What to make of the announcement that between five and seven percent of Major League Baseball players tested positive for steroids last season? Commissioner Bud would have you believe that it's good news, saying that the results show that "there is not widespread steroid use in baseball." Certainly, they're not the sort of results that Ken Caminiti or Jose Canseco might have led us to expect. But, given that MLB conducted 1,438 tests, there were somewhere between 70 and 100 positive tests.
That's not good news. That's three to four teams worth of guys who are on the juice. And while I'm not sure how much good taking steroids does for a baseball player (unlike the clear benefits offered to a football player), it's still far, far too many player to be acceptable.
Beginning on March 2, 2004, players can be tested anytime. According to ESPN, a first positive test for steroid use would result in treatment, and a second in a 15-day suspension or fine of up to $10,000. The length of suspensions would increase to 25 days for a third positive test, 50 days for a fourth and one year for a fifth.
And, most importantly, they'll be naming names. It could be an interesting spring -- especially since anyone who comes to camp a little less pumped than before will face a lot of whispers.