x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Major League Baseball needs to round the corner on drug issues

Baseball's preferred method for dealing with a negative story is to drop its bad news all at once, let the media and fans pick it over and move on.

Milwaukee Brewers' fan Bryan Von Declan has the name of suspended player Ryan Braun covered up in his shirt as he takes his seat.
Milwaukee Brewers' fan Bryan Von Declan has the name of suspended player Ryan Braun covered up in his shirt as he takes his seat.

Baseball is a multi-billion dollar professional industry with a suddenly amateurish sense of public relations. Its current Biogenesis drug scandal is dripping like a leaky faucet.

When Ryan Braun's suspension was announced last week, it was assumed that the rest of the disciplinary measures would soon follow, maybe en masse.

That would enable the sport to employ the preferred method for dealing with a negative story: drop its big, bad news all at once, let the media and fans pick it over for a few days, then move on.

Instead, Braun commanded the spotlight alone, took hit after hit in the media for being a cheater, a liar and an all-world knucklehead. But he is just one of perhaps 20 suspension risks.

So who is in the on-deck circle? Alex Rodriguez? Bartolo Colon? Nelson Cruz? Jhonny Peralta?

It's a marketing disaster for the sport. While Braun was getting skewered, speculation intensified about the presumed flood of suspensions still to come, prolonging the story.

And what if each humbled ballplayer negotiates his own punishment at his own pace, turning this into a one-at-a-time marathon? The MLB office can add Suspended Player of the Week to its Monday announcements of National League and American League Player of the Week.

Perhaps Braun was a one-off, and everyone else will follow in a neatly tied-up bundle. But baseball better make it soon. In the meantime, it's a very loud drip … drip … drip.

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