Dee Gordon is not exactly the prototypical ballplayer we all think of when we look to slap the scarlet "PED User" label on baseball players. For years, despite Major League Baseball doing more than any league in North America to ensure fair play, fans still prefer to stick to the irrational judgement on who gets shunned and who gets another chance. Gordon's use now throws a wrench in the whole "eye test" standard we've had.
Just look at him, dude, he has to be using.
Despite it all, I'm thoroughly shocked by all that has gone down. I like Gordon. I really enjoyed watching him play. I actually had just finished watching his very last game before the suspension between his Marlins and the Dodgers in which Gordon had the go-ahead hit. Then of course, immediately after, my nighttime
religion routine of MLB Network broke the news that he was immediately slapped with an 80-game suspension for the failed test.
Despite the disappointment in guys like Gordon, Chris Collabelo, and overall, the thought (and possible naivete) that players are still trying to cheat, there is a side of me that is indeed happy to see this go down. The silver lining being, that you know, the system is working, and that guys are being caught, punished, and of course, being held accountable in the all-important court of public appeal.
Yet, the major issue for me is overall punishment and discipline for users and those who are caught. No, not the games. But the process (what's with them playing during appeals?), and overall risk/reward aspect that encompasses it all. Right now, the system is still in favor of those taking the risk in using PEDs, as the reward is still worth it. For Gordon, he still has a 5-year, $50M contract.
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This is where the MLBPA will have stand to up for the cause and agree to allow contracts to be void based upon PED use. If you're caught cheating, organizations should be able to void your contract outright. Or at the very least, be given the option to do so. Imagine a baseball world if this were the case? What would have been for the Yankees and the rest of A-Rod's career? What would have been for Ryan Braun? Don't you think the Marlins would cut ties with Gordon effective immediately?
Make it so much of a risk, so far reaching, so not worth it, for players to use PEDs, that we can finally clean it all up.
Really, in my opinion, this needs to be the next step. Cheaters shouldn't be rewarded with security. And they shouldn't receive consolation prizes of security and guaranteed dollars to follow their suspension. Especially, when said cheating earned them that suspension.
MLB has definitely cleaned up the game, and they should be praised for every person caught. But it's time to really drop the hammer on where this ultimately boils down to - money. Until then, why wouldn't a mediocre ball player take the chance?