Major League Baseball should spotlight a bright, young star like Lastings Milledge, not wrist-slap him

In the wake of the Jason Grimsley revelations that many ballplayers are now injecting undetectable human growth hormone to enhance their performance, it’s startling to see the NY Mets chastise rookie phenom, Lastings Milledge, for his post home run celebration the other night.

For those of you who may have missed it, Milledge hit a dramatic ninth inning home run to send the Mets into extra innings against the Giants (and their hated steroid king, Barry Bonds). As he was taking the field after his first MLB home run, the rookie walked along the right field stands and gave "high-five’s" to one fan after another. It was a great, and genuine, gesture on the part of Milledge to thank the fans for their ovation.

So, what do the Mets do? They tell him in no uncertain terms that such displays are unprofessional, and issued an immediate cease and desist order.

Talk about a bad move. Milledge is exactly what baseball needs right now. With the sport in total denial and taking little, if any, action to question or asterisk the suspicious records being set, they should at least be shining the spotlight on bright, young stars like Lastings. Instead, they curtail his post homerun celebrations and tell him to act more professionally.

I still think MLB needs to step up to the plate and launch a massive grass roots education campaign to educate kids about the dangers of steroids and human growth hormones. Baseball’s hierarchy should insist that, if they want to be considered for Hall of Fame inclusion, players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and good ol’ Barry need to go out on the hustings, admit that they took illegal drugs and plead with the kids not to follow suit. Last, and not least, MLB should asterisk any and all records from 1998 on. That’s approximately the time frame when the big boppers began their doping. And, pitchers shouldn’t be excluded. Does anyone think Roger Clemens and Curt Shilling would still be throwing 98 mph fastballs without a little help from their pharmaceutical friends?

So, here’s a tip of the hat to Lastings Milledge and his demonstrations of pure, youthful delight. Let’s encourage him and his type to bring the joy back to baseball while we discourage Grimsley and his ilk from their ilegal actions. Maybe if more fans speak out, someone at MLB headquarters will finally hitch up his trousers and do the right thing.

Hat tip to Isaac Farbowitz for this.

10 thoughts on “Major League Baseball should spotlight a bright, young star like Lastings Milledge, not wrist-slap him

  1. Isaac,
    You are missing the point (Rep, thanks for letting me borrow your line). Baseball shouldn’t be treated like a stand alone country operating within the United States and be free to choose which rules it wants to follow.
    And, to the best of my knowledge, players have been suspended for recreational drug use, rape accusations, and other crimes.
    Debating this issue is a HUGE waste of time. They ones involved are crooks and cheats and should be banned for cheating the system and the fans.
    ‘Nuff said.

  2. I’m pretty sure there’s unanimous agreement that steroids, or cheating in general, should not be a part of competition. The steroid era, and the subsequent fallout in the media, in congress and by the water cooler is a testament to how negatively our society perceives such acts. Please refer to Bond’s historic march to passing Ruth on the all-time HR record – there was so little celebration and recognition of the feat outside of the Bay Area, that more articles and reports were made on the lack of attention, than on the actual achievement itself.
    So here’s my point: An asterisk isn’t necessary. Legality aside, steroid use was an accepted and arguably an ENCOURAGED practice during the Steroid Era. 20 years from now, any discussion of Bonds, Mac, Sosa, and co. will be immediately accompanied by the steroid issue. The “asterisk” will be there…through our recognition of the Steroid Era and understanding that cheating should never be a part of the game.
    As RepMan’s blog always harps on, word-of-mouth will be the ultimate asterisk.

  3. James, I agree with you on the federal laws and am well aware. But the question is, if steroids are a banned substance, then why did baseball wait so long to enact their own standards? And if you argue that they shouldn’t have to b/c its a federal crime, then why did MLB even put a policy into place. Does MLB have suspension guidelines for rape, grand theft or battery? The argument, and again I must say that I don’t necessarily agree, is that if baseball didn’t have these standards in place before, then was he a cheater by baseball standards?

  4. Isaac, this debate is just a big waste of your time, and every other listener of said station.
    Why you ask? Simply put, using steroids without a medical prescription is against federal law. This has been the case since George Bush signed the bill in 1990. Thus, MLB shouldn’t have to carry its own set of laws. Players, while god-like with their talent and bodies, are not above the law.
    So, there you have it. All players found guilty of using performace enhancing drugs – either before or after MLB added it to the rule book, should be prosecuted federally and by the states they play in.
    Just because you hear something on the radio, watch something on TV, or read it in a paper, doesn’t mean it to be true. I suggest you seek the truth on your own. Stoart with a little tool called the internet. There’s a fancy site called google…man it can perform some amazing tricks…kind of like a search engine on steroids if you will.

