Friday night as we all watched the Houston Astros piss away a 4-2 lead in the 8th inning and end up losing 7-2 (*sigh*), former Houston Astro third baseman Morgan Ensberg chimed in with a radical idea…
Here’s how I’d structure a system for players who get caught using steroids… pic.twitter.com/Ns60LAklWl
— Morgan Ensberg (@MorganEnsberg) April 30, 2016
I did the math for you, Morgan is basically saying that a player has an option of a lifetime ban from baseball or 416 (416.6666etc..) consecutive days of the equivalent of baseball community service.
Even if said person coached little league teams for eight hours a day every single day, it would take him 1,250 days – or a little under three and a half consecutive years to serve that sentence, but again that’s served consecutively and is a touch unrealistic.
It’s far more likely that the offending player would only commit to ‘working’ five of the seven days of the week, which means it would take 250 weeks, or a little under five years to log the 10,000 hours required by Morgan’s rule.
The knee jerk reaction from many – myself included – was this is far too much and far too harsh.
First off, why 10,000 hours? That seems like such an arbitrary number pulled out of the air and I bet if Mr. Ensberg was pressed, he’d admit it was to a degree.
Why not 8,760 hours which is how many hours makes up an entire calendar year? Or even 4,950 hours which is about the average length of a baseball game (three hours) multiplied by 1,650 which is how many regular season baseball games a team will play over ten seasons.
Those are still some pretty daunting numbers to try and serve. (4,950 hours over five day a week eight hour sessions is still 618 days which is 123 weeks so a little over two years of ‘punishment’ and truth be told it would be closer to three years since sick days, holidays, etc..)
But a funny thing happened while I pondered this proposed punishment and thought of how crazy harsh it is… It’s crazy enough to work isn’t it? Or at the very least to not dismiss as too crazy to work, correct?
Morgan is basically saying “you get caught once, you’re gone. End of discussion, No second or third chances and if you want a chance to redeem yourself, you have a LONG road ahead of you AND you’ll have to live with the burden of having been a PED user… And let’s be honest, even if you complete that time served and you’re away from the game for 3 to 5 years, would any team even want to sign you? Unless you were 20 or 21 years old.. You’ve pretty much wasted your prime years coaching youth.
So upon further review, is Morgan’s idea really a bad idea?
(By the way, Morgan said steroids and I wasn’t sure if he meant for all PEDs or just steroids. I asked over Twitter and he clarified that it was all PEDs)
Being a simple minded Canadian baseball fan, I am sure there are details and fine tuning and legal wrangling (there would obviously be an appeals process and so on) that would have to be done to enforce “Ensberg’s Rule” … But why can’t we have a ‘one and done’ policy? Why can’t we have that in any sport really?
I feel like the biggest thing any rule like this should be is that it is an obvious deterrent. Want to take PEDs and try to cheat the system? Go ahead, if you get caught once, you’re done. Is that huge risk where you potentially lose millions of dollars and a career in baseball worth it to you as a player to try?
The thing is, we are a society that *LOVES* second chances. I’m also almost sure we’re a society that hates harsh consequences as well, but for sure we do love those moments of redemption and Ensberg’s Rule would take that away. That is the part at what I think most people (and again admittedly myself included at first knee-jerk reaction) are objecting to.
But honestly, is there a former known PED user in baseball now that we hold up as some great redemption story? Barry Bonds? Mark McGwire? Ryan Braun? Alex Rodriguez? Sure all of them have moved on and all still have careers in MLB, but that cloud of PED use hangs over them right?
What are we even clinging too then if the argument of “well players deserve a second chance” is the best one you can make against this? Besides, there is an offering for a ‘second chance’ here and it would make for a helluva story right?
Ballplayer gets caught using PEDs at age 24. He takes option 2 of “Ensberg’s Rule” and spends the next six years coaching and working with kids. He signs with a team and makes it back to the majors at the age of 31.
I’m pretty sure I’d root like hell for that guy. I’d root for him a heck of a lot more than I ever did Bruan or A-Rod.
We often forget that playing pro baseball (or any sport) is a privilege, not a right, and if you abuse it by taking PEDs maybe you should be one and done or at the very least one and “you have a LONG way to go if you don’t want to be done” which is why I think Morgan Ensberg’s crazy idea is crazy enough to work.