Ford: Does the punishment fit the crime?
MLB Drug Suspensions
Players that have been suspended for violations of the Major League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program since it was established in 2005 (x-tested positive while on 40-man roster):
Aug. 5 — New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez for 211 games from Aug. 8 through the remainder of the 2013 season and the 2014 seasons. Philadelphia LHP Antonio Bastardo, San Diego SS Everth Cabrera, New York Yankees C Francisco Cervelli, Texas OF Nelson Cruz, San Diego RHP Fautino De Los Santos (San Antonio-Texas), Houston LHP Sergio Escalona-x (Corpus Christi-Texas), New York Yankees OF Fernando Martinez-x (Scranton/Wilkes-IL), Seattle C Jesus Montero, free agent LHP Jordan Norberto-x, Detroit SS Jhonny Peralta, New York Mets OF Cesar Puello-x (Binghamton-Eastern) and New York Mets INF Jordany Valdespin-x (Las Vegas-PCL), 50 games each for violations of drug agreement and collective bargaining agreement.
July 29 — Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee, 65 games (remainder of season), violations of drug agreement and collective bargaining agreement.
Nov. 27 — Carlos Ruiz, C, Philadelphia, 25 games, amphetamine.
Nov. 7 — Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego, 50 games, testosterone.
Nov. 2 — Ryan Adams, SS, Baltimore, 25 games, amphetamine.
Aug. 22 — Bartolo Colon, RHP, Oakland, 50 games, testosterone.
Aug. 15 — Melky Cabrera, OF, San Francisco, 50 games, testosterone.
June 25 — Marlon Byrd, OF, free agent, 50 games, Tamoxifen.
June 19 — Freddy Galvis, INF, Philadelphia, 50 games, Clostebol metabolite.
May 7 — Guillermo Mota, RHP, San Francisco, 100 games, Clenbuterol.
Dec. 4 — Manny Ramirez, OF, free agent, 50 games, violation.
Aug. 19 — Mark Rogers, P, Milwaukee, stimulant.
Ramirez announcement of pending issue made on April 8 while with Tampa Bay, when he opted to retire. On Dec. 4, Ramirez applied for reinstatement from voluntary retired list. MLB and the MLBPA agreed that he would serve a 50-game suspension for his violation upon his reinstatement after signing with a new club.
Aug. 20 — Ronny Paulino, C, Florida, 50 games, performance.
April 20 — Edinson Volquez, P, Cincinnati, 50 games, performance.
May 7 — Manny Ramirez, OF, L.A. Dodgers, 50 games, banned substance.
March 23 — x-Kelvin Pichardo, P, San Francisco, 50 games, performance.
Jan. 6 — x-Sergio Mitre, P, N.Y. Yankees, 50 games, performance.
Jan. 6 — J.C. Romero, P, Philadelphia, 50 games, performance.
Nov. 11 — x-Henry Owens, P, Florida, 50 games, performance.
May 28 — x-Humberto Cota, C, Colorado, 50 games, performance.
April 30 — x-Eliezer Alfonzo, C, San Francisco, 50 games, performance.
Dec. 6 — Jay Gibbons, OF, Baltimore, 15 days, performance.
Dec. 6 — Jose Guillen, OF, Kansas City, 15 days, performance.
Nov. 27 — Dan Serafini, P, free agent, 50 games, performance.
Oct. 31 — Mike Cameron, OF, free agent, 25 games, stimulant.
Sept. 7 — Ryan Jorgensen, C, Cincinnati, 50 games, violation.
Aug. 3 — Neifi Perez, INF, Detroit, 80 games, stimulant.
July 6 — Neifi Perez, INF, Detroit, 25 games, stimulant.
May 7 — Juan Salas, P, Tampa Bay, 50 games, performance.
Nov. 1 — Guillermo Mota, P, free agent, 50 games, performance.
June 12 — Jason Grimsley, P, Arizona, 50 games, performance.
April 28 — x-Yusaku Iriki, P, N.Y. Mets, 50 games, performance.
Nov. 2 — Matt Lawton, OF, free agent, 10 days, performance.
