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Matt700wlw
08-08-2007, 05:53 PM
In the spring of 2002, the Milwaukee Brewers' manager shared his thoughts on players' taking steroids. "To be honest," Jerry Royster told the Los Angeles Times, "until they make it a rule, I don't care what anybody does."

It was a common defense at the time: If it's not against the rules, then what's the problem? Even today, many players believe that steroids were not banned in the majors until August of 2002, when the league's first drug-testing agreement kicked in. Before then, says former pitcher Bryce Florie, steroid use "may have been against national law, but it wasn't against baseball rules." It's a notion that has been stated as fact in national media as reputable as USA Today, The Associated Press and ESPN The Magazine.

In truth, steroids have been banned in baseball since 1991 -- in a policy baseball officials made little effort to publicize. A source provided a copy of the seven-page document to ESPN The Magazine on the condition of anonymity. Titled "Baseball's Drug Policy and Prevention Program," the memo was sent to all major-league clubs on June 7 of that year by then-commissioner Fay Vincent. He spelled out components of the program, and ordered, "This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids."

On May 15, 1997, acting commissioner Bud Selig distributed a nearly identical version of the drug memo, again citing steroids and directing clubs to post the policy in clubhouses and distribute copies to players. Selig's memo also went largely ignored. "I don't remember anything being posted in the locker room on drugs, like we did with gambling," said Bob Gebhard, then the Rockies' GM. In fact, baseball's gambling policy is still prominently displayed, and it must be read annually to each player by a club employee.

Players then sign a statement affirming that they understand the rule. Does such awareness make a difference? Hard to know, but the last gambling scandal was Pete Rose in 1989.

ESPN spoke to five GMs from 1997, three of whom (from the Royals, Dodgers and Rockies) couldn't recall that a steroids policy even existed -- not that it would have mattered. "I hate to say this, but it didn't do a whole lot of good to know the policy," says Herk Robinson, the Royals' GM during 1990-2000. "You weren't going [to] solve anything. You couldn't test. You couldn't walk up to a guy and say, 'What are you taking?'"

That sense of futility, brought on by the union's refusal to allow drug testing, descended from Vincent, who concedes he made no effort to enforce the league's first drug rules. "We could have done a lot more lecturing, lobbying and educating," he says. "But I didn't know anything about steroids." He says steroids were included in the 1991 memo because of rumors involving one player, Jose Canseco.

By 1997, the juice was loose in clubhouses well beyond Oakland. Selig, who had played a central role in the 1991 policy as chair of the Player Relations Committee, was becoming concerned, but not enough to make sure his edict was understood, much less enforced. By then, the home run had revived attendance and a new ethic took hold. As Robinson sheepishly says of the phantom steroid ban, "If a player is helping your club immensely, you know how it is -- maybe it's better you don't know."


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=steroidsExc&num=19

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 06:01 PM
Powerless memos are not a ban; they're just powerless memos.

Fay Vincent's 1991 memo was just that, a powerless memo. So long as it wasn't in the CBA, it meant absolutely nothing. Baseball's drug policy at the time required a player to be convicted, plead guilty, or plead no contest in court. The only thing baseball could do at the time was notify law enforcement officials of substance abuse, and without the courts' help, baseball had no policy on substance abuse.

FWIW, the Controlled Substances Act was enacted in 1970, not 1991. What's ironic about that is that according to US Law, amphetamines are actually a worse offense than steroids (schedule II vs. schedule III). If one goes by the [flawed] argument that it was illegal in the US, then any player taking any substance on the Controlled Substances Act would be breaking the law, and that includes ampthetamines.

So by all means, throw that * up next to Barry Bonds' name for the all-time home run record. Meanwhile, I'll throw one up on good ole 4,256, because after all, the player with that record was taking performance enhancement drugs at a time when they were illegal in the US too.

M2
08-08-2007, 07:33 PM
What's so wrong with this little fella next to your record anyway?

http://mama.indstate.edu/users/adivi/homepage/images/asterix/asterix.jpg

KronoRed
08-08-2007, 07:38 PM
Red pants with a green belt?

Ugh

red-in-la
08-08-2007, 08:25 PM
Powerless memos are not a ban; they're just powerless memos.

Fay Vincent's 1991 memo was just that, a powerless memo. So long as it wasn't in the CBA, it meant absolutely nothing. Baseball's drug policy at the time required a player to be convicted, plead guilty, or plead no contest in court. The only thing baseball could do at the time was notify law enforcement officials of substance abuse, and without the courts' help, baseball had no policy on substance abuse.

FWIW, the Controlled Substances Act was enacted in 1970, not 1991. What's ironic about that is that according to US Law, amphetamines are actually a worse offense than steroids (schedule II vs. schedule III). If one goes by the [flawed] argument that it was illegal in the US, then any player taking any substance on the Controlled Substances Act would be breaking the law, and that includes ampthetamines.

So by all means, throw that * up next to Barry Bonds' name for the all-time home run record. Meanwhile, I'll throw one up on good ole 4,256, because after all, the player with that record was taking performance enhancement drugs at a time when they were illegal in the US too.

