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A Whole Different Ballgame


Howard Bryant on the changing nature of the MLBPA:

After the release of the Mitchell Report in December 2007, players were still resistant to the reality that they themselves were the biggest victims of their members’ transgressions. But now, the steroid discussion no longer seems to be a philosophical conversation but a personal one. Players now consider PEDs a violation of their personal baseball code, no different from standing in the batter’s box too long after a home run or repeating what was said in the clubhouse. In the past, they had framed the drug conversation as an imposition of public relations pressure placed by grandstanding outsiders — the public, the media, the front office or Congress.

Now, players are demanding an accountability from one another that didn’t exist in previous years. For the first time, players no longer view steroids as a victimless crime. Users aren’t cheating the public as much as they are other players.

“So, let me get this straight,” an American League player said. “Guy uses steroids. He then puts up better numbers than I do. He goes to free agency and gets the years and the money, takes a job I don’t get and now I have to scramble during the winter to find another slot. Then, he gets busted for steroids and we use my union dues for his lawyers, his defense and his appeal? And that makes sense to you? That bulls— is fair?”

[Photo Credit: AP]

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball  Games We Play

Tags:  howard bryant  marvin miller  mlbpa  PEDs  union

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1 Chris   ~  Aug 7, 2013 9:56 am

It's about time somebody said this. I only wish the player had wanted to be named. Asking people to take dangerous unprescribed drugs for no medical condition just to be able to compete in this game makes you see clearly how very stupid the "let them cheat" arguments are. Totally unfair and intellectually bankrupt.

2 MSM35   ~  Aug 7, 2013 10:53 am

Good post. Marvin Miller's legacy may include properly shattering the reserve clause but inattention to PEDs was also part of the union's take no prisoners approach.

3 garydsimms   ~  Aug 7, 2013 11:01 am

To respond to the unnamed American League player: your union dues also are the reason that the average salary (3.2 million) and the league minimum ($490,000) is what it is, and that the 40th guy on the roster makes more than Mickey Mantle ever did.

And regarding the photo: It's awful that Marvin Miller is not in the Hall of Fame; he deserves to be there.

4 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Aug 7, 2013 11:17 am

The favor for the blown up physique in modern society is a given. Examples of the action figures, movie characters, police heroes, military posters, video games, football players, etc. describe that. Compare GI Joe dolls from the 70's to today. Maybe millennials want it, and baseball might be seen as quaint without it. To garner new fans for baseball this anything goes mentality might be necessary. I hope not, the danger to a teen's health is just not worth it.

5 Chris   ~  Aug 7, 2013 11:55 am

[4] My hope has always been that, as time and pop culture pass baseball by, as it loses popularity for being "slow" and not filled with "monster dingers," the big money inevitably drains away as well. And maybe when the big money is gone, it survives its flirtation with Babylon and becomes something more real again.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 7, 2013 12:31 pm

5) Not likely.

7 knuckles   ~  Aug 7, 2013 12:46 pm

I'm not buying it. The money is simply too great for, in the past 10 years, MLB to have gone from rampant, pervasive steroid use to a bunch of choir boys who are personally affronted when they find out one of their ilk has been busted.

If you haven't been caught (yet), or are using stuff that's ahead of the curve, it's all too easy to demonize and sermonize, a convenient way of casting any doubt away from yourself.

8 garydsimms   ~  Aug 7, 2013 1:05 pm

[7] I don't think that "everybody is doing it." But there are many more than those who have been caught. There's an anti-aging" clinic in malls all across the country, and MLB has found exactly one? Guess what: when you ses those ads in the paper or on-line with ripped 60 year old guys, their "magic" is HGH. PEDs are around everywhere.

9 MSM35   ~  Aug 7, 2013 1:36 pm

Once again Marvin Miller confused the MLBPA with factory workers. When one makes so much more money than the average union member you lose the right to the terminology of labor.
I think we are seeing a real change. Players are tired of hearing family, friends and fans question every hard hit ball and every high speed gun reading. Many are tired of losing their jobs to augmented competitors. As more young players push for major league jobs they will not tolerate older players hanging on thru chemistry. For now it seems the culture has changed.

10 bp1   ~  Aug 7, 2013 2:15 pm

Call me cynical, but I'm guessing a good percentage of the public opinions by ballplayers is in the same category as Rafael Palmeiro's finger wagging in front of Congress. As we've seen, the cheaters often tell the most convincing lies. The drugs will always be there and will continue to get better - and the temptation will never go away - just like in the real world. The cloud and suspicions is going to linger for a long time - just ask Chris Davis.

I might change my mind when we actually have ballplayers reporting other players to the league. That shows true lack of tolerance. Mouthing off to a reporter is easy - and as we've seen not terribly reliable as a gauge of who is doing what.

11 garydsimms   ~  Aug 7, 2013 2:19 pm

[10] -and not just players, but managers too. I felt that Showalter's outburst last week was ironic, since he was there, in the clubhouse, when guys were using. The manager "didn't know?" Humbug.

12 bp1   ~  Aug 7, 2013 2:43 pm

[11] Yep.

Don't get me wrong - if clean players are working behind the scenes to move the MLBPA into a different phase - great. And if they are sincere in their public comments - even better. I'm just skeptical. Been burned too often to take everything I hear or read at face value.

13 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 7, 2013 2:51 pm

Drugs ain't going away...ever.

14 garydsimms   ~  Aug 7, 2013 3:00 pm

[13] ....and they have been with us in MLB for a very, very long time. Remember the greenies in the 50's and 60's? Wouldn't be surprised to learn that Wee Willie Keeler was using cocaine to get up for the second game of a twin-bill.

15 Dimelo   ~  Aug 7, 2013 4:23 pm

[13] I hope you're right, buddy. I hope you're right!!! Because I need a little pick-me-up every now and again.

16 Dimelo   ~  Aug 7, 2013 4:25 pm

[14] And there is that story about Mickey Mantle getting horse steroids from Dr Feelgood. I am highly skeptical of this whole "steroid ERA" bs.

17 The Mick536   ~  Aug 8, 2013 6:35 am

[16] One of my lifetime goals was to find out the story. What did the doctor give him? Where did it happen? Who took him to the doctor? Whom did he meet there? Was it a dirty needle? I remember the liquid coming through his uniform pants.

He played two games in the 1961 WS, batting under .200. Disgraceful. The next year, MVP. How you figger?

18 The Mick536   ~  Aug 8, 2013 6:36 am

[13] Have to define the problem before you solve it.

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 8, 2013 1:13 pm

[13] I disagree a bit. Really strict punishments are a serious deterrent. 50 games is just silly.
If a speeding ticket was $1,000 fine and loss of license for a year, you don't think people would drive differently?

1st Offense: 1 yr suspension, optional cancelling of contract by team.
2nd Offense. Lifetime ban.

And how's this....
Any Owner, Manager or other personnel who is proven to know about 'an abuser' and doesn't report it.... lifetime ban.

Yes.... these are extreme measures. But these players average $3m/yr. There should be some responsibility, other then hitting the ball, that goes along with that.

Again... I know it's extreme, but so is 'Tough Love'.
It's just a matter of if you're serious about attacking the problem or not.

20 MSM35   ~  Aug 8, 2013 1:52 pm

Mickey Mantle saw Dr. Feelgood aka Max Jacobson at the behest of Mel Allen. He was treating JFK and a whole host of celebrities at the time. He was injecting amphetamines basically. He injected Mantle below the hip and it abscessed. Mantle had a cold that he couldn't shake. He wasn't looking for a fix.

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