Cheating is Not a Strategy

Steroids and baseball. The two terms have become almost synonymous with one another. Several Major League Baseball players are being accused of using performance-enhancing drugs supplied by the Florida clinic Biogenesis of America.

Courtesy of Yankee Analysts

Courtesy of Yankee Analysts

In the biggest baseball scandal since the Mitchell report in 2007, the Biogenesis investigation has left baseball fans questioning the integrity of the game once again.

Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire are all big time baseball players who have been linked with performance enhancing drugs at some point during their careers. Now, Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez can be added to that list as well. The MLB came down hard on Braun, suspending him for the rest of the season, but most people speculate that the evidence they have against Rodriguez could possibly warrant a lifetime ban.

Rodriguez and Braun both adamantly denied the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the past. However, the evidence the MLB has against them this time around is said to be insurmountable. Braun has already accepted his suspension, and sources close to Rodriguez have said that he will no longer try to reach a settlement with the league.

The bigger issue here is how many other players are involved in this scandal. Baseball officials speculate that 18 other MLB players were involved with the Biogenesis Clinic, as well as several other players from the NFL, the NBA, the NCAA, MMA fighting, and even tennis. Many speculate that the number of players involved is much higher than these reports show.

So if everyone is cheating does that make it okay to cheat?

If every pitcher is cheating, then shouldn’t every batter cheat in order to keep up? There is no justification for using performance-enhancing drugs, but the MLB should not be selectively enforcing bans and suspensions until a full investigation is completed.

It is highly unlikely that Braun and Rodriguez are the only current Major League players that have used steroids, especially since in the Biogenesis report alone several other names are mentioned. It just seems like the MLB and commissioner Bud Selig do not care if smaller name players are linked with drugs, because it will not affect their image as much.

The problem is that the MLB’s image has already been tarnished in the eyes of fans. How can fans tune into a sport knowing very well that the players they admire so much have not necessarily earned their place in the Major Leagues, but have used performance-enhancing drugs to give themselves an unfair edge.

The players should all be reprimanded after an extensive investigation is through, and if Selig doesn’t want a full elaborate investigation then he should not reprimand any of the players. By selectively choosing who to punish, the commissioner is almost approving the use of performance-enhancing drugs, as long as the player doesn’t get too good where it reflects poorly on the image of the league.

Another problem with reprimanding players who have used performance-enhancing drugs is whether or not their statistics and achievements should be upheld by the MLB. Alex Rodriguez has won three National League MVP’s (2003, 2005, 2007). Did he deserve any of them? Braun won the NL MVP in 2011. Should he get to keep it? While many people (including runner-up Matt Kemp) believe that he should be stripped of his title, where would the line be drawn?

If Braun’s MVP award is taken away then should his statistics be scratched from baseball history? Where would that leave Barry Bonds, the all-time home-run leader? It’s not as if the MLB can pick and choose which home runs shouldn’t count because of steroids and which ones should.  Then again, that is exactly what they are doing by picking and choosing who is punished for using performance enhancement drugs.