Commissioner Rob Manfred has said his office is investigating circumstances involving the positive drug tests that resulted in the recent 80-game suspensions of four major league players. Manfred has also said his office will not investigate the recent disclosure of confidential information about the drug and alcohol relapse of Josh Hamilton.
Manfred did not need to say why baseball’s investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding the steroids suspensions. He might have performed a service for fans had he said why he would not look into comments baseball officials have made about the Hamilton development.
Less than three months into his tenure as commissioner, Manfred has become faced with – excuse the expressions – a new drug scandal, the kind Major League Baseball stumbled onto when documents were leaked to a south Florida weekly newspaper detailing steroids activities of an anti-aging clinic.
The recent test failures, all occurring in a 16-day period, undermine the efforts of Manfred to wipe out use of performance-enhancing drugs. As Bud Selig’s chief deputy, Manfred was the prime mover behind the south Florida investigation that resulted in the year-long suspension of Alex Rodriguez and the successful effort to get the union to agree to strengthen baseball’s drug-testing program.
Manfred’s efforts were so effective that five years ago Selig was prompted to declare the steroids era over.
“The use of steroids and amphetamines among today’s players,” Selig said in a statement, “has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era – a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances – is clearly a thing of the past….”
Given the developments of the past couple of weeks, this statement requires a great big OOPS!
Before Ervin Santana and three other pitchers were suspended for 80 games each under the disciplinary program that took effect early last season, no major league player had been suspended for steroids use since …