Oct. 18 — Felix Heredia, P, N.Y. Mets, 10 days, performance.
Oct. 4 — Carlos Almanzar, P, Texas, 10 days, performance.
Sept. 7 — Mike Morse, INF-OF, Seattle, 10 days, performance.
Aug. 2 — Ryan Franklin, P, Seattle, 10 days, performance.
Aug. 1 — Rafael Palmeiro, INF, Baltimore, 10 days, performance.
July 8 — Rafael Betancourt, P, Cleveland, 10 days, performance.
May 2 — Juan Rincon, P, Minnesota, 10 days, unavailable.
April 26 — Jamal Strong, OF, Seattle, 10 days, performance.
April 20 — Agustin Montero, P, Texas, 10 days, unavailable.
April 11 — Jorge Piedra, OF, Colorado, 10 days, unavailable.
April 3 — Alex Sanchez, OF, Tampa Bay, 10 days, performance.
The hammer held by Bud Selig came crashing down Monday, and with it, the sound of crippled careers and apologetic players rang loud, serving as a warning to those who attempt skirt the system in the future.
In the wake of the Biogenesis of America scandal, 13 players received suspensions, including the New York Yankees’ overrated and oft injured third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod got the big prize with a suspension that puts him out of baseball through the 2014 season. He will appeal (see centerpiece story).
Twelve of the 13 illegally enhanced ball players have accepted their punishment, acknowledging their mistakes and publicly accepting their shame.
Some made excuses, like All-Star Nelson Cruz who blamed his PED use on an illness that cost him 40 pounds in 2011, and others simply said sorry.
“In spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret,” Detroit Tigers All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta said. “I apologize to everyone that I have hurt as a result of my mistake, including my teammates, the Tigers organization, the great fans in Detroit, Major League Baseball and my family. I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment, and I accept my suspension.”
To their credit, 12 of them at least, they accepted their suspensions without appeal. They will sit out the next 50 games, and for players like the Rangers’ Cruz and the Tigers’ Peralta, whose teams are in pennant races, they will be able to return for the playoffs. This seems insane. A player can be caught committing the most egregious form of cheating, then be allowed to help their team win games when they matter the most.
In addition to Cruz and Peralta, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Fernando Martinez; Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo; Seattle catcher Jesus Montero; New York Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin and outfielder Cesar Puello; Houston pitcher Sergio Escalona; San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera and free agent pitchers Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto were suspended Monday.
In the offseason, Selig and the MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner need to sit down and work out a more effective system to deter dopers — because frankly, 50 games isn’t cutting it, and the fans along with clean MLB players are tired of being treated like suckers.
Weiner even went as far to say Monday that the union’s executive board will consider stiffer drug penalties when players meet in December.
This seems like an obvious step seeing as the current system isn’t working. The Major League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program was established in 2005 and there were 12 suspensions that year. In 2013, there have already been 14.
Even more frightening is these fraudsters would have never been caught if it weren’t for a lengthy MLB investigation. It means the 30 dopers who were caught between 2006 and 2012, might not be the total lot of swindlers. It has become painfully obvious that 50-game suspensions are not a deterrent, rather an assumed risk that too many players are willing to take.
There needs to be a stiffer spanking for these unruly players. A 162-game ban for the first infraction seems appropriate. You cheat, you forfeit a full season. On the second strike, you’re out. If a year away from the game doesn’t stop a player from doping, then nothing will, and they should look for other employment.
As for Rodriguez, he has drawn a chalk line in the dirt. A line where he stands on one side with a team of lawyers behind him. On the other side are Selig, the Yankees’ front office, the majority of clean players and baseball fans around the world.
He may not deserve a 211 game suspension, but his unwillingness to accept responsibility may have burned any bridges he may have built during his 20 years in the league. There is no happy ending for the man once hand-fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz in a Super Bowl suite. He cheated his way to multi-million dollar contracts and, like a sociopath, doesn’t seem to care and wonders why he’s the target of so much resentment and disgust. I would suggest a lifetime ban for Rodriguez, but that is essentially what the 211 game suspension has done to the 38-year-old cheater with two surgically replaced hips.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.