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Editorial: Baseball’s doping

The other cleat has finally dropped.

Major League Baseball announced its punishment for 13 players, including Alex Rodriguez, on Monday following its long investigation into Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic in South Florida that had been supplying players with performance-enhancing drugs. Twelve of those players — some playing in the majors while others were in the minors — were handed 50-game suspensions without pay, ending their 2013 season.

None of these players, said MLB, will appeal their suspensions. Other players, who baseball has already punished for a “violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis,” won’t receive further discipline.

As for Rodriguez ... well, the New York Yankee star, who has been rehabbing an injury in the minor leagues, was suspended through the 2014 season. Unlike the other players, Rodriguez has decided to appeal his suspension, during which time he will be able to rejoin the Yankees and take to the field.

Rodriguez’s decision is self-serving, to say the least, given his previous admission about using performance-enhancing drugs. “Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and (Human) Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years,” read MLB’s statement.

One side effect of these drugs is that the user may think that they’re invincible, that even with the kind of investigation that MLB undertook to regarding Biogenesis, including getting Anthony Bosch, the man running the clinic, to talk on the record, somehow those players implicated would slide by.

Invincible but stupid.

Any athlete understands the desire to gain a competitive edge. That drive is made even more intense by the amount of money that professional athletes get paid. But in using such drugs, these players are willing to entrust their careers, their livelihoods to people without medical degrees or licenses in a way that is mind boggling. Most of the people providing/dispensing these drugs are no better than snake oil salesmen, even if the chemistry behind the enhancements can be quite sophisticated.

At least if they were using heroin or cocaine, there were would be no pretense that the pusher was some kind of doctor or scientific genius.

These drugs also seem to steal an individual’s ability to see they really didn’t need them in the first place, and that they could lose everything they’ve worked and dreamed for if they get caught.

Major League Baseball should continue its effort to keep the game clean ... we prefer the idea of “two strikes and you’re out” for life.

Unfortunately, though, we’re afraid this won’t be the last time performance-enhancing drugs darkens this or other sports — not when there are snake oil salesmen plying their trade and players desperate to improve their career.

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