Sox players support suspensions by MLB

Sox players support suspensions by MLB
August 5, 2013, 9:45 pm
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HOUSTON – It’s difficult to look at a day on which 12 players agreed to a collective 600 games of suspensions – and one very high-profile player is vowing to appeal his 211-game suspension – as a good day for baseball. But, in the Red Sox clubhouse before the start of a three-game series in Houston that is exactly how most viewed the day.
“I saw some people saying it’s kind of a sad day in baseball. I don’t think it’s a sad day in baseball,” said Jonny Gomes. “For one, I think you’re talking about less than one percent of Major League Baseball players. With that being said, it just kind of shows it’s just a real selfish act on those guys. So with the suspensions coming down, I think it’s a good day in baseball. These guys want to put the drug policy in. Two ways to look at it, shows it’s working, and it shows guys are still willing to take the chance.
“I think it puts everybody on an even playing field,” said Shane Victorino.  “It’s something that as a player you don’t want to hear about it being talked about, especially around the game that you play.”
“I think it’s kind of a combination,” said Ryan Dempster. “It’s kind of a bad day because unfortunately Major League Baseball had to suspend a lot of people for trying to cheat and use performance-enhancing drugs. But also it’s a good thing in the right direction of baseball continuously trying to clean up the game and get those kind of drugs out of this game and I think if we take that approach and look at it from that side it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
And, to the players, it shows the advancements the sport has made in trying to get PEDs out.
“The drug prevention program works,” said Dustin Pedroia. “It’s the strongest in its sport and it’s good for the game. We just want a fair playing field.”
Players’ reactions, on the whole, represent a reversal of course from years past.
“I think it’s changed a lot,” said Gomes. “I know how it was kind of out of sight, out of mind, kind of hot stove, don’t touch it. But I think guys are stepping up. [Detroit’s]  Jhonny Peralta, he’s on that list and he had a walk-off home run against us [in Detroit June 20]. That’s a game. We’ve played 100-plus games and us and the Rays are one game apart. Every single game counts. We got a guy at the plate with a disadvantage. It’s not fair. And we might still have [Jose Iglesias] if [Peralta] didn’t get suspended. But, yeah, I think guys are being more vocal and want a fair playing field.”
“I don’t know,” Pedroia said. “I wasn’t playing 10 years ago but since I’ve been here I think the only thing everyone wants is a fair playing field and go out there and compete and have a game that when you show up you know what you’re going to get.”
Will baseball ever be completely free of PEDs and the stain they bring to the game?
“You sure would hope so,” Gomes said. “But you look at other laws in our country. They're getting broke every single day. There’s always going to be someone out there willing to take the risk, so hopefully the risk and the reward changes.”
Should baseball increase the penalties?
“The stiffer the penalty, you definitely think about consequences and decisions before you make them,” Victorino said. “Am I defending a stiff policy? I don’t say yes, I don’t say no to it. I think it’s one of those things that you have to understand the guidelines we have now and that’s what we're set with. It’s part of the process and part of the weeding out.”
“I don’t really care what the penalties are,” Gomes said. “If it’s first time caught lifetime ban, it doesn’t affect me. I’m not doing steroids. I’m not trying to keep the penalties down because I’m thinking about doing it. So I don’t really care what the penalties are. I do think it could be steeper. But like I said the steeper the penalties go, it still doesn’t affect me because I’m going to play this game out how I started and that’s clean.”