Iabsolutely would like to look beyond Major League Baseball's suspension of 14 players -- the latest 13, plus Ryan Braun a couple of weeks ago -- just because it'd be better for my baseball mental health.
I'd like to ignore it. But I can't.
I'd like to forget about it. But I can't.
I'd like to pretend it doesn't matter. But I can't. Or won't.
And the sad fact of this situation, even though the vast majority of MLB players agree with the game's anti-drug and anti-PED policies, is that it's not over yet.
It might never be over, for the same reason America (or anywhere else) will never be a crime-free nation -- human nature. As long as there are people who think taking shortcuts and breaking rules is the path to success -- and there always will be such people --there will be players willing to risk using performance-enhancing drugs.
Think about it for a minute. The game has already endured congressional hearings about steroid and PED use. It's already suffered through about 15 years worth of bad publicity about steroid/PED use. It's already resulted in sure-fire Hall of Famers being left out of the Hall because of their alleged steroid/PED use. And it's already been dealt one deadly blow after another every time all-star and superstar players have been suspended from the game for steroid/PED use.
You'd think all of that would have been more than enough to discourage present-day players from using PEDs. Has it? Obviously not.
"I think we can all agree that the penalties aren't harsh enough," Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. "If we want to get this game cleaned up the way it's supposed to be, if you get caught one time it's just you're done. I think that's the only way it'll ever get completely clean."
And maybe not even then.
Remember the Mitchell Report from 2007? A 21-month investigation resulted in a published list of 89 players who were alleged to have used steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
That should have put the fear of God into baseball players at every level.
Did it? Hardly.
Witness the current list of 14 players, plus Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, both of whom served PED-related suspensions last season.
Another thing I'm curious about -- and this might not be considered politically correct to point out, but it's a fact -- are the nationalities of those players most recently suspended.
Almost 100 percent of those suspended for PED-involvement in the Biogenesis scandal are Latino. Except for Ryan Braun, all are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or Nicaragua or, in Alex Rodriquez' case, born in America to Dominican parents.
They are: Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Sergio Escalona from Venezuela; Fernando Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Antonio Bastardo, Jordany Valdespin, Jhonny Peralta, Jordan Norberto, Cesar Puello and Fauntino de los Santos from the Dominican Republic; and Evereth Cabrera from Nicaragua.
Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon are both Dominicans, and A-Rod is a New York-born Dominican.
I have no idea why that is. Just a blip on the radar screen? Maybe. Or it could be a cultural phenomenon that someone will have to explain to me.
But there's got to be a reason why Latino players aren't getting the message, why they're still willing to take a risk so potentially embarrassing and damaging to their baseball careers and their reputations.
San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera sent a clear message to other Latin American players when he spoke to the media earlier this week: "To all the players who leave so much behind in their countries, who come to this country and you're ignorant about a lot of things, be careful with who you associate with, people who surround you that may be only interested in financial gains, who may not be interested in your personal well-being."
I don't know if there is merit in Cabrera's statement or if it's just so much finger-pointing. But if it is legit, MLB and owners of Major League teams are still not doing enough to get the word out to all players -- in particular the Latin players -- about PED use.
If it's cultural, they need to work on that, too.
And not a minute to spare.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.