  5. I actually heard an interesting view on the steroid topic recently and would love your thoughts. Everyone is saying that Bonds, Big Mac and crew should have an asterik next to their numbers b/c of doping. But here’s the issue- MLB’s steroid policy was non-existant when the doping is alleged to have started. Only recently did they come up with laws that have some sort of teeth. So how can we fault guys that supposedly broke MLB’s laws when they weren’t there to begin with.
    Now, after hearing that, it makes you think. Don’t get me wrong, I think Bonds is a cheater and is a poor role model for society. But, when it comes to these records, he still had to hit a baseball which many say is the single hardest thing to do in sports. The roids only made the ball go farther so while he might have hit more home runs being juiced, he still is a great baseball player. Sure makes for a good debate about where he ranks all time. And the real question is, if he didn’t break any MLB rules, then is he really a cheater?

  6. Rep-
    Loved today’s topic 🙂 I happen to be be driving on Sunday when I heard the call of the home run and then subsequent hi-fiving. On the radio, the announcers said they loved the move but “they were sure the club veterans would talk to Lastings later.” To me, that is the problem. This was a case of a 21 year old who has been hyped beyond hype, has been mentioned in every big name trade and who has done nothing but produce through his first 8 games. So he goes out and hits a big home run and shares it with the fans and then hears about it from coaches, teammates and the media.
    I would understand if he walked by the Giants dugout and did that, or if he made a slow trot around the bases and celebrated there. But he did none of the above and still got the wrath of many. I would love to see one of the coaches or members of the media stand up for him and let him enjoy what looks to be the first of many bright moments for this kid. But I bet we see you embrace the 30 second spot before we see that happen 🙂

  7. I tell ya, this thing with Grimsley is hopefully going to blow up this steroid issue and just as we thought it was behind us, its just heating up. Consider Grimsley’s journey in the big leagues and the possible athletes he could have supplied steroids to:
    Phillies – teammates were John Kruk, Curt Schilling
    Indians – Belle, Manny, Alomar, thome
    Angels- Vladdy, Salmon, Edmonds, Erstad
    Yanks – Clemens, tino, bernie…too many to name
    Royals – Beltran…I can;t think of anyone else
    Baltimore – Palmiero, Sosa, Tejada, Mora
    D-Backs – Gonzalez, Green
    As Keith Olbermann put it last ngiht, he’s the “Forrest Gump of major league baseball”.
    As much as I cringe to think about the worst possible scenario of who Grimsely dealt to, I guess in order to officially put the steroid era behind us we need to see this thing through to the end.

  8. Geoff, I appreciate your passion and research. I’d heard Shilling’s name bandied about on various talk shows and by various sportscasters. I have zero proof to back up what they’ve said. So if you say he’s clean, that’s good enough for me. Lord knows there are enough other examples of users among the various rosters. If he is clean, then I agree with you. He should speak up and be heard.

  9. I’m a Yankees fan, but I have to make the point, in regards to this post, that you shouldn’t be bringing Curt Schilling’s name into the muck when he’s been nothing but a diamond in the rough for the steroid era.
    I should be defending Clemens. Despite his lukewarm reception in The Big Apple during his tenure with the Yanks, you can’t take away the championships he helped bring to our franchise. But the fact is – he’s been implicated, along with the sluggers for quite some time. So along with all other athletes that have been implicated, I’ve lost the respect I once had for their achievements. Its just unfortunate that pitchers aren’t scrutinized the same way the home run hitters are. Buster Olney, the NYT sports writer has all but implied he was a user when he was with Bronx Bombers.
    Back to my point:
    When you group Schilling into the mess along with Clemens, I was/am outraged. Upon reading Schilling had help from his “pharmaceutical friends”, I thought ‘isn’t this the same guy who was the first player to actually speak out against steroid abuse after Ken Caminiti came clean to SI a while back?’ He was!
    He was also called by the Congressional Grand Jury as an ADVOCATE against the Palmeiros, the McGuires and the Sosas sitting directly next to him. As the players union representative, Congress wanted to know the degree to which Schilling thought the steroid epidemic had affected MLB.
    But I gave you the benefit of the doubt RepMan, and scourged the web for implications of Schilling using steriods. NOTHING!
    All I could find was that he’s been the most important figure in baseball thats actually doing something – demanding more intense drug testing, proposing harsher penalties, narrating educational videos for youth – to help baseball get over this dark period.
    Look, I’m as passionate about the steroids issue, and the need to weed out any and all cheaters from sport, as you appear to be. But Schilling is the exact prototype of player we need to spearhead a “grass roots” campaign as you propose? What gives?