March 17, 2005

In Bud We Trust.: As Congressional hearings begin today, news breaks that MLB and the Players Association misrepresented the recent changes in their steroid testing policy. It turns out when they said, "A first positive test for steroids results in a 10-day suspension..." they forgot to add the rest of the sentence. The agreement actually included an add-on which read, "OR a $10,000 fine." The fine would be levied instead of the suspension at the discretion of the commissioner. And a public disclosure of the reason for the suspension (or fine) will not be made.

Should be an interesting day.

posted by 86 to baseball at 08:16 AM - 30 comments

I heard about this on the radio (Mike & Mike) this morning. Officials from MLB have commented that the "Or a $10,000 fine" portion of the agreement was included 'just in case' an extreme situation occurs where MLB does not feel as if the player intentionally violated the new steroid rules. I guess they were worried enough that a player might be injected with steroids by someone else without his knowledge or that a false positive may occur to include this language. And apparently they never considered the idea of an appeal system (a la the NFL) instead. Of course, in failing to mention this they have now pissed off a lot of fans. Oh, and they've pissed off a number of members of Congress as well.

posted by 86 at 08:25 AM on March 17

Is it OK to think that (1) baseball is a bunch of drugged up crooks who can't speak an honest word to save their lives? and (2) the house committee on government reform is a bunch of tax-dollar-wasting crooks who can't speak an honest word to save their lives?

posted by tieguy at 08:30 AM on March 17

Just to put that $10,000 fine in perspective, the average Major League salary is $15,700 a game ($2.55 million a year). I heard Selig interviewed by the Rangers broadcast team during a spring training game a few days ago. It was clear his only interest in this matter is to get the scandal off the front pages. If this had not been publicized, I have no doubt that they would have chosen to quietly fine players, rather than making a big show of a 10-game suspension. Baseball deserves better than that clown.

posted by rcade at 09:12 AM on March 17

You know, it's possible that the $10,000 fine clause is there at the insistence of the player's union, not the commissioner's office.

posted by rocketman at 09:23 AM on March 17

Either way they snaked everyone.

posted by chris2sy at 09:42 AM on March 17

link People are lining up to see the hearings. All the fans in line were surprised to learn that only nine seats had been set aside for the public in the hearing room. After 30 minutes, the first nine people in line would have to leave and go to the back of the line.

posted by jasonspaceman at 09:58 AM on March 17

live blogging the hearings

posted by jasonspaceman at 10:17 AM on March 17

I saw a MLB Big-Wig last night on ESPN say that the $10,000 fine is only there because it is remnant languague from a prior agreement, 2002 I think. He said that there would be no doubt that any player found to be using steroids would be suspended for 10 days on the first offense. He said that the players union was fully aware of this stance and was in agreement with it. The $10,000 fine is an option that is left in the language of the contract as a safety net for the league in case a player has a legitimate reason that they tested positive, for example, if they were prescribed a steroid to remedy a particular illness or irritation.

posted by mayerkyl at 10:23 AM on March 17

That's all well and good mayerkyl, but it could be just lip service. The fact is there is no way for us to know. If this didn't get uncovered, a month from now a major league player could have tested positive, been fined and we would never have known about it. Sure, now they say that the agreement was in place and they would have suspended the player, but there is no way for us to know that. And it seems to me that an appeal process would have been an adequate (and better!) safety net. Put simply, this explanation doesn't pass the smell test, especially when you take into account their failure to disclose it when they went public with the wording of the new agreement. With that in mind their current explanation is, "We didn't want the press and public scrutinizing that part of the agreement, so we didn't tell you about the possibility that we weren't going to tell you about a positive steroid result. Oh, but we were going to tell you about them all, I promise."

posted by 86 at 10:31 AM on March 17

Wake me up when its over--Play ball!

posted by daddisamm at 10:45 AM on March 17

the wording of the new agreement you mean the gum job?

posted by garfield at 10:52 AM on March 17

espn coverage for the tv impared.

posted by jasonspaceman at 11:49 AM on March 17

Espn covering a political event is just plain wrong--A real oxy-moron (lol) Dan Patrick is the next Dan Rather! well at least thier egos are about the same size!

posted by daddisamm at 11:59 AM on March 17

At least you can take Bob Ley seriouly.. most of the time!

