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I posted my thoughts at BTF on how to deter behaviours that MLB and the union deem inappropriate (i.e., steroids). Here they are, in a somewhat orderly fashhion. You can skip to my solution at the end, if you are pressed for time.

On what can be agreed to

I support whatever it is the players are supporting, since this is their bodies, and their trade. If 50%+1 thinks that this is fair, that this is how they want to compete, then good.

We fans then get to choose if we want to support them. That's what the dynamics should be.

On role models

I'm sick and tired about the role model angle. I think Mick Jagger and John Lennon did more for drug use than Jose Canseco. If you rewind a Griffey HR, you won't hear him saying that Satan wants you to commit suicide. Parents don't want Ozzy as a role model, but they do want Rose as one, just because sports is "supposed" to be pure? Doesn't Paris Hilton have an enormous effect on young girls? Yecch.

On Olympic comparisons

As for the Olympic comparison, this is also another yechh. These Olympians aren't paid 100% by their accomplishments. Certainly their sponsor deals can have some provisions. But, they all have full-time jobs elsewhere. And, the only reason it's two years, is because of the 4-year window between Olympics. If Olympics were played every 2 years, the ban would be for 1 year. Athletes' livelihood is in play here, so you can't make the comparison that because a ballplayer and a gymnast are both athletes, that that's your baseline. ***

On deterrence

One thing the Olympics do (or did anyway, maybe they still do), is count past games an athlete tested positive as a loss.

Imagine all Oriole games (or at least all Oriole games from May through July) as losses. Wouldn't that be an incredible deterrant? You don't need to be suspended.... you'll be blackballed right out of the game.

Or, you can take a less drastic measure, and give one loss for every player who tests positive. Imagine a young rookie getting caught, and his team gets a loss. They'll hate him. Up the ante. A second failed test would be 5 losses.

You could literally never suspend a player at all, let him keep all his money, and simply publicize the results, and cost his team 5 or 10 games, and that'll have a bigger effect than anything else you can do.

What Ben Johnson did was speed up the anti-doping crowd by 10 years. That's what you need for deterrence. Take away an overall win and add an overall loss to the team standings (or better yet, 2, or 5, or 10). Do you understand how fast steroids would disappear if that happened? 2006 would be a travesty in terms of how the team records will shape up, but you need to have that one shakeout to set things the way the "purists" want it.

A guy can live with a 75 game suspension and forfeiture of his salary, because there is no direct impact to his team. It's all indirect. But, literally taking away wins? There's no bigger deterrant than to drag down your teammates with your problems.

If a player does not forfeit his playing rights or his money, would his lawyer file a lawsuit against MLB for taking wins away from that player's team? Under what scenario would a player file a grievance? That he'll be shunned by his teammates like a leper? That he'll be blacklisted from MLB because no team wants to take a chance of losing automatic games?

HOF voters are going to give Palmeiro a "loss" of 200 HR and 500 hits, aren't they?

And I don't follow college sports, but haven't teams been stripped of their titles for points shaving or cheating? They've been banned from playing in future tournaments too, haven't they? Danny Almonte? I mean, the list is virtually endless. It is the accepted practice that an individual, part of the team, puts his whole team at risk.

Are the anti-steroid fans saying that "steroids are bad.... but not THAT bad?". Do to the Giants and Bulls what happened to Danny Almonte. Believe me, those 11yr old kids felt the pain far, far more than JT Snow or Scottie Pippen would (if Bonds and MJ were nabbed). Heck, in F-1, they remove "points".

The solution

The objective should be deterrence. Punishing teams won't help. Having bans on players will certainlyl involve litigation. Taking away wins from a team is the quickest way out of this.

And for those who thinks it's crazy to alter teams' records, let me say two things:

1 - Does a criminal get to keep the proceeds of his crime? Can he just give it to his family, and his family gets to keep it?

2 - If steroids are in fact "performance enhancers", then the team already benefitted from his performance. They got wins they should not have. How many wins? Take the worst-case scenario, and steroids turns a bench player into A-Rod. A-Rod would be about 8 wins better than this guy in a season, or +.05 wins per game played. If such a steroid-filled player played 20 games while under the influence, he in fact would have contrbuted +1 win that his team did not deserve. So, that's the team should pay back: 1 win per 20 games played.

If it's determined that such a drug was in the system for a minimum of 20 days prior to his test, and by the time the player finally accepts punishment, 100 days have elapsed since his test, then that's 120 days that the player's team benefitted. If said player played in 100 games, that's a 5 win cost to the team.

Wow, sounds like alot! But, the team benefitted (at best-case) 5 wins. They've got to give those back. This is simply restitution. You can give the player additional punishment (like forfeiture of salary during the tainted period).

Pitchers of course have a different scale. You can turn it into a "PA or TBF" scale instead. So, make it 1 win per 100 PA or TBF of tainted performance.

This plan has the benefit of being both fair to the team/player, in that it's simply restitution for a crime, and that it will act as the swiftest deterrant possible.

