Major League Baseball finally acted. Commissioner Bud Selig swung hard and made sure he didn’t miss. People wanted to act irrationally and ban players linked to Biogenesis for life without knowing the full extent of the information. Major League Baseball has played the case perfectly so far. Maybe Ryan Braun is getting a light suspension at 65 games, especially on a team with no postseason prospects, but the suspension is appropriate. This is a huge step for the MLB.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
First and foremost, this shows that Selig does not feel tied to the suspension numbers in the drug program of 50 games for a first offense, 100 for a second, and a life-time ban for the third. It backs up the statement MLBPA head Micheal Weiner made at the All-Star game last week when he said the suspensions could be “anywhere from 5 games to 500 games, and we could choose to challenge.” It also shows that Weiner’s other statement, “if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal” also came into play. Not only did Braun strike a deal, this was after repeatedly denying any ties to PEDs.
Second, this suspension sends a message to other players involved that Selig is not taking this case lightly. Even though he allowed steroid use 15 years ago, Selig has shown that in his final act as MLB commissioner, he wants to clean up the game. Although Braun and the Brewers are not in any way in the playoff race, other players implicated in the Biogenesis case are, such as Johnny Peralta, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, and Alex Rodriguez. Braun’s season ending suspension should scare some of these players and teams. Maybe it scares the players into making deals, maybe it scares the teams into telling players to appeal (players can play while appealing a case). But the other players, Alex Rodriguez aside, will most likely not get suspensions as harsh as Braun’s.
Third, and most importantly for the sake of other suspensions, Braun making a deal gives Anthony Bosch instant credibility. At the beginning of the investigation, Bosch’s credibility seemed to be at the center of the problem. I was wary of what he said he had and what the MLB could really do with his information. If the MLB rushed into anything, which I thought they would at first, it would have been a huge mistake. Players would have appealed the suspensions and could have possibly gotten them overturned because of a lack of credibility and a lack of evidence. By agreeing to a deal with the MLB, Ryan Braun is more or less saying that the evidence the league had from Bosch was true.
Braun will miss the rest of season. On the surface, it doesn’t make a difference to what the Brewers are doing this year. The only race the Brewers were in at the end of the year was for fourth place with the Cubs. Some baseball fans will not be happy with the suspension thinking that missing less than half a season is not enough of a punishment for the damage he did to the MLB. Braun has a lot of explaining to do and he probably has some more apologizing to do. He needs to speak about this more and I’m sure that his time will come. Braun needs to apologize to fans, teammates and his fellow MLB colleagues. One person he doesn’t need to apologize to is the man who collected the urine sample that led to Braun’s overturned suspension in 2012, because at the end of the day, that person still messed up.
There will be more suspensions to come. Only Bud Selig knows when the suspensions will be handed down and for how long each player will be suspended. I would expect to see lesser suspensions for everyone except Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal. The last three mentioned could be in very serious trouble because they have already been suspended for failing a drug test. Rodriguez is in trouble because he is already seen as a target in the MLB’s eyes. He seems to be public enemy number one, and the MLB will probably not let him down lightly. The league seems to be making an argument that Rodriguez could be suspended for not only his contact with Bosch, like Braun, but also for interfering with the investigation, most notably for allegedly attempting to buy documents so the MLB couldn’t get them. Anyone hoping for a lifetime ban for Rodriguez is crazy. It is not going to happen. For almost one reason alone, there is no precedent for Rodriguez to be banned for life. Because there is no precedent, the ban would most likely never hold up in an appeal or any kind of court of law. That being said, a suspension for say, 150 games or more may effectively end his career.
This is just the beginning. Keep in mind; this is just the first shoe to drop. Selig will strike down again, and MLBPA head Michael Weiner seemed like the union is on board with players being suspended. After many years of trying to do everything they could to keep drug testing out of the game and avoid player suspensions. Nowadays even current players are on board for harsher penalties. Clean players want a clean game. Now that everyone is on board, it is time to keep the game pure and send messages to anyone else thinking of cheating. Braun’s suspension is a step in the right direction, now let’s see what Commissioner Selig does next.