Bob Costas: Bud Selig is trying to repair his steroid legacy
MLB has taken a harsh stance towards those who violate the league’s drug policy and seems insistent on moving past the “steroid era” of the game. Not only has the league instituted a strong drug testing program, but it is also working hard to enforce penalties. MLB went to great lengths to pursue the Biogenesis scandal — striking a deal with Tony Bosch and paying for evidence — and they suspended former NL MVP Ryan Braun for 65 games this season. All the players connected to the Biogenesis records are facing suspensions from the league.
After baseball was a haven for steroid users for nearly two decades — keep in mind that both players and owners benefited from having steroids in the game — they’re finally cleaning things up. Broadcaster Bob Costas believes that is because commissioner Bud Selig is determined to change his legacy regarding steroids.
“It’s very obvious that baseball is serious about this,” Costas stated in an interview with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander on NBC Sports Radio. “They weren’t serious for much too long, and Bud Selig does not want it to be part of his legacy — although it will be inevitably because he looked the other way in the 1990s — he wants to repair that legacy as much as he can. He wants to leave office being able to say truthfully that baseball had the toughest and most effective anti-drug program of any of the four major North American sports.”
Costas noted that MLB has undergone a total culture change regarding steroids. Not only is the commissioner’s office tougher, but the player’s association is no longer in denial about the steroids problem in the game, and they’re no longer blocking the league from testing or penalizing players. Costas believes that MLB was determined to penalize Braun because of how everything unfolded with the outfielder’s appeal of his positive drug test. He specifically said MLB was “infuriated” by what happened.
“Within baseball, they were infuriated by what happened a year ago when he not only got off on a technicality but then assailed the credibility of the drug program itself, the motivation of Major League Baseball, the motivation of the sample collector — they were absolutely infuriated by that. And then when the opportunity presented itself to get a pound of flesh with this Biogenesis thing, they were going to get it. And they got it from Ryan Braun.”
Costas told Toomer and Shander that MLB is trying to send a message to the players.
“It’s going to be a cautionary tale for a lot of players. Baseball’s serious about it, and they have ways of catching you other than a positive test, and apparently they’re willing to commit serious resources to catch those who are trying to skirt the rules.”
Selig has been the acting commissioner of baseball since 1992 and the official commissioner since 1998. He is turning 79 next week and signed on to continue in his role through 2014. We’ve criticized him for many reasons, such as what he did with the All-Star Game, his resistance to replay, and some of the weather issues during the playoffs, but he has definitely changed his legacy concerning steroids by getting tougher on testing and penalties. Also, the MLBPA was the biggest impediment to drug testing during the steroid era, not Selig, who was left virtually powerless by the union. We commend the active approach he has taken toward cleaning up the game.