I have always described baseball as the purest of sports. A timeless game that captures the hearts of little boys and old men alike. “America’s game.” From an early age I have loved this game. And from an early age the game has broken my heart but never has it disgusted me like it does right now.
With the suspensions linked to Biogenesis awaiting I eagerly anticipated the gavel to be hammered down on PED kingpin Alex Rodriguez. See as a die-hard Phillies phan, or any respectable human being would tell you, Alex Rodriguez is a douche. It’s just so easy not to like him. As a matter of fact I don’t care a whole lot for any professional athlete who dons a New York anything uniform. I’m a Philadelphian; it’s what we do. So when the results of P-E-D-Day were announced I was shocked and saddened to see another Philadelphia Phillie on that list.
The 50-game suspension of Phillies lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo, aka Buttstardo, marks the 7th MLB or MiLB suspension for a player in the Phillies system since 2009! The Phillies have an NL record FOUR players suspended from their 2009 team who coincidentally, or not, won the pennant that season. Carlos Ruiz, JC Romero, Sergio Escalona, and now Bastardo. As a Yankee hater the first thing I wanted to do was to strip Rodriguez of his accolades, of his MVP’s and championships. How can you strip a championship away from a 2009, juiced up, Yankee team and give it to the runners up. Who seem to be as juiced up, if not more, than the Yankees were!
Major League Baseball is to blame for all of this. From Bud Selig to the players, everyone covered their eyes and let it happen for the “good” of the game. After the cancellation of the 1994 World Series the game had a black eye and needed a boost, it needed money, and it needed its fans back.
Insert big heads and bulging muscles with small balls flying over fences (pun intended).
The insanely juiced up home run race of 1998 between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire catapulted baseball to the top of the sports world and the entertainment world for that matter! As a young boy I can remember being enthralled by the race and wanting so badly for someone to break Roger Maris’s highly coveted record of 61 homeruns in a season. As a big Ken Griffey Jr. fan I had hoped it would be Junior. He finished in 3rd place behind McGwire and Sosa with a mere 56 on the season. It is insane to look at the home run leaders that season and see the outrageous numbers. Alex Rodriguez finished 12 that year with 42! Griffey is seemingly the only clean one in the top 15.
15 years later and the problem of PED's still exists and threatens to tarnish the sport of baseball for ever. I've been saying that the punishment does not fit the crime. Baseball has to clean it up, once and for all!
In 2012 San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was given a 50 game suspension after testing positive for testosterone. At the time the juiced up Melky was leading the National League in hits and was second in batting average and even participated in the 2012 All-Star Game. After serving his laughable 50 game suspension Melky inked a fat $16 million dollar payday from the Toronto Blue Jays in the off-season.
The incentive to cheat is too good to pass up. It's centered around greed. The money, the accolades, the endoresement deals. The reward is far greater than the risk. Pete Rose bet on baseball while playing for and managaing the Reds in the late 80's and is banned from baseball for life! The all-time hits leader with 4,256 hits is banned from the game and will never see the Hall until he's long gone. I'm sorry to say but what Pete Rose did pails in comparison to what the Mark McGwire's and Alex Rodriguez's have done to the sport of baseball. Should Alex Rodriguez be banned for life as well?
Baseball has to do more, it has to stiffen the penalties, it has to clean up baseball. I'm sick of seeing a guy hit 37 homeruns before the All-Star break and automatically assuming he has to be using something. 25-game, 50-game, 1-year suspensions are NOT cutting it Bud. Seeing Alex Rodriguez recieve the stiffest penalty in MLB history at 211 games is a great start! Rodriguez is the epitome of why PED's have given the sport a black eye. He has refused to admit that he has used PED's since his early playing days with the Texas Rangers. He continues to use and continues to deny destorying the reputation of the sport along the way.
I am ecstatic to see his 211 game suspension. I don't care whether or not people think it is unfair to suspend a guy who has never failed a drug test. I don't care whether or not baseball is using him as the scapegoat. Bud Selig needs to put fear in the players eyes, he needs to threaten them with their careers and their fat contracts. I'm not endorsing "ban for life" punishments but it should start at 2 years as the minimum punishment. He needs to penalize MLB teams who sign previously suspended players and penalize teams who currently have suspended players on their roster.
More has to be done. Let's clean up baseball.