Major Bans Imminent from Major League Baseball

By now you may have caught wind of the news that MLB officials have come to an agreement with Tony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis of America, to provide information that could result in 50- and 100-game suspensions for dozens of professional ballplayers.

You can find the details at ESPN’s Outside the Lines.

As you know, this isn’t really a “news” site, but this news is too big to ignore, and I’d like to hear your opinion of the latest development in this story. Personally, I’m skeptical that MLB will get away with suspending people like Ryan Braun for 100 games; somehow, some way, MLBPA will find a way to convince a judge that such a suspension is illegal. At the same time, I wonder if this debacle — and how it is handled — will adversely affect the current lovefest between the owners and the player’s union.

Sound off …

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Izzy June 5, 2013 at 7:58 am
    Love fest. Your knowledge of labor/management relations is not quite what your knowledge of baseball is. MLB/MLBPA has gone through an evolution from a very adversarial relationship that damaged the game, the business and the employees to a partnership where the boundaries of representation are recognized and respected, and the decision by both parties to work through its issues via talks and compromise vice lock outs strikes etc. This is not a love fest and what is happening here and what is going to happen is just the process that both sides have developed. Baseball will set out punishments for players who it deems have broken the rules and the MLBPA will represent them in hearings and try to get penalties reduced or removed. that is not a love fest ending. That is merely both parties doing their jobs.
    Not knowing the wording of the negotiated agreement it is impossible to know if MLB has a chance big or small to invoke what appears on the surface to be double penalties. Or is it merely leaks to make MLB look tough knowing full well the best they can get is the standard 50 days first time suspensions. Or is it just some small potato guy feeding info knowing the sports press is hungry for crap to write about. In theory if there were no leaks, we wouldn’t have heard a word until official suspensions were announced, and if a player were cleared we wouldn’t hear anything ever. But that is not the real word. This will linger and damage the game for quite a long time.
    • Joe Janish June 5, 2013 at 9:53 am
      “Love fest. Your knowledge of labor/management relations is not quite what your knowledge of baseball is.”

      So, if the owners and players aren’t currently in a lovefest, then, how would you describe their relationship?

      Lovefest defined by Merriam-Webster: “an expression or exchange of goodwill, praise, or affection”

      Have the players and owners not been exchanging goodwill, praise, and affection since the last CBA?

  2. Walnutz15 June 5, 2013 at 9:37 am
    MLB’s a joke when it comes to this kind of stuff. Get ready for another gigantic cluster(eff) – and whether or not they actually want to discipline anyone?

    Gonna be hard to prove anything, considering guys like Clemens were staring down actual syringes they were allegedly injected with…..and saw nothing in terms of consequence, other than a tarnished legacy – and less HOF votes.

    Overall, there’s gotta be more evidence than testimony from the BIOGENESIS clinic dude. You have nothing in the way of failed tests, and that’s what the suspensions are based off of, no?

    Unless the guy’s got videos stashed away, of guys outright administering the substances…..

    Just stop with all this crap, already. Abuse happens at every level of sport, whether it be High School, College, Minor League, or Major……guys are going to be looking to mask it any way they can.

    And that’s that.

    No one’s going to eliminate it from the game unless you ban athletes the very first time they get caught — and even then, I think you’ll still have plenty of guys run that risk, just to get there.

    We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. *Rinse and repeat*

    I feel bad for anyone who ever thought what they were watching during those HR Chases back in the day was white-bread “clean” —- it happened prior to that, and will happen again.

    Meh……

    • Joe Janish June 5, 2013 at 10:07 am
      Players do not have to test positive to be disciplined. Per the MLB anti-drug policy:

      “2. PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES

      Players shall be prohibited from using, possessing, selling, facilitating the sale of, Distributing, or facilitating the distribution of any Drug of Abuse, Performance Enhancing

      Substance and/or Stimulant (collectively referred to as “Prohibited Substances”).

