Baseball is a Frustration Enhancer

Since he tested positive for five PEDs, does Dustin Richardson’s suspension wind up being 52?

You can read the details here on NYTimes.com.

Those who are ridiculing Richardson aren’t looking at it from the point-of-view of someone whose career has stagnated just below the highest level of employment. He’s a Triple-A pitcher and he took steps to rectify that situation, but they were the wrong steps mostly because they didn’t work.

Say you’re Richardson. You’re 27-years-old and left-handed; you’ve bounced from one organization to another—the Red Sox, Marlins and Braves—and haven’t gotten a long-term shot in the big league while other pitchers who may not have stuff as good as you are in the big leagues functioning as lefty specialists, long men or spot starters. Still trapped in the minors and knowing the consequences, you say, “forget this” and take not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different banned substances to try and find a way to succeed and make it to the big leagues to stay.

Naturally you got caught and naturally you’ve become the butt of jokes for the somewhat ludicrous number of PEDs that were found in your system.

What outsiders are failing to understand is the mindset of an athlete is such that while he may have reached his ceiling and knows the consequences of failing the test, he doesn’t want to do anything other than play baseball, so he’s willing to listen to the whispers of PED “experts” and try skirt the testing by using “foolproof” blockers or some other chicanery to get away with it.

Richardson got busted.

It’s easily explainable.

Is Richardson good enough to be a big league reliever? If he can get the ball over the plate, why not? That’s the issue and that was his mistake. PEDs weren’t going to assist him in getting the ball over the plate. He might’ve been better off working on his control (he doesn’t know where the ball is going) and try to do a better job of getting out lefties (they hammer him) than taking a copious amount of banned substances to find the magic potion to transport him to the majors to stay.

He might have been better served to shun the quick fix of the drugs and hone his repertoire or approach to something that might beget a big league job.

Richardson throws nearly over the top and has a violent motion that doesn’t lend itself to consistent command; he has a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball and a slider. If he can’t get the slider over the plate, then big league hitters are going to maul him—and they have.

Maybe he should start throwing sidearm and market himself as a situational lefty. They’re always in demand and if he tried that and it worked, no one would care about a drug suspension.

MLB can act as indignantly as they want and impose heavy suspensions on those that test positive, but it’s easily glossed over that MLB fostered the PED culture by letting it go on for so long; now they’re acting in a holier-than-thou fashion to try and eradicate the drugs and punish the offenders. What makes it worse is that they treat the public like idiots by expressing regret and shouldering blame—but no punishment accompanies that blame, so what good is it?

Those in MLB’s front office and the owners’ boxes were complicit in the whole PED show. Why do they get a pass?

Bud Selig just signed a contract extension to stay on as Commissioner and no one’s ever called him to task for his willful and feigned ignorance of what was going on right in front of his face.

Selig plays the role of the somewhat rumpled and befuddled everyman, but if he’s so oblivious to reality, why does anyone want him in the position of Commissioner of Baseball in the first place?

It’s selective enforcement and low-level people being sanctioned while the real perpetrators walk away scot-free.

Desperate times and the frustration of being a fringe big leaguer/Triple A filler might have led to Richardson taking the desperate measures of using an array of PEDs that are more likely to be on the shopping list of a Mr. Olympia competitor than a baseball player. He probably should’ve taken a different path because this one was a dead end and it didn’t even work. He’s not blameless, but it’s no secret why he did it. He just happened to get caught.

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