Ryne Sandberg used his Hall of Fame platform to take aim at steroid users, praising Andre Dawson for doing it “the right way, the natural way” during his 2005 induction speech.
Trying to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, Sandberg took his respect-the-game message and Cooperstown credentials into a coaching career that brought him back to Wrigley Field on Friday as the Philadelphia Phillies interim manager.
Sandberg kept his hardline position when the topic of performance-enhancing drugs came up near the end of a media session that lasted almost 18 minutes inside the visiting dugout.
“I personally think the punishment penalties need to be much stiffer,” Sandberg said. “You have a guy that tests positive and he has to sit out two or three years. I think that’s a little different ballgame.”
Twelve players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal accepted 50-game suspensions without pay. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun took a 65-game suspension last month and lost more than $3 million, but should still earn close to $100 million and be ready for Opening Day 2014. Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game suspension while helping the New York Yankees try to make a playoff push.
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In his post-playing career, Sandberg has become more outspoken. He has said that ex-teammate Sammy Sosa – who was identified in a New York Times report as one of 104 players who tested positive during the anonymous PED survey in 2003 – doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.
“The testing is aggressive and it seems to work,” Sandberg said. “But the message can’t get out there any clearer that it doesn’t belong in Major League Baseball and doesn’t belong in sports. Every time baseball takes a hit, it’s another step backwards from what needs to be done.”