What moral pedistal are you standing on when you make this statement? Against the rules is against the rules. You imply that something isn't wrong unless you get caught.

Maybe I just misunderstand......I do that a lot. :confused:

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 08:35 PM
What moral pedistal are you standing on when you make this statement? Against the rules is against the rules. You imply that something isn't wrong unless you get caught.

Maybe I just misunderstand......I do that a lot. :confused:

I'm not standing on any moral pedestal.

I'm interpreting the rules accurately and correctly as they were prior to MLB and the MLBPA altering the CBA recently in regards to steroids.

You want to know why MLB had to go through the MLBPA to institute the testing they now have today? It's because an arbitrator ruled against MLB in 1986 on that issue. Prior to 1985, the Dodgers wanted to add a mandatory drug testing clause to all player contracts. The Dodgers backed off that, but the following season several other clubs actually did try to do that (there were cocaine issues at the time). The MLBPA filed a grievance, and arbitrator Thomas Roberts ruled that the issue had to be negotiated with the MLBPA, not with individual players. So much for MLB deciding what they could and could not ban.

So five years later in 1991 when Fay Vincent sends a memo out regarding substance abuse, it's a powerless memo with zero backbone since it cannot be enforced.

You can thank arbitrator Thomas Roberts and his ruling in 1986 for that.

red-in-la
08-08-2007, 08:41 PM
But, doesn't the Commish set the rules? I don't know......maybe he doesn't. If he sets the rules and the players, as a unit decide to ignore it, it is still wrong.....IMHO.

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 08:45 PM
But, doesn't the Commish set the rules? I don't know......maybe he doesn't. If he sets the rules and the players, as a unit decide to ignore it, it is still wrong.....IMHO.

Like it or not, the CBA - which is represented and negotiated jointly by the owners and players - sets the rules. The commish largely represents the owners and their best interests for what they believe to be the betterment of the game in that regard. If the MLBPA agrees on a rule, then it likely lands in the CBA and becomes an actual rule. If the MLBPA doesn't agree, then it's not a rule.

As far as Major League Baseball is concerned, the CBA is the law of their land.

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 08:49 PM
I'll phrase the issue another way.

Fay Vincent's 1991 memo had as much power and authority as the commish would have had if he'd have ordered the players on the field to finish the 1994 season, play the 1994 playoffs, and start the 1995 season on time.

And we all know what happened with that.

Ltlabner
08-08-2007, 08:51 PM
I'll phrase the issue another way.

Fay Vincent's 1991 memo had as much power and authority as the commish would have had if he'd have ordered the players on the field to finish the 1994 season, play the 1994 playoffs, and start the 1995 season on time.

And we all know what happened with that.

So does that means rules that are instituted but not enforceable should be ignored and that it's acceptable to break them?

Not, will they be ignored (we know the answer to that), but should they be?

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 08:59 PM
So does that means rules that are instituted but not enforceable should be ignored and that it's acceptable to break them?

Not, will they be ignored (we know the answer to that), but should they be?

If the rule was never in the CBA, then it was never a rule to begin with. That's the large, underlying point of the CBA as a whole altogether. The commish aims to represent the owners and protect their best interests. The MLBPA aims to represent the players and protect their best interests. Any commish can try to create whatever rules he wants to create, but if the MLBPA doesn't agree to it, then they're not rules in MLB. The rule has to be in the CBA for it be a rule to begin with.

Fay Vincent's memo wasn't a part of the CBA; therefore it wasn't an MLB rule. I know it pisses people off, and I know people won't want to believe it. But that's the case, and it's that simple.

And BTW, here is that memo which the MLBPA probably laughed all the way to the shred bin with ...
http://espn.go.com/i/eticket/20051109/i/memosPOP_1991_1.jpg

Ltlabner
08-08-2007, 09:09 PM
So the CBA has to "approve" every single rule put forth by MLB?

Is that really how it works (ie. that's how things are actually structured), or are you just saying that is how it is in practice (ie. unless the union signs off it don't matter).

I'm asking, I don't know.

red-in-la
08-08-2007, 09:14 PM
So if the CBA said that it took 7 balls to walk.....but the commish never changed the rulebook the umpires use......how would the game be played? :dunno:

deltachi8
08-08-2007, 09:26 PM
So the CBA has to "approve" every single rule put forth by MLB?

Is that really how it works (ie. that's how things are actually structured), or are you just saying that is how it is in practice (ie. unless the union signs off it don't matter).

I'm asking, I don't know.

If it is reasonably argued and decided that rules changes are a change to the terms and conditions of employment, then they must be collectively bargained where a CBA exists.

Drug testing where a player would be subject to discipline (suspension, etc) are a change in the terms and conditions of employment. Vincent's heart may have been in the right place but he did not get very good legal advice before issuing that memo.

Cyclone792
08-08-2007, 09:36 PM
So the CBA has to "approve" every single rule put forth by MLB?

