I have a couple of thoughts on MLB's suspension of Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players in the Biogenesis scandal.
First, while every other player was suspended for 50 games (essentially the rest of the 2013 season), A-Rod was suspended for the rest of this season and all of 2014. This penalty seems arbitrary and capricious. I suspect that if A-Rod wasn't A-Rod then he would have received a 50-game suspension as well. As it stands, A-Rod is appealing and will make his season debut with the Yankees tonight in Chicago. I am sure A-Rod will be lustily jeered when he comes to bat.
Second, A-Rod is the only American born player to have been suspended today. Consider the other players who were suspended and their country of birth:
Francisco Cervelli - Venezuela
Ferando Martinez - Dominican Republic
Nelson Cruz - Dominican Republic
Everth Cabrera - Nicaragua
Jhonny Peralta - Dominican Republic
Antonio Bastardo - Dominican Republic
Jordany Valdespin - Dominican Republic
Jesus Montero - Venezuela
Sergio Escalona - Venezuela
Jordan Norberto - Dominican Republic
Fautino de los Santos - Dominican Republic
Cesar Puello - Dominican Republic
This is something I noted following MLB's suspensions of Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon last season. To the extent that MLB has a PED problem most of it can be centered around Latin America. A-Rod and Ryan Braun notwithstanding, it would seem that players born in North America, Asia, Australia and the Dutch Antilles have been largely deterred from using PEDs. So why are Latin American players still using PEDs? Is it a macho cultural thing? Are Latin American players so desperately poor that the punishment for using PEDs is an insignificant deterrent? Does MLB not see fit to embark on a Spanish language campaign against PEDs? Or is PED use encouraged from the time players are recruited by the buscones?
I am sure MLB will tighten the penalties for PED use after this season. If they do so, MLB should recognize that their problem with PEDs resides largely in Latin America and should direct their resources to those countries to deter their use.
UPDATE: In his return, A-Rod singled in four at bats. The Yankees lost 8-1 to the hapless White Sox as Andy Pettitte gave up seven runs and Derek Jeter is back on the DL yet again.