Monday, March 9, 2009

Selig Still in Denial about Role in Roid Era

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig still does not get it.

Speaking to the media last week in Arizona, he defended his role in the roid era that will ultimately define his tenure rather than implementing a wild card, inter league play and other clever marketing ideas to keep the turnstiles spinning after the 1994 work stoppage.

"It's been an interesting experience for me in the respect that we've cleaned the game up. I'm proud of where we are.''

Selig said, if there's work still to be done, it's in being able to test for human growth hormone. He said, "there's not a test, regardless of what people say. If there's a test we'll use it. I can't wait to sit down and tell you that we now have a test for HGH.''

Selig's frustrated with this topic, however. "If I sound frustrated it's because you get into revisionism 15-20 years later and it's the wrong set of facts you're revising,'' Selig said. "My frustration is we started (steroid education) in 1998. Where were we sleeping?''

You were sleeping from 1991 until drug testing was put in place. Steroids have been banned in baseball at the MLB level since 1991 when Fay Vincent added them to baseball's then drug policy. After the 1994 strike and the public outrage that ensued, MLB needed something to get the fans back on their side and into the ballpark. The first year was Cal Ripken hitting the streak and then it was the gradual assault on the home run record that generated the buzz. How could the Commissioner, a former owner, put the halt on a booming business, falling records and an insatiable appetite following his game? The Commissioner could have done the right thing if he had a moral compass, questioned what was going on (he prides himself on being a baseball historian), but instead he chose the path of least resistance and the game has suffered as a result. Bud Selig is not the only one to blame; the MLBPA fought drug testing every step of the way as Selig is found of reminding people. Clean players also did not speak up.

Other areas that show Selig doesn't get it: he states he's cleaned up the game, but then admits there's no test for HGH. Bud, it can't be both ways! The job of cleaning up the game is not finished nor will it ever be: the cheaters will always be out in front of the testers. Cleaning up the sport is not a task like cleaning your car; the latter can be accomplished, the former needs to be constantly monitored and can never be deemed "finished" because someone will always be looking for an advantage. Other than those points, you should be very proud of your accomplishments on this issue.

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