (deserved or not) the casual fan shies away. Instead, they seek the stars who seem unquestionable, unbreakable, heroic…and from other sports.
The problem is that cheating is prevalent in all of the other leagues, they simply don’t have the guts to root it out.
For example, in the NBA eight players have been given suspensions for the use of banned substances. Ever. The most recent case being Hedo Turkoglu, who was suspended 20 games for using methenolone in February. However, the NBA is content with allowing cheating considering their questionable drug testing procedures and the presence of a star-loving, meddlesome commissioner in David Stern.
The NHL has an even worse policy, which states that players be given two random tests a year, with no mandatory offseason testing. They also have a shamefully pathetic suspension number of one. ONE!!!!!! That’s some top notch security there, fellas.
Like David Stern, the evil overlord Gary Bettman has attempted to claim that steroids are of no use to hockey players “because what it does to your body is inconsistent with what your body has to do to be a successful hockey player.” This would be a valid argument if it were remotely true. Not all steroids will make you look like this:
Cyclists use steroids, olympic sprinters use steroids, anyone can use steroids. They can be beneficial to any type of athlete, regardless of the skill set required. There’s no way that guys like Bettman and Stern don’t know this, but they have chosen the path of business over fairness within the game.
I think that the simplest summation of all of this can be found in the most recent incident in the NFL: Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis cheated. It’s a simple fact. He was a 37 year old with a torn tricep that returned to the field in ten weeks. At the very same time he was connected to deer antler spray, which contains an NFL banned substance.
Consider this case paired with Levi Brown of the Arizona Cardinals. Brown, a then 28 year old, tore his tricep in the preseason last year. He just returned to football activity two days ago.
However, unlike baseball, the NFL didn’t have the balls to go after Lewis by fining him. The Ravens linebacker retired not only a “hero”, but a brand. One that they decided to leave untarnished for the sake of business.
So, MLB, while this may be troublesome for you in the next few months. I appreciate your willingness to do what the other leagues won’t, which is make an effort to legitimize the game. Instead of playing a game of half measures and bullshitting, you’re making a conscious effort to preserve the apple pie americana feel of baseball.
Let’s hope it works.