Sports doping is worldwide news … again. How can we ensure fair and drug-free competition?

Major league baseball, America’s “national pastime,” offers a model that assures that players aren’t pressured to pollute their bodies with dangerous steroids, teams compete on equal grounds, and fans enjoy a clean game.

How did baseball do it?

Back in the early 2000s, fans noticed that some players had bulked up — a lot. Long-standing records like most home runs in a season were not just broken, but shattered.

Something had changed. Many suspected performance-enhancing substances. Teams and players understood that if baseball fans lost trust in the sport, everyone would lose.

They took action.

“We once and for all need a very tough, comprehensive steroid policy,” said former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

In 2003, Major League Baseball (MLB) agreed to begin anonymous urine testing of players for performance-enhancing drