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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Marchman: Major League Baseball’s War On Drugs Is An Immoral Shitshow

Major league ballplayers should never have agreed to drug testing. They should have told any handwringing writer who had anything to say about it to #### right off, and they should have said the same to any handwringing politician who wanted to do something about it. They should have made clear that they would go on strike forever rather than agree to it, and if necessary they should have done so, because this was inevitable once the players ceded control over their own bodies to an outside authority in response to a moral panic.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:13 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: a-rod, marvin miller, peds, selig, steroids

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   1. Captain Supporter Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4640155)
Yes, because players who are clean want to lose their jobs to inferior players using illegal drugs.
   2. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4640158)
Nice trolling, Marchman.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4640162)
Whew, I was hoping we'd have an article discussing steroids. This unexplored topic deserves serious contemplation.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4640171)
The link doesn't work. This would be the libertarian POV on steroids, no? I'm sympathetic to it as I tend to be libertarian on issues of personal drug consumption. I think the weakness of the argument is the players themselves don't have a monolithic POV on the issue and so the union, operating without any kind of consensus, is very weak on on the issue so the idea they would or even could have taken such a strong stance exists only in the realm of fantasy.
   5. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4640174)
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4640178)
This should work.

Nope. Maybe it's just my browser. It keeps nannying the word shit?
   7. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4640182)
I agree with the sentiment (in the excerpt anyway). When not at work I will read the argument in full.
   8. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4640190)
Let's try once more. I think the issue is that even though I'm including the full URL in the link, it's not actually linking there (which makes utterly no sense to me.)

Anywho, while I also veer libertarian on most things involving the control of one's own body, there's a basic workplace safety issue here. If X and Y are roughly equivalent players and X takes steroids and they make him a better ballplayer, then Y has a choice to either lose his spot or take steroids to keep up.

Of course, this is true of a lot more than just steroids and nobody blinks an eye. The season is 6 months long and like a sage baseball man once said, "over 162 games and even tough guys get strained, a soar arm or a muscle pull." Painkillers are very widespread. Amps are banned, but there are tales of players pounding 4 Red Bulls to get a similar effect, and maybe that's actually worse. Who knows what else that goes into being a Major Leaguer? and this is all probably doubly true once a player is north of his early 30's, and physical decline has likely begun to set in. If we ever reach a point where players can safely use low dosages of testosterone*, hGH, or what have you without harming their long term futures? Then I'm on board with that, too. Better living through science is the American way, no? But, until then, what's the point of protecting the right of players to create an even more unsafe work environment?

I favor PED testing because it removes a moral hazard. I think the testing framework needs to be re-worked because there's still significant moral hazard. Jhonny Peralta just got a 50MM contract, and the Steinbrenners are probably giddy to have A-Rod off the books. This is low hanging fruit, and I'm glad to have seen MLB and the PA work together to fix this. They still need to go further, like requiring the salary of a suspended player to go to MLB's central revenue fund to pay for anti-PED activities & the RBI program.

*I know "low-T" drugs are marketed heavily, but my impression is that they're not really meant for men under 40 or 50.
   9. fra paolo Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4640194)
   10. SG Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4640195)
This ought to work.

Link.
   11. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4640198)
Until #9, the link won't work because BBTF nanny keeps replacing sh!t with #### in the URL.
   12. fra paolo Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4640206)
I dunno. It's not like A-Rod was the only player who was penalised for his connection to Biogenesis. Was he the only one not to fail a drug test?

The main issue is that MLB has driven a coach-and-horses through an agreement that is supposed to protect the players' interests as much as the owners'. As Marchman suggests at the end, this isn't a libertarian matter, but one of who controls the workplace. The players thought they may have had some control, through the JDA, but Horowitz' endorsement of Commissioner Ahab's high-handed approach has made it sure that they don't.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4640220)
As Marchman suggests at the end, this isn't a libertarian matter, but one of who controls the workplace.

