Biogenesis, Betting, and Bans
I may not be the biggest A-Rod fan. Or Yankees fan. But I’m a huge fan of fair treatment.
When reports surfaced yesterday that MLB was considering a lifetime ban from the game for Alex Rodriguez, I began searching for a list of people who have been banned for life and the reasons why. It’s not a long list, but it’s long enough that I’m only going to examine one very famous and controversial ban.
Pete Rose was banned from the game (and thus keeping him out of the hall-of-fame forever) in 1989, for placing bets on baseball games. While at the time there was no conclusive evidence that he ever bet on or against the Reds (the team he managed at that time), he came clean in 2004 saying that while he did bet on the Reds, he never bet against them.
Per rule 21 (D): “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
Ok, so Rose did violate that. But this rule says nothing about betting on games in which the bettor has no duty to perform. So, if in 1989 MLB had no proof that Rose bet on any game in which the Reds were involved, he could have survived the rumors. Also, it wasn’t until 1991 that it was officially declared by vote that a lifetime banned player could not be inducted into the hall-of-fame. So, *random hypothetical time*, with no proof in 1989, Rose could easily have been inducted into the HOF by now.
Back to A-Rod and the biogenesis scandal. Simply failing a drug test results in the following:
Performance enhancing substance violations*: First violation: 50-game suspension Second violation - 100-game suspension Third violation - Permanent suspension from baseball (Majors and Minors)
We’ve come to learn that Rodriguez has not failed any drug tests, but is suspected of hindering the investigation against him, which is why there are ban talks regarding him and not the other offenders. Hindering an investigation qualifies as disturbing the integrity of the game, and such warrants a ban.
Per MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, there is a complete list of types of drugs as well as specific names of drugs, spanning four pages, which are prohibited.
I don’t know if A-Rod did in fact try to hinder the investigation against him, but I do know that some sort of suspension will be invoked in the near future. At the age of 38, any time off threatens to severely affect Rodriguez’s ability to return to All-Star caliber, or return to the majors at all.
I trust Commissioner Selig and other officials to take the appropriate action against Rodriguez and all future offenders of baseball rules. However, I also trust players to abide by the rules, and should they not, I trust them to come clean and accept punishment.
*There are separate consequences for stimulant violations. All of this information can be found: http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/jda.pdf