The fuss raised when Jhonny Peralta rejoined the Detroit Tigers for the 2013 playoffs after having served a 50-game suspension during the season for performance-enhancing drugs will be a thing of the past, reportedly.
USA Today says that, as a proposal within a revised agreement between the union and owners, any ballplayer disciplined for PEDs during the regular season won't be allowed to partake in the postseason. Even if a player serves a suspension in April and May, then comes back clean for June, July, August and September, his punishment will resume in October if his team makes the playoffs.
Earlier this week, word came that first suspensions for PEDs would increase from 50 to 80 games — unless the player is considered to have unintentionally used. (However that is determined.) A second intentional offense would be a season-long suspension. The deal is not yet finalized, but both sides have said they hope it is by Sunday night when the regular season resumes.
Obviously the point of "no playoffs" is to add a deterrent for potential first-time offenders. It sounds great. It sounds like justice — until you actually think about it. Such a move lacks logic. It's also not fair. It's like double jeopardy. It's two sentences for the same crime, with the second contingent on the player — presumably clean again — helping his team make the playoffs, which is the entire point of Major League Baseball.
Why not just make the first penalty a season-long suspension that includes the playoffs? Suspending a player for X amount of games, reinstating him, then suspending him again is much more harsh. It's kind of torturous. It's certainly awkward. It's actually a disincentive for the player to help the team — because helping the team make the playoffs and then disappearing for the playoffs is only "helping" if you're really twisted.
And it punishes the team, which would need to make a trade for a replacement while still having the original offender on the roster — whom they still have to pay because forfeited contracts won't be part of the revised PED deal. It punishes supposedly clean teammates. It's just ugly, counterproductive, wrong and stupid to make this a policy. Everyone will regret it if it happens.
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