Baseball shouldn't carry added burden about PEDs

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - Jhonny Peralta is caught up in the latest MLB performance-enhancing scandal.

As first reported by ESPN, there's a chance MLB could suspended as many as 20 players in a performance-enhancing drug scandal linked to a Miami-area clinic.

The report names all the players involved, including stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. It also said some players could get 100-game suspensions once all investigations are done.

It would definitely hurt the Tigers if they lose their starting shortstop for a long time this season.

And while it's a bad look for the national pastime, it's not the end of the world, the end of baseball. The sport has endured so much and moved on to great success.

No one will stand with or applaud players that don't follow the rules laid out by the sport. And those players found guilty should be punished.

Still, there are two things people should remember:

1) Baseball should carry an added burden or more shame because some have allegedly tried to get an unlawful edge in the sport. It happens a lot in all sports, not just baseball.

2) The reality is that fans don't care. Apparently, they are numb from all the alleged PED use. Or at the very least, bored by it.

This steroid story, however, rings bigger for the media and the commissioner. The media because it missed the original story that was right under its nose. And Commissioner Bud Selig because it came under his watch. He has a legacy to worry about.

Selig should relax a little. Before this season, MLB has enjoyed an attendance renaissance. Last season, baseball recorded its fifth-best attendance in the sport's history. The 74.8 million fans was the best mark since 2008.

Better yet, the best five attendance marks in baseball history have come in the last eight seasons.

It tells you one thing: Fans have come to understand that there are some who will take a chance to get an advantage. But in no way does it take away from the game they love.

You couldn't say that for the other major sports. Last season, the NFL logged its fifth straight season of declining attendance.

This past season, the NBA suffered its third straight season of declining attendance.

The point is simply that baseball hasn't been hurt as much as you would think given all the negative headlines about PEDs.

Plus, there's no doubt that baseball is held to a higher standard when it comes to steroids and other drugs. The media's coverage is harsh.

It's amazing. Plenty of NFL players get suspended every year for banned substances.

It's an on-going thing with that league. Since 2006, over 40 players have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Last season, 17 players got banned. Already in 2013, there have been six suspensions.

 Most of the time, players get sacked for four games and then they come back. There are no big headlines. Fans, once again, don't seem to care.

It doesn't make the baseball story right, just that people have accepted the NFL PED situation and not the one that's in baseball.

In 2006, Chargers' LB Shawne Merriman finished third in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year despite being suspended for the first four games of that season for testing positive for PED use.

And even when you hear that 20 players could be suspended, don't forget that there are 750 MLB players.

Funny thing is that most fans believe baseball was saved by the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa HR battle in 1998. Both were linked to steroids.

Fans didn't care about what they were on. They were just thrilled about the homers that seemed to leaving the park on an almost nightly basis.

Baseball still has a big job in front of it. How will they be able to suspend players without positive drug tests?

Unless the player admits it and takes responsibility, MLB will have a hard time handing out penalties.

Most believe MLB should clean up the sport. It's just that people shouldn't overreact and drag the entire sport through the mud. It's not done to any other sport.

The sky only seems to fall in baseball. Stop it.

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