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July 22, 2002

Genetic Disparity

Send in the Clones

by Derek Jacques

New York (BP) -- Major League Baseball announced the suspension of 40 major leaguers, including Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Roberto Alomar, for possession and use of performance-enhancing genes.

"Competitive balance, baseball's hallowed records and traditions, and the financial viability of several small-market franchises is being threatened by a race of genetically-enhanced supermen," said owners' representative Bud Selig. "If we do not stop these athletic freaks here and now, 89% of all major-league franchises will go bankrupt before the end of the month."

Asked if he had the authority to suspend players for "performance-enhancing genetics," Selig said, "Sure I do. We took a vote, 30-0, I get to do it."

When reporters brought to Selig's attention that San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan was tied to a chair, screaming into a gag in the corner of the room, Selig replied, "Oh, we took a vote on that, too. 30-0. He's just trying to tell you how much he supports our plan to take care of the genetic disparity issue. Don't worry about him. It's relaxing. Recreational. Next owner's meeting it'll be [Texas owner Tom] Hicks' turn."

"Anyway, the commissioner's office has always had the authority to regulate the genetic qualities of our players. It's that 'best interest of the game' thing. We just haven't enforced those rules since 1946, but now we have to."

Other members of the baseball media lauded the suspensions.

"These damn kids of ballplayers are all a pain. I tried interviewing that Ken Griffey Jr. once. Can you believe he remembered something I wrote about his old man back in '82, about how the only way Ken Griffey could get the ball out of the infield was if he smuggled it in his jockstrap? Can you believe the kid held a grudge?"

Barry Bonds, one of the suspended players, objects to the new policy.

"First they said that baseball had been diluted by too much expansion, bad pitchers, small ballparks. Then they said I must have cheated, but I didn't take steroids and my bat wasn't corked. Now it's that my genes are too good.

"I broke the stupid record. Get over it."

"That Bonds, he's the worst of the bunch," said a frothing-at-the-mouth Selig. "His father is, like, 70 years old, and he still looks like he could beat up a barful of Hell's Angels. With a genetic advantage like that, how could his son not hit 73 home runs a season?

"That's the problem right there. A lot of these players, with their athletic parents and superior genes, have an insurmountable advantage over those of us whose parents are couch potatoes, or who were conceived during a random one-night stand with a non-world-class athlete.

"Not only do these genetically-superior ballplayers cheapen baseball's records and traditions, they encourage genetically-superior women to have sex with specimens such as themselves in order to breed the next generation of baseball superstars."

Bob Boone, manager of the Cincinnati Reds and former major-league catcher, had this to say about the suspensions:

"I have mixed emotions. First, I'm sad that my sons, Aaron and Bret, are suspended from baseball, apparently for life. On the other hand, I'm quite thankful that Major League Baseball has finally elected to acknowledge my genetic superiority over all of you."

Jerry Hairston Jr., one of the suspended players, disagrees.

"How can they say I have superior genes? I have a 618 OPS! I'm not even sure my dad was a super-gened athlete! Some people say I look kind of like the former governor of Arkansas."

The former governor of Arkansas, reached for comment in Chappaqua, N.Y., made the following statement:

"Let me make one thing clear: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Mrs. Hairston."

All indications are that the 40 suspensions issued today are just the tip of the iceberg, as players throughout the league are being investigated for use of performance-enhancing genes.

"My dad looks like he's really tall and strong, but he's actually pretty soft," said an obviously-nervous Derek Jeter. "He's not very fit at all. And don't even get me started about my mom."

Still, the owners' representative made it clear that the suspensions are only a temporary solution. In order to combat the problem long-term, Selig proposed the most sweeping change to the game since his contraction proposal last winter.

"Clones. We're going to field 30 teams composed entirely of clones," Selig announced. "Clones are not subject to the genetic disparities that have been ruining baseball. We will take one mediocre player, probably Shane Halter--he's very versatile, you know--and give each ballclub 25 of him, to use as pitchers, hitters, infielders, whatever. The league would keep a few clones in reserve for injuries. Every team would then be on equal footing, and you wouldn't have any more of the confusing ethnic or racial differences that turn fans off from the game.

"And imagine negotiating with a player agent who's representing a clone? Sorry Scott Boras, why should I pay your guy millions of dollars when I can just pick another one just like him out of the cloning vats? Har har!"

Selig added that the cloning plan would be ready to go in time for the start of the 2003 season.

When informed by reporters that certain barriers--such as the fact that human cloning is illegal in several states, and the fact that it would take at least 18 years to grow cloned human fetuses into usable major-league players--could delay the owners' plans, Selig replied:

"Now that's just irresponsible reporting. We've voted on the clones, voted 30-0, for 2003, and it's going to happen in 2003. All that stuff you mentioned is just lawyer talk and Union posturing."

When asked to comment on the replacement clone plan, Rickey Henderson said:

"Clones? Rickey thinks they're scary, with their big red noses and their huge shoes. I mean, what kind of man wears makeup? Rickey's scared of 'em."

Asked about the possibility that the Players Association would challenge a plan that called for the firing of every member of the union, Selig said, "They'd be fools to try. I've read the Collective Bargaining Agreement cover-to-cover, and it says a lot of things about strikes and lockouts and stuff, but nothing about clones. Not a thing."

Derek Jacques is an Associate at Lally & Lally, LLP. He lives in New York City, and is only slightly afraid of clowns. He can be reached at jacques@law.com.

Derek Jacques is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Derek's other articles. You can contact Derek by clicking here

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