From a Hall of Fame standpoint, and Philadelphia Phillies third-base coach Ryne Sandberg is one of that august community, Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun's chances of reaching the Hall pretty much went out the window when he was suspended for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.
"Absolutely," Sandberg, former Chicago Cubs star second baseman, said Wednesday night. "But this is about baseball. This is about the integrity of the game. It isn't about the Hall of Fame."
Sandberg said he would like to see baseball crack down much harder on cheaters and liars, in regard to using performance-enhancing drugs.
"The bottom line is that the players are still comfortable with the penalties involved," said Sandberg. "Guys have failed tests and sat out two months and got big multi-year contracts the next year. And they don't seem to worry about it. They're still in the game.
"I'd like the penalties really stiffened up."
"Two or three years," Sandberg said. "If you have a guy sit out two or three years and you have other players taking their jobs, I think it would be tougher to get back into the game. One year is tough."
Sandberg, in fact, did sit out a year in 1995 before coming back with the Cubs, but he had retired. He hadn't been suspended.
"I'd want to ask what the GMs and the owners think about signing a guy to a contract (Braun, for instance, is signed through 2020) and having that happen during that contract," said Sandberg. "What's wrong with nixing the whole contract?"
Sandberg also has an issue with awards won by violators, i.e., Braun's Most Valuable Player award in 2011. "(Los Angeles outfielder Matt) Kemp was short-changed of a possible MVP that year," said Sandberg.
"Those kinds of awards are tremendous for a guy's career," said Sandberg, the 1984 National League MVP. "When they're cheated out of it, there's no taking back of the award and I think that's just a shame."
Sandberg further noted that drug cheaters are not only winning awards but taking jobs from non-cheating players by putting up bigger numbers.
"There's a huge effect," Sandberg. "And it's all negative."