Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from the major leagues for life for his alleged role in tossing the 1919 World Series. Pete Rose was banned for life for betting on the game he loved.
Both acts were considered appalling by societal standards—so much so, two of the greatest hitters that ever lived may never gain induction into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Yet for some reason, banning MLB players who use performance enhancing drugs is like, well, getting MLB players to stop using performance enhancing drugs.
It is beyond ridiculous—not surprising—but nonetheless ridiculous.
Perhaps MLB brass just does not get it. Melky Cabrera’s admitted use of PEDs opened a gaping wound for baseball fans just now returning to this once beautiful game.
I am one of them. Growing up in the 1990s, I was absolutely devastated to hear my childhood heroes cheated to gain the upper hand on opposing pitchers.
The names of those involved are now well cataloged, but entering the service in 1998, I all but walked away from the game. This, as the opening chapters were being written on what to do about ballplayers who juiced.
From my first day in Basic Training, I was introduced to the military’s zero-tolerance on drug/steroid use.
Straight up. Use steroids and you are a goner—back to your old life, never again having an opportunity to serve our nation and make a better life for you and your family. For a bunch of young, recently clean-shaven guys wanting to make a difference, this hit home.
More than a decade later, MLB is still bunting on cheaters when it should be thwacking them out of the park.
If our servicemen and women are held to a zero-tolerance policy for steroid use, why should a bunch of millionaire ballplayers get, not one—not two—but three chances to get their lives together?
People can throw excuse after excuse out there, but the bottom line is this—the integrity of the very game we all love is at stake.
MLB needs to send a ginormous message to the fans by implementing a zero-tolerance policy on PEDs once and for all.
No more 50-game suspensions, no more giving third chances. Going forward, ball players caught using PEDs should be banned for life.
Simple as that.
If juicing to get a little extra glory each season is worth sacrificing the game you love for the rest of your natural life—roll the dice and take your chances.
Now, to some this opinion may seem a bit of a harsh, scorched earth approach to curbing juicers.
To this, you are right.
At the end of the day, many baseball fans are sick and tired of players who breach the integrity of this beautiful game—a game our ancestors played for hours on end with dignity and respect.
And surely, many honorable ball players who work their tails off are equally tired of watching the game they have cherished since childhood get dragged through the mud.
I fear if MLB does not apply a zero-tolerance policy, and more players are found to be cheating, younger generations of fans may walk right out the door with the same fans that took years to come back.
And the game of baseball as we know it will be destroyed once and for all.