Via Derrick Goold -
In the wake of the Miami New Times report that links Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz and others to a Miami clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, baseball is back in the throes of criticism for a drug culture that even strict testing rules haven’t been able to lasso.
Count Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday among the critics.
Holliday joined Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio on Wednesday and suggested that harsher penalties should be in place to deter the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as human growth hormone and steroids. The left fielder explained to the hosts how his opinion on the current penalties has changed and how he believes in a two-strikes-and-you’re-out policy.
That is: A second test results in a lifetime ban.
“I’d go first time (you get caught) you miss a full season, 162 games you’re out,” Holliday said, according to a transcript of the show provided to The Post-Dispatch. “And then the second time I think you are suspended for a lifetime with the eligibility after two years maybe to apply for reinstatement. That’s what I would do. I feel like that’s pretty harsh but I think that’s what we need. I think we need harsher penalties. I think that would be a good start.
“… I thought (a 50-game suspension) was pretty harsh,” Holliday continued. “I thought that might be enough with 50 and then, I think it was, 100. But it clearly is not enough. There are guys getting caught and there’s a paper trail and all this stuff going on now. It’s clearly not enough to deter guys from trying to find ways around it, trying to find ways to beat the system or whatever they’re doing. So I’m all for making it harder.”
It is rare for an active player to comment in such a forum, but it speaks to the conversation going on even in the clubhouses as baseball tries to stay ahead of PED use in the game.
The current penalties for a positive test or proof of PED possession are 50 games the first time and 100 games for a second positive test. A third positive test yields the lifetime penalty that Holliday talked about. Those penalties have been collectively bargained by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association. The union and the commissioner’s office have rewritten the policy before to increase the penalty for positive tests.
If the powers that be are confident in their testing process, I would have no problem with what Holliday suggests here.