That's a good point. I think it's clear MLB is going to use this as a wedge to try to weaken the union. I don't think the bulk of ownership have a problem with PEDs morally but they can sniff an opportunity when it lands on their lap.
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4640225)
At its bottom you find the sorts of things that central baseball and, apparently, arbitrator Frederic Horowitz have now found in the agreement between baseball and the players. In their reading, it presents a system in which paid witnesses are deemed so reliable that their claims don't need to be verified, in which bad intentions are the same as bad acts, and in which—clearly contrary to spirit of the deal and even to the nature of doping regimens—uses of particular substances can be treated as isolable offenses, each subject to its own penalty.

All of this gives baseball the power to circumvent the negotiated penalty structure and lay long bans on any player alleged to have used a variety of substances, or perhaps even to have used more than once. It essentially makes contracts conditional, fully guaranteed only so long as the commissioner believes that the player is thinking sufficiently pure thoughts.


I think this is the heart of Tim's argument.
   15. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4640240)
I dunno. It's not like A-Rod was the only player who was penalised for his connection to Biogenesis. Was he the only one not to fail a drug test?

I think Ryan Braun was the only one in the group who ever failed one.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4640241)
I dunno. It's not like A-Rod was the only player who was penalised for his connection to Biogenesis. Was he the only one not to fail a drug test?


ARod was the only one to use multiple substances over multiple years. Don't you see that? Nobody else ever did that. His use of three (count them, THREE!) performance enhancing drugs over three years shocks the conscience.
   17. AROM Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4640255)
ARod was the only one to use multiple substances over multiple years. Don't you see that? Nobody else ever did that. His use of three (count them, THREE!) performance enhancing drugs over three years shocks the conscience.


Yeah. We don't have the same level of detailed investigations for Cruz, Peralta, and the others. If this concept is being applied consistently, then those players were only using one banned substance each. If true, that is surprising because I thought these things were generally taken in combinations.

Reading the report, the arbitrator believes MLB's expert witness that the text messages were indeed from A-Rod. He discounts the testimony of A-Rod's expert, but also states that MLB did not allow A-Rod's team to examine the blackberrys in question. Which sounds unreal, but might be reasonable considering:

1. If given the devices in question, you know A-Rod's team would say: "We were in the process of verifying the texts while walking on the edge of an active volcano, but it just slipped and fell in. My bad."

2. Horowitz states that A-Rod's team declined having the devices examined by an independent expert.
   18. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4640288)
When I think "immoral shitshow", one thing immediately comes to mind: Deadspin.
   19. JRVJ Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4640297)
When did Tim Marchman and Joe Sheehan merge into one being?
   20. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4640299)
I think Ryan Braun was the only one in the group who ever failed one.


Bartolo and Melky both tested positive - they got a pass last year because they'd served their suspensions the previous season.
   21. fra paolo Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4640338)
We don't have the same level of detailed investigations for Cruz, Peralta, and the others. If this concept is being applied consistently, then those players were only using one banned substance each. If true, that is surprising because I thought these things were generally taken in combinations.

I find this stretches credibility, given they were working with Biogenesis, too.

A-Rod's argument seems to boil down to two points

a. I did not fail a drug test.
b. MLB is not following proper procedure here.

We've heard too much of (a) and not enough of (b). I would have expected the MLBPA to have been more aggressive about (b) than they were, but it didn't happen. I think that's because A-Rod and/or his lawyers were too attached to (a). The MLBPA don't seem to have fought hard enough on (b), for whatever reason.

This is where I disagree with Marchman. The players seem to want a testing regime, so the MLBPA's officials had the job of creating one that protected them. Horowitz' ruling has demolished a structure that was too vague — badly drafted — and was probably designed to allow for subsequent interpretation and compromise. But A-Rod's determination to 'clear his name' on the basis of (a), as opposed to going quietly like the other Biogenisoids, made that impossible.