Is that really how it works (ie. that's how things are actually structured), or are you just saying that is how it is in practice (ie. unless the union signs off it don't matter).

I'm asking, I don't know.


ARTICLE XVIII—Rule Changes

If during the term of this Agreement any Major League Rule, or other rule or regulation is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association provided by this Article XVIII shall apply only to (a) a change in a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation and (b) the adoption of a rule or regulation which would change a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation or impose an obligation upon the Players which had not previously existed. Except as specifically provided in this Article XVIII, the right of the
Clubs to make any rule change whatsoever shall not be impaired or limited in any way, provided that the Clubs shall not make any change which is inconsistent with the provisions of any then existing agreement between the Clubs and the Association.

Notwithstanding the foregoing paragraph, if during the term of this Agreement any playing or scoring rule is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association shall apply only to changes which significantly affect terms and conditions of employment. Such proposals to change playing or scoring rules shall normally be made only during the off-season. If the Clubs and the Association fail to reach agreement on a proposed change which is subject to negotiation, the proposed change shall not be put into effect until the completion of the next complete succeeding season (including the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series) following the date the change was proposed.

Redsland
08-08-2007, 11:06 PM
So the CBA has to "approve" every single rule put forth by MLB?
The CBA is the Collective Bargaining Agreement (between the league office and the players' union.) If something hasn't been agreed to by both parties, then it isn't in the Agreement. And if it isn't in the Agreement, then it isn't a rule.

Google some names like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr for some historical background about just how contentious CBA negotiations can get.

Yachtzee
08-09-2007, 12:34 PM
The CBA is the Collective Bargaining Agreement (between the league office and the players' union.) If something hasn't been agreed to by both parties, then it isn't in the Agreement. And if it isn't in the Agreement, then it isn't a rule.

Google some names like Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr for some historical background about just how contentious CBA negotiations can get.

As I understand it, MLB has always been free to make rule changes so long as it does not affect contracts between players and teams. I've always believed that MLB can ban steroids and other things, but cannot implement an enforcement regime without consent of the Players' Association.

For discussion's sake, here's the appropriate section of the CBA regarding rule changes.




ARTICLE XVIII—Rule Changes

If during the term of this Agreement any Major League Rule, or other rule or regulation is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association provided by this Article XVIII shall apply only to (a) a change in a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation and (b) the adoption of a rule or regulation which would change a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation or impose an obligation upon the Players which had not previously existed. Except as specifically provided in this Article XVIII, the right of the Clubs to make any rule change whatsoever shall not be impaired or limited in any way, provided that the Clubs shall not make any change which is inconsistent with the provisions of any then existing agreement between the Clubs and the Association.

Notwithstanding the foregoing paragraph, if during the term of this Agreement any playing or scoring rule is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association shall apply only to changes which significantly affect terms and conditions of employment. Such proposals to change playing or scoring rules shall normally be made only during the off-season. If the Clubs and the Association fail to reach agreement on a proposed change which is subject to negotiation, the proposed change shall not be put into effect until the completion of the next complete succeeding season (including the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series) following the date the change was proposed.



Now this article is in the current CBA. Was it in the CBA in effect in 1991 when Fay Vincent sent out his memo? I don't know. If not, then we're going to spin our wheels on it because if the CBA says nothing about rule changes, I feel that contact law would require rule changes to be handled according to the procedures in place before the CBA.

Assuming for this discussion that it was, could baseball ban steroids without negotiating with the players? I think the answer is "possibly."

This article indicates that MLB must negotiate with the Association for proposed rule changes that (1) affect a player benefit under an existing rule; (2) create a new rule affecting a player benefit or imposing a new obligation on the players; or (3) affects the terms and conditions of employment. If the rule change does not implicate any of these 3 conditions, then MLB is free to change the rule.

I think that, at least under this article, MLB can ban steroids, but would need the Association's approval before implementing an enforcement regime. First, steroid use was not a benefit existing under the rules of baseball. Baseball cannot have rules that promote illegal activity, and any such contracts that implied such a benefit would be void. Therefore, banning steroids does not affect a benefit that players were afforded under the existing rules. Second, baseball players had an obligation under the law not to use illegal steroids, and so banning steroids merely reinforces an already existing legal obligation and does not impose any new obligations on the players. Third, the terms of employment contracts may not promote an illegal purpose or they are void in every state in the Union. Thus, it cannot be implied that steroid use was permitted under the terms and conditions of employment.

So, at least under this article, the problem is not whether MLB could ban steroids. The problem comes in the enforcement of the ban. While banning steroids may not be a problem, requiring players to submit to drug testing is, because it would impose a new obligation on players that had not previously existed. Players may have a legal obligation not to engage in the illegal use of steroids, but at least at the time when McGwire, Giambi, Palmiero, Bonds, and others were bulking up, they had no existing obligation to submit to testing. And this is, in fact, the contention that the Association has always had. They have never once, as far as I know, ever asserted that illegal use of steroids was permitted under the CBA. They have always objected to the unilateral implementation of a testing regime necessary to detect illegal steroid use.

