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SBD/March 31, 2014/MLB Season Preview
Selig Happy With New Drug-Testing Policy, Tougher Penalties For Positive Tests
Published March 31, 2014
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PLAYERS A DRIVING FORCE: In New Jersey, Bob Klapisch wrote the new drug policy "isn’t some draconian, unilateral proclamation that Selig cooked up in the middle of the night, daring the union to take him to court." Rather, an MLB official said, "Most of (the changes) came from the players themselves." Klapisch noted there was "no contractual incentive for the union to strengthen the policy," as the CBA does not expire until after the '16 season. The "only reason to do so was to root out the game’s rule breakers" (Bergen RECORD, 3/30). MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian said, “Players are tired of the general public’s perception that everybody is on steroids. They don’t want that out there anymore. So the players were just as big a part of this as management was." MLB Network's Tom Verducci: "In a short period of time, it has really flipped where the players now are being outspoken and their voices are being heard" ("MLB Tonight," MLB Network, 3/28). Tigers P Max Scherzer said, "The players want a clean game from all angles. I think what we did was we addressed a lot of different areas where we needed to improve in our JDA. Through the leadership of [MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark] and the rest of the Players Association, we accomplished that" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 3/31). Indians 1B Nick Swisher: "We are making strides to let guys know that if you do take a chance of doing this, you will get caught." He added, "You break the law you've got to pay" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/29). Angels P C.J. Wilson: "I hope this is the padlock, and closes this chapter. We don't want to keep going through this" (MLB.com, 3/28). Red Sox P Jon Lester: "Obviously, the 50 games wasn't enough to maybe make these guys think twice about it. Hopefully 80 games takes enough money out of these guys' pockets. ... Hopefully this will weed out 99 percent of the guys" (ESPN.com, 3/29).
LEGACY BUILDER: MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal wondered if the new testing policy reflects the legacy late MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner left. Rosenthal: "It actually does, because his position ... was always that penalties and increased penalties, that was not enough. That was not enough of a deterrent. He was not even sure it was a deterrent." MLB Network's Bob Costas said former union leaders Marvin Miller, Don Fehr and Gene Orza all were "so completely wrong on this issue, and it is a demerit on their respective legacies." Costas: "It is a plus for the late Michael Weiner and now for the early tenure of Tony Clark." He noted players during the 90s and 00s either "wouldn’t say anything at all, it was just this code of silence, or it was like, ‘What’s the problem?’" Costas: "They were taking all of their cues from Fehr and Orza. ... Eventually, there were little cracks in that and now the whole thing is busted wide open, and for the better” ("MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 3/28).