We're back to needing to know whether a lesser deal was ever offered, whether MLB escalated its punishment protocol once A-Rod determined to fight. It could be that MLB always saw this outcome as a possibility, given A-Rod's competitive instincts, and never offered him a comparable deal to Braun or Peralta because they wanted to use A-Rod's propensity for hapless chancing against the MLBPA.
   22. AROM Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4640344)
We're back to needing to know whether a lesser deal was ever offered, whether MLB escalated its punishment protocol once A-Rod determined to fight. It could be that MLB always saw this outcome as a possibility, given A-Rod's competitive instincts, and never offered him a comparable deal to Braun or Peralta because they wanted to use A-Rod's propensity for hapless chancing against the MLBPA.


If they just wanted to make an example of A-Rod, they could not have picked a better target. Almost nobody feels any sympathy for him. At least with Bonds, the fans in SF mostly had his back. "Sure, he's a roider, but he's OUR roider" With A-Rod, you've mostly got Yankee fans celebrating his suspension. Yeah! Free money!
   23. smileyy Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4640345)
What's the libertarian stance on collective bargaining? I'm thinking its that workers can collectively bargain, but companies can tell entire unions to #### themselves, and make their way with non-union employees?
   24. bobm Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4640346)
[21] Interesting and good comment.

A-Rod's argument seems to boil down to two points

a. I did not fail a drug test.
b. MLB is not following proper procedure here.

We've heard too much of (a) and not enough of (b).


(a) is a big part of the problem, that the testing was apparently eminently beatable. Does baseball (owners and players) really want to head down the Lance Armstrong path of professional cycling and, for fear of pissing off Congress and putting its antitrust exemption at risk, come out with extremely intrusive, 24/7, inform us constantly of your whereabouts testing? How else could professional cycling have even attempted to rescue itself from that embarrassing debacle?

I would have expected the MLBPA to have been more aggressive about (b) than they were, but it didn't happen. I think that's because A-Rod and/or his lawyers were too attached to (a). The MLBPA don't seem to have fought hard enough on (b), for whatever reason.

The players are doing pretty well financially and some may not even like cheaters. Maybe letting A-Rod go reflects what the majority also want.

This is where I disagree with Marchman. The players seem to want a testing regime, so the MLBPA's officials had the job of creating one that protected them. Horowitz' ruling has demolished a structure that was too vague — badly drafted — and was probably designed to allow for subsequent interpretation and compromise. But A-Rod's determination to 'clear his name' on the basis of (a), as opposed to going quietly like the other Biogenisoids, made that impossible.

We all know that drugs and testing is an arms race in which the testers are in perpetual catch-up mode. However, but for the Fischer/Bosch dispute and subsequent leak, the testing regime, which was a joke, would have continued to be a joke, albeit an inside joke just like the McGwire era.
   25. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4640350)
With A-Rod, you've mostly got Yankee fans celebrating his suspension.


I don't know any Yankee fans celebrating his suspension. It does highlight the preposterously unfair nature of the "Yankee tax" but everyone knows you can't discuss such things in polite company.
   26. mathesond Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4640352)
When I think "immoral shitshow", one thing immediately comes to mind: Deadspin.


Why, just look at the immorality espoused here!
   27. Bob Tufts Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4640353)
Has there ever been a s##tshow that was deemed moral?
   28. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4640357)
The players seem to want a testing regime, so the MLBPA's officials had the job of creating one that protected them. Horowitz' ruling has demolished a structure that was too vague — badly drafted — and was probably designed to allow for subsequent interpretation and compromise. But A-Rod's determination to 'clear his name' on the basis of (a), as opposed to going quietly like the other Biogenisoids, made that impossible.



I think the players union recognizes that they have an interest in the appearance of integrity*, the same interest that the owners have. If they didn't do something about testing when they did, Congress probably would have. And neither MLB nor the MLBPA want Congress to meddle in the game.

