Penalties need to be harsher

Originally Published: April 13, 2005
By Joe Morgan | Special to ESPN Insider
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Baseball has always been able to overcome any controversies or off-field problems that have plagued the game over the years.

Baseball has always been able to withstand anything that has happened – including the Black Sox scandal of 1919, the racial bias that kept African-Americans out of the majors until 1947, the cocaine controversy of the 1980s and the canceling of the 1994 World Series because of the strike.

Despite all of this, baseball is more popular today than ever before.

In my rookie year, my teammate Bob Lillis – who later became a big-league manager – told me, "Baseball has to be the greatest game ever, because it's been able to overcome all the people who have run it."

Today baseball is faced with another problem. Steroids have been the topic of conversation all winter and, really, for the past few years. And I'm confident that baseball will deal with this problem as it has with the problems of its past.

Like the racial situation, it might not be solved as quickly as we'd like, but I do believe the steroids problem will be solved. Why? Because now everyone realizes the extent of the problem. Until people in baseball felt the color barrier was wrong, there was no solution. Today, the steroids issue has been dealt with similarly.

For too long, people were saying steroids weren't a problem. Now, everyone – Congress, the players' association, the commissioner's office – realizes that there is a problem and that it must be solved.

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