So it’s time for my soapbox! A-Rod is now calling MLB’s investigation into his alleged PED use a witch hunt. Well,, it may well have been. But it also found over a dozen witches, including A-Rod, who were tied to Anthony Bosch. The other dozen all accepted their punishment and apologized, even Ryan Braun. But A-Rod believes the same rules don’t apply to him so he is suing the MLBPA. It’s ridiculous and he can’t win and he won’t play an inning in 2014. All that remains is if the Yankees will try to get out of the contract. We shall see.
On the other hand, Bud Selig has no reason to go puffing up his chest and claiming victory. Anthony Bosch is a small time hack with no medical degree running an “Anti Aging Clinic” in Florida and he is able to come up with a way to beat MLB’s drug testing program. Come on Selig, come on MLB, let’s put together a testing program that will once and for all end the PED era. Let’s put it behind us. OK, off the soapbox. Hello Australian open! Singles tennis is a great one-on-one sport. Speed, Power and strategy, it’s great to watch a match develop. Here we go!
All right, let’s talk about drug testing for a moment. You have to run a panel, which means you have to determine what you are looking for and then look for it. If you don’t have a test that identifies a particular substance, like human growth hormone, then you’re not going to find it. Seems obvious, right? So MLB started with one of the narrowest test panels in sports and surprise, surprise, a lot of guys never tested positive. That’s because they had already moved on to newer, better substances that were not being tested for (or that a test hadn’t been developed for).
So it’s facetious to say, as A-Rod has, I’m innocent because I’ve never had a positive test result. Neither did Lance Armstrong, and look how that turned out. I’m still putting Neosporin on my wounds from staunchly defending him forever… And I for one believe that the cheaters are ahead of the curve on developing new things that improve their performance. Testing will never be able to catch every substance that athletes are using to improve their performance.
So we have to ask ourselves, do we really care? Well, of course we do, if we want to believe that the integrity of the game requires that everyone is on an even playing field. But, I also believe that baseball for one has a long history of guys trying everything under the sun to improve their performance. Tony Bosch is right about one thing – look what we’re asking these guys to do for up to 6 months a year. The travel, the hotels, the heat, the humidity, and all we’ve done to support the athletes is increase the number of games in the season and lengthen the post-season with TV-friendly schedules. I couldn’t perform at my physical peak for 162 games spread over the current baseball season; I don’t believe anyone can. So they turn to outside influencers to improve their peaks, or to numb the pain. Alcohol has been widely used in the past; several athletes admitted to using rhino horn and everything else to help them perform better. There’s always been a split between baseball players who stayed clean and players who tried something to keep the edge longer. That’s not going to change.
So I just have say that they have been playing either 154 or 162 games through six months for 120 years. Yes, I agree players have been trying to find a competitive edge to make them better. If it breaks the rules it’s cheating. As usual we have to discourage cheating. There are millions of Americans who have grueling schedules all year long and work for a fraction of what a major league baseball players makes. If he breaks the rules, he gets fired. So if science and the cheaters will always be ahead of the MLB testing system, then we have to make the penalty stronger. Break the league drug policy once you are out two years. Twice, out for life. We’ll see how many try to beat the system then.