How To Correct Steroid Use And Further Cheating In Baseball

Here are my ideas (if I were the next commissioner of baseball) on how to correct steroid use and further cheating in baseball:

  1. Punish the players – Seems simple enough, but set up harsh rules like the ones I detail below. A combination of lengthy suspensions and financial impact is necessary.
    • Lengthy Suspensions – Baseball gave us the term three strikes, but why apply this to cheating (not only steroids, but other offenses)?
      • First time: One calendar year suspension (along with contract implications described below)
      • Second time: Banned from ever playing again. Final.
    • Financial Impact – Along with loss of pay during the suspensions, steroid users should now have their own “max pay scale” similar to league minimum (figures below are my rough estimates, but need to be WELL below market value for comparable non-users).
      • 0-5 years service: Maximum salary is $1M
      • 5-10 years service: Maximum salary is $2.5M
      • 10+ years service: Maximum salary is $5M
      • Also implement a max # of year contract for each level (and make each one a non-guaranteed salary)
    • Community Service/Education – Mandatory rehab/therapy along with continued talks to college/high school athletes talking about your mistakes.
  2. Punish the TEAMS – This is something that does not happen now. Teams turn their backs on what their players do, even though we all know that SOMEONE has to know what is going on in the clubhouse (and off the field).
    • Financial Impact – Team is also slapped with a monetary fine which also counts against their salary cap/luxury tax for the year (meaning that it filters into the revenue sharing stream).  Fines will be in the millions in order to make a strong enough deterrent.
    • Cap on Known Users – Each team is only allowed to have 2 players who have a failed test. If a third player is found guilty the team must release one player (after they serve a suspension, keeping them on the 40 man roster).
    • Loss of Draft Picks
      • Loss of a first round pick for 2 years
      • your team is punished more than twice in 5 years then you lose an additional draft pick for the second infraction
    • Roster Space – All players found guilty are kept on the 40 man roster until suspensions are served.
  3. Strict Testing – More so than current. MLBPA needs to be strong, but let’s face it, if the majority of players are against cheating, then why not agree on completely random and uncapped testing (not limited to number of tests per year and when they are performed during the season or off-season)? We can debate the validity of salaries until we are blue in the face (I personally agree that every athlete makes too much – within the major 4 sports and European soccer), but the MLBPA will not budge on that front so why not give in to something non-monetary?
  4. No Arbitration/Negotiating – On a failed test there are no pleas, no deals. You serve your punishment and live with the “scarlet letter” on your back.
  5. Hall of Fame Eligibility – All players that retire and are not banned from baseball for life are eligible for the Hall of Fame. Steroid/cheating should be dismissed, given that the player served their ban and was not caught a second time.
    • We have to acknowledge the past and show each era for what it’s worth in the “house of baseball-past”. We have let racist, bigots, spitballs, killers, adulterers, and other “immoral” players in, so do not try to say that steroids is heads and shoulders worse than any other previous era.
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