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Thread: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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/etick...oidsExc&num=19

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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.
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    What's so wrong with this little fella next to your record anyway?

    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Red pants with a green belt?

    Ugh
    Go Gators!

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    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    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.
    "Is there a problem officers?"

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la View Post
    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.
    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.
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    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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.
    "Is there a problem officers?"

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la View Post
    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.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    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?
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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 ...
    Last edited by Cyclone792; 08-08-2007 at 08:02 PM.
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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    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?
    "Is there a problem officers?"

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    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Steroids - BANNED since 1991

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.


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