Baseball steps up to the plate

It's about time.

Those words are addressed to the baseball fraternity for its recent decision to have tougher penalties on drug use. These penalties have teeth.

The first offense is 50 games, the second 100 and the third is life banishment with a possibility of reinstatement after a couple of years.

I hope the baseball folks did this because it was the right thing to do and not because the government was going to step in if these penalties weren't changed.

Baseball needs to clean up its act, and this was the first step. I disagree with the reinstatement part of the deal which will go to the players union for ratification. Three strikes should mean you are out not that you get another opportunity to screw up. If you haven't learned your lesson after the first couple of times, chances are you aren't going to.

Baseball doesn't need Steve Howe-type characters anymore. What they need is more Dale Murphys, guys who could hit 30 or 35 homers a year and not take any sort of illegal supplements or drugs. Baseball needs to clean up its act.

Also, there shouldn't be any set testing dates. Guys are going to try and beat the system. The only way to stop that is to have surprise tests - at home games and on road trips.

Players need to think carefully when they vote. If this isn't ratified, the fans will think the players are dirty, and that kills the players that are clean. I'm glad to see they are testing for amphetamines, too. All this should have been done long ago. The players union in baseball has been the strongest of the major sports, and that stronghold needs to be taken care of.

And, while we're on the subject of baseball, let's talk about the post-season MVP honors.

So much was made of the decision between Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Both would have been good choices. Where was all the love for Chicago's Paul Konerko? All the guy did is hit 30-plus homers and drive in 100-plus runs, and he had clutch hits all during the season.

Rodriguez may be the best player in baseball, but how do you measure his value on a team of superstars. Sure his production would have been missed, but I don't think the White Sox even make the post-season without Konerko. And, his team won the division and World Series. Certainly that should have counted for something, yet he got overlooked by the voters.

I have no complaint about the NL MVP race. Albert Pujols has put together probably the best first five seasons in the history of the game. He could have won in each of the first four years if it wasn't for a guy named Bonds in San Francisco. Andruw Jones hit 51 homers, but only hit .263. He's the best centerfielder since Willie Mays, but he strikes out a lot and isn't a consistent hitter.

I think Cris Carpenter had a tremendous season, but what about Roger Clemens? In the era of offensive baseball, Clemens dominated with an ERA of less than two runs a game. How often does that happen in baseball?

The last sub-2.00 ERA I can remember is Greg Maddux in the early 90s (1.56). Clemens got virtually no support in most of his eight losses. I think voters should have taken that into consideration. Heck, with the Cardinals' offense, Clemens would have been a 20-game winner no problem.

As far as the AL Cy Young goes, I had no issue with Bartolo Colon. There wasn't an overpowering, dominant starter in the AL. The voters would have been justified to give it to Mariano Rivera, who was 7-4 with a 1.38 ERA. Rivera very well could be, if he isn't already, the best reliever in baseball history.

Contact Darrell Moody at, or by calling (775) 881-1281


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