You hit on the other thing that no one is talking about: all of the other guys that allegedly went to Biogensis simply accepted the penalties imposed by MLB. That should be enough to establish that Bosch isn't a liar.

* - By integrity here I don't mean the sham that was the arbitration hearing but rather the game and its holy stats untained by PED use.
   29. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4640358)
I don't know any Yankee fans celebrating his suspension. It does highlight the preposterously unfair nature of the "Yankee tax" but everyone knows you can't discuss such things in polite company.


The ONLY thing you talk about is the Yankee tax. I don't think the politeness of the company would alter your willingness to bring up that topic one bit.
   30. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4640360)
I don't know any Yankee fans celebrating his suspension.

You must not know many Yankee fans then.
   31. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4640369)
Has there ever been a s##tshow that was deemed moral?

"Highway to Heaven."
   32. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4640372)
The ONLY thing you talk about is the Yankee tax. I don't think the politeness of the company would alter your willingness to bring up that topic one bit.



An ode to YR.
   33. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4640374)
What's the libertarian stance on collective bargaining? I'm thinking its that workers can collectively bargain, but companies can tell entire unions to #### themselves, and make their way with non-union employees?

That's about this libertarian's stance. I don't see the National Widget Workers having any more right to force WidgetCo to do business with them than Pepsi has to make me do business with them instead of Coke.

However, it's also worth noting that I'm against right-to-work laws for private employers as well - if Joe's Hardware wants to agree with a particular union for that union to be the exclusive provider of employees, that's none of my business. And that non-union members in a business that has union members be continued to be treated as at-will employees as they are not a party to the collective contract signed by the others.
   34. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4640379)
Whew, I was hoping we'd have an article discussing steroids.

It'll never happen. The entire topic has jumped the shark.
   35. Bob Tufts Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4640388)
The entire topic has jumped the shark.


The bull shark?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2012/06/15/mythbusting-101-bulking-up-with-bull-shark-testosterone/
   36. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4640397)
An ode to YR.


Needs more cowbell.
   37. Squash Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4640398)
I see his point, but again this is shortsighted thinking. Baseball's franchise, which has made both the owners and the players rich, is Mom, apple pie, Sunday afternoons at the sandlot, and home run records. PEDs for better or worse don't fit into that world. If the game loses that franchise (that selling point) it does itself a major disservice and costs everyone money.

As we all like to tell ourselves many times, in a good way, when the topic of another sport comes up, baseball is not football, or basketball, or hockey, or soccer, etc. (all which have drug testing as well) - baseball has a special relationship with America with its nostalgia factor and its past. What does it say to the world if baseball, this bastion of nostalgia, alone among the major sports says "Drug testing? Over our dead bodies." Not good. There's a flipside to the nostalgia coin - the game has to remain "pure", or seemingly pure, in a way the other sports don't. Or everyone gets poorer. This is all a money issue.
   38. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4640406)
Anywho, while I also veer libertarian on most things involving the control of one's own body, there's a basic workplace safety issue here. If X and Y are roughly equivalent players and X takes steroids and they make him a better ballplayer, then Y has a choice to either lose his spot or take steroids to keep up.


I think most libertarians would agree that that any contract between MLB and the players should be enforced.

Anyway, if this was really a workplace safety issue, the players union would be pushing for more testing, either by MLB or internally, and would be taking independent action against members.

   39. Bob Tufts Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4640413)
It has not been about drug testing "over our dead bodies". it has been about examining probable cause for testing as it relates to quasi-Fourth Amendment rights.

The union has already agreed to this - but as we have seen with Quest and Biogenesis, they are wary regarding medical privacy issues, legal interpretations of fact and mandated punishments, all of which are proper roles for a bargaining unit.

Until home team fans actually boo a player (other then ARod) who is suspended for use of illegal/banned substances, there is no loss of innocence and "purity" that will harm revenues. Talk radio shows make it seem like the fan base is ready to revolt, but that hasn't happened since the 1994-95 strike.
   40. Squash Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4640464)
It has not been about drug testing "over our dead bodies". it has been about examining probable cause for testing as it relates to quasi-Fourth Amendment rights.

