There were a number of questions whether Major League Baseball was looking the other way during the so-called Steroid Era because with record home run totals and tickets being sold, no one wanted to rock the proverbial boat until they were shamed into cleaning up their act.
When new PED rules were originally implemented it seemed the only ones being caught were backups or role players trying to hang on to their big league jobs and salaries. Sure you had people like Bartolo Colon and Manny Ramirez who were suspended, but for the most part they were considered past their prime when it happened, however, there was no real bite to the new system. That is, until the Balco records revealed some very interesting clients.
Some of the superstar class like Alex Rodriguez were nailed, circumstantially, because no positive test was every found, but MLB got their big fish and the game was changed forever. Being shamed into doing the right thing has proven to be the best thing that has happened to baseball and now there are no problems bagging anyone from a Low-A player to a defending batting champion in the majors.
In about a week’s time, MLB has put the handcuffs on a pair of key players for their respective teams with Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello the first to get an 80 game suspension for PED use, and today it was announced that Marlins’ second-baseman Dee Gordon has received the same sentence.
Gordon, who led the National League in batting average, hits and stolen bases a year ago, allegedly tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol during spring training. As with most cases, the player’s apology/non-apology is nothing more than a reworded version of someone else’s admission.
“Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances. The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization and the fans,” Gordon said, in a release. “I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20+ tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences.”
According to sources, Gordon had apparently tried to fight the suspension only to drop his appeal following the Marlins-Dodgers game on Thursday night. Colabello also issues a similar apology.
The Marlins were quick to respond pretty much what all teams say after MLB imposes a suspension to one of their players:
“Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him, and we support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I do not like, or condone, what he did. He’s an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment. To the kids, to our fans, to his teammates, and to everyone in our organization who works hard every single day to put a product on the field and off the field that all Miamians will be proud of.”
It is what has become the circle of life in Major League Baseball, but no matter how the league came about to clean up the game, it is welcome news to fans. But it also shows that players, even knowing the consequences, are still willing to do whatever they can to cheat the game because, other than losing a few paychecks, there is little else they can be threatened with.
Major League Baseball has come a long way since the first established drug testing began. While there is still room for improvement, maybe a lifetime ban for a second positive. Maybe with that threat hanging over the entire league there might be fewer first postivies.
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