Major League Baseball has now handed down the remainder of the suspensions to players involved with the Biogenesis lab in Miami which gave athletes performance-enhancing drugs. Most players were suspended 50 games for a first-time offense, while Alex Rodriguez was suspended through the 2014 season. As everyone knows, Ryan Braun was already suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season for his involvement. Early reaction to the suspensions was mixed, with some applauding the commissioner’s office and some saying baseball should have done more. When grading the suspensions, a lot of factors have to be taken into account on a case-by-case basis. Did Bud Selig pass the test?
- 50-game suspension for the first-time offenders: C+. Selig didn’t have a whole lot of choice in handing out 50-game suspensions to Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Antonio Bastardo, Everth Cabrera, Jordany Valdespin, Francisco Cervelli, Jordan Norberto, Jesus Montero, Fernando Martinez, Cesar Puello, Sergio Escalona and Fautino De Los Santos. He couldn’t suspend them for more because the current steroid policy calls for 50 games for a first violation. However, my stance has always been that the steroid policy should be two strikes and you’re out- 162 games for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second. For as nightmarish as this latest drug scandal has been, one would think Major League Baseball would make the penalty for those who had contact with Tony Bosch a little stiffer.
- Ryan Braun’s suspension through 2013: F. Yes, baseball failed the test with Ryan Braun. The thing most baseball fans can’t get over from the whole ordeal with the Brewers’ star outfielder was that after he was cleared last year, basically on a technicality, he looked reporters, teammates, and America in the eye and reiterated how he was a clean player and a man of integrity. He swore on his life that he never took any banned substance, and many baseball fans believed him. Personally, I never believed him. I knew there was something fishy with him being cleared and the postal worker being fired for a crime he didn’t commit. Nothing added up, Braun’s lies were confirmed, and yet all Bud Selig did was give him a slap on the wrist. Suspending Braun through 2013 when Milwaukee is not even in the pennant race is a futile attempt to punish a player who deserved to be suspended through at least the 2014 All-Star Game. His teammates hate him, the whole organization hates him, and the whole league hates him. He’ll need good luck finding a team to play for next season.
- Alex Rodriguez’s suspension through 2014: B-. A B-minus seems to fit the mixed reaction I got when A-Rod’s suspension was handed down on Monday. A lifetime ban would have been fine considering the fact that Rodriguez already got caught using steroids before, lied to Major League Baseball and the Yankees about his drug use, and referred players to the Biogenesis lab on top of that. The man has no respect for the game anymore and is now just out to get his at-bats, which will lead to the ultimate goal of getting the rest of the money on his contract. I don’t even know any Yankees fan (or front office member for that matter) who likes A-Rod anymore, so I don’t think they’d argue with him being put away for life. However, a lifetime ban would’ve given the Yankees exactly what they want, which is to be freed from the now-disastrous contract they gave him in 2007. As Orioles manager Buck Showalter said in an interview, the extra $144 million New York would have if the contract was voided could have easily be used to sign Baltimore stars Matt Wieters or Chris Davis. So all in all, Bud Selig made the right move with the A-Rod suspension. In 2015 A-Rod will be most likely be out of baseball somehow anyways.
Overall, Major League Baseball gets an average grade of a C for the Biogenesis suspensions. There was nothing dramatic about the bans, but at least the steroid nightmare is over- for now.