posted by daddisamm at 12:01 PM on March 17

I just want to go on the record that I think steriods are bad and baseball should should get rid of them. And significant parts of Congress if possible - I cannot believe what comes out of these guys mouths. What ever happened to capable, smart, convincing bullshitters? These guys are hacks.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:23 PM on March 17

Just remember all of this next time you vote. Congress has all of our best interests at heart, right? After all now it's about the kids. What about the kids that still can;t afford to see a baseball game? At this day in age, I find it hard to believe, that some kid would use steroids, just to be like Jose. It's now tougher to get into collage, and more expensive. This is the reality. Of course congress has more inportant things to worry about, than your childs education,right?

posted by volfire at 12:46 PM on March 17

The numbers have dramatically increased over the past 10 years, going from 1 in 40 teens using roids, to now 1 in 16. Not an epidemic, but worrying nonetheless. And enough with bashing the government having better things to do. If MLB took care of its own trash, this wouldn't be happening.

posted by garfield at 02:20 PM on March 17

Here is the baseball policy. It seems very much to be treatment focused, so it doesn't really seem so bad to me.

posted by bperk at 02:38 PM on March 17

At this day in age, I find it hard to believe, that some kid would use steroids, just to be like Jose
Right. Just like, in this day and age, no teenager would be stupid enough to take up smoking, knowing the world of addiction, expense, and cancer that awaits for the sake of looking cool and a nicotine high. You might want to connect with the reality of teenagers a little more and your beliefs a little less.

posted by rodgerd at 03:12 PM on March 17

Good point, rodgerd, but smoking is awesome.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:43 PM on March 17

Pfft. rogerd is so not cool.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:41 PM on March 17

So, does anyone know if, say, using steroid cream on your skin winds up with any traces in the blood or urine? Merely curious since I'm using it right now to treat something. Selig needs to go. And Bonds needs to be made an example of.

posted by Drood at 04:56 PM on March 17

Selig is just the owners puppet. And you know the owners don't want to see their high-priced, seat-filling players get bad PR. Since the owners don't want a tough 'roids policy, Selig won't go after one. If fans stay away and don't pay the owners for their high-priced 'roids talent, the owners might think again.

posted by roberts at 05:24 PM on March 17

My favorite parts: The thorough bitchslapping of Manfred, Fehr and Selig just now. And Jose Canseco attempting to make some point by raising a hypothetical on a "shortage of wood in 10-20 years" Mark McGwire's non-testimony, dodging every question... Hey, Mac, are you retired? You didn't mention that 9000 times. The entire thing was unintentional comedy.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:44 PM on March 17

What's sad is the 'roid jockeys will still be cheered by their fuckwit fans. Bonds should be booed out of the fucking stadium. "I didn't know what I was taking." Fuck you, Bonds. Either you're a liar, or you're an idiot. Most likely both.

posted by Drood at 12:25 AM on March 18

From the Google Ads on this page right now: Legal Steroids: Prices lower than a snake's belly Priceless.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:59 AM on March 18

Weedy: Nope, and never have been. Don't much care, either. A data point on teens and steroids: a friend's father used to work with a New Zealand high performance athletes' unit; teens there were surveyed about their attitude to steroid use. In excess of 70% said they'd take steroids if it improved their chances of becoming top sportsmen and women. Once the top guys are steroid (or HGH, or whatever) users, there *is* a trickle-down effect. The guys who want to be top will be on them, and then the guys who want to be second, and so on and so forth. And eventually kids will be getting the message that if they want that pro contract when they're 20, they need to be on the sauce at 15. Now perhaps for a Bonds or an Arnie the benefits of the drugs are worth the cost. But for a gaggle of teens, most of whom will enjoy the same stellar sporting career I have, it's not such a good equation, is it?

posted by rodgerd at 03:01 AM on March 18

I am eagerly awaiting congressional hearings on Rite-Aid's inadequate drug-testing policy. The chick who rung up my Claritin looked totally high and it's up to congress to make sure that drug-testing policies for all employers is adequate.

posted by Mayor Curley at 07:53 AM on March 18

That's right, Mayor Curley! Drug testing must be adequate!

posted by damned yankee at 06:48 PM on March 18

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