Quote of the Day: Skip Schumaker brings the noise on Braun and PED users

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To underscore the earlier post about where we are now with PEDs in baseball, check out what Skip Schumaker had to say after the Dodgers game last night:

“I can’t stand it. It (PED use) needs to be eliminated from the game. I have an autographed Ryan Braun jersey hanging in my baseball room at home that I’ll be taking down now because I don’t want my son connecting this with what I had to do to get to to where I am and to have what I have. In my opinion, it should be an automatic lifetime ban. One strike — you’re out. … It’s ridiculous. They’re still doing it?

“He lied. He lied to a lot of people. I was actually convinced after that MVP year that he didn’t do anything. I think he should give that MVP trophy to Matt Kemp (runner-up in 2011). Suspend them all. It needs to get out of baseball. Watching him talk now — it makes me sick.”

We’d never hear anything like this just a couple of years ago. We’re in a totally different world now. People (including Schumaker himself) are saying that tougher penalties are needed. Well, tougher penalties are being assessed, both in hard and soft ways.  This kind of public criticism from players’ peers matters. One need only look at the overall culture of baseball and how conformity — for both good and bad reasons — is so, so powerful in the game. It’s a society in which shunning matters.

It won’t work magic. There will always be some cheaters. But don’t think for a minute that this isn’t a powerful development in baseball’s policing of its sport.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.