Deterrence - Punishing teams for the sins of their players | 13 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#129273) #
I do not agree with some of the reasoning, but I love the conclusion. Sign me up. Punish the teams in the W-L category. Knowing MLB, the punishment would be based on a woefully inaccurate version of value like the Grade A, B and C system for free agents, but even this would be preferable to the current situation.
Mick Doherty - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#129275) #
The logistics would be a nightmare; consider the currently 71-88 Orioles; let's say you decide they need to be penalized five games. Are they now 66-88 (fove wins taken away) or 66-93 (five wins turned into LOSSES -- a very different thing).

And do the teams they played in those 100 games leading to the five-game penalty somehow get "wins added" or "losses removed" from THEIR records? How would it be determined *which* five games?

You'd very quickly end up with 1972 all over again, when the Tigers (86-70) won the AL East over the Red Sox (85-70) because they didn't even play the same freaking number of games!
Pistol - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#129276) #
If it's determined that such a drug was in the system for a minimum of 20 days prior to his test, and by the time the player finally accepts punishment, 100 days have elapsed since his test, then that's 120 days that the player's team benefitted. If said player played in 100 games, that's a 5 win cost to the team.

So how would those wins be distributed if a team played 10 other teams over those 120 days?

In college sports if you use an ineligible player you forfeit every game that that player played in. That'd be the easiest logistical way to handle things. The problem of course with banned substance use is determining at what point a player was using the substance if you were to go that route.

Jonny German - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#129281) #
What if part of the punishment involves games the following year? Say, the Orioles have 5 wins removed from their totals this year for Palmeiro's indiscretions (with nobody credited those wins), and next year they play 76 home games and 86 road games. Now it's big deal even if it's a player on a team with no playoff aspirations - he's hurting his team in their chances of turning it around next year, with reduced revenue and fewer games with home field advantage.

Granted, baseball's schedule makers already make a hash of things without adding more complications...
Cristian - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#129284) #
If I'm a GM of a team not headed for the postseason, I pump my team full of steroids to ensure a higher position in the upcoming draft.
Matthew E - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#129286) #
Well, I think that any steroid-caused losses wouldn't count in terms of ranking teams for the draft. That's how I'd set it up, anyway.
TangoTiger - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#129288) #
It would simply be turning 5 team wins into 5 team losses (and all other teams unaffected).

The point is for deterrance, so the draft pick thing isn't a big deal. Looking at your teammates face-to-face, knowing you removed 5 wins from their team totals... that's scary.

The idea of doing it next year is also appealing. That improves the logistics. In this case, this team simply plays 157 games, while the rest of the league plays 162.
Rob - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#129289) #
In this case, this team simply plays 157 games, while the rest of the league plays 162.

That's impossible, though. Some other team will have to play an odd number of games. I guess if more than one team is caught, then your problem is solved, but 162*29 + 157 (or any odd number) can't happen.

TangoTiger - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#129293) #
Getting mathematical on me, I see. Ok, make sure the games of punishment is an even number. So, two games for every 200 PA or TBF.
Andrew K - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#129300) #
I disagree with all of this. All of it. To focus on two issues:

a. If the players are okay with it, it's fine.

This neglects the "arms race" effect (I can't remember what economists call it) where all actors damage themselves in the pursuit of short term gain, and the result is negative for all. It also ignores a moral issue. Finally, it ignores the affect that professional athletes have on amateur atheletes. If the professionals don't want strong testing, it encourages a completely different group of people to take years of their lives.

b. Punish the teams for their players' offences.

The teams cannot possibly police everything their players ingest or inject. You cannot hold them responsible for something when they *aren't* responsible. This particularly applies to recreational drugs.

Can a criminal keep the proceeds of his crime? No, but it is not the teams which have commited a crime.

And think of the possibility of a very fringe player being bribed, by an opposing team, to take a banned substance and hence drop his team down the standings. How much is it worth to Boston to have 5 wins stripped from New York?

I think the problem begins with testing which is not very accurate. As it stands, players might risk taking a substance because they think they won't get caught. To be a proper deterrent, you need to have a good chance of catching all banned substances (NB: HGH) and then hit the person reponsible -- the player -- with something that hurts them personally. A ban, a fine, prison, whatever.
Mike Green - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#129302) #
This is not about recreational drugs. It's about performance-enhancing drugs. Players gain (increased salary) and lose (health risk) from their use. Teams only win, as increased performance means more bums in seats and more eyes glued to sets.
CeeBee - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#129346) #
But if every team has guys doing roids then it probably balances out and in the long run every body loses. The vicious circle thing.
Twilight - Friday, September 30 2005 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#129352) #
I think the restitution idea is excellent. Well thought out, once teams start taking responsibility they are going to go through lockers and make sure nobody's got that stuff.

I think it should be based on invididual games. Say for example, Player X tests positive for steroids. His team has played 10 games. In two games, he has hit a home-run which has made their team win. In that case those two wins should be scored as a loss for the team.

If they want more home runs hit, they should bring in the wall ten feet. Not to say tne NHL is really credible at the moment, but they adjusted goalie equipment rather than pumping all their players with steroids.
Deterrence - Punishing teams for the sins of their players | 13 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.