Fan Base Guest Nick Marino Weighs In with his Opinion. If you would like to share an article with us, please email your piece to contact@sportscourtmedia. We will not post your article without your permission.
By NICK MARINO
Nick Marino is owner and founder of North Texas Baseball, “fundamentals are Our Priority!” teaching the fundamentals to play the game of baseball to enhance the skill level of all players.
Having walked on and off baseball diamonds for just over forty years as a player, coach and instructor, when I first read of players taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, otherwise known as (PEDs), I first thought, “this isn’t nothing new, just another enhancement.” I say this largely because of the stories that have surfaced throughout the years of players taking uppers and other drugs including but not limited to having a few drinks prior to a game to stimulate their bodies and enhance their performance levels.
Since the PED talk has come to light there have been more incidents surfacing and for the most part centered around professional baseball players, either being suspected or caught using PEDs, and not necessarily tracked from drug testing but brought to light from those on the PED trail who aren’t happy for one reason or another willing to sing like birds in the early morning hours.
The majority of those who get caught when asked of the allegations of using PED’s usually reply they were taking them for an injury, “wanting to heal faster to get back on the field.” There are also those who say they were treated once from a doctor and had no idea what was put in their body. Then last but not least are the players who know producing good numbers can allow them to obtain a much larger contract than the one they previously signed,and when questioned are in total denial. No matter the excuse, PEDs are prohibited by Major League Baseball and all the players are well aware of this.
I do believe MLB is a part of this circus for they have in my opinion over looked the sudden surge of home runs being hit back in the Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire days. Had they investigated and took a stand back then maybe things could have been different today, instead they over looked it in which I believe was due because of the excitement it brought along with the additional fan interest which was in decline due to the new enthusiasm the N.F.L. was enjoying. For me the N.F.L. is another story for another day that I have an opinion on also.
There are fans of the game who say, “Who cares if the players juice up, they are putting up good numbers which is good for the game and aren’t hurting anyone but themselves if anyone is getting hurt at all?” So it may seem that way on the surface but the fact of the matter is Professional Baseballs history is enriched with statistics and records. When players are cheating by using PEDs to enhance their performance it clouds the records set by those who played by the rules and used their natural ability to produce such numbers.
As recent talk by many has proposed the possibility of making the drugs legal, many questions have presented themselves, for instance…. Should those who break records have an asterisk next to their name? Who will monitor and control the use? At what age do we say you can and can’t use the drugs? Let’s not forget, legalizing the drugs aren’t for enhanced numbers on the field, it is for helping players who are going through injury to heal quicker and get back on the field.
There are players in Little League, High School and College who also get injured, where do we draw the line? Unless the drugs are proven to help today and hurt you tomorrow how can you tell younger players who experience injuries they can’t take the drugs? Do they have no rights?
PEDs have opened a large can of worms that I believe MLB hopes goes away on its own, yet MLB needs to make a stand once and for all, either invest whatever it takes to allow it, or keep it banned once and for all, and I mean banned as in stripping those caught of their numbers and contracts and thrown out of the game for good no second or third chances.
Although I believe cheats should never be given into, in this case I feel it might be best to reconsider. The reason being there is so much money involved it’s just hard to keep the cheats completely out.
Today it’s become a business. not only are teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers to name a few teams that are brand names, players have become a brands within themselves, at the end of the day the risk for the reward is worth it.
Let’s take Alex Rodriguez for instance, he signed a deal for 10 years worth some 250 plus million dollars with the Texas Rangers. At this time he was a brand name, I would like to know how much he made off the field, I’m sure that number was also high. He was then traded to the New York Yankees, he played a few years before questions arose of his taking PEDs, he gave some lame story in his defense and the Yankees signed him to an extension before this latest incident.
He has already made over a quarter of a billion dollars before being accused of something. Ask any person on the street if asked whether they would risk what few years left Rodriguez has for the amount of money he made and I am sure they too would have done the same thing.
Although I don’t believe the issue of cheats can ever be corralled completely I do believe MLB can curb the abuse by making it legal to use PEDs, make a change and have a monitoring body to keep it under control.
Using the words monitored, controlled and change all in the same sentence when there is opportunity for big money to be made, OK so at times I may seem naïve, none the less, change must take place and it must be monitored and controlled.
I know the word, “Change,” can be a scary word. Many people cringe when mentioned because the average person likes the routine in which they become accustom too. The thought of change in routine brings on fear of the unknown, something most people don’t want to deal with. Yet in this case I feel it is warranted.
The word monitoring brings a question to mind. Who will it be monitored by, doctors? I ask, will there be doctors who get paid off by those making big money to write scripts? I suppose that could be a possibility there is good and bad in everything however I do believe the majority of doctors will do the right thing for fear of losing their license.
Controlled also brings up a question: How will we know if it is being controlled properly? Who is going to take this task on, MLB, the Players Association? Ha-Ha did I just laugh? Sorry! I guess we can give MLB a chance.
Other questions that come to mind…
Are the drugs being used harmful to a person long or short term? If harmful can they be less harmful is monitored and distributed under a controlling atmosphere?
There are drugs on the market today being given in a controlled environment that if not controlled can cause a person harm, we don’t eliminate them, do we?
Where do we draw the line when it comes to age? At what age do we say it is ok and it isn’t?
Why bring age in you may ask? Injury doesn’t have an age limit. Injuries can occur at any age while playing baseball, from the Little League level on through High School and College ball. Should these players not be allowed to get back in the game, heal quicker, and prolong their chances to reach their dreams, do they have no rights because they aren’t professionals or because of their age? This is the one area I find to be the most challenging however, if educated I think parents can make the right decisions for their kids.
I’m all for legalizing PEDs if legalizing is the way to cut the abuse and keep the number of cheats down. I think there comes a time for change in everything and right now there needs to be changes at the major league level of baseball when it comes to PEDs. Again, as long as there is big money involved cheats will always be around, if MLB can reduce the abuse I see why not giving it a chance.
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