Last week I received this email from Fred, a regular reader of this blog.
"Here's one to ponder in a blog. If J.C. Romero should be able to pitch in the MLB sponsored World Baseball Classic. I say no that if steroid users are able to play in the World Baseball Classic then MLB should pull their sponsorship since he will be serving a 50 game suspension for steroids. Come on MLB lets gets serious about the steroid issue."
Before I comment on the issue Fred raises I want to say a word about J.C. Romero. If I made a list of my favorite all time baseball players J.C. Romero would be near the top. In an entry posted last fall, I discussed my view of J.C. Romero. It was extremely disappointing when it was reported that he tested positive for a banned substance and was being suspended for 50 games. I am not going into detail about the circumstances of Romero's suspension. If you are interested in what happened, I recommend you check out Peter Gammons' report from January.
The World Baseball Classic is an endeavor of Major League Baseball. The coverage of the event on MLB.com and MLB Network is extensive and Commissioner Bud Selig never misses an opportunity to discuss the merits of the WBC. Given Major League Baseball's commitment to the WBC, the question Fred raises deserves an answer. If Bud Selig and Major League baseball are serious about eliminating the use of performance-enhancing-drugs in the sport, why is a player who is suspended from baseball for PED use allowed to participate in one of baseball's high profile events? Does Commissioner Selig want to avoid bad publicity relating to one of his pet projects? Is MLB trying to avoid an international incident by not dealing with a player from Puerto Rico? Is there a loophole in the drug testing agreement with Players Association that needs to be closed? I don't have the answers to this questions but Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball owes every fan an answer. Until the answers are provided, the shadow of doubt that performance enhancing drugs have cast over baseball will remain.