I was recently reminded of an error in my thinking about something. According to this blog entry, steroids and other controlled substances which could be classified as "performance enhancing" have been banned from baseball since 1991.
In the entry, there is a link to ESPN's article about the history of steroids and baseball which I have read. Basically, it's right and I was wrong, baseball did have a policy against illegal use of controlled substances. However, what the author of the blog blatantly overlooked is two facts: first, Androstenedione wasn't considered a controlled substance in 1998 (McGwire bought his at GNC) and, secondly, that Tetrahydrogestrinone (a.k.a., THG or the Clear) wasn't listed as a controlled substance until after the close 2003 World Series (October 28th, to be precise).
Why am I saying this? Well, it's because you might have heard recently that Bud Selig is not only considering disciplining Alex Rodriguez for using steroids but expunging Barry Bonds' name from the record book.
Now, if for no other reason than to get it out of my system, I want to say that if Selig tries to excise Bonds' achievements from the record books, he'll go down as the Nero of baseball -- a man who oversaw a great empire and then acted in a manner that had no other purpose than to destroy it. Stripping Bonds of his records will shatter the league's tenuous relationship with the players association and bring an abrupt end to the golden age that the sport has enjoyed for the past 12+ years.
On top of that, Selig has no justifiable grounds for doing this. Like him or not, Barry Bonds hasn't done anything that MLB can warrant this kind of unprecendented punishment on. Was he one of the 104 who tested positive in November of 2003? It doesn't matter. The league's agreement with the players association was very clear about the fact that no one who tested positive could be punished by the league for doing so. And without any indisputable evidence that proves Bonds was using controlled substances before November 2003 (because there was no testing), the decision cannot withstand a legal challenge.
Finally, because the federal government's charges against Bonds have basically been reduced to perjury (the legal word for lying), Selig has to understand that he cannot discipline players for legal infractions. That is something that has to be collectively bargained with the players association who will NEVER agree to it.
Sadly, Selig's comments are nothing but grandstanding to curry favor with the government and certain fans. Unfortunately, they're just empty threats because he can't do anything that won't ultimately be undone.
Hey, Bud, if this is to be the swan song to your term in office, it's turning out a lot more like a cacophony. Way to go, stupid.