News broke last week that the former New York Yankee and current Seattle Mariner Robinson Cano has been suspended 80 games for failing MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
This news got me thinking about steroids in the game of baseball. What was once an epidemic has been slowing being removed from the game or so we thought. But evitably each year there is a big name superstar player that gets busted for PED’s. Cano isn’t the first, and sadly I doubt the last to get suspended for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs.
What makes this news all the more startling is finding out that his failed test happened before the season even began. Yes, I understand that there are instances where false positives can occur. And a proper appeal in those instances is warranted. However, the track record behind these cases involving PED’s is guilt.
Where Is It? Why Do It?
Steroids have been a widespread plague throughout the baseball industry. Both Major and Minor Leagues are popped every year. It is a part of every level of the game. From the collegiate level down through the backfields of the Latin countries. The allure of what could be had is outweighing the risks. The appeal of riches and fame mean more than the potential consequences.
Using Robbie Cano for example, Robbie will lose about 11-12 million dollars during his 80 game suspension. However, over the life of his initial 10 year deal with The Seattle Mariners, Cano was set to make a guaranteed $240 million. So even if Cano loses $12 million he still will be paid $228 million over the course of the deal.
MLB currently implements a three strike and you’re out system when it comes to PED’s. The first strike, 80 games no pay. Strike two a full season. Third strike and you’re outta here, a lifetime ban from the game. To my knowledge, only one man was dumb enough to test the odds and get thrown out of the game as of a result of three failed PED tests and that was Jenrry Mejia formerly of the New York Mets.
But there have been several former high profile players who either failed a PED test or there were suspicions connecting to them to Performance Enhancing Drugs. Players like David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez. Current players like Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Cano’s current Seattle Mariners teammates Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon, among many others. The most high profile and controversial cases are currently sitting on the ballots of the Hall of Fame voting contingent of the BBWAA, and those are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Solving The Dilemma
Many theories have been spoken about on how to eliminate PED’s from the game of baseball. However, if the financial compensation attached to performing remains intact nothing will change. There is only one solution that can truly eliminate steroids from the game of baseball. ONE AND DONE. Yes, that is a radical strategy that would more than likely never be approved by the Player’s Association. However, if the main objective is a clean game where the only separation between the top tier players and everyone else is God-given natural ability. Then the only real solution is to get rid of anyone caught using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Obviously, there are potential pitfalls with this strategy just like with any other. But in the current system of three strikes before a ban occurs the rewards outweighs the risk. Again, Cano will only lose $12 million on a $240 million contract. And I’m not picking on Cano. I like Cano he is one of my favorite players to watch with that sweet left-handed swing all those seasons in the Bronx, not to mention his gold glove caliber defense each and every season. But the game gets hurt everytime a player of the superstar caliber of Cano gets busted for PED’s. The game suffers when talented players like Cano get caught for using these banned substances and their legacies are tarnished.
For the sake of the future of America’s Favorite Pastime, we as fans need Performance Enhancing Drugs removed from the game once and for all. And the only risk I can see that outweighs the potential reward of using steroids is a lifetime ban after one failed test.