Major League Baseball on Monday announced suspensions of 13 players for their relationship with Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Many people viewed it as an historically bad day for baseball, matched only by the Black Sox Scandal.
We believe it was an historically good day for baseball for two reasons.
First, the level of information baseball was able to obtain about players who worked tirelessly to avoid detection shows its drug program is working on an investigatory level like never before.
More importantly, the outrage expressed toward the cheaters by almost all other baseball players showed a refreshing break from previous protective statements. The players have finally figured out that these cheaters are poisoning the reputations of all others players and gaining an unfair advantage that is cheating them of jobs and money.
Their historic movement toward cleaning up the game with stiffer penalties in the future gives us, for the first time, hope that baseball actually can beat its performance enhancement drug addiction.
Of course, it was left to the biggest star among the 13, Alex Rodriguez, to overshadow everyone else by defiantly promising to appeal his 211-game suspension. So 13 players were given the evidence baseball had against them and 12 accepted their suspensions. Rodriguez, who reportedly recruited some of these players for Biogenesis in addition to using the drugs, chose the appeal route.
The New York Yankees third baseman, who has elevated playing the victim to an art form, was asked several times Monday if he has ever used performance enhancing drugs. He was unable to provide a straight "no" answer, which would have come easily if it were true. Instead, he leaned on "the process" ahead as the means for defending himself.
There's nothing in the process to prevent Rodriguez from simply saying he hasn't taken performance enhancing drugs since the times in Texas to which he already has admitted.
Reporters who have been investigating the slugger's performance enhancement drug usage for years suspect that he has been using drugs to gain an unfair advantage dating back to his teenage years. At this point, their credibility is far greater than that of the egotistical Rodriguez.
Don't let the self-centered Rodriguez cloud over the overriding message from Monday's announcement. Major League Baseball and most importantly, most of its players is finally coming to grips with cleaning up the performance enhancing drug presence in the game.
This offseason, look for a cooperative agreement on much stiffer penalties that will make using these drugs a risk not worth taking.