The CBA is a contract, just like any other contract. If there is a provision in the contract requiring the negotiation of rule changes, then the parties are required to negotiate rule changes. If there is no provision in the CBA, then you have to look to some other agreement between the parties, but you can't just claim that the parties cannot do anything unless it's in the contract. Contracts by nature voluntary and limited to their terms and can't be said to control aspects of the parties' relationships that that the parties did not intend to be governed by the contract.

M2
08-09-2007, 02:11 PM
I don't really have a lot of sympathy for the argument that players didn't know that using steroids was wrong because the testing procedures and penalties weren't formalized in the CBA. They most certainly did know it was wrong, they kept their usage hush-hush and I'm all for retroactive penalties (e.g. suspensions or expulsions for still active players who are found to have juiced and HOF exclusions for notable abusers who've retired). IMO it's perfectly acceptable, if patently hypocritical, for the league to swing a big stick on this one. Better to take it seriously late than never (league officials who looked the other way should be purged as well).

That everyone knew it was wrong is uncontestable.

Ltlabner
08-09-2007, 05:03 PM
I don't really have a lot of sympathy for the argument that players didn't know that using steroids was wrong because the testing procedures and penalties weren't formalized in the CBA. They most certainly did know it was wrong, they kept their usage hush-hush and I'm all for retroactive penalties (e.g. suspensions or expulsions for still active players who are found to have juiced and HOF exclusions for notable abusers who've retired). IMO it's perfectly accepted, if patently hypocritical, for the league to swing a big stick on this one. Better to take it seriously late than never (league officials who looked the other way should be purged as well).

That everyone knew it was wrong is uncontestable.

Well said. I put the "well the players weren't officially told it was bad via the CBA" argument on par with the little kid who is told to brush his teath one night, but doesn't do it the following night because his parents didn't expressly tell he he had to do it *that* night too.

The other argument that "players in the 70's took greenies" is a load of steaming feeces too. So what? What does the conduct of a player in the 70's have anything to do with the conduct of a player in the 90's? Might as well say "all the cool kids are doing it". So no standards can be created whatsoever because Rose took greenies and some pitchers threw spitballs? What a crock.

MLB screwed the pooch when they turned a blind eye to roids. No doubt about it. But I'm mystified why people are so want to excuse the players culpability in the problem (or admit that the players did anything wrong).

Redsland
08-09-2007, 06:08 PM
Yachtzee, two relevant portions of the CBA that both you and Cyclone posted are bolded below.

If during the term of this Agreement any Major League Rule, or other rule or regulation is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association provided by this Article XVIII shall apply only to (a) a change in a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation and (b) the adoption of a rule or regulation which would change a Player benefit under an existing rule or regulation or impose an obligation upon the Players which had not previously existed.
First, this bolded section would apply in the recent case of MLB implementing a drug testing policy where none had existed before. The obligation of players to submit to the testing was new, and therefore had to first be negotiated with the MLBPA.

The other relevant section is bolded below.

Notwithstanding the foregoing paragraph, if during the term of this Agreement any playing or scoring rule is proposed to be changed, the Clubs agree that they shall give the Association notice thereof, and shall negotiate the proposed change with the Association, provided that the obligation to negotiate with the Association shall apply only to changes which significantly affect terms and conditions of employment.
As you can read in the memo Cyclone posted earlier, MLB was proposing a rule change and threatening that players who failed to follow the rule "risk expulsion from the game." That means the rule change would have affected the "terms and conditions of employment" in the bolded section above, and would therefore be subject to negotiation with the players' association as indicated above. Negotiations broke down both quickly and predictably, which prevented any rule from being passed. That's where the matter remained until Congress got involved, 14 years later.

FYI, the existing CBA was passed in 1996, to answer an earlier question.

Cyclone792
08-09-2007, 06:48 PM
Well said. I put the "well the players weren't officially told it was bad via the CBA" argument on par with the little kid who is told to brush his teath one night, but doesn't do it the following night because his parents didn't expressly tell he he had to do it *that* night too.

That's a moral question, not a literal question, and your error is you're mixing the two to be one and the same.

In most fans' eyes, every player who used steroids committed a moral violation of doing something they shouldn't have been doing. I'm not disputing that, and I actually agree with it. But in reality, those players never did break any literal and actual MLB rules. They broke societal moral rules, but not actual MLB rules; that's a big difference.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Mixed Martial Arts, but until recently there were two large, semi-mainstream mixed martial arts venues: UFC and PRIDE.

The UFC was largely an American organization with many of its events being held in the US, which means they have to adhere to the rules of individual state athletic commissions. Steroid testing and banning steroids is a large part of adhering to those athletic commission guidelines, and the UFC does administer steroid tests.

PRIDE, on the other hand, was owned by a Japanese organization and held their events oftentimes in Japan. The rules they had to adhere to were different than the rules the UFC had to adhere to over here in the states. PRIDE had no steroid testing. PRIDE didn't care about steroid use. Most of the PRIDE MMA fighters were continually on steroids. You're probably wondering why this organization didn't steroid test, and the simple answer is because the Japanese culture as a whole just didn't give a crap. Former big time PRIDE fighters such as Wanderlei Silva could shoot up with all the steroids they wanted to, and the Japanese fans just didn't care. Their moral standards were and are different than our's.

