The End of an Era

Jul 24, 2013, 3:56 AM | Updated: Apr 28, 2015, 2:00 pm

Monday, I praised Bud Selig for his recent work in trying to keep PEDs out of MLB. Tuesday, it’s time to give the players and the MLBPA their due.

None of Selig’s work is possible without Michael Weiner and the MLBPA being a willing and contributing partner. Unlike former president Don Fehr, Weiner is willing to listen to his constituents. I will never believe that the entire decade of the 1990s was filled with players in Major League Baseball who didn’t use PEDs yet were completely accepting of others doing just that.

Imagine some guy at your workplace blowing away your accomplishments yet you know he’s breaking the rules that govern your job. It takes a strong will for you to not do it yourself. It’s almost masochistic to just accept it without anger.

I know one player from the era who actually took a cycle of steroids home with him and stared at it all night before deciding not to do it. How much angst did that night entail? He said no, but his excellent numbers look so pathetic next to the users of his day.

The players of his day were told union stories of how they must stick together. It became a society of two groups: users and protectors. When a player went public with their estimation of the number of players who use in the game they were verbally assaulted by their brethren. At the time, the MLBPA were not interested in the health of the game or their players. Donald Fehr didn’t just turn a deaf ear to the complaints of clean players, he had them silenced through peer pressure.

This new breed of player is the polar opposite of 20 years ago. They want a clean game. They don’t want their accomplishments questioned. They want to eliminate not just the users but the temptation to use. One of the highest salaried players in MLB won’t be paying his union dues yet the union didn’t appeal or even hint at protesting. This is impossible without a vast majority of players wanting Ryan Braun to receive this punishment.

In the 1990s, the union showed solidarity by defending themselves against testing. Any player who played from the late 1980s to the early part of this century should have their numbers questioned because they either used or protected those that did. We are completely in a new place. The steroid era is officially dead and those that play the game deserve the credit.

Penguin Air

Doug Franz

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