Missing You Antonio Bastardo

I know I’m a bit behind, but I’ve been gathering my thoughts on Biogenesis for a week now, and  finally feel ready to reply. A lot of people messaged me to ask privately if I was suddenly going to support the suspensions for Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun, and of course, Antonio Bastardo (what will the Phillies do?!)

I want to open by saying I am not in favor of athletes (workers) violating their CBA (union contract). I believe that a violation of an agreement should be punishable. It’s an agreement that you had a part in negotiating and voting on to rule your workplace. Just to be clear. Pretty simple stuff.

What I can say is,  I believe in due process. I believe that if an agreement is already in place, that workers have a right to the process they signed on for. I also think that throwing shade on players (Chris Davis, David Ortiz, etc) is cheap and bullshit. I think a culture of innuendo and vague accusation is despicable. I think that without evidence and a process I’m likely to support the player because as a leftist, I believe in the rights of workers. As a leftist, I believe in the importance of process.

I believe that Alex Rodriguez has the right to appeal, and that he deserves a 50 game suspension like the rest of his compatriots. Strange bedfellows on this one, considering billionaire owner of Mark Cuban and I agree on this

Rodriguez is a first time offender under this agreement. End of discussion. Any talk of “making an example” of anyone is unethical, and obnoxious. Seriously, now we want the logic of the drug war? Increase the penalties, be brutal, and try to force your will? Shame users and shield the organizations responsible?

Look, as far as I know A-Rod (which is not by much other than his public image) looks like a real asshat. Like, a grade A asshat. But that’s precisely when it’s important to defend and support the right of a worker. It’s easy to want to support the loveable player. It’s hard to believe in the equal consideration given to all players.

All of that being said, I want to consider a question. Why can’t Nelson Cruz rehab an injury with HGH (human growth hormone)? Who has decided what is banned? Are they medical professionals? Why is it that a pitcher may have Tommy John surgery, a catcher repair a torn hamstring but not use a substance that is medically available under a doctor’s supervision?

A proposal by a fan who believes in technology, innovation, and medicine: why not have the league license a slate of doctors who can help rehab injuries with medically proven interventions. Mark Cuban has basically proposed this, and it’s been discussed by prominent sports writers  Jonah Keri (currently of Grantland) and Jeff Passan (Yahoo Sports) ) . It’s not a novel concept by any stretch.

Medical science is rapidly improving. Why are professional sports not keeping up with the innovations? I’m not interested in a conversation about narratives, I’m interested in a process of fairness and also not pretending a discussion that mimics the abstinence only (and let them suffer the consequences) mentality that plagues us as a society.


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