I'm referring to the article, which starts with this:

"Major league ballplayers should never have agreed to drug testing. They should have told any handwringing writer who had anything to say about it to #### right off, and they should have said the same to any handwringing politician who wanted to do something about it. They should have made clear that they would go on strike forever rather than agree to it, and if necessary they should have done so, because this was inevitable once the players ceded control over their own bodies to an outside authority in response to a moral panic."

That seems like a pretty "over our dead bodies" argument. I'm not speaking about the MLBPA, which did in fact agree to drug testing, and which seems to be committed to enforcing it. I'm referring to the arguments that are being made in response to that decision.

Until home team fans actually boo a player (other then ARod) who is suspended for use of illegal/banned substances, there is no loss of innocence and "purity" that will harm revenues.

That seems like a very specific, unprovable assertion. We're statistics guys - we should all know we can only parse what has actually happened (or does actually happen) and can't make any assertions as to alternate realities. There's a ton of money in the game right now - maybe there would be more if there was no PEDs mess. Maybe there would be less. We don't really know. However, it seems logical that if there is a factor in the game that turns off a large group of fans (anecdotally what seems to be pretty safely the majority of fans) that allowing it to remain in the game would have a long-term deleterious effect.
   41. dlf Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4640466)
edit: never mind
   42. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4640467)
Has there ever been a s##tshow that was deemed moral?


Have you ever watched a nursery school holiday show?
   43. Bob Tufts Posted: January 16, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4640565)
Squash - yes, this is the point of view of the author and some strict constructionists. However, the union and management did agree to testing in the 80's, something even Marvin Miller endorsed.

That seems like a very specific, unprovable assertion


I am old enough to remember the standing ovations that Hernandez and Gooden received from the Shea Stadium crowds post-cocaine scandal, so I believe that the argument that drugs somehow damage(d) the finances of the game is wrong.

It is difficult to prove the economic harm - as fans still vote with their tickets, TV and merchandise purchases that they do not care, be it cocaine or illegal PED's.

And I would rather be injected with steroids than suffer a pre-K holiday show
   44. Squash Posted: January 16, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4640577)
And I would rather be injected with steroids than suffer a pre-K holiday show

You're missing out man. They can be hilarious in small doses. The secret is to treat it like Vegas - go to one show/day only and then get out.

I am old enough to remember the standing ovations that Hernandez and Gooden received from the Shea Stadium crowds post-cocaine scandal, so I believe that the argument that drugs somehow damage(d) the finances of the game is wrong.

It is difficult to prove the economic harm - as fans still vote with their tickets, TV and merchandise purchases that they do not care, be it cocaine or illegal PED's.


Steroids are a little different given the nature they had on the game and the record book. More to the point, baseball is more of a family game than any of the other major sports, and baseball depends on that economically. Families bring their kids to the game more so than they do in a football, basketball, etc. - if baseball becomes the game where everybody does drugs, and it persists, and nothing is done about it, and it goes on and on ... it will lose that distinction. That would be bad.

Also, the cocaine players were welcomed back because the issue was seen to have been dealt with - suspensions were handed down, confessions were made, etc., and the problem (cocaine) did indeed mostly go away. If the issue wasn't dealt with, had persisted, if guys got in trouble multiple times over a period of years, if the next generation had continued using it, and so on, those players would have been treated differently than they were. The crowd will forgive you once (maybe). They will not forgive you twice. Even ARod got a brief respite after his first confession. And anyway of course, cocaine use didn't lead to multiple players multiple times crushing the most important record in American sports (61 HRs).
   45. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4640592)
However, the union and management did agree to testing in the 80's, something even Marvin Miller endorsed.


