Baseball has been fighting an uphill battle. They have been trying to get their popularity back for years after the performance-enhancing drugs scandal that rocked the sport in 2005 with Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro. Every year it seems like the more baseball makes strides forward, the ugly side of the sport comes back again. The last time PEDs came up was when Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs before the 2012 season after a failed drug test. Braun appealed and the slugger was found to be innocent due to the reported incorrect storage of the sample he gave. All seemed to be well and baseball was on its way back to clearing its name. But that all came to a screeching halt this year with the latest scandal to rock the baseball world.
Apparently, Ryan Braun was a part of an even bigger web of deceit than anyone was aware of. He, along with Alex Rodriguez and reportedly 20 other people, were involved with a Biogenesis lab in Florida that had allegedly issued PEDs to major league baseball players. What makes Rodriguez and Braun stand out even more is that they were the ones who were the most connected. And now the circumstances of their fall are about to go down. The first shoe to fall was Braun. After putting up a fight the whole time claiming innocence, he finally succumbed to the pressure of living a lie. Braun has been suspended by Major League Baseball without pay for the rest of the 2013 season. And he only has himself to blame. He lied repeatedly and in the process stole money from the Brewers organization in the form of a multi-million dollar extension to be the face of the franchise. So in conclusion, he is not only a liar but a thief. He robbed the Brewers and as of right now, he will still be able to be a millionaire while having his reputation tarnished forever.
Alex Rodriguez was someone that many people have perceived as a polarizing figure for a while. He has always been uber-talented, but some felt he still lacked a little something. And with the later admissions of PED use while a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003 and the sorted past of close calls with steroids, it could be seen that he has been masking his use of steroids all this time. Even though he claimed that he had been clean the entire time he was in New York, most never believed him because of the stories he told as to how he got the steroids. Anyone remember the story about his cousin giving him something he bought in Puerto Rico? A-Rod claimed he didn’t know what he took was illegal and if he even took it correctly. That explanation alone sounds fishy. So when he was implicated in this scandal this time, no one really believed that he was innocent and apparently Major League Baseball doesn’t either. As a result of all the mess that A-Rod has done in their eyes, baseball officials are reportedly seeking substantial penalties against Rodriguez, with talks of a lifetime ban. Some are going to say that it isn’t the correct decision because this would be his first suspension. But for that explanation, there is only one answer. When you get in trouble, you never get to pick your punishment. So in this instance, if he is indeed guilty (which from all indications and reports he is), then he has to accept the punishment. And with the reported misleading of investigators to go on top of potential use of PEDs, he has become the biggest target of the investigation and could be the prime example made. Both he and Braun made their bed. They chose money over morals and now these are the consequences.
But Major League Baseball isn’t exactly free of any blame either. Baseball benefitted off the popularity created when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire had their historic summer. In fact, some considered Sosa and McGuire the saviors of baseball. And it was at that point that the majors began to promote the long ball. Baseball put all these guys on a pedestal while turning a blind eye to all the things that may have been happening behind the scenes. This goes all the way back to 1987 and the days of McGuire and Canseco in Oakland when they were the Bash Brothers. Baseball has forever been turning a blind eye to what has been happening while they have been obtaining financial gain from it. In my opinion, the league has more than an issue with Braun, Rodriguez and any other people that are going to come out. It has an issue with how they do business. And quite honestly, this sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
In the end, Bud Selig and his crew call the shots and they have to be the ones to make it better. And if they want to do that, they must get a “Two Strikes” policy. The first punishment should be at least 100 games suspension without pay. And if someone was crazy enough to test that policy again, they should be banned from the game. Sure, both decisions can be appealed, but there is no excuse for not knowing what can and cannot be done. And also, if you are punished with a suspension, your contract should be voided right then and there. All the guaranteed money that you have coming with that contact, including bonus money and incentives, should be cut off as well. If baseball wants to try and rid themselves of the problem, they have to become tougher. Another big problem is the players association. They must understand that their rules are helping protect the people that are bending them. And in turn, it is making the players as a whole look worse and worse. If they do not work with the commissioner, then this problem will never get better.
We shall see how this one pans out but one thing is for sure: baseball is out of control on a lot of levels. And honestly, there may not be an end in sight for this.