Boston's MLBPA representative and one of two pension reps, Craig Breslow - Jared Wickerham
Players are tired of cheaters giving them a bad name, and want to enact tougher punishments for using
While your average fan likely believes the game is cleaner than it used to be, in part because the same screams that emanate from the Hall of Fame voting process don't make it into the every day game of the present, it's not yet clean enough for the players. It might come as a surprise to the cynical, but the Major League Baseball Players' Association has had just about enough of those who get caught up in scandal ruining the image of everyone else. Most recently, the Miami Biogenesis clinic story that doesn't seem to be going away.
MLB union chief Weiner on PED/Miami stories: Stiffer penalties in "active discussion" among players. They are "sick of this issue." #mlb— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) February 25, 2013
Weiner goes on to say that said penalties would be for 2014, not for 2013, but at least you get a sense of what it is the players are hoping to accomplish.
Now, what's fascinating about this is that the players are hoping to make the penalties outweigh the perceived costs of using performance-enhancers, and you would think that it would be the teams spearheading this project. After all, their seasons can be damaged significantly if a major contributor is caught using, and they have to go into free agency or trades or what have you potentially unaware that their target could cause these sorts of problems for them. However, players likely want their teammates to be more accountable for their actions. Take Melky Cabrera, for example: if the Giants had not won the World Series last year, you can be sure there would be much more discussion of what his loss, following a 50-game suspension, meant to San Francisco. Even with the win, Cabrera wasn't positive the Giants were going to give him a World Series share or a ring, given the anger towards his use.
With the MLBPA on board, chances are great that something can be worked out between the two sides: MLB wants the game to be perceived in the most positive (and cleanest) light it can, and if the MLBPA has no issues with that, then they should be able to come to an agreement rather painlessly. Any time the players are willing to give up some freedom -- or, more fairly, any time either side is -- at the negotiating table, you know it's a significant deal. It's hard to imagine the two camps coming together on an issue -- any issue -- this easily roughly 20 years ago, but that's what a couple of decades of labor peace can breed.
Note: If you missed the caption, Craig Breslow is pictured because he's an MLBPA representative, not a suspected user or outspoken anti-user.