Legendary and sometime out of place commentator Bob Costas stole a bit of my thunder earlier this week during his appearance on ‘The Dan Patrick Show’ when he was asked how you reduce PED use in baseball. One of my solutions has always been to tell players that if they test positive even once, they forfeit their opportunity for season awards, All-Star game appearances and the Hall of Fame.
Costas said this almost verbatim and he is on the right track but I have more to add as I try my hand at being the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Before I begin, it’s an absolute joke that Bud Selig will get any accolades for suspending Alex Rodriguez. Whether it’s for the season, 100 games or even the lifetime ban that’s being floated out there, A-Rod is 37 years old. He’s the highest paid player in baseball, has a World Series ring and has played more than three quarters of his career already. Way to come down hard Bud…
MLB must work collectively with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association to put an end to this crap. That won’t be easy. The MLBPA is one of the most powerful unions in America let alone professional sports. They will fight tooth and nail to make sure players make every possible dime regardless of whether they are worth it or not.
The time has come to get salaries under control. The National Football League has done it (finally) with their rookie salary scale and baseball needs to follow suit. If guys know they can only make so much out of the gate then this protects both the teams and players and the fans that won’t have to pay $10 for a beer to pay these ridiculous salaries.
Ya I know, this sounds like socialism right? Take it however you want but I’m not finished. What you then do is link performance to increased or decreased salaries. Guys will still have opportunities to make boat loads of money, but it will be based on year to year performance rather than based on long-term projection.
You really think Ryan Braun is hurting from losing $3.2 million for the rest of the season? Hardly when next year his $100 million dollar contract kicks back in.
If you asked guys in a private moment like Roger Clemens or Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds whether using PEDs was worth it or not, they’d say of course. The money, championships and accolades were probably more than worth the vitriol they have dealt with since they finished playing. They are now resigned to the fact they will never get into the Hall of Fame and I’m guessing that crushes them. It’s the ultimate achievement for a professional ballplayer and they will fail to get there.
This is why the union and MLB must work on contract language that will be clear to any future player that testing positive for PEDs will automatically disqualify you from awards, All-Star Games and most importantly, Hall of Fame membership.
Will this stop every guy from using PEDs? Of course not. There are far more guys who have gotten away with PED use than have been caught and as long as the money stays the way it is, guys will do whatever it takes to get that one, big contract. Ain’t that right Ryan Braun???
The other thing I would do is make contracts voidable after a second offense. Most guys aren’t going to have their big contracts until after they put up huge numbers anyway so wait until they get the big deal and then see how they perform.
Don’t be a bit surprised if A-Rod’s very own team, the Yankees, is working in concert with MLB to get a lifetime ban on him. This is the only way they can get out from under the ridiculous amount of money they owe him. I could be wrong, but I’m betting I’m not.
Until the union and MLB can work together on this issue, baseball and its’ fans will continue to suffer. It’s high time we stop rewarding these guys. Make them feel the pain of heavy monetary loss and as well as the loss of long-term glory.