Dee Gordon’s PED Suspension
Here’s a good article from Jayson Stark about the aftermath of Dee Gordon‘s steroids suspension. One particularly germane point he makes is that season is probably too long, i.e., the players don’t have enough off-days during the season to recuperate and still keep the regular season and the post-season within the window of time that northern and eastern teams playing in outdoor stadia need to avoid playing games in the snow.
Here’s an article is which Justin Verlander says penalties need to be stiffened. As Stark’s article points out, some guys are always going to cheat, no matter how stiff the penalties, because the obvious and perceived benefits of using PEDs for some players are going to override any possible penalty.
Every time we get a few players punished for PEDs in close proximity, a few self-righteous players mouth off about stiffer penalties. However, once the players’ union has explained all the considerations (what about players’ privacy rights? What about possible false positives? What about a reasonably honest first-time mistake? What happens if we allow teams to void contracts because of a positive test?), the players as a group are rarely willing to make anything more than incremental changes every three to five years that a new agreement is negotiated.
In short, the next agreement might result in first-time suspensions of 100 games and second-time suspensions of 200 games, but don’t expect much more than that.
I agree that the season is too long, but don’t expect any significant reduction in the number of games played each year, because everyone is too addicted to the extra revenue extra games provide for anyone to give them up. I have long suggested that MLB cut the number of regular season games to 160 and expand the wild card from one do-or-die game to a best two-out-of-three game series.
This would reduce the number of games that 28 of the 30 teams play by two games, but would only cost each team a single home date, which would probably be matched by increased revenues in the national television contract, since you would get one or two more higher value playoff games in each league. It’s not a big difference in terms of the number of games players play, but something is better than nothing.