Friday, December 21, 2007

Baseball and Steroids - - My Solution

There is plenty of blame to go around. We can probably all agree on a few basic facts, and then I will propose a comprehensive solution to the steroids issue. Here's what we can agree to:

1. In the "steroids era", many many players used performance enhancing substances. This includes steroids and human growth hormone (an important distinction, steroids are detectable while HGH is not).

2. The players named in the Mitchell report are only a fraction of the users. We know this from looking at the number of players on all teams who jumped up in size and performance. We know this because the Mitchell report was based primarily on two sources, one from the Mets and one from the Yankees. If you had similar sources on the other clubs, you'd have that many more on the list. If you had the Cubs trainer talking, is there any way Sammy Sosa wasn't using? Wanna see something cool? Here are Shawn Green's lifetime stats ......a massive increase in production in the "steroids era" and a huge fall-off when testing started. I guess he "hit his stride" as a hitter, or something.

3. The team owners profited mightily during this era, and have only addressed the problem because they were called on the carpet. They were willing to look the other way, and were complicit in the growth of the abuse.

4. The players union has always done what a union should do. They represent the interests of the players. they are a very strong union. They have served the players well, gaining them a strong collective bargaining agreement, and an unsurpassed salary and free agency structure. Somehow the game has prospered with this.

5. The game of baseball is still great. It also has a rich history and tradition, which are worth preserving.

Those things being said, here is my proposal:

1. I would give the players a conditional amnesty for any and all performance enhancing drug use during the steroids era. The amnesty would mean no suspensions, no fines, no notations regarding any records, a sealing of any club memos or records on the subject, a destruction of any retained urine or blood samples, and an arrangement for immunity from any criminal prosecution arising out of this. The players would not be required to talk about past use, and would have the support of the clubs in refusing to talk to the press about it.

2. The CONDITIONS: All the players sign an agreement not to use ANY performance enhancing substances of any kind, EVER. The players must agree to submit to random urine and blood testing, and for the untested samples to be preserved. At the time when a reliable test for HGH becomes available, the retained samples will be tested, and/or HGH testing will immediately start. Any confirmed users will be suspended for two years on a first offense, and banned for life and barred from the Hall of Fame on the second.

That's the out the details.
Baseball is still fun, even with a level playing field.

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