Are they really balanced, though? I realize that Adam and Matthew don't speak for the Baseball Writers' Association of America or the United States Congress ... but does anyone remember the last time Major League Baseball tried to act like something wasn't happening? Remember how well that went over with everybody, when the truth (or some of it, anyway) came out? The problem with sweeping Biogenesis under the rug, purely from a public-relations standpoint, is that there's a pretty good chance the truth will come out, eventually. And if the truth is ugly, Bud Selig's and MLB's reputations will be further tarnished.
As the recent wave of positives shows, even the increased length of penalties hasn't been enough to deter everybody; for some players, the risk-to-reward ratio still makes sense if a spot in the majors or a chance at a multimillion-dollar contract is on the line (more on that momentarily). In the wake of Gordon's suspension, A's reliever Sean Doolittle was among those who suggested even steeper penalties should be in play, telling the San Francisco Chronicle 's John Shea , “Whatever the punishment, 50 games before and 80 now, isn’t enough for the players to roll the dice for a huge payday because they know if they come out of it, they can sign another multiyear, guaranteed contract. And of course they’re getting paid off the numbers they put up while they were cheating. How do we stop that from happening?”
With no other first-ballot candidate besides Rivera getting in the way, this is the opening that Martinez, who will be in his final year of eligibility, needs to get his long-overdue plaque. Bonds and Clemens will move into the mid-to-high 60s, with Mussina well into the 60s and Schilling into the high 50s. Walker (in his ninth year) or Manny Ramirez (despite the two positive tests) will be in position to gain some ground, and McGriff (in his tenth and final year) could get a sendoff in the 30s or 40s, which would still be a much higher share of the vote than he's ever seen.