The Reuters global sports blog
Fixing baseball’s embarrassing problem
When MLB players agreed to participate in a 2003 test survey to see if baseball did indeed have a PED problem, the players were assured that the results would be kept confidential. However, after the results were seized by federal agents during the BALCO investigation, some of the names that tested positive have been outed.
The question now, is what to do? Instead of a new name being leaked every few months followed by the inevitable, ensuing debate on what needs to be done to fix the problem, it’s time for baseball to deal with this once and for all.
How about this for a solution — after the conclusion of the 2009 World Series, Major League Baseball needs to hold a one-week grace period. Any player who has ever taken a banned substance during their professional career is allowed to come forward, admit to their foolish behavior and all will be forgiven. The ‘guilty’ will not have their records erased, or even asterisked. Their past indiscretions will not affect Hall of Fame eligibility. Their status will not be questioned by the media after this date. One week of hell for the player and then it’s over.
Too easy, you say. Why would any player admit to this when they’ve been able to skate by so far?
Here’s the catch. At the end of this grace period any player found using PED’s in the future, or if a positive test from the past surfaces, that is it. LIFE TIME BAN! No exceptions, no reprieves. You lose all rights as a ball player. The offending person is banned from ever playing, coaching or even being the team’s mascot.
To make this work, MLB will have to set-up special PED division. It will have an up-to-the minute list of banned substances and experts on hand for consultation. If a player wants to take cold medication or some form of creatine powder, they should be able to contact this office at any time and get an immediate ruling on a product. If this PED division ok’s a substance, a player can take it knowing that they’ll be fine. No more excuses from players saying they took a banned substance unknowingly.
Is this solution perfect? Of course not. But baseball has to act, and act quickly.