The dominoes have begun to fall in Major League Baseball’s (MLB) sweeping act to clean up the game. Remember what happened a year ago? As soon as San Francisco Pitcher Guillermo Mota came back from a 100-game suspension from using steroids, his then-teammate Melky Cabrera was banned 50 games for the exact same thing. But that scenario absolutely can’t be compared to what MLB is planning to do next. It began July 22 when the MLB’s commissioner’s office announced that it had suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for the remainder of the 2013 season—a total of 65 games—without pay for using performance-enhancing drugs. This may just be the start of several player suspensions throughout MLB.
Braun, a five-time All-Star, strongly denied using steroids last year after investigators did not find any substances in his system. But, MLB says Braun’s sample didn’t get transported correctly to a testing lab. As we know now, Braun flat-out lied to Commissioner Bud Selig and his fans when he said he never used the banned substance. Braun’s suspension consists of 50 games plus another 15 and potential play-off games for interfering during an investigation. During seven years in Milwaukee, Braun has hit 30+ home runs five times and he has only nine dingers in 2013 because he has been on the DL most of the year. Do these home run totals give us a clue, perhaps?
The Brewers slugger isn’t the only one who is in the middle of this enormous crackdown. Earlier this year, investigators started looking into a now-extinct Biogenesis Clinic in Miami, Florida. The owner of the clinic denies ever injecting players with steroids; however, he is cooperating with the investigation. MLB has concluded that the clinic helped buff up players. Reports indicate there are about 20 players who could get suspended or even get a life ban. Names mentioned include Alex Rodriguez (Yankees), Nelson Cruz (Rangers), Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), and Cabrera (Blue Jays). Under the CBA, first-offenders are suspended for 50 games and second-offenders are banned for 100 games, but those guidelines could vary.
This development could lead to devastating consequences for the Major Leagues and its players. Will fans turn their backs because they do not support cheaters, thus putting clubs in financial hardship? MLB and players may lose precious endorsements; Kwik Trip already parted ways with Braun, as he was the promoter for the company in three states, including Minnesota. While these suspensions will be bad for clubs and their fans, players must face the consequences for using banned substances. We must wonder: if these former All-Stars get suspended, what will the impact be?
Written by: Michael L. Sack