In your eyes, I'm sure those fighters were doing something wrong that they shouldn't have been doing by taking steroids. In the eyes of most Japanese fans, they weren't doing anything wrong because the Japanese fans just didn't care. Their societal moral code of ethics in athletic competition didn't involve banning steroids.

I'm not saying one is right and the other is wrong. What I am saying is that the moral standards on this topic are quite different depending on one's culture.


The other argument that "players in the 70's took greenies" is a load of steaming feeces too. So what? What does the conduct of a player in the 70's have anything to do with the conduct of a player in the 90's? Might as well say "all the cool kids are doing it". So no standards can be created whatsoever because Rose took greenies and some pitchers threw spitballs? What a crock.

My argument is against selective enforcement. You can try to hand down whatever penalities and labels to players who took steroids before MLB outlawed them all you want, but if you're going to do that, then do the same to the players who committed and got away with other methods of performance enhancements.

As I said before, the Controlled Substances Act was enacted way back in 1970. All players who took performance enhancement drugs banned on that Act for 30+ years between 1970 and when MLB finally banned those performance enhancers were violating US law. If your reasoning for discrediting a player's accomplishments was that they took steroids in the 1990s and that they were breaking US law by doing so, then you must recognize that players who took greenies in the 1970s were also violating US law just the same.

Yachtzee
08-09-2007, 06:58 PM
Yachtzee, two relevant portions of the CBA that both you and Cyclone posted are bolded below.

First, this bolded section would apply in the recent case of MLB implementing a drug testing policy where none had existed before. The obligation of players to submit to the testing was new, and therefore had to first be negotiated with the MLBPA.

The other relevant section is bolded below.

As you can read in the memo Cyclone posted earlier, MLB was proposing a rule change and threatening that players who failed to follow the rule "risk expulsion from the game." That means the rule change would have affected the "terms and conditions of employment" in the bolded section above, and would therefore be subject to negotiation with the players' association as indicated above. Negotiations broke down both quickly and predictably, which prevented any rule from being passed. That's where the matter remained until Congress got involved, 14 years later.

FYI, the existing CBA was passed in 1996, to answer an earlier question.

Well, here are the two questions then:

1) Was the negotiation requirement part of the CBA in 1991 when Fay Vincent's memo was released?

2) If so, did the 1991 memo actually change a condition or term of employment, or were players already prohibited from using illegal drugs, subject to expulsion from the game. The negotiation rule only pertains to changes in the existing terms and conditions of employment. Remember that MLB has had a policy against illegal drugs since the days of Steve Howe. So the question is whether Vincent's memo was a change in the existing terms and conditions of employment, or merely a restatement of the then existing policy? If baseball's policy prohibited "illegal" drugs, then steroids were banned from baseball as soon as the federal government added steroids to the schedule of controlled substances. If baseball already had a policy for suspensions and expulsion for illegal drug use, then there is no need to negotiate because it was already in existence.

Now there is a difference between banning steroids and implementing a testing regime. Baseball had never been permitted to test for illegal drugs, whether it be steroids or cocaine. Thus prior to the new enforcement regime, players were generally only suspended for illegal drugs if caught by law enforcement. Again, it's one thing to ban steroids, testing for them is a separate issue.

Redsland
08-09-2007, 08:04 PM
Again, it's one thing to ban steroids, testing for them is a separate issue.
Absolutely. As for the content of the CBA as of 1991, I cannot say.

Ltlabner
08-09-2007, 08:53 PM
They broke societal moral rules, but not actual MLB rules; that's a big difference.

My argument is against selective enforcement. You can try to hand down whatever penalities and labels to players who took steroids before MLB outlawed them all you want, but if you're going to do that, then do the same to the players who committed and got away with other methods of performance enhancements..

I understand very clearly that the CBA is a binding legal contract, negotiationed between and agreed to by MLB and the players union. And as such, if something is not agreed to, from a legal standpoint, it doesn't exist. 4 quarters of business law. Got it.

Having said that, I wonder if somewhere deep inside the CBA there's a "catch all" morals type clause that some wily laywer could agrue includes steroid use? Then we can remove one of the last legs the roid excusers have to stand on.

Selective enforcement happens all the time in baseball. Every pitch that is thrown is subject to the selective enforcement of the strike zone. I have no issue going back after players on this issue. In fact, I'd argue that if baseball wants to revive it's position in the sports psyche of America it must go after these players.

So where do you draw the line on performance enhacers? Gatoriade? Batting gloves? Pine tar? Sunglases for the outfielders? Rosin? Taking Benedril so your eyes aren't watery and you can see the ball better and not sneeze at a critical moment?

