St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday feels that the current penalties for performance-enhancing drug users are not deterring players from cheating, therefore harsher penalties are needed to help clean up the game.
Holliday appeared on MLB Network Radio’s “Inside Pitch” with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden Wednesday, the day after several top MLB players were implicated in an alleged drug scandal.
“I’d go first time (you get caught) you miss a full season, 162 games you’re out,” Holliday said, via The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And then the second time I think you are suspended for a lifetime with the eligibility after two years maybe to apply for reinstatement. That’s what I would do. I feel like that’s pretty harsh but I think that’s what we need. I think we need harsher penalties. I think that would be a good start.”
Holliday said he was surprised that so many players risk getting caught despite the current suspensions in place.
“… I thought (a 50-game suspension) was pretty harsh,” Holliday continued. “I thought that might be enough with 50 and then, I think it was, 100. But it clearly is not enough. There are guys getting caught and there’s a paper trail and all this stuff going on now. It’s clearly not enough to deter guys from trying to find ways around it, trying to find ways to beat the system or whatever they’re doing. So I’m all for making it harder.”
The current penalty for a positive test or proof of PED possession is 50 games for a first-time offense, 100 games for a second, and a lifetime ban for a third.
Holliday used Melky Cabrera as an example of players having a lot to gain from using drugs.
“I don’t know Melky [Cabrera] at all and I do enjoy some of the things he brings to the field and his talents, but I kind of agree with you,” Holliday told Stern and Bowden. “I think that he just cost his team, the 3-hole hitter – and it is debatable whether or not he’d have been their 3-hole without performance enhancing drugs or whatever – but he missed 50 games for a team that was trying to win a pennant, and ultimately did win the Word Series. But I’m just saying when he did get caught … he just moves on to the next team and the next contract and, sort of, no one says anything. There should be harsher penalties.”
Holliday wants the penalties to be “as harsh as we can be” so that “the fans should feel like they’re watching a clean game.”
In 2009, I praised David Ortiz and Ozzie Guillen for saying they wanted a one-year ban for first-time violators. Let’s hope they and Holliday convince the MLB players’ union to help make it happen. It’s nice to hear that some star players feel that more is needed to protect the game.
Below is audio from Holliday’s appearance on the show:
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