By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Most everyone has an opinion about whether Major League Baseball’s anti-doping policy is strong enough. In the Detroit Tigers clubhouse, the views vary.
Right fielder Torii Hunter says the system works. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer is convinced it needs improvement through significantly harsher punishments. Fellow starter Justin Verlander does not want to comment on whether there should be stiffer penalties.
To hear Hunter tell it, steroid use by players mirrors many other transgressions committed by regular people – unfortunate, but largely inevitable.
“There’s always going to be somebody who’s going to try to beat the system,” Hunter said. “You can’t do nothing about it. That’s part of life. In the real world, people are going to murder, they’re going to do everything. They’re going to be corrupt and they’re going to steal money, they’re going to money launder, they’re going to do whatever it may be. People are going to try to beat the system, whether it’s in this game or outside this game.”
Hunter said the fact that Major League Baseball caught so many players in the Biogenesis scandal is proof that baseball’s anti-doping program works.
“If guys weren’t getting caught, then I worry about that,” Hunter said. “If there was no murderers out there getting caught, then I worry about that. But these guys are getting caught, so the system has to work. Something’s working.
“I’m getting tired of people saying, ‘The system don’t work,’” Hunter added. “The system works.”
Scherzer, who spoke out against Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers when that suspension was announced, said he thinks the 50- and 100-game suspensions have decreased steroid usage in the league but that more still needs to be done.
“My focus now is to work with the players, work with the union, work with everybody involved to find a fairer system that correctly punishes players and to find a way that closes some of these loopholes so that players don’t feel the need to cheat,” Scherzer said. ”As players as a whole, we’re tired of cheaters.
“We’re tired of guys who go and blatantly try to break the system,” Scherzer continued. “That’s something that we have to find a way to shore up so this doesn’t happen again because the more days we have like this, the worse it is for our game, and it’s the worse for our fans, and it only drives fans away. So as players we have to find a way so that the reward isn’t there anymore and that we can always talk about baseball and not talk about PEDs and other things like this.”
Though Verlander would not talk about whether he wanted stiffer penalties for steroid users, he did say that, from what he has seen, almost everyone wants a clean game.
“I want an even playing field all around baseball, and I think a majority of the guys feel that way,” Verlander said. “That’s the cleanest and fairest way to play this game, and that’s the way this game is meant to be played.”