(BASEBALL StL) -- In wake of the troubling reports out of Miami that performance-enhancing drugs might still be prevalent in Major League baseball, another shadow has been cast over the sport. Is the steroid era over? Or was it just at halftime these last few years while the cheaters regrouped to find another way to beat the system?
Sadly, the answer to that question might be a resounding yes.
Recently on SiriusXM’s MLB Network radio, and repeated by the Post-Dispatch, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday raised the point that harsher penalties are needed. Currently, if you’re caught using performance enhancing drugs you’re suspended for 50 games. Second offense? 100 games. Third? A lifetime ban.
Holliday says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that it’s not enough. He says you should be banned from the game after your second positive test. Not your third.
Any possible changes to this system would, obviously, have to be agreed up by both the league and the players association. But that facts are facts. Right now, the cheaters are not scared to put their reputations on the line by using PEDs. They’re just not.
They seemingly look at the suspensions like fouls in a basketball game. Get one? Okay, it’s not good but I can’t take it. Two? Definitely not good but it’s not the end of the world. Then, and only, then do they stop because they know positive test number three results in the lifetime ban.
The cheaters will push it up to the absolute limit to get an edge. They’ll take as many risks as they’re allowed to take until it gets to the point where they get kicked out for good.
Compare it to the new rule with spending money in the MLB draft. You have a certain amount of money you get to spend overall. If you go above it by a certain amount, you get fined. If you go above it even further, you lose a draft pick. Well, teams decided that the fine is worth it to be able to spend enough to get the player they want. But they determined that the loss in draft picks was NOT worth it. That had to be avoided at all costs.
The cheaters in baseball have decided that a 50-game suspension is worth the risk. So is a 100-game suspension. But a lifetime ban is not (at least I’m assuming that’s the case - who would think that’s an acceptable risk?).
So why not take that breaking point and move it up? Don’t give them a few chances at getting caught before they really get a punishment they don’t like.
A lifetime ban for using PEDs should be the punishment for your second offense, heck, maybe even your first. That’d scare the cheaters out of, ya know, cheating.