Bill Rhoden of The New York Times is calling for MLB and the players union (MLBPA) to change the rules of the All Star Game in light of Manny Ramirez’s 50 game suspension of using a banned substance. Sentiments that were first echoed here at Beef Roids 9 days earlier.
Rhoden takes his ban one step further to include any postseason award. Ramirez’s manager, Joe Torre, has publicly said Ramirez should not be allowed to play in the game even though he is entitled to play based on the current collective bargaining agreement between baseball and the players union. Other current players feel strongly that it sends the wrong message. Jimmy Rollins said it best: “If you get caught in the first half of the season, no matter who you are, what you mean to the game, you shouldn’t be an All-Star. It shouldn’t really be a question. Even if he’s leading in the voting or is second, he’s basically taking a spot for somebody else who is more deserving.”
It should be noted that other sports have similar rules preventing athletes who test positive for banned substances from participating in postseason awards or all-star type events.
Rhoden was also able to speak with the executive director of the MLBPA, Donald Fehr, to get his opinion on the topic. “We have an agreement. This situation was considered during the time the agreement was negotiated. If the suspension takes place during the time the All-Star Game is played, the player is not eligible. If it’s over, and he has completed the penalty, then he’s like any other player.”
An amendment to the current contract will only be added at the time of the next agreement. I’m all for two parties collectively bargaining an agreement. What I’m against is idiotic behavior and baseball is once again going down that path. What both sides fail to realize that clinging to the “agreement” argument is that it turns off fans. There was an “agreement” collectively bargained for that allowed baseball to dope and roid out of their minds (even though it was illegal to have without a prescription) until Congress intervened and forced both sides to reopen the “agreement.”
Commissioner Selig and Donald Fehr: Do the right thing and use some common sense before you alienate even more fans.