2005-11-16

I'll Believe it When I See a Big Name on the Bench for 50 Games


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MLB and the Players' Union that runs it are certainly proud of themselves over the new steroid policy. No doubt numerous Congressmen will eventually step up to take credit as well.

It's a good policy as it stands - definitely has bigger teeth. 50 games for a first-time offense. But I guess I'll be more on board when I see a name I know sitting on the bench for 50 games. MLB had never had the combination of Policy, Will and Relevance to make this work. Let's see if they do now.

If you are MLB, enforcing this policy can hurt your product. What if Giambi pops again? What if you finally nail Barry Bonds just as he is closing in on Ruth or Aaron? Well, actually on that last one, they'll just handle it like they did Palmeiro, keeping the news under wraps until after he breaks the record.
In the past they didn't have to worry about this. They could pay lip service to the situation because their policy didn't do anything. Now with a tough policy on the books, only time will tell if they have the will to carry it out, whatever the cost. This past year, their little Saturday Night Special of a plan netted Palmeiro and a handful of guys I've never heard of. Not bad, but not exactly cleaning house either.

And if it isn't already, part of the problem will be the relevance of the tests. MLB may well succeed in chasing out steroids only to have a new substance move in. To be effective MLB must be willing not only to enforce their policy, they must also keep up with innovation.

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