Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Morse suspended for Roids

Mike Morse was suspended today by MLB for a positive steroid test. Prior to today, it was a poorly kept secret that Morse was suspended twice last year for steroids, once in the White Sox organization and then, post-trade, in the M's system at San Antonio.

Today, Morse acknowledged his steroid use and claims that it is all from the 2003-2004 offseason when he did take deca and Winstrol to help him rehabilitate a torn hammy. He further claims that all three suspensions (two in the minors and the major league one handed down today) were as a result of that one rehab program and that he has not taken anything since January of 2004. He admitted that taking the steroids was a terrible mistake.

A couple of mainstream media people, notably Ken Rosenthal at FOX and Peter Gammons at ESPN (pay to read) have jumped on MLB for suspending Morse, calling it unjust, and double jeopardy. By tomorrow, a lot of columnists will pile on, I expect. These are the same talking heads and sports pundits who were reaming Selig and Fehr after the Congressional hearings for having such a weak steroid policy. So dial down the indignation a touch, okay boys?

Unfortunately for Morse, that is just the way the system is set up. In the minors, you can be repeatedly suspended as long you keep testing positive. There is no way to conclusively prove that you are not still using as long as it keeps showing up in your system. If testing postive, but at a lower level got you off the hook then guys would just lower the dose every time they got caught and keep using for however long they could get away with it. And the Major League testing program, ignores the minor league results. Every player starts in MLB with a "clean slate" drug testing wise.

If Morse's story is true, and I have no reason to doubt him, it is a bit of a bad deal for him I guess, but nobody made him take the steroids. And its well known that these drugs can show up in your system for a good 18 months after taking them. He took the steroids, he's going to have to pay the price. And really, one more 10 day suspension isn't going to kill him. Its not like teams are going to blacklist him or anything. This is baseball after all. If the kid can hit, he'll play, for someone, somewhere.

I think we all agree steroids are a bad thing. If we want to get them out of the game, we can't be making exceptions every time someone comes up with a plausible story. I appreciate that Morse is the first big-leaguer to stand up and say, "yeah, I took them." Not admire mind you, but appreciate. I think in the long run, this will serve him better than saying it was a supplement or a tainted test or whatever. But he did the crime, now he's got to do the time.

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