Volume 93, Issue 80

Thursday, March 2, 2000


Not just Gravel in the fish pond

Murtaugh: hockey's lethal weapon

Strawberry out of season this year

Strawberry out of season this year

The smell of spring is in the air and the crack of the bat is being heard throughout Florida and Arizona, as the Major League Baseball teams begin their spring training.

But one player will not take part in the spring fun or the rest of the baseball season. Outfielder Darryl Strawberry of the New York Yankees struck out before the season has even begun. For the third time in his career, Strawberry tested positive for cocaine and baseball commissioner Bud Selig decided to suspend the troubled outfielder for the season.

For some, the question left lingering was whether Strawberry deserved such harsh punishment for his decision to use drugs. The answer? Yes, of course he did. It's not like this is the first time he's been caught. Strawberry has gone through rehabilitation for his problem before and it was paid for by the MLB. Other than sewing one of his nostrils shut, what more could they do to help?

Although this may sound slightly insensitive, how many times can one guy screw up before he hits the breaking point?

While in suspension, it will be up to Strawberry to clean up his life. If he wants to remain a part of the Majors, then he will have to let the snow stay on the ground. I have no sympathy for a guy who has been given help throughout his problems, only to slap those who helped him in the face by continuing his disgusting habit.

The league can only help so much and there has to be a point where they must stop being nice. This argument should not be limited to baseball and Strawberry, but applied to other professional sports leagues as well. How many times will the National Basketball Association take the antics of Dallas Mavericks forward Dennis Rodman before he plays himself out of the league?

The National Hockey League was willing to allow Chicago Blackhawks forward Bob Probert back into the league after he was suspended for drug use, but Probert was able to clean up his life.

The National Football League has also had problems with players violating their drug policies and have both suspended and banned players who have gone against policy before.

So why did baseball wait so long to take action and suspend Strawberry? Because five years ago he was still able to hit the long ball and he was a strong and consistent player.

Now, at the age of 39, Strawberry is on the down side of his career. He was barely used by the Yankees last year because of various ailments including a bout with cancer. But all these sympahetic problems do not make it okay for him to continue to use drugs and violate the drug policy of the MLB.

Players who continually violate league policy and constantly make nuisances of themselves at the cost of the league and their teammates deserve what they get. Strawberry deserved punishment for his constant violation of baseball drug policies and it is nice to see Selig finally taking a hard line on players who break the rules.

It looks like Darryl was the "Straw" which broke the camel's back.

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