Oct 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers outfielder Jhonny Peralta hits a three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning in game four of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Moving on From the Shadow of PEDs in Major League Baseball

First, an apology. It’s Oct. 9 as I write this, which means the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. They’ve been truly awesome, with the exception of a couple of clunkers. There’s no reason you should be reading a post about PED use in baseball right now.

Next, a post regarding PED use in baseball.

In my defense, this post isn’t entirely unprovoked. Jim Caple of ESPN posted his regular column, and the first image features two familiar faces for Cleveland Indians fans.

The players in the photo are Bartolo Colon, now with the Oakland Athletics, and Jhonny Peralta, with the Detroit Tigers. Caple goes on to mention how both were suspended for PED use while with their respective teams. Colon was suspended 50 games last year and Peralta was suspended for 50 games this year.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Caple doesn’t mention both players were developed by the Indians. He instead focuses on Oakland booing Peralta, cheering for Colon and the hypocrisy of fans in baseball, because fans of a small market team may have no joy but I’m not insinuating they both started juicing while in Cleveland. But seeing former Indians, who were both with the team for extended tenures, as the featured photo on an ESPN article about PED use makes me realize I’ve never fully explained my views on PEDs. I’ve been too radical on Twitter in the recent past regarding my practically apathetic views towards the use of steroids in baseball.

PEDs are an issue in baseball. The abuse of them in baseball should not be condoned. I’ve been incorrect in my previous comments and assessment.

MLB’s testing methods aren’t perfect. And the existence of repeat offenders makes it difficult to truly endorse the testing methods as completely successful. But when you consider where we are in 2013, especially compared to as recently as 2003, the sport has come a long way.

MLB is at a spot where in addition to testing, we have players openly campaigning against PEDs, including former users, such as Indians DH Jason Giambi (Caple mentions Giambi, along with his former teammate on the New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte, as former PED offenders who the fans have forgiven). Baseball was just about to enter the twilight of the PED-glory era in 2003, when Barry Bonds earned his fifth MVP award.

It’s not a perfect system, but I should not oppose rational, legal efforts to curb and stop the use of PEDs in baseball. It is a noble and idealistic goal, but it’s a good goal, and most importantly I’d say it’s perhaps a possible goal. MLB’s current solution shouldn’t necessarily be where its efforts end. It’s a start on the path to cleaning up the sport.

I shouldn’t oppose progress. Moving forward is always better than the status quo. Moving forward is certainly better than staying stuck in the past.

There is nothing you could do to truly fix what’s already happened in the game. A player using PEDs is cheating. I have to admit it’s often questionable to me how much of the resulting performance by a user is the drugs, or the natural talent, but I suppose the fact I’m even questioning this should upset me. The game will always be a tad dirty in that era.

No one – not Bud Selig, not the player’s union, not the fans, not the Baseball Writer’s Association of America, could change what’s already happened. And to continue to hold grudges, to pretend steroids have never been in the game, is futile. No one is innocent here – we ALL turned a blind eye.

To boo and continue to chastise Peralta, Colon, Giambi, Pettitte, Ryan Braun or any PED user (yes, even Alex Rodriguez) now is ultimately a waste of time and effort. Let’s at least be consistent here. No one has to like them, but we should move on with the game, and not dwell on their transgressions.

So let’s get off the pedestal and hit the reset button on caring about what’s happened before with PED use. We can’t fix anything. For our own sanity, we need to let that go. Baseball, and every one who cares about it, should concentrate firmly on the future of the sport, the one thing we actually can change.

Continue the course of testing. Let those who try to cheat get suspended. Do what you have to do, MLB, to make this sport clean.

These playoffs have been awesome (I heard the Tribe even played in one of the games!) So let’s get to the point where we have a postseason where the focus is on the game, not the drugs.

Tags: Andy Pettitte Bartolo Colon Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers Jason Giambi Jhonny Perata Jim Caple Oakland Athletics Peds Perfomace Enhancing Drugs Ryan Braun Steroids

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