      7 DISCIPLINE

      A Player who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance, or otherwise violates the Program through the use or possession of a Performance Enhancing Substance, will be subject to the discipline set forth below.

      1. First violation: 50-game suspension;
      2. Second violation: 100-game suspension; and
      3. Third violation: Permanent suspension from Major League and Minor League
      Baseball; provided, however, that a Player so suspended may apply, no earlier than one
      year following the imposition of the suspension, to the Commissioner for discretionary
      reinstatement after a minimum period of two (2) years.”

      So, if it can be proven that a player possessed a banned substance, that’s enough for MLB to punish him. I imagine this part of the agreement could have been inspired by Jason Grimsley.

      Now, how you define and prove “possession” is another argument. For example, PEDs were delivered to two homes where Jerry Hairston, Jr. resided, but he claims he never took them. If a package full of steroids is in a player’s home, is that possession?

      This is going to get ugly.

      • Walnutz15 June 5, 2013 at 10:12 am
        Thanks for providing the doctrine, Joe. And yes, to me – it’s (just another) [crap]storm on the horizon.

        Will it be much ado about nothing, or will they actually issue suspensions to major players…..and how much will Uncle Bud be able to work behind the scenes for his boy Braun?

  3. friend June 5, 2013 at 9:51 am
    The precedent has been established, although there is a caveat. A minor leaguer was suspended for 100 games under very similar circumstances. A connection to the clinic was considered to be one offense, and lying about the connection was considered to be a second offense. The caveat is that a minor league case does not necessarily influence the process in a major league case.
  4. winelawyer June 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm
    Assuming they are all suspended and this is a huge story, I am not sure that it is going to stop the active players from continuing to use PEDs. There is something about the competition and the fame that makes these guys think that rules do not apply to them, and that they can do what they want. Look at the ridiculous interview that Armstrong gave Oprah….Baseball is simply the new bicycling.
  5. DaveSchneck June 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    As mankind propels itself into the future at what seems to be an accelerated rate, our knowledge gives us unprecedented ability to manipulate ourselves physically in order to gain advantage. This was also the case back in the days of the caveman. Baseball too races into the abyss. Soon, adulterated baseball will take over completely. Shortly after that it will be genetically modified once again, so the top 9 hitters hit and the top 9 fielders field. Computers will determine positioning based on all factors, like wind speed, barometric pressure, the seasoning of the wood in an individual player’s bat. Fielders will respond instantly. All calls will be made my machine, not humans. Alas, there will still be a place in the game for the human umpire. His new uniform will be a lab coat, and he will be equipped with a technological device, similar to a diabetic’s blood tester, and he will test each batter before hitting for all PEDs known to mankind. He will test each pitcher, before every inning. There will be a white coated umpire at each base, to be able to test arriving runners at each base. Each manager will have the ability to test any player at will additionally, up to 3 times a game, by throwing a little red flag onto the field. Bill James disciples will invent new SABR stats to track violation rates. This will be built into a new WAR stat. Babe Ruth will drop from top WAR player to #784 after his stats include a “best guess” at how many PED violations he would have had, as alcohol is determined to be a PED. The Mets will refuse to sign anyone without blood relations to the Wilpons, for fear of sabatoging ownership by tainting lab samples. We will call this the post-modern age of baseball.
  6. Happy59 June 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm
    The Yankees are surely looking to save the final $100 million on A – Rod’s contract………

    On another topic……. I detest the inter-league play almost on a daily basis. I am wondering if Selig and cronies are trying to blurr the lines between the two leagues to make significant changes in the future, i.e., one league with many divisions; teams changing/rotating divisions; other scenarios may come to mind. I like my traditional baseball, its been modified enough overr the years. Just wondering if anyone else has considered the inter-league issue. Thanks

  7. Dan B June 6, 2013 at 12:33 am
    If I was in the MLBPA, I’d want stiffer penalties for my fellow players as the cheaters are either stealing higher salaries from me or forcing me to take illegal and dangerous drugs. The fact that more players don’t feel the same way makes me think PEDs are still wide spread.