Monday, March 21, 2005

The Baseball Hearings

Although the baseball hearings seemed silly and a perfect opportunity for grandstanding, they proved to be useful. This turned out to be an excellent case for government intervention -- initially by the hearing itself and potentially by the threat of more intervention in the form of legislation. The opposition between labor and management was unable to yield a good solution to the problem of steroids. Management was put in the unusual situation of trying to force something good for players on them, and the players own representatives have proved too powerful and hubristic to consent to rules beneficial to them. After the players spoke, the real drama started between labor and management; and it wound up being rather interesting after all. Both sides came off as rather spineless, but the players' union more contemptible on the whole for not initially agreeing to a stricter anti-steroid policy. Don Fehr, in the name of thwarting the owners at every turn and "doing his job", would have continued to sacrifice the long-term health of the players and the integrity of the game. The upshot today is at least an amending of the new rules to guarantee suspension for a player who violates the steroid policy. Ten games is paltry, but we'll have to see if dishonor is a deterrent as Curt Schilling argued.


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