There's clearly a sliding scale of acceptablity from batting gloves to greenies to steroids. There's nothing that says you can't draw the line somewhere on that spectrum. From an ivory tower, utopian point of view it woln't be fair and philospohically pure I suppose. But from a common sense stand point the line must be drawn somewhere.

Cyclone792
08-09-2007, 10:02 PM
Selective enforcement happens all the time in baseball. Every pitch that is thrown is subject to the selective enforcement of the strike zone. I have no issue going back after players on this issue. In fact, I'd argue that if baseball wants to revive it's position in the sports psyche of America it must go after these players.

MLB could try to go back on those players, but they'd never win. The player's union would file a grievance, and an arbitrator would rule in favor of the union. The only way to "penalize" any of those players is for the BBWAA to hold them out of the Hall, much like we've seen with McGwire so far.


So where do you draw the line on performance enhacers? Gatoriade? Batting gloves? Pine tar? Sunglases for the outfielders? Rosin? Taking Benedril so your eyes aren't watery and you can see the ball better and not sneeze at a critical moment?

There's clearly a sliding scale of acceptablity from batting gloves to greenies to steroids. There's nothing that says you can't draw the line somewhere on that spectrum. From an ivory tower, utopian point of view it woln't be fair and philospohically pure I suppose. But from a common sense stand point the line must be drawn somewhere.

When it comes to digesting something, injecting something, or making some alteration to your body, the line's already been drawn, and it's one simple word that starts with H and ends in ealth. It really has nothing to do with "performance enhancing" but rather everything to do with health. Steroids have some serious longterm health effects, and America's culture wants to do everything it possibly can to steer young guys away from resorting to steroids to succeed in athletic endeavors. There's nothing wrong with that - it's what they should be doing - and one key method of doing just that is that they go so far as to say steroids equals cheating.

But as BuckeyeRedleg posted several months ago (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1154236&postcount=32), there's other methods of gaining a significant edge rather than just steroids. Creatine and other supplements - especially when combined with an excellent nutritional diet (think counting grams for every meal) - that are presumably healthy to take are legal in MLB, and while they may not supply as much as an edge as steroids, for most people and athletes they still do supply an edge beyond their natural capabilities. And that's what performance enhancers are; they supply an edge for an athlete beyond their natural capabilities.

Lasik eye surgery is also legal. Why? Because for around 98 percent of the population it's perfectly healthy. I have natural 20/15 vision in one eye and natural 20/30 vision in my other eye, and trust me when I say there's a significant vision difference. If I was a big league hitter, would I be frowned upon if I opted to try to surgically improve my eye that currently has only 20/30 vision? Doubtful, but it'd definitely help my game in the batter's box, I'm sure.

Separate the legal supplements from the illegal supplements, and look for the one common difference between them. The legal supplements are healthy, while the illegal supplements are unhealthy.

All this is why I actually can't wait for the time when medical science has evolved enough that a perfectly healthy and extremely powerful "performance enhancer" is developed. When that happens, just what will baseball fans do?

Ltlabner
08-09-2007, 10:19 PM
Separate the legal supplements from the illegal supplements, and look for the one common difference between them. The legal supplements are healthy, while the illegal supplements are unhealthy.

All this is why I actually can't wait for the time when medical science has evolved enough that a perfectly healthy and extremely powerful "performance enhancer" is developed. When that happens, just what will baseball fans do?

A very thought provking post. Well said.

However, I don't think health is the deviding line. I think it's access. Lasik is legal because any player can get it. Creitene is legal because you can go to GNC and everyone has access to the same potency and purity of "creitene blend" (if there is such a thing). Anyone can get benedril for their hey fever. Sure, some Lasik surgon might be more skilled than others or someone might be able to mix and match creitene and diet for a better result but every single player in all of MLB has equal access to the same "raw ingredients" if you will.

Steroids, due to their illicit nature are not regulated so if a player can find a chemist to whip a new brew that only he has access to, it disturbs the equality of the playing field. Are the roids that Barry *might* have taken of the same strength and purity of the ones Palmerio *might* have taken? Is the clear that Conseco *might* have lathered on his bicepts the same chemical make up as tub used (allegidly of course) by Sosa? If player X can find and afford a better chemist than player Y, it's an obvious disadvantage due to the lack of access.

Health is definatley a factor. A good point I hadn't thought much about. But IMO access is really the deliniation between acceptable and unacceptable performance enhancer.

Cyclone792
08-09-2007, 10:40 PM
A very thought provking post. Well said.

However, I don't think health is the deviding line. I think it's access. Lasik is legal because any player can get it. Creitene is legal because you can go to GNC and everyone has access to the same potency and purity of "creitene blend" (if there is such a thing). Anyone can get benedril for their hey fever. Sure, some Lasik surgon might be more skilled than others or someone might be able to mix and match creitene and diet for a better result but every single player in all of MLB has equal access to the same "raw ingredients" if you will.