This is something that has always stuck with me, and I was wondering if you could shed any light as a former player: why didn't the PA just accept Selig's initial offer in 1994 of steroid testing. IIRC, it was essentially just expanding the framework for testing for drugs of abuse to include PEDs (specifically, anabolic steroids.)

I've yet to read the Union's official side of it, but per Selig's telling, he simply gave up on that point during negotiations as they dragged on.
   46. Bob Tufts Posted: January 16, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4640603)
Trust.

Management didn't care about steroids - they wanted "cost certainty" - a salary cap - at the time and were willing to use replacement players (ending Ripken's streak if necessary) to get it.

If the proposal took too long (as players didn't trust management's motives post-collusion) and unless accepted without reservation), the PRC would indeed drop it and move on.

When the owners met in Kohler to try to assemble a unified position, they were divided into big and small market subsets that were at extreme odds. If steroids generated buzz, home runs and more revenues, they could have cared less - and didn't.

And the players still had some institutional memory of the 1980-81 strike via Fehr, Miller and a few veteran players. They built on this base - and the collusion - to fight any givebacks. Financial ones were at the top of the list, but any drug related proposal would have been part of a trade off on other items - and management didn't want tradeoffs, they wanted givebacks.

Yes, the tradeoff on a drug proposal sounds odd, but after spending so much time assembling the cocaine/recreational drug deal in the 80's and having it ripped up by Ueberroth, there was no mood to waste time on the topic by the MLBPA.
   47. Matt Welch Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4640655)
My libertarian/baseball-fan struggle runs something like this:

A) Hey, it's a labor agreement between two private parties, who am I to #####?
B) But wait a sec, the federal government put a heavy thumb on this scale, through public shaming (from the State of the Union Address to Novitzky's various crusades/bargains to the show trials of disfavored stars for non-drug charges) & also explicit threat of legislation.
C) Also, there's a weird element of hysteria/hypocrisy about using a legal-when-prescribed drug to recover more quickly from workouts, in an era of improvement surgery & after multiple eras of greenies. Makes me uncomfortable to endorse pharmacological prejudice. But,
D) I like my baseball at 4.30 runs per game much more than 5.00, even if
E) I attribute a lot of the post-94 spike to expansion & smaller ballparks. Therefore,
F) Uh, profit?
   48. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4640659)
I don't know any Yankee fans celebrating his suspension. I


Everyone I know is.
   49. JE (Jason) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4640664)
My libertarian/baseball-fan struggle runs something like this:

A) Hey, it's a labor agreement between two private parties, who am I to #####?
B) But wait a sec, the federal government put a heavy thumb on this scale, through public shaming (from the State of the Union Address to Novitzky's various crusades/bargains to the show trials of disfavored stars for non-drug charges) & also explicit threat of legislation.
C) Also, there's a weird element of hysteria/hypocrisy about using a legal-when-prescribed drug to recover more quickly from workouts, in an era of improvement surgery & after multiple eras of greenies. Makes me uncomfortable to endorse pharmacological prejudice. But,
D) I like my baseball at 4.30 runs per game much more than 5.00, even if
E) I attribute a lot of the post-94 spike to expansion & smaller ballparks. Therefore,
F) Uh, profit?

Where might the anti-trust issue fit into this struggle, Matt?
   50. Rickey!'s people were colonized by wankers Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4640667)
F) Uh, profit?


If someone could figure out a way for MLB to manufacture and control the distribution of PED's as a cartel, thus profiting from them, PED's would be 100% A-OK fine and dandy with Bud and the boys.
   51. Bruce Markusen Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4640668)
Enough with Deadspin. Their writers try to be so hip and cool with the curse words and the sexual innuendo and the cute double meanings; they come across as a group of sophomoric, childish Animal House wannabees. That's all fine and well if you're pledging to the local frat house, but we should expect a more serious and sophisticated approach from a "serious" news organization.

