The players union and major league baseball finally came to an agreement on a tougher steroid policy. Rather than a light slap on the wrist, players will now face 50 game suspensions for first time offense, and 100 games for 2nd. Three times, and you are suspended for life. This replaces the minor 10 day suspension that was in effect this year. Also covered are amphetamines, with lighter suspensions of 25 and 80 games. More importantly, though, is that the tests are going to handled by an independant 3rd party rather than by MLB or the players union.

“I think the clubs will be more than delighted,” [Commissioner Bud] Selig said. “There hasn’t been any dissent. I believe it will be approved. I can assure you the approval process on our side will be very easy.” […] “I believe it will absolutely satisfy any concerns that [lawamkers] have,” Selig said. “It’s up to them, obviously, but I have talked to some of the people involved today and I really believe that these penalties will satisfy them.”

This is a step in the right direction. I do not think that it is harsh enough; first offense should be a two year suspension. The more important aspect though is that it is now going to be independantly handled. I am happy to see that something is finally happening with it and let us now hope that people take the rules a little more seriously and the game cleans itself up. I may be a bit pessimistic, though; I can’t see it happening for at least a few more years.