The Commish Online                                                                                
Suspensions Starting to Fit the Crime
May 7, 2009

By now, the world knows that Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance and will receive a 50-game suspension.  Regardless of your overall opinion on steroids and other PEDs, it's nice to see punishments starting to fit the crimes.  Sure, you can still debate the amount of games penalized, but at least starting at 50 really hurts the team, the player's pocketbook (Manny will lose about $7.7 million), and the player's character. 

The point of a punishment is to make it hurt enough so that the crime isn't worth the gamble, and I think MLB is getting close.  Personally, I feel that lifetime banishment is a bit excessive.  Despite the bogus "I didn't know what I was taking" claims, someone at some point will make a dumb medical mistake (too much NyQuil?)and test positive for a substance even if the substance was not intended to have any performance enhancing effects.  They should still be suspended with the appropriate penalty (a positive test is a positive test), but a lifetime ban would be silly for a guy taking excess amounts of Viagra. 

A move from 50 games to 100 games, though?  I'd be on board for that, but instead I would propose 81 games (half a season) AND all playoffs in the year testing positive.  So, even if you tested positive on April 15, you couldn't participate in the playoffs that year, but you could come back and play the last couple months of the regular season, only to feel the wrath of your fellow players.

Regardless of the future, it's finally nice to see players pay the price WHILE the damage is being done rather than being forced into awkward non-apology apologies (Giambi, ARod, etc.).  The past is over and the future of MLB may not be bright, but at least it will be more controlled.