Baseball world has strong reactions
It was a dark day for baseball.
No, it was a great day for baseball.
How about we just agree it was an important day in baseball history?
Monday was D-Day for Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation, as 12 players accepted 50-game suspensions for violating MLB’s drug policy and Yankees star Alex Rodriguez defiantly appealed a suspension through the 2014 season.
Reaction around baseball was mixed. The sport again faced its issues with performance-enhancing drugs.
“It really doesn’t matter what I think, what matters is what the players think," said Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire, once the face of baseball’s steroid problem. "What I hear everyday in the clubhouse, they’re just happy it’s coming to an end. And they’re happy that Major League Baseball is taking care of it. Move forward, hopefully this will be the end of it.”
“Human begins are going to make mistakes," said Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, who long ago apologized for using steroids in the early 2000s before baseball tested for PEDs. "It shows that Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to go in the right direction. It’s an unfortunate thing. It’s not something you want to keep going on. But you’re dealing with human beings and they’re going to keep making mistakes. The biggest thing is we’re going in the right direction and hopefully this is a start and hopefully it will keep getting better and better.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said he talked to MLB commissioner Bud Selig shortly after the league announced the suspensions.
“He was like, ‘This doesn’t need to be a dark day for baseball. This needs to be the beginning of the good stuff,’" Francona said. "He didn’t say it like that. He said it a little better. I don’t articulate it quite as well, but I agree with him. I think Major League Baseball did something that was really difficult. Sometimes the right thing is difficult. Our game is played by humans. When there is a human element, there’s going to be mistakes.
"We all make mistakes. Some are more severe than others. But the idea is to try to get it right, and we have really good people working to get it right.”
Many players said they were glad to see the sport trying to clean up its image and punish cheaters.
"For the guys that are not taking anything and are doing it the right way, I think ultimately these are our peers and the guys that we are competing with," Indians outfielder Drew Stubbs said. "So an even, level playing field is going to make us happy.”
”Today is a sad day for MLB, the fans of this great game, and all players who may have been negatively affected by others selfishness," said Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, on his Twitter account. "Ultimately, although today will be a day of infamy for MLB, it is a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love.”
Said Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson: "I think the issue centers around greed. If anybody says it’s something else, they’re not telling the truth. The players want to do well because they want to get bigger contracts. That money they earn is tainted, just like their statistics are.
"We need the greed to stop. I’ve accepted the fact I’m not a $300-million player. God didn’t bless me with that. I’m dealing with regular-guy stuff and trying to compete, and that’s the way it is for the rest of the guys in this dugout. You’re dealt a certain hand and you have to play that. Stop being a baby and move on."
Moving on was a common theme around the league as the sport tries to put its PED problems in the past. Of course, that depends on whether players continue to cheat — and get caught.
“I don’t know if you can say it’s a great day … Hopefully, it’s a step towards getting better," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "I’ve been pretty clear from my standpoint. I’d like to see testing get really, really good where guys can’t get away with anything, they know they can’t get away with anything … The penalties, hopefully, will get stiffer to the point where it deters guys from trying it."
Rodriguez received the stiffest discipline when he was banned for 211 games. But the three-time MVP said he’ll appeal, with support from the players’ union but not necessarily from all players.
"It’s a saga for Alex. Always has been," said Wilson, the Angels pitcher. "He’s been in the spotlight for 20 years, and nothing will change that. He has one of those polarizing personalities that people are going to be drawn to. People will think he’s a villain no matter what he does.
"It’s good for the game that they’re finally getting him on something. This latest chapter just gives further fuel to the fire that he’s made bad decisions," the left-hander added. "This whole thing has been going on for too long — press conferences, `Good Morning America’, `20/20′ or whatever. I mean, come on. Enough of that. Let’s just play some baseball and stop trying to be a role model. All those quotes (from Rodriguez), they’re hilarious for everybody in our clubhouse."
Former Dodgers star Paul Lo Duca, an admitted steroid user in the 2000s, expressed his disgust.
"This (PEDs) needs to stop immediately. A lot of us (players) that did it a while back, we admitted it," Lo Duca told FOX Sports Radio. "We came out the next day and said it was something that we didn’t mean to do. All of us that got popped a long time ago, where are we now? We’re talking to you on the phone. The guys getting busted now are still playing. It has to come to a point where they’re signing contracts after they get popped. After we got popped, after all of us got sent away, we (got) nothing. No teams were coming after us."
McGwire, shamed by his involvement with steroids, had a message for players thinking about using PEDs.
"Not worth it at all," he said.
FOX Sports regional writers and the Associated Press contributed to this report.