Alex Rodriguez suspended for drug use

MLB celebrity not exempt from harsh PED regulations

J.P. O'Hagan, Staff Reporter

Major League Baseball’s once bright star now faces a year-long suspension in the league’s attempt to flush out cheaters.

Every baseball fan hopes to see the end of the performance enhancing drug (PED) era, a stain on our nation’s pastime. A big victory on that path to cleaning off the tarnish came this week as an arbitrator upheld a suspension for the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez. The 162-game suspension (an entire season) is a reduction from MLB’s original 211-game suspension but is still seen as a victory for the league and its work to stop the once rampant use of PEDs in professional baseball.

Since the Mitchell Report in 2004, which called out 78 players who were allegedly using PEDs, the league has made sweeping measures to stop the use of illegal substances in baseball. Last year news broke of the league’s investigation into the Biogenesis clinic in Florida which had many major leaguers on their records and were passing them illegal drugs. The league handed down 13 multi-game suspensions, most hovering around 50 games. Rodriguez was linked to this case but was handed down a 211-game suspension, the longest suspension that is not a lifetime ban. Rodriguez appealed and the decision came down from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to cut the suspension to a full 162-game season plus playoffs.

Rodriguez has sued the MLB and commissioner Bud Selig for tarnishing his reputation and destroying his career. Rodriguez has good reason to fight back as he has had a Hall of Fame caliber career and is currently fifth on the all-time home run list behind only Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Rodriguez is also set to lose $25 million in salary if he doesn’t play next season and is set to make $61 million over the 2015-17 seasons from the Yankees. Rodriguez’s agent has spoken saying that if the ban does stand Rodriguez will take the season as time to rest and rejuvenate. Rodriguez still plans to attend spring training beginning in a few weeks as he hopes for an overturning of the suspension.

Controversy and lawyers will mark the days heading forward as the legal battle continues. However, the win and the dwindling number of known PED users in the league offers a bright future for America’s pastime. As new ballplayers rejuvenate the game, doing so without the help of PEDs will turn the page. However, there is one last hurdle that baseball faces: Will known users be honored in Baseball’s Hall of Fame? Thankfully, the ongoing debate will no longer be of the players on the field, but of who will be enshrined in Cooperstown.