In relations to Major League Baseball, something may finally make sense. According to Wednesday’s Houston Chronicle, Bud Selig may consider implementing the “best interest of the game” clause which he has access to. The steroid issue is a huge topic of controversy so far in spring training. Regardless of how “special” this season is going to be, as Bud Selig says it will be, the steroid issue is going to overshadow that with a dark cloud, like it or not.
The current steroid testing proram in MLB is a complete joke. A player must foolishly test positive for steroids usage five times, before he is severely punished. Baseball for years now has wanted to issue a new system for steroid testing, but the issue was put on the backburner in 2002 when another player’s strike or owner’s lockout was very close to taking place.
The contract between the union and MLB was to expire and negoiations went as far as possible, and a deal was finally struck in the final ten seconds of the eleventh hour, thus allowing games to continue. The main importance at that time was to do whatever it took to avoid the cancellation of the rest of the season, including the playoffs, and the World Series, which happened in 1994. The playoffs and World Series is a cash cow for baseball, so making sure the games continued should have been the best interest for baseball, at that time. Plus, how badly damaged was baseball following the 1994 strike?
Now in 2004, as spring training rolls around, reports issued recently have specific players accussed of accepting steroids from distributors (at this time, Balco is the known distributor being accussed), the steroid issue is as messy as ever, and the credibility of the game in the last several years is now called into question.
This “best interest of the game” clause that Bud Selig has, may be the answer to what will finally make this steroid issue settle… keyword, maybe. The current steroid testing system was negoitated into the current contract between MLB and the union, and the union is dead set against allowing steroid testing to further advance. The player’s union is very strong, and usually, the union gets what it wants, and enforces what it wants.
The report from Wednesdsay’s Houston Chronicle, however, offers some hope. Bud Selig is unsatisfied with the current steroid testing system, and may try to enforce a better testing system that will further punish players found guilty of using steroids. The “best interest of the game” clause may allow him to do so. The union has already stated that the clause will do Selig no good, since the current steroid testing system is issued in the union contract and cannot be changed. Unfortunately, the union may be correct. A setback in Selig’s plan is, this issue may actually go to court, which will set his new system back quite a while.
Through the years, Bud Selig has done many questionable things, as commissioner. Selig isn’t exactly the most likeable or deamed as the “brightest” authority figure in sports history. However, if Selig is successful, and enforces a new steroid testing system that will punish players the first time they are caught using steroids, this may change the legacy of Selig.
For the first time that I can remember, Bud Selig is determined to do something, where the public actually supports him. Many things Selig has done through the years, have not been favored by the public. Selig knows the public wants the steroid issue resolved, and what better way to enhance public relations, than to go after this steroid issue, and settle it, once and for all?
Bud Selig was right when he said this season will be special. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees rivalry seems to re-juvenated, possibly at an alltime high, and the success of the Chicago Cubs from last season is expected to continue onto this season. Yet, I fear that how special this season is, the steroid issue, if left unresolved the way it currently is, may overshadow all the good, and continue to damage the credibility of the game today, and in the future.