Ryne Sandberg has joined the chorus of former players, including teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson, in calling for much more strict punishment for players found guilty of using Performance-enhancing Drugs (PEDs). According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, even Alex Rodriguez 200+ game suspension isn’t enough:
“The message can’t get much clearer that drugs don’t belong in baseball and don’t belong in sports,” said Sandberg, the Philadelphia Phillies’ interim manager. “Every time baseball takes a hit, it is another step backwards in what needs to be done. I personally think the punishment and penalties need to be much stiffer than that. If you have a guy who tests positive and he has to sit out two to three years, that is a little different ballgame.”
The 1984 National League MVP went on to elaborate that 2-3 seasons made more sense. Does anyone else remember when it was ONLY a 10 game suspension (barely over a week)? It only ramped up to a full season after FOUR convictions. I guess that’s better then no testing. The game is moving in the right direction, I have a fair bit of confidence that no player who has been found as using was done so by honest mistake. I’d have to echo Ryno, Kirk Gibson, and others who think the game must get more strict.
The lure of using PEDs can be understood. Be it a player who might not make a roster without it, or even help his team win in the postseason. Without stiffer suspensions, baseball will just be spinning its wheels.