Baseball's PED hunt invites unwanted comparisons to cycling
The sport of cycling though does try very hard to combat doping, best shown by the endless pursuit of Lance Armstrong. This list shows how many cases and raids and suspensions have been occurred in recent years. Just about every major professional cyclist has served a doping suspension or be under suspicion at some point in their careers. The thing is, the sport gets absolutely no credit for its efforts. Every new case that comes out and every new cyclist implicated just further seals the sport’s reputation with the public as irreparably dirty.
Baseball potentially is heading towards a similar fate. Major League Baseball has made it clear with the Biogenesis case that they are playing hardball towards PEDs. They’ve been so zealous that they have become bedfellows with a shady dealer, and that was after filing a frivolous lawsuit against him to make him cooperate. The result is yet another scandal involving big names in the sport, specifically Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. How much credit did baseball get for going to such lengths? Not much, but there was sure a lot of “this is another black eye for baseball” stories. It’s counterintuitive, but this is the reality of the situation right now.
The problem with both cycling and baseball is that both want to completely eliminate PEDs from their sports. That’s a worthy goal, but it’s also unrealistic. The chemists are ahead of the testers, and they probably always will be. Because of that goal though, the two sports try the hardest to catch their users. We’ve seen what it’s done for cycling, and baseball is heading down the same path. Every positive test is perceived as a disaster for baseball, even though it means the test is doing what it’s supposed to do: catch people.
Transparency is supposed to be a good thing. Vigilance is supposed to be a good thing. For cycling though, it just confirms the negative perception. It’s more complicated for baseball at this point, but it’s something worth watching as the Biogenesis case labors on. Will the consensus be, "PEDs will probably always be around, but baseball is doing its best to combat it." or "Baseball is full of cheaters?"