Marchman is among their worst offenders, first off with the nonsensical and immature article about a cartoon mascot going "pantless" and then with this immature lecture to the Players Association. As if the clean players should somehow be reprimanded and scolded because they want the PED users tested and punished. How dare them for wanting cheating players held accountable.
   52. Rickey!'s people were colonized by wankers Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4640670)
As if the clean players should somehow be reprimanded and scolded because they want the PED users tested and punished. How dare them for wanting cheating players held accountable.


You can tell the Cubs mascot is clean cause his sack isn't shriveled and tiny.
   53. Matt Welch Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4640684)
Where might the anti-trust issue fit into this struggle, Matt?

You forgot to capitalize the "S".... While my preferred application of the anti-trust impulse is upon government-owned or government-sanctioned monopolies (true fact: the intellectual godfather of airline deregulation, Alfred Kahn, was a liberal Democrat who was motivated by anti-trust sentiment), I see zero reason why baseball should be specially exempt from the nation's laws, regardless of what one thinks of them.
   54. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4640738)
Enough with Deadspin. Their writers try to be so hip and cool with the curse words and the sexual innuendo and the cute double meanings; they come across as a group of sophomoric, childish Animal House wannabees. That's all fine and well if you're pledging to the local frat house, but we should expect a more serious and sophisticated approach from a "serious" news organization.

Yeah, I can't tell you're an old crank at all.
   55. ptodd Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4640740)
The players would rather have the current program than one mandated by Congress. They know MLB wants to limit the number of positives and there are loopholes in the program they can exploit.

There would be no test program today if not for Congressional pressure. Rich Helling pleaded for years but the MLBPA and players wanted nothing to do with curtailing steroids.
   56. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4640743)
Enough with Deadspin. Their writers try to be so hip and cool with the curse words and the sexual innuendo and the cute double meanings;


This is great if you read it in Phil Hartman's Frank Sinatra voice.
   57. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4640746)
This is great if you read it in Phil Hartman's Frank Sinatra voice.

but then you'd have to add "You don't scare me. I got chunks of guys like you in my stool."
   58. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4640748)
As if the clean players should somehow be reprimanded and scolded because they want the PED users tested and punished.


Yup.
   59. Publius Publicola Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4640749)
This is great if you read it in Phil Hartman's Frank Sinatra voice.


Bruce, you got a Dionne Warwick/Falana kind of thing going.
   60. ptodd Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4640753)
ARod was the only one to use multiple substances over multiple years. Don't you see that? Nobody else ever did that. His use of three (count them, THREE!) performance enhancing drugs over three years shocks the conscience.


How would you know, MLB rarely discloses details as it violates the confidentiality agreement. We do know Manny tested positive for both testosterone and HCG, but was suspended for only 50 games. Supposedly that was to avoid arbitration as they had a prescription for HCG, so pursued the easier route at the expense of justice and letting Manny serve 50 games less than they say now that he could have been.

I suspect almost everyone using testosterone is also using HGH and that likely would have been on the protocol Bosch had for some of those players who only got 50 games.

   61. Jay Z Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4640761)
Has there ever been a s##tshow that was deemed moral?


Back in '79 or so, a poor black sharecropper showed his son Navin the difference between s**t and shinola. And dang if that movie didn't show that s**t. Right thing to do too.
   62. Bug Selig Posted: January 17, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4640845)
How would you know, MLB rarely discloses details as it violates the confidentiality agreement.


Are you suggesting that MLB is aware of and gives 1% of a crap about the confidentiality agreement? I am utterly flabbergasted that a living person who has been coherent for the last year or so could even give that thought credence. I would not be surprised in there was a department at the MLB offices designated for and tasked with violating the confidentiality agreement(s).
   63. Chip Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4640924)
I would not be surprised in there was a department at the MLB offices designated for and tasked with violating the confidentiality agreement(s).


The Rob Manfred Department.
   64. base ball chick Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4640946)
Bug Selig Posted: January 17, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4640845)


Are you suggesting that MLB is aware of and gives 1% of a crap about the confidentiality agreement? I am utterly flabbergasted that a living person who has been coherent for the last year or so could even give that thought credence. I would not be surprised in there was a department at the MLB offices designated for and tasked with violating the confidentiality agreement(s).

