Milwaukee Brewer slugger Ryan Braun's suspension won't be the last, fans say
Fisher Cats fan Christopher Simard of Barrington talks about the suspension of Major League Baseball star Ryan Braun. Simard was at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium Tuesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
"Braun is only the beginning, absolutely,” said Jeff Roach, a fan from Henniker who attended Tuesday night's Fisher Cats game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Baseball's drug penaltiesSteroids tests: The first time a player fails a test for steroids, he gets an automatic 50-game suspension without pay. A second positive test carries a 100-game ban. A third results in a lifetime ban, though the player may apply for reinstatement after two years.
Possession: Players convicted in court of possessing illegal steroids are subject to criminal penalties plus a suspension of 60 to 80 games for the first offense, up to a one-year suspension for the second, and a lifetime ban for the third.
Distribution: Beyond criminal penalties, players guilty of distributing steroids earn an automatic 80-to-100-game ban for the first offense and a lifetime ban the second.
Stimulants: Players who test positive for amphetamines and other banned stimulants receive a warning and mandatory follow-up testing. A second offense results in a 25-game suspension; a third offense results in 80 games. For a fourth offense, the commissioner can impose harsher penalties, including a lifetime ban.
"It was unannounced," Fransoso said by phone on Tuesday afternoon. "The guys from Drug Free Sport showed up and caught us by surprise. We got drug-tested before we went on the field. Everyone was drinking water and trying to pee in cups and they were right there watching us do it. I had never seen a process like that before."
Drug-testing and performance-enhancing drugs were the talk of the baseball world on Tuesday, coming on the heels of Monday's announcement that Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, the National League's Most Valuable Player in 2011, has been suspended for the rest of the season, covering 65 games.
Roach and Simard and folks representing the Fisher Cats and Tuesday night's opponent, the Harrisburg Senators, think there's good news in the Braun announcement, too.
Maybe, just maybe, Simard said, the sanctions will have an effect on others.
"Maybe now some players will think again about it," he said. "But it's been, what, 20 years, of pills and injections. They're not going to stop. The money's too good."
"He took responsibility for what he supposedly did, and I respect that," Jeroloman said. "I guarantee that if they did as much testing as they do in baseball in other sports, everything from baseball to golf to tennis, they would find similar circumstances. Maybe not with the same kind of stuff, but everyone is looking for an edge."
"Look at the dollars involved," he said. "Apparently it's worth the gamble for some people if you can make yourself a better player or at least stay healthy on the field ... And baseball is a lot more diligent about it than other sports right now."
There are side-by-side posters — one in Spanish, the other in English — in at least a couple of spots in the Fisher Cats clubhouse describing Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug and Prevention Program.
"Don't Risk Your Career," reads another.