Thursday, May 12, 2005

Suspension of Disbelief

By Ben Godar

Riding a wave of public outrage, Commisioner Bud Selig is proposing we invade Iraq. Oh wait, different asshole. No, Selig is trying to stop the recent Congressional hand-wringing by proposing a new steroid policy that would see players suspended for 50 games the first time they are caught using a banned substance. Give me a break.

50 games is simply an unprecedented suspension and completely out of line with baseball's other discipinary measures. Consider this: After corking his bat, Sammy Sosa was suspended for 8 games. There is just no way to believe that taking steroids is a more serious form of cheating than corking a bat. Or at least, not 42 games more serious.

We know that every player who tests positive for steroids claims they took them unknowingly as part of a nutritional supplement, cold medicine, whatever. And most of that is probably bullshit. But it is at least conceivable that a player could take steroids through ignorance or negligence. It is impossible that a player could use a doctored bat and not know it. Sammy Sosa's pathetic excuse that his corked bat was just something he used to impress the crowd at batting practice is like saying you take a gun into the airport but it's okay because it's not loaded.

50 games is one-third of the Major League season. Suspending a key player for that long almost certainly eliminates the entire team's chances of making the post season. That's just a ridiculous amount of time for a first offense. These guys aren't breaking rules on the field, they're not throwing games or going into the stands and punching fans. They're taking physical supplements that go beyond the acceptible levels of all the other supplements they take.

This week the owner's agreed unanimously to support Selig's proposal. The roundtable on Baseball Tonight also give it the thumbs-up. It's like they're all running for office and trying to convince the public they're tough on crime. It may be good PR to be tough, but the right thing is to be fair. 50 games is just not fair.