Baseball, Cycling and Doping

So it turns out that professional cyclists aren’t the only ones using PEDs:

Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks, “Outside the Lines” has learned. If the suspensions are upheld, the performance-enhancing drug scandal would be the largest in American sports history.

Tony Bosch, founder of the now-shuttered Biogenesis of America, reached an agreement this week to cooperate with MLB’s investigation, two sources told “Outside the Lines,” giving MLB the ammunition officials believe they need to suspend the players.

One source familiar with the case said the commissioner’s office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is the players’ connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another.

As I was writing on Twitter yesterday, I wonder if A-Rod will be publicly disgraced, ridiculed and financially devastated like Lance Armstrong. Of course not. And certainly the general public won’t pile onto baseball like they did with cycling.

Fact: there’s rampant doping in all professional sports. To single out cycling is unfair and nearsighted.

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  • JMAshby

    I don’t think anyone would deny that there are substance abuse problems in every professional sport, from MMA to Cycling. Maybe even Curling. Who knows?

    The difference in the case of say, the MLB, or NFL, or NBA is that they have a players union and a collective agreement that sets very clear rules and guidelines for investigating and punishing these sorts of violations.

    It’s a double edged sword. They should be punished, but we should also be glad that they have a union that will fight for them. And the union does more than protect them from scandals, of course. It fights for player safety and higher pay.

    Maybe cyclists should form a union.

    • JimmyAbra

      I copy what you say and add that part of the issue is that Lance has a personality that is hard to like, so combine that with lying, etc. people want to go after you. Compare to baseball’s past…Clemens and Bonds had hard personalities to like and they definitely had the law after them (witch hunts?) but others like Sosa, Palmeiro, Rameriez, etc got more or less of a pass…being an asshole matters.

  • eljefejeff

    I think people are less forgiving when someone lies and denies and then sues over and over again, and then comes out and admits it. I actually forgive Armstrong’s lies….after all it was like a witch hunt, but he went out of his way to sue folks who were just telling the truth, folks who couldn’t afford to be sued and slandered. I’m not ready to forgive him. Plus, most of these players aren’t as high profile. Armstrong was a worldwide star. Ryan Braun isn’t revered outside Milwaukee. He won’t fall so far because he doesn’t have as far to fall.

  • Lady Willpower

    I don’t think anyone “singled out” cycling. The problem with cycling was Lance Armstrong; who built his entire reputation on being the Clean One, the one who triumphed over all adversity and did it The Right Way. He was lying through his teeth the whole time, and he made it his mission to ruin anyone who said otherwise.

    Doping of some sort happens in every sport (OK, maybe not curling) but there’s only one Lance Armstrong. What he did to his body wasn’t any worse than Rodriguez or Bonds. It’s what he did the rest of the time that was so evil.

    Plus with cycling you basically had the entire nation of France wishing, hoping, and digging for dirt on Armstrong. Their Tour de France was being won by an American, year after year. That was a national embarrassment. There isn’t really anything comparable to that situation in baseball or football.

  • Ryan Carson

    Depends on who you listen to. A-Rod has lost just about all of his credibility. I think he won’t make the hall of fame, despite his numbers, and is likely looking at a big suspension that may well be the end of his career.

    You are right about “financially devastated.” I’m not sure A-Rod will get there.

  • fry1laurie

    Bosch is a total slimeball, and any lawyer worth his salt will be able to destroy him on testimony. It was just revealed that Bosch asked A-Rod for some payment not to say anything (extortion?) to investigators, so no one in this probe will come out looking any good, unfortunately for Major League Baseball.

    • drsquid

      From what I heard, “some payment” is in the 6 figures.

      Florida.

  • MrDHalen

    Yes, PEDs are in every sport, but A-Rod is not to baseball, what Lance was to cycling. What Lance won, was the equivalent to another pro athlete winning his sport’s title for 7 straight years as well as dominating most of the statistical categories.

    Other sports do use their union shields to deflect PED questions, but they’re not as absolute in their denials of the usage either.

    Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods are better comparisons for Lance than A-Rod.

  • mrbrink

    I’ll just say that PEDs in baseball, particularly, constitute a much more wide-ranging multi-billion dollar market manipulation than Cycling could ever dream of, and one that spans much more political and socioeconomic terrain than just the sport– from player salaries to stadium construction to empowering the owner class– negatively affecting the entire country’s local budgets and sense of priorities, saying nothing of the smirking betrayal of trust. The owners, the 24 hour networks, the sponsors, agents– all perpetuate this wide ranging market manipulation. I guess It’s easier to destroy a human being like Lance Armstrong who doesn’t have the protections of a Union, as Ashby noted, but also the protections of an industry and infrastructure that has aided and abetted the use of PEDs.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    I disagree, Bob. Baseball was given a far rougher ride over PEDs than cycling because it’s The National Pastime™, and players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens “dared tried to besmerch the great game” with drugs. If anything, the American media never went hard over Lance Armstrong’s drug allegations, until late last year-early this year, not just because they were scared shitless of what Armstrong might do, but because they were so in love with his story and they didn’t want to believe he’d do anything to his body after overcoming cancer.