- obviously, MLB keeps violating the confidentiality agreements and the Union is not calling them out on it in any way or fighting back

the public thinks that no one (except themselves) has any right to anything confidential whatsoever, especially public figures, so nothing happens

if the union had any sense, they would insist on serious penalties for MLB for any viol;ations of the confidentiallity agreement - including "leaks" but no
   65. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4640990)
Bob, thanks for the reply.

That makes some sense, and it's what I'd guessed at. I wasn't around for Ueberroth, but my impression of him isn't very good from what I've heard/read. I can only imagine that an interim commissioner who was also an owner, as Selig was, probably wouldn't have been viewed as very trustworthy by Fehr.

The one thing that keeps tripping me up is that if the drug framework was fair (and I assume it was), and it's generally in the interest of players to have steroid testing included under the same framework (and I think it is, both for workplace safety and cosmetic reasons), wouldn't that have been the sort of low hanging fruit tradeoff that Union leadership would have or should have been more willing to give on? Especially since steroids were supposedly either not yet ultra widespread by 1994 or were just starting to really really take off through the game, depending on who you ask.

Obviously, we now know that the owners were mostly seeking givebacks and I was too young to really understand the negotiations at the time, but it seems to me that testing would have been an easy place to find common ground, build goodwill and move on from (similar to the way Weiner used it during his negotiations.)

Of course, after collusion, I can absolutely understand why there'd be zero faith in ownership. So, I guess I didn't need to write all of that, but since they had to work together anyway...
   66. Bob Tufts Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4641034)
Krusty:

A link for you on the topic as it relates - especially Miller's influence. I have heard these answers from Fehr and others:

http://www.salon.com/2002/06/20/miller_18/
   67. Walt Davis Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4641214)
To discuss this, one has to recognize the difference between steroid use and the "steroids mess".

It is hard to see how steroid use has harmed the game, especially financially. Assuming the agreed-upon evil ones were in fact evil, it's still hard to say that the 98 HR chase hurt baseball or that the Bonds chase hurt baseball. Clemens helped pack them in wherever he went.

It is frequently noted here that somehow the NFL has avoided the "steroids mess" despite steroid usage while MLB and the baseball media obsess on the "steroids mess". ARod and Biogenesis are the end of the world, the Carolina Panthers were just another story.

Steroid use is potentially a health-and-safety issue. It may also be a "I don't want to have to compete for jobs against PED users" issue. Those are both legit issues for the MLBPA to address but, generally, they can be handled internally and possibly without testing or with Union-run testing.

"Steroids mess" is a political issue. And it was on that political issue that the MLBPA decided to cave. And that is the primary problem.

It is further increasingly clear that, for baseball, a testing program does not solve the steroids mess problem -- baseball is still being held to a higher standard than other US pro sports, the "steroids mess" remains a PR disaster. Anytime somebody breaks through -- be it Bautista or Melky -- suspicions are aroused. Further it seems clear that MLB will use this leverage as much as possible to gain concessions from the MLBPA.

So what has the MLBPA actually gained by agreeing to testing 10 years ago?

Pretty much nothing as near as I can tell. Or, if you think usage is lower now, nothing they could not have achieved internally. At best, the actual testing agreement was a case of "better the devil I know (MLB) than the one I don't (Congress)". That's not much to gain for surrendering personal privacy and handing your employer a bargaining mallet.

I've never been a Marchman fan -- I often agree with his main point, don't care for his writing or often his reasoning/support -- so I haven't bothered with the piece. But I assume the basic point underneath it all is that the MLBPA was never going to win the political/PR battle no matter what they agreed to. Therefore, they should have stood their moral and labor relations ground.

With 20/20 hindsight, I find that a hard position to argue against.

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