Biogenesis: Is MLB going too far?

Andy Lyons

Look, I'm not going to attempt some overarching Biogenesis analysis right now. Maybe I won't, ever. But for sure, not right now. The details are scant but the scope massive, and that's a dangerous combination. But I do want to throw something at the wall quickly, with hopes of forestalling some of the surely coming hysteria.

First, I read this from Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot:

This whole thing stinks like something long dead. I don’t like steroids, but I don’t want to see the season ruined because a cluster of users were outed for something they did the year before. It’s not like these 20-25 players that MLB might try to suspend are the extent of cheaters around the game. There are at least dozens and maybe hundreds more with secrets best buried who were merely lucky enough to be dealing with people smarter than Bosch. Almost all of the players associated with Bosch have strong Miami connections; this is just one subset of the players who have tried to game the system by getting ahead. Even if they deserve their punishments, the fans don’t.

If your season's ruined because a couple of dozen players get suspended, there's probably something wrong with you, since that still leaves about 900 other players. I mean, what's the magic number? Twenty? Ten? What if only five players were suspended? I will suggest that Major League Baseball could suspend 100 players, and the season would roll merrily along. Sure, if your favorite team lost a couple of superstars, your season might be ruined. But someone else's season would be improved! Plus a bunch of minor leaguers would get their shots, some of them with thrilling life stories ... I think we'll be just fine with a a couple of dozen players suspended, if it comes to that. I think Pouliot will be fine, too. Although I suppose we should check back with him in August or September, just to be sure.

Well, we can wonder all we like. Just me, personally? I wouldn't be so quick to read racism or prejudice or whatever into this. More to the point, Adam's suggestion, hand in hand with Pouliot's argument, essentially assumes that Major League Baseball has two roughly balanced options here:

discipline the players involved with Biogenesis

or

act like none of this ever happened

Are they really balanced, though? I realize that Adam and Matthew don't speak for the Baseball Writers' Association of America or the United States Congress ... but does anyone remember the last time Major League Baseball tried to act like something wasn't happening? Remember how well that went over with everybody, when the truth (or some of it, anyway) came out? The problem with sweeping Biogenesis under the rug, purely from a public-relations standpoint, is that there's a pretty good chance the truth will come out, eventually. And if the truth is ugly, Bud Selig's and MLB's reputations will be further tarnished.

And please, spare me any sympathy for any guilty players. By now they should know the rules, which have been collectively bargained and in place for some years now. We've reached the point where excuses are pretty hard to find.

I'm skipping a lot of stuff. If Major League Baseball really sued Anthony Bosch just to get him to flip -- and that does seem to be what's happened -- nobody comes out smelling good. But it seems like we've decided that we want MLB to catch cheaters, and punish them. We probably shouldn't be terribly surprised if our mandate leads to the occasional smelly overreach.

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