NEW YORK – With his staff pursuing yet another investigation into performance-enhancing drugs, Commissioner Bud Selig defended baseball’s drug-testing program on the eve of the All-Star game and insisted “this sport is cleaner than it’s ever been.”
Selig declined to detail timing for decisions in the probe of the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis, accused of distributing performing-enhancing drugs. MLB could attempt to discipline former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun along with other players.
Baseball began drug testing for the 2003 season, added penalties the following year, banned amphetamines in 2006 and started HGH blood testing last year.
“People say, ‘Well, you were slow to react.’ We were not slow to react,” Selig said Monday.
There were eight violations of the major league drug program last year, and All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera was among those who served a 50-game suspension. There have been no suspensions in the big leagues this year.
Selig, who turns 79 on July 30, also denied his willingness to combat steroids has increased during his time in office, which started in 1992.
“Some people say now that I’m over-vigilant because I’m worried about my legacy,” he said. “That’s nonsense. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. This is in the best interests of baseball. I was brought up to understand that you are to do what’s in the best interest of this sport no matter what, even if it’s painful, and we’re going to do that.”
THE LEAGUE is scheduled to announce a new policy against harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation during its All-Star game festivities on Tuesday with the players’ union and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who helped draft the agreement.
MARIANO RIVERA, baseball’s greatest closer, will emerge from the AL bullpen for a public celebration of his achievements.
“It would be probably be the most beautiful thing in the world if we could somehow get a lead on the National League and play the ninth inning with the greatest closer of all time coming out of the bullpen,” AL Manager Jim Leyland said. “I assure you that would happen, but we need to get that lead first.”
BEN REVERE will have surgery Tuesday on his broken right foot and is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks, leaving the Philadelphia Phillies looking for another center fielder.
WHEN ARTIE GORE made his major league debut, his fellow umpires autographed a ball and gave it to him as a keepsake.
Now it’s being auctioned off for more than $20,000 — and not just because it was used in an umpire’s first game 66 years ago.
It also was Jackie Robinson’s first game.
“Somewhere in between Nat Turner and Barack Obama was Jackie Robinson on April 15,” Richard Flaherty, Gore’s nephew, said. “I don’t know if he hit that ball or not, but in terms of American history, it was pretty important,” said Richard Flaherty, nephew of the late Gore, who died in 1986.