Stiffer penalties will stop MLB cheating 

click to enlarge Who can you trust? Bartolo Colon, left, and Melky Cabrera may not have tried to cheat if a lifetime ban was initial punishment. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTOS
  • Getty Images File Photos
  • Who can you trust? Bartolo Colon, left, and Melky Cabrera may not have tried to cheat if a lifetime ban was initial punishment.

It was certainly tempting, in light of Bartolo Colon’s positive drug test revelation, to call my editor at The Examiner and do what Colon did: take the easy way out.

“Hey boss, can you just reprint my column from last week, subbing in Colon’s name for Melky Cabrera’s and subbing the A’s in for the Giants?”

Same story, right? Same substance and everything. Makes you wonder if they had the same supplier. After all, they both have Yankees ties, they’re both members of the tightly knit fraternity that is big leaguers from the Dominican Republic, and they’ve been working and living in close proximity.

And they test positive for the same thing within a week of each other? Hmmmm. A same supplier/bad batch scenario is at least plausible, no?

Of course it is. Too many similarities.

But I resisted making the aforementioned call to my editor. That would have been a form of cheating, and cheating ain’t my bag. Sadly, it’s the bag of Cabrera, Colon and God Knows Who Else in Baseball.

And thanks to Bartolo and Melky, both of them key players for playoff contenders now banished for the rest of the season, we again have to assume that nothing we see on the field of play is above suspicion.

Adrian Beltre hit three homers on Wednesday night.

National chorus: What’s he on?

Derek Jeter, 38, is on pace for about 220 hits.

Obviously on something.

Ryan Vogelsong?

Wonder what kind of dope he brought back from that stint in Japan.

It’s ridiculous, of course. And it’s an awful way to look at things. But that’s where we are in the wake of the Bay Area’s resurfacing as the center of baseball’s drug culture.

So how do we stop it? Pretty simple, if you ask me.

Change the game. The test-penalty game, that is. Turn up the heat so high that nobody ever wants to even think about holding his finger over the flame.

The current system calls for a 50-game suspension after the first positive test, 100 games after the second and only after a third positive test does a player get slapped with a lifetime ban.

Here’s the new rule under Commissioner Urban: First positive, you’re gone. Forever. See ya. Thanks for coming.
Too harsh? Please. It’s perfect.

What’s the point of any punishment? It’s to act as a deterrent. Is a lifetime ban not the best possible deterrent?
So why was this not the first level of punishment all along?

That seems pretty simple, too. Baseball doesn’t really want the game to be completely clean. Why else would it allow a player to test positive for three times the average man’s level of testosterone and NOT BE PUNISHED?

Think about that. The big red flag goes up only when the testosterone ratio is 4:1 — four times the average. Why not three? Why not two? Hell, why not 1.5?

Last week I suggested MLB publicize every instance in which a player passes a drug test, and that’s still a good idea. It would help us believe some of the things we see.

But Colon’s test forced a deeper examination, and the only way we’ll believe everything we see is if we know that a player risks losing everything by failing one test.

Mychael Urban, a frequent co-host of The Wheelhouse (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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