To Juice or Not to Juice - That Is the Question for Major League Baseball
(by Greg Kuhl)
Major league baseball is secretly planning a radical realignment for 2006 - one league for those who use steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, and another for those who are clean.
Commissioner Bud Selig admitted that baseball's drug-testing program was "pretty much a joke," and said the new leagues would satisfy fans who only want to see home runs, as well as purists who believe players should perform drug free.
"If Jose Canseco, the retired muscle-bound slugger, and others are right that 50 percent or more big league players are juiced, then the new leagues should have an equal number of teams," Selig said.
"An added benefit is I won't have to answer any more questions such as: 'Is Barry Bonds' massive growth spurt all natural?' 'Did Jason Giambi really shrink because he cut out fast-food burgers?' 'How did that formerly slender second baseman add 30 pounds of muscle in the off season?'"
Selig said a major challenge will be which cities get the juiced players and teams, and which get the ones who made it naturally.
"We're thinking that places such as Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Oakland should get the all-natural players and teams," Selig said. "We want to save the juiced sluggers and pitchers for high-profile cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
"We fully expect the Juiced League statistics will dwarf the Natural League," Selig said. "I can't imagine anything less than 80 homers leading the Juiced League, where the other will be lucky to have somebody hit 35."
Selig said even with steroid-fueled pitchers, the Juiced League should be known for its 15-13 slugfests.
"It'll be exciting, draw huge television ratings and put millions of fans in the stands," Selig said. "The Natural League will be huge underdogs in the World Series, but I can live with that."
Under the plan, players must declare in which league they want to play by July 4, 2005 - which will give them time to start taking steroids and human growth hormones, in case they already weren't, in time for the 2006 season.