In the face of so many calls for stricter penalties by so many misguided moralists in the mainstream media, Commissioner Selig has come out and said he is in favor of increasing the penalties for PED’s. This is, of course, absurd. The penalty system is fine. The testing system is as good as it needs to be:
…. In the year ending with the 2012 World Series, there were seven positives for performance-enhancing substances and 11 for stimulants among 3,955 urine tests and 1,181 blood tests, according to a report issued in November by baseball’s independent program administrator, Dr. Jeffrey M. Anderson.
So, .003% of all the tests come back positive, and the Commissioner, as well as the complete fools in the media are all in a tizzy about solving a “problem” that doesn’t exist. Again, the program works fine. But if you’re in the mood for a different take, David Pinto has a suggestion:
….I would suggest, however, that suspensions may not be the way to go. My recommendation would be to hit the players hard in the wallet. Every positive test moves the start of big money back two years, or does a reset to the minimum salary. So if a first year player gets caught, he has to wait five years instead of three for arbitration, then eight years instead of six for free agency. If he is already collecting an arbitration or free agent salary, the next two years are paid at the minimum. In other words, cheating takes away the salary guarantee. A player might take a chance for 50 games. He might not take a chance for millions of dollars.
It’s an interesting take, but again, the system works. Players are being harmed by the suspensions, teams are being harmed. Melky was essentially an outcast in SF after his suspension, banned from the postseason, and from an eventual championship. What more do you want? Shoot them? It’s a game, people. Someone cheats, they get suspended. Three strikes and you’re out. That’s enough. The Players Association should resist any further calls for tougher penalties. They have no incentive, and they are not required to.
UPDATE: Eric thinks the system isn’t working. Well, I think it is. I think we’re talking about something working versus a completely unrealistic goal of 100% eradication. We’re confusing “works” with “perfect.” No system will catch everyone, for the exact reasons you just stated, the incentives are too great. The idea isn’t to eliminate use to the point of 100% clean. That’ll never happen. To even come close to 100% would entail a level of personal invasiveness no player would thoughtfully agree to. That’s why we shouldn’t listen to the sportswriters, the players, or the owners, oreven the commissioner when it comes to this issue. They aren’t experts. Far from it. They are consumers, they are sheep. When they say things like 11 positive tests out of almost 4000 vials of urine means the system isn’t working, it just illustrates how out of touch with reality they are.
There will always be a small percentage of people willing to do anything to achieve success. For the most part, those people are lauded as our heroes. The players agreed to this system. If some of them want to circumvent it, so be it. Some of them will get caught, and some won’t. That’s life. We could easily insure that every single person who ever speeds gets caught. Put GPS tracking devices in every car, and have it automatically issue a ticket pill marked cipro 500 every time you exceed the speed limit. Anybody want that? I could go on. How come it’s OK to ask Derek Jeter to allow someone to come to his house any hour of the day or night and ask him to pee in a cup? Because he plays a game? How is it so hard to see the absurdity in this situation?
The players have already given huge concessions in this situation. To give more baffles me.
If I were in the majors, I would never vote to allow that kind of intrusion in my life. But that’s me. I find it amazing that so many people would actively petition for the removal of another person’s privacy.