Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baseball making progress on PED abuse

Major League Baseball is making a valiant effort to ensure it never again suffers the ignominy of widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs. That effort will take a major step forward this week as baseball inches closer to signing a new labor contract with its players.

The reported deal, if finalized, will include blood testing for human growth hormone. Players caught using HGH will be subject to the same penalty that they currently face for using steroids. It’s a major victory for Bud Selig, whose legacy in the game has been tarnished by the use of PEDs by some of baseball’s biggest stars, including Alex Rodriguez.

As a fan of the New York Yankees, I welcome such progress. Players such as ARod, Roger Clemens and, sadly, Andy Pettitte have made the Yankees the poster team for PED abuse in baseball. In fact, now that Pettitte is retired, many of the news stories I’ve seen that mention his name revolve around his admitted HGH use. It’s a sad legacy for a player with a borderline Hall of Fame career, a history that will keep him out of Cooperstown.

Bravo to the players’ union for not putting up as much of a fight this time around. The union’s resistance to drug testing during previous contract negotiations is a major factor as to why PED use was allowed to wreck the game of baseball. The union seems to have wised up to this or perhaps the majority of the players, those who are clean at least, forced the union leadership’s hands on this issue.

Of course, there will always be players and their helpers trying to game the system so MLB will have to continue to stay on top of the latest research to ensure their testing is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. But I look at the pending HGH announcement as a positive step toward cleaning up the game of baseball and repairing the damage done to its image.

Thanks to Major League Baseball via Wikipedia for the photo.

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