MLB cleans up its sad state of affairs

Phil Consuegra

I was sitting in my recliner the other night and did my usual ritual to help me wind down after a hard day on campus. Naturally, I flipped on C-SPAN to catch up on my daily Congressional happenings and my update on Major League Baseball.

Wait, what was that? C-SPAN to catch up on baseball? I thought C-SPAN was a pointless channel that I put on to annoy my guests. Now they have baseball?

I know what you’re thinking, and these days, there is no better place to find out what’s going on in the world of sports than flipping on daily speeches from Congressmen about steroids in professional sports. Senators John McCain and Jim Bunning have made it a daily point to address the situation and threaten legislation if Major League Baseball can’t come up with a tougher policy.

It’s not the fact that I can get my best coverage of the situation on a network designed to put people to sleep, but instead that it took so long and nearly an act of Congress for Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Union to agree to a tougher steroids policy. I am amazed at the irresponsibility of everyone involved, on the league and the union sides, to allow this situation, which puts its players’ lives at risk, to go this far.

To have the United States Senate take time out of its schedule in order to address an internal matter of Major League Baseball is ridiculous and practically anti-American. The fact that the league and the union couldn’t come to a resolution that should be and must be in place without pressure from the government is laughable.

I feel as if I’m watching two little kids bicker over who should play with a toy first and a parent steps in to tell them to share, or the parent will take it away. That’s how it’s always been with Major League Baseball and its Player’s Union, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. But normally these childish antics are saved for the negotiation table every time Tom Glavine wants a raise that a team won’t give him. Or even better, when the issue of a salary cap comes up. Heck, that’s like feeding one of the kids brussels sprouts and the other some McDonald’s fries. You want a real fight? Wait until the kid with the sprouts starts accusing the kid with the fries that he’s being “uncooperative.” That’s always fun for the media.

But we’re not talking about money here. We’re talking about health of players, lives of players, reputation of players. It’s one thing to be known as a greedy baseball player. It’s a whole other thing to be known as a cheater or a steroid abuser.

Fans forgive greed, because we still go to the game. Fans don’t forgive steroids (unless you’re a Yankees fan who just saw Jason Giambi win Comeback Player of the Year).

Need an example of the importance of a tougher steroid policy? There’s one in Ken Caminiti, longtime ballplayer and steroid user who passed away from a heart attack last year. Sure, it was legal when he did it. It was “custom” as some ballplayers have said. But in the end, now that we have this information that steroids can be life-threatening, it just shouldn’t take the threatening of Congressional legislation to make the League and the Union (who claims its resistance was for the ‘protection’ of its player) agree to a resolution. To me, that’s enough to bring both the League and Union up on criminal charges for utter stupidity and neglect.

So now it’s been handled. Now there’s a resolution. Now there’s a tougher, more realistic steroids policy, 50 games for first offense, 100 games for second, lifetime ban for third. I’m just very, very sorry it took so long and so much effort to do what is right. One must wonder what we have become as a society when an issue that looks like a no-brainer takes years to correct. In my opinion, the past year has been a sad state of affairs for baseball fans. What the future holds is unfortunately all up to the League, the Union and the players to enforce the new policy.

Play ball, boys. The nation is watching.