By TYLER SCOTT
Earlier this month Major League Baseball handed down punishments after a long deliberation regarding the Biogenesis scandal.
New York Yankee all-star Alex Rodriguez stole most of the media spotlight for his involvement, but 13 players in total were suspended.
The full force of Commissioner Bud Selig’s ruling was felt by thousands of local fans when it was made official that the Detroit Tigers would lose arguably one of their top offensive weapons.
Jhonny Peralta accepted his suspension, and quite possibly took off a Tiger’s jersey for the last time, closing the book on another baseball steroid scandal.
Many fans remember the glory days of the sport, when the sport had more integrity. The term “PEDs” (performance-enhancing drugs) simply was not part of baseball vocabulary and steroid usage itself was not an issue within the league.
As such, using steroids in baseball today is widely regarded as one of the sport’s most egregious sins. It’s a topic so polarizing that it has ruined careers, brought about criminal charges, and may keep numerous greatly accomplished players out of the halls of Cooperstown forever.
Yet it’s difficult to share the same animosity for PED users held by other, older fans when for me and members of my generation, steroid use has always been a part of baseball.
We live in the steroid era. As long as I’ve been able to make sense of what was going on, PED usage has been the unfortunate reality.
It’s easy to understand why anyone even remotely interested in major league baseball would feel that steroid users are a disgrace to the game, and they are.
Jhonny Peralta seems like a nice guy, great ballplayer, but he, A-Rod, Barry Bonds and anyone else who has ever doped up are all the same. They’re cheaters, and not only did they cheat the game itself, but they cheated its fans.
Despite the severity of the transgression, for the fans who have grown up forced to accept the fact the players were doping, frankly, it’s not that big of a deal.
Having no emotional reaction whatsoever to the latest PED fiasco, I was concerned that I didn’t have the same feeling of betrayal that many fans and media seemed to share.
It felt almost un-American to not hate Jhonny and the others for cheating at baseball, but ultimately this lackluster emotional response was a learned behavior in itself. Bud Selig and major league baseball, despite attempting to crack down on drug abuse within their sport, have made it so in terms of consequences. Taking steroids is still arguably worth the risk.
A-Rod’s ban could end his career, but only because he is old, and already hated by half the league. Jhonny Peralta may be done as a Tiger, but in spring of ’14, more than likely he’ll be back on the diamond for one of baseball’s professional clubs.
Using steroids in attempts to influence the outcome of a game seems like it could be the worst thing a player could do in terms of cheating, yet in the long-term scope of things, the consequence is essentially a slap on the wrist.
Pete Rose bet for his own team, trying to win games that he was already trying to win, and he was banned forever from the sport. He did nothing wrong besides put money down on the line.
Players today are using artificially manufactured drugs to chemically alter their bodies and gain an edge over the competition and change the outcome of games.
Here, have a 50-game suspension; see you next year.
Using steroids cheats the game, cheats the other players, and cheats the fans, but even with rock hard conclusive evidence, any first-time offender probably won’t even have to worry about losing his job.
Fifty games first seemed like a huge punishment, but many players play thousands in their career.
As long as the MLB remains soft in punishing users, doping will always be a part of the sport. Even if you do get caught (far from a guarantee), what is almost guaranteed is that you’ll get a second chance.
Besides sheer moral principle, for any player debating on using, the juice is worth the squeeze.