Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Performance Enhancers

So Rafael Palmeiro has been suspended for flunking a steroids test. Where will it all end? It won't. When lots of dollars are at stake, competitors will seek an edge, legitimate or otherwise. This is not a new concept! But when there are rules in place and it is proven that a competitor violates them, there should be consequences.

That means suspensions and fines of course, but I also think it would be beneficial to cut down on the garbage masquerading as news. I propose that players who get caught receive extra punishment if they tell us they were set up or it is all a mistake. I propose that teammates, team management, agents, family members, and the President of the United States (a pal of Palmeiro's) be flogged for acting as apologists and enablers. I propose that reporters, columnists and commentators who heard the chant of "Steroids!" directed at Jose Canseco way back in the '80's be prohibited, barred and enjoined upon threat of imprisonment from now acting surprised or indignant about recent revelations.

Finally, I propose that the Baseball Hall of Fame be closed to new inductees after next year. This is the consequence baseball and its players should suffer for perpetuating an institutional lie for so long, and would end the annoying debate about whether the chemical heroes of recent years deserve to be inducted.

But why wait until next year? Relief ace Bruce Sutter is the leading candidate for induction in '06. In fact, back in 1999 when I wrote on about meeting Sutter and Frank Robinson, I assumed both of them were Hall-of-Famers and identified them as such. I was stunned later when I found out that Sutter hadn't been elected yet. What do you mean one of the greatest relief pitchers of all time isn't in the HOF? Sutter seemed like a nice guy so I'll vouch for him; I detected no roid rage. (Robinson, on the other hand, was a bit grumpy.)


The situation changes drastically after next year. Canseco, Mark McGwire, and deceased drug addict Ken Caminiti are eligible for election in '07. Although McGwire is the only realistic selection of those three, it shows that the steroid era is about to hit Cooperstown hard.

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