Commissioner Bud Selig wants major league players to adopt a stricter policy against performance-enhancing substances that would include a 50-game suspension for a first offense and a permanent ban after a third offense, as well as a prohibition on amphetamines.
In a letter sent Monday to Donald Fehr, the executive director of the players union, Selig outlined stricter policies he hoped would be adopted in their drug-testing agreement. Selig’s letter, a copy of which was provided by a Major League Baseball official, seeks a 100-game suspension for the second offense.
Under the current policies, which went into effect in March, a first-time offender receives a 10-game suspension, a second-timer 30 games and a third-timer 60. A fourth-time offender is out for one year, and a player who tests positive a fifth time is punished at the commissioner’s discretion. Selig called his proposal a “three strikes and you are out” plan.
“I recognize the need for progressive discipline,” Selig wrote, “but a third-time offender has no place in the game. Steroid users cheat the game. After three offenses, they have no place in it.”
In addition, Selig said that amphetamines should be included as part of banned performance-enhancing substances. While amphetamines are banned in the minor leagues, baseball has no punishment for amphetamine use by players on 40-man rosters in the majors.
The proposal drew a mixed reaction among players.
“That would get it out of the game, in a heartbeat,” Kansas City Royals pitcher Brian Anderson told the Associated Press.
Jason Phillips, the Dodgers’ catcher and a former Met, was skeptical. “Put me on the record as saying that’s ridiculous – I mean, until they come up with a list of banned substances,” he told The Associated Press. “They still don’t know what you can buy over the counter and what you can’t buy.”
By making these proposals to Fehr six weeks after both men were pressured at a Congressional hearing investigating steroids, Selig is shifting some of the onus of strengthening testing to the players.
Yeah, no kidding. No mention of any sort of punative action against teams or owners who have reaped the rewards (in the standings or at the box office) of their players’ superhuman strength.
Lenny Dykstra will bet any one of you $20K that this will never get past the Players Association.