Saturday, March 5, 2016

Law & Order: PED

'I wuz framed,' says Jenrry Meija.


As a Mets fan, I should take little pleasure in Jenrry Mejia's permanent ban from baseball for failing a third test for performance-enhancing drugs (PED). He is the first player to earn the distinction since Major League Baseball (MLB) started getting serious about doping. In 2010, he was ranked the 56th highest prospect by Baseball America. The Mets and their fans had high hopes.

In an interview Thursday, Mejia said, “I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that [MLB was] trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”

Mejia was only 20 in 2010 and would pitch in 33 major league games that season, the youngest Met to make the opening day roster since Dwight Gooden. (Gooden had his own problems with drugs but they weren't the kind that might make a pitcher better.) While the Mets have a wealth of starting pitching, Mejia's arm has been and will be missed in the bullpen.

As anyone who has spent time around convicts—I visited Sing Sing as part of prison ministry and my father and brother have had prison pen pals—the claim, "I am innocent," is often hard to believe. Sad as it all is, I have to laugh at Mejia's claim that MLB fabricated a false positive. As a television detective would ask, "What was their motive?"

Each episode runs for 48 minutes, however. Might it come out later that Mejia was in fact set up but by another party? That would be dramatic, but I think it is unlikely. After numerous elbow injuries, Tommy John surgery and the failed drug tests, the fans have moved on. Apparently Mejia isn't quite there yet.

Mejia can petition the commissioner of baseball for reinstatement after sitting out two years. The earliest that he might pitch again in affiliated baseball is 2018. He will still only be 28 years old.

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