By Steve Silverman
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Melky, Melky, Melky.
What a disappointment.
But the 50-game suspension that Melky Cabrera received yesterday is not an isolated case.
The performance-enhancing drug situation is no more under control in baseball than it is in football or any of the other sports.
Players who take PEDs – you can’t just say ‘steroids’ – want to gain an edge on the competition. Everybody wants to get an edge on the competition in all walks of life. However, you just can’t do it by cheating and that’s never going to be OK.
But athletes are going to try to cheat. Not all of them, but a certain percentage of them from each sport know they are not good enough on their own or they might believe they need a little assist before they get to a level that would make them more secure in their status.
When it comes to PEDs, it’s a matter of staying ahead of the detection system, which is becoming more and more sophisticated.
When the NFL first started to test for substances like testosterone, it used a ratio test that was considered to be quite liberal. The test compared the amount of testosterone in the blood stream to epi-testosterone. In average men, the ratio was 1-to-1 or 1.5-to-1. In some extreme cases the ratio could be 2-to-1.
However, the NFL’s alarm bells would not go off unless the ratio exceeded 6-to-1. As a result, it was easy for players to use performance enhancers in the 1980s.
Since then, ratio tests have gotten stricter and it’s tougher to use testosterone as a performance enhancer. But those who want better performances through chemistry will always have the opportunity.
New designer drugs find a way to those who are willing to pay for them. Bud Selig and Roger Goodell can diligently punish the cheaters, but only if they catch them.
Cabrera is going to pay a big price. He was having a sensational year for the Giants and his highlight to this point had been winning the Most Valuable Player award in the All-Star Game. He leads the National league with 159 hits and his .346 average makes him one of the best hitters on a team that regularly struggles to score runs.
Cabrera is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the offseason. If he could have played the rest of the season unencumbered and if he had finished the season at or near the same level that he’s been at, he would have been rewarded greatly about 10 days after the World Series ends with a huge contract.
He’s not likely to be run out of the game, but he has cost himself millions of dollars with his admitted drug use.
That’s one thing Cabrera does not have to hang his head over. When the announcement came, he did not make phony denials or excuses. He admitted his guilt and apologized to his teammates, management and fans.
That’s not going to get him into heaven – or the Hall of Fame – but it’s a lot better than pleading ignorance, blaming others or simply denying responsibility as so many others have done.
The former Yankee got himself on the right track last year in Kansas City and was becoming a full-fledged star in San Francisco. He made the wrong choice and it will cost himself and his team dearly.
Will PED use continue to cloud the games we love? Let him hear your thoughts at — @ProFootballBoy.