[caption id="attachment_13209" align="alignnone" width="838"] MLB.com[/caption]
Three strikes and you are out. That is the policy Major League Baseball came up with for those who choose to violate its performance-enhancing drug policy. New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia struck out. The 26-year-old called MLB’s bluff and the league blew a 95 mph fastball right by him. He never had a chance. It is a shame, too, because Mejia showed potential with 28 saves in 63 games in 2014, his fourth season in the majors. The reliever tested positive for the third time in the past year. This time, he tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid athletes have used to increase muscle mass, which was popular in horse racing for a time, as well. It was his second time testing positive for it. Talk about an embarrassment, both to the game of baseball and to the Mets. Each of the past two suspensions that have been handed to the right-hander came after he used the PED - while still serving a prior suspension. Thousands of kids would do anything to be on an MLB roster, and Mejia blew arguably the best job in the world by essentially telling the league, “You won’t catch me.”
All because he wanted to gain an unfair advantage.
I applaud MLB for its effort to rid the game of cheaters. I thank the league for sticking to the process, because it makes the sport that much better. Upon seeing that commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of MLB have been working for years to clean up the game, I think you will start to see fewer and fewer of these suspensions. Why? Because now there has been an example set. The league did not back down.
With this suspension, the league is telling the rest of the players, “We told you what would happen.” And now that the precedent has been set, how many more players will be dumb enough to look at the thought of using PEDs and think the cost of suspension outweighs the risk of potentially never again playing the game they love? The players want the cheaters out, too, which is why this process, agreed to by the players’ union, is in place. The players have taken their stance and said, “Let’s make this a fair fight.” This is great news for fans of the game who want to see the best players showcasing their talents. They do not want to see guys who are taking performance-enhancers. Why do you think Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not in the Hall of Fame yet, and might never get in? According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, Mejia told Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.” Mejia is going to appeal the suspension and can apply for reinstatement in one year. If he wins that, he will have to sit out two more years before being able to pitch again.
Good luck with that one, Jenrry.
Kevin Huebler is a broadcasting major from Forked River, N.J. He can be reached at Kevin.huebler@ student.shu.edu or on Twitter @ Hueblerkevin.