MLBPA's Michael Weiner Says Tougher PED Penalties Must Wait Until Next Season
MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner yesterday said that "toughening penalties for drug violations will have to wait until the 2014 season," according to the AP. Weiner: "There are going to be talks. I don't what the result is going to be." The current sanctions have been in place since the '06 season: 50 games for a first offense, 100 for a second and "a lifetime ban for a third." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Saturday said that he "wanted increased penalties as soon as possible." Weiner said, "We had some dialogue even with the commissioner's office in the offseason that didn't lead to any changes, and I suspect that we'll have those discussions over the course of the year. But it's going to be a 2014 issue. We're not going to change the rules of the game in the middle of the season" (AP, 3/3). In a special to MLB.com, Andrew Simon wrote although MLB's policy is the "toughest program among the major U.S. sports, Selig expressed a desire to tighten it further." Selig said that he asked MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred "to sit down with Weiner to negotiate harsher penalties, with an eye toward reaching an agreement for 2013." Selig: "As soon as possible; I really feel very strongly about it. This is not something we ought to wait around on. This is something we should do quickly, expeditiously." Simon noted several other players have "responded by speaking out in favor of increased suspensions, something Selig would approve" (MLB.com, 3/3).
ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes, "We are witnessing another pivotal moment in the relationship between major league players and the commissioner's office." Players are telling Weiner that they are "sick of it." Veterans are "demanding harsher penalties," and they are "increasingly aggravated that their sport has the toughest testing policy of any North American league but can't shake the scrutiny the tainted minority attracts." Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman said, "If you want hardship penalties, I'm all for that. Nobody wants to watch cheaters. Those guys make those of us who don't cheat, don't use, look worse." Nightengale notes Selig "won't say it publicly, but he wants that first-time suspension doubled to 100 games." A second positive test would ban a player "forever from the game, just like Pete Rose" (USA TODAY, 3/4). Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia said, "I want all the young kids and everybody to see baseball as pure and everybody that they see, they can look up to them. I don't want those kids looking down on their role models. It's upsetting, man." Pedroia "isn't sure whether stiffer penalties would work," but he "supports the idea of baseball going after cheaters to a greater degree" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/4).