Blog Entry

How Donald Fehr Saved Baseball

Posted on: June 22, 2009 6:36 pm
He retired.

Before I get into ripping Donald Fehr, let me first say that he was really good at the job for which he was hired.

I'm a union man myself. Fehr was hired to represent the interests of professional baseball players. There is very little he has done that didn't put his players first.

Look at the salaries alone. These players make millions and millions of dollars and sometimes before they even make the major league squad.

Pensions and health plans for the players are among the best for any retired worker.

In 1972, Fehr was one of the many lawyers working on the Messersmith-McNally ruling that ushered in free agency. Today, free agency is a staple of off-season activities that can make or break World Series contenders.

But now, we're still (disturbingly) in the middle of the issue of steroids.

Who used? Or would it be faster to ask, who didn't?

Why did it go on so long? Why didn't anyone stop it?

I believe there are two answers: Donald Fehr and Bud Selig. You can view my opinions on Commissioner Selig in a BleacherReport article I wrote back in February.

Fehr's unbridled defense of the players kept baseball's banned substance list to a minimum. Any tests that performed on the players were anonymous and unpunishable- also because of Fehr.

Even after Alex Rodriguez's name escaped an anonymous list of positive tests from 2003, Fehr remained firm on his position that all other names should remain undisclosed, although recently Sammy Sosa was also named.

Fehr has only been doing his job. I get that. He has always worked for the players.

Unfortunately it's gone too far. Baseball may not be hurting at the turnstiles or in television ratings, but the fans have lost trust in the players and their stats.

Most fans agree that players associated with steroids shouldn't be associated with the Hall of Fame or career records. We root for our teams more than rooting for players now and the players that we do single out are usually players that "we're sure aren't using."

In order for baseball to rid itself of the black cloud over its head, steroids need to be completely eradicated for the sport to move on. I called for step one in February.

Back then I would have said that step two would be Fehr's resignation. We need new leadership that will be able to push baseball into a cleaner, brighter future.

For now, I'll take one of the two.
Category: MLB
Tags: Donald Fehr
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