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Kirsten Brown

Short Bursts of Opinion, and a Belated Beer

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Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog

I have some little opinions on some news items, so I thought I'd share some of them.


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Scott Diamond received a 6-game suspension for throwing toward Josh Hamilton's head on Friday. He plans to appeal the suspension.


I'm glad he's appealing because I thought the whole situation was handled poorly. Roy Oswalt inexplicably beaned Joe Mauer in the back of the neck, I'm assuming because he was pissy that Pedro Florimon scored on a play that Oswalt should have fielded better.


At first, I was glad that the benches weren't warned immediately after Oswalt's stunt. Diamond's control hadn't been great, and I didn't want the inner half of the plate taken away from him. Then I developed a bad feeling when it became clear that Diamond was going to retaliate; because of that aforementioned shaky control, I didn't think he'd be able to pull it off.


Unfortunately he wasn't. He got tossed without warning, and then later he got a suspension and a fine. And the big baby who started the whole thing didn't get anything.


I don't think Diamond was truly trying to hit Hamilton in the head. He was probably trying to throw it in the same place Oswalt threw his, but since his control was, you got it, not great, and since Hamilton knew it was coming and ducked, it appeared worse than it was. It simply got away from him.


Even though it really amounts to one start, I still think a 6-game suspension is a little harsh.


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Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon received 50-game suspensions for testing positive for banned substances.


I'm not clear on my own feeling regarding whether using "performance enhancing" drugs really helps enhance performance or whether using them really amounts to cheating. I'm also not clear on my own feelings regarding whether substance testing is conducted fairly and appropriately.


However, I do know that I'm a fan of following the rules. So, guys who break rules they agreed to when they signed their contracts, and who go to lengths to cover up their misdeeds, should be punished.


In light of these suspensions, there has been a lot of talk in the media whether the system is working and whether the punishment should be harsher.


It's impossible to say whether the system is working. Some guys are speculating that as many as half the players are using some sort of banned substance. If that's true, then only busting two guys kind of means that it isn't. But, I may be naive here, I seriously doubt it's that pervasive. The fact that anyone got caught at all says that the testing is working, at least a little.


Now, whether the punishments should be stricter, I don't think it would make any difference. There are always going to be some guys who are so arrogant to believe that they'll never get caught. To those guys, the length of the punishment is immaterial.


It bums me out whenever players get busted. I hope we see less and less of it.


However, I still can't watch an NFL game without wondering why baseball is the one with all the bad press regarding PEDs.


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Way back on August 15, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners tossed a perfect game. It's about time I buy him is virtual beer for it.


I remember being impressed with him when the Twins played the Mariners back in 2006. I believe I even congratulated Seattle fans for having such an exciting pitcher to look forward to cheering for.


He hasn't disappointed. I believe he's one of the most dominate pitchers in the game, and I not-so-secretly wish he played for my team. And, at 26 years old, he's just now hitting his prime.


Although I worry about my team having to face him, I am kind of looking forward to seeing him pitch on Monday.
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  1. beckmt's Avatar
    More testing has seem to had results. About 10 years ago it seemed a number of balls not hit that well left the park. Also the number of players in the majors who are over 35 seems to have remarkedly decreased. That tells me the policy is working.
    Not to say a number of player still probably try to cheat, masking agents are getting better, and until all of there residual makeup is known, it will be hard to get all of them. Best way of finding them is remarkable preformances by playes past their prime (Colon) or way out of line preformance changes(Melky Caberra). Not to say you cannot guess at others(A-Rods injury issues the last 2 - 3 years for one).
  2. John Bonnes's Avatar
    I wonder exactly what the penalty should be. It needs to be commensurate with the risk/reward factor but also allow the possibility of a mistest. The problem is that the risk/reward for someone like Colon or Cabrera is so crazy. Cabrera was supposedly a perennially gifted underachiever who went from barely getting a job to talking about a guaranteed $80m contract. What possible punishment could make that not worth it?

    What's interesting about the players union being so upset about it is that one punishment would be the the money suddenly becomes not guaranteed. That opens up players to all kinds of possible abuses and they would REALLY need to trust the system. But what if the testing was that they gave samples and some of those samples were saved for future testing when better tests are available? And that in addition to a one-year suspension that player lost all future guaranteed money if they are ever discovered?
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