Steroids, due to their illicit nature are not regulated so if a player can find a chemist to whip a new brew that only he has access to, it disturbs the equality of the playing field. Are the roids that Barry *might* have taken of the same strength and purity of the ones Palmerio *might* have taken? Is the clear that Conseco *might* have lathered on his bicepts the same chemical make up as tub used (allegidly of course) by Sosa? If player X can find and afford a better chemist than player Y, it's an obvious disadvantage due to the lack of access.

Health is definatley a factor. A good point I hadn't thought much about. But IMO access is really the deliniation between acceptable and unacceptable performance enhancer.

Those two issues may play some roles, but I'm not so sure they play anything more than minor roles, if that.

While people may have access to the exact same supplements, everyone's body will react differently to whatever is ingested. You and I can be on the exact same diet and workout regiment, but our bodies will react differently to what we're doing. If we added the exact same steroids into the mix, our bodies would still react differently. I'd venture to guess that most players who took steroids more than one or two times tried a few different samples to identify what worked best for them individually ... just like people not on steroids who try different diets and workout regiments to find out what works best for them individually.

Also, steroids are reportedly very easily accessed in Latin American countries. There's been several reports that steroids are commonly found in many Latin American drug stores right on the shelf and without needing a prescription. That's as easy as you or I buying Tylenol over the counter up here.

People have to remember there's some cultural issues here with the steroids saga that goes beyond what America values and believes. I have no idea how easily accessible they are in Japan, but at least in regards to MMA over there, the Japanese MMA fan base just didn't care about steroid use. I have no idea how the general population in Latin America views steroids, but considering they're reportedly easily available throughout Latin American countries, it doesn't seem to me that most people in those countries care much at all about steroid use otherwise those drugs wouldn't be on the shelves like they presumably are.

BCubb2003
08-10-2007, 02:39 AM
There are three elements involved, legality, health and disruption of the game, and I feel that the presence of any one of the three should be grounds for keeping it out of the game. Others might say that if one of these elements isn't present, then it's OK. What I mean is:

If it's illegal, it should have no place in the game, even if the health question is not fully known.

If it's unhealthy, it should have no place in the game, even if it's not yet illegal.

If it's disruptive to the game, it can be kept out, even if it's legal and healthy. If Lasik surgery somehow meant that 10 or 20 guys were hitting .400 every year, and 10 or 20 were hitting 70 or more home runs, and scores were 25 to 17, baseball should have the right to keep it out of the game.

Ltlabner
08-10-2007, 07:34 AM
While people may have access to the exact same supplements, everyone's body will react differently to whatever is ingested.

Also, steroids are reportedly very easily accessed in Latin American countries. There's been several reports that steroids are commonly found in many Latin American drug stores right on the shelf and without needing a prescription. That's as easy as you or I buying Tylenol over the counter up here..

I am interested in equality of opportunity (ie access). Equality of outcomes (ie how bodies respond) doesn't make much sense.

Access to roids in Latin America only bolsters my argument. That the kid in the DC can go to his version of Wallgreens and get them, while the kid growing up in Iowa can not, seems to be an uneven playing field to me.

RFS62
08-10-2007, 09:11 AM
In my opinion, the ONLY reason that steroids should be banned from MLB is the fact that they're harmful in the long run.

It's not a valid reason to ban them because they enhance performance. Good nutrition and weight training enhances performance. If either of those caused long term health problems, they should be banned, but only to protect the players from the implied pressure to use them in order to keep up.

The whole steroid controversy will soon be moot, as medical science will come up with things in the next 20 years which will make all the techniques we're arguing about today irrelevant.

The desire to enhance your performance will never diminish among professional athletes. Players will ALWAYS be looking for better techniques to do so.

The real crime in the steroid era is the abject failure of the players union to protect its membership. Instead, Fehr uses testing as a bargaining chip to exact concessions in the CBA negotiations.

We're in the horse and buggy phase of the performance enhancement era. Once the scientists have figured out how to get the benefits of hgh and steroids without any of the risks, there will be no moral high ground on which to stand when demanding their exclusion from the game.

Always Red
08-10-2007, 09:34 AM
In my opinion, the ONLY reason that steroids should be banned from MLB is the fact that they're harmful in the long run.

It's not a valid reason to ban them because they enhance performance. Good nutrition and weight training enhances performance. If either of those caused long term health problems, they should be banned, but only to protect the players from the implied pressure to use them in order to keep up.

The whole steroid controversy will soon be moot, as medical science will come up with things in the next 20 years which will make all the techniques we're arguing about today irrelevant.

The desire to enhance your performance will never diminish among professional athletes. Players will ALWAYS be looking for better techniques to do so.

The real crime in the steroid era is the abject failure of the players union to protect its membership. Instead, Fehr uses testing as a bargaining chip to exact concessions in the CBA negotiations.

We're in the horse and buggy phase of the performance enhancement era. Once the scientists have figured out how to get the benefits of hgh and steroids without any of the risks, there will be no moral high ground on which to stand when demanding their exclusion from the game.

re quoted for truth.

Excellent post, RFS. :clap:

The only thing that is constant in life is change. PED's will continue to evolve, improve and become safer for those who take them. The bar will be raised, continually, in the athleticism of the game, and it will continue to be hard to compare players from one era to another.

That's a great point about the union. If they truly cared for the players, they would have been all over this to protect their membership. I'll go ahead and predict it now- one of these players in the future, after having made a fortune and benefitting from steroid use, will become seriously ill, and turn around and sue the players union, MLB, or both.

And he just might have a good case.

Ltlabner
08-10-2007, 05:09 PM
nm

BRM
08-10-2007, 05:11 PM
nm

This is the best post you've had in weeks.

:p:

Ltlabner
08-10-2007, 05:12 PM
This is the best post you've had in weeks.

:p:

I put some thought into it.

BRM
08-10-2007, 05:12 PM
I put some thought into it.

I can tell.

Cyclone792
08-10-2007, 05:40 PM
In my opinion, the ONLY reason that steroids should be banned from MLB is the fact that they're harmful in the long run.

It's not a valid reason to ban them because they enhance performance. Good nutrition and weight training enhances performance. If either of those caused long term health problems, they should be banned, but only to protect the players from the implied pressure to use them in order to keep up.

The whole steroid controversy will soon be moot, as medical science will come up with things in the next 20 years which will make all the techniques we're arguing about today irrelevant.

The desire to enhance your performance will never diminish among professional athletes. Players will ALWAYS be looking for better techniques to do so.

The real crime in the steroid era is the abject failure of the players union to protect its membership. Instead, Fehr uses testing as a bargaining chip to exact concessions in the CBA negotiations.

We're in the horse and buggy phase of the performance enhancement era. Once the scientists have figured out how to get the benefits of hgh and steroids without any of the risks, there will be no moral high ground on which to stand when demanding their exclusion from the game.

I absolutely agree with this.

The ironic thing is, it wouldn't surprise me if creatine heads down the path of banned performance enhancers too. Right now, creatine is legal. If an MLB player takes creatine now, he's not "cheating". But doctors still don't really know the long-term health effects of taking creatine, yet right now it's exceptionally popular among professional athletes. Creatine boasts the fact that it gives you a mental focus to train, and that's pretty dangerous itself because it's affecting the mind. In some ways, that can be construed as being addictive too. Some recent info I've read suggests that creatine is damaging to both the liver and kidneys, and it dehydrates at a rapid rate. If you don't drink plenty of water when on creatine, you could be in serious trouble.

Sooner or later, I expect the stuff to be banned. When that happens, what's considered legal and clean today will be considered cheating in the future.


Access to roids in Latin America only bolsters my argument. That the kid in the DC can go to his version of Wallgreens and get them, while the kid growing up in Iowa can not, seems to be an uneven playing field to me.

If the kid in Iowa wants steroids bad enough, all he simply needs is an Internet connection and the financial means to purchase them online, or just simple access to some personal trainers will work too. Steroids are not at all difficult to obtain, especially for a professional athlete who will have plenty of connections and will know precisely where to look.

mth123
08-10-2007, 11:48 PM
In my opinion, the ONLY reason that steroids should be banned from MLB is the fact that they're harmful in the long run.

It's not a valid reason to ban them because they enhance performance. Good nutrition and weight training enhances performance. If either of those caused long term health problems, they should be banned, but only to protect the players from the implied pressure to use them in order to keep up.

The whole steroid controversy will soon be moot, as medical science will come up with things in the next 20 years which will make all the techniques we're arguing about today irrelevant.

The desire to enhance your performance will never diminish among professional athletes. Players will ALWAYS be looking for better techniques to do so.

The real crime in the steroid era is the abject failure of the players union to protect its membership. Instead, Fehr uses testing as a bargaining chip to exact concessions in the CBA negotiations.

We're in the horse and buggy phase of the performance enhancement era. Once the scientists have figured out how to get the benefits of hgh and steroids without any of the risks, there will be no moral high ground on which to stand when demanding their exclusion from the game.

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

Ltlabner
08-11-2007, 06:46 AM
If the kid in Iowa wants steroids bad enough, all he simply needs is an Internet connection and the financial means to purchase them online, or just simple access to some personal trainers will work too. Steroids are not at all difficult to obtain, especially for a professional athlete who will have plenty of connections and will know precisely where to look.

True...but will he be getting the same chemical mix? The same potenicy? The same purity?

Can't say...thus again, an uneven playing field. It all comes down to who has the best connections, finances and chemist.

Blitz Dorsey
08-12-2007, 09:52 PM
I love the "steroids wasn't against the rules of baseball, it was just against the law in this country, so it was OK for players to be using" excuse.

Uh, murder is also not in the MLB rulebook last time I checked. But you cannot kill someone on a baseball field. You can't go rob the third base coach in the middle of the game either.

Yes, those are extreme analogies. But I think they get my point across quite well. Who gives a rat's (blank) if it wasn't against the rules of MLB if it was against the laws of this country?

Redsland
08-13-2007, 10:53 AM
Who gives a rat's (blank) if it wasn't against the rules of MLB if it was against the laws of this country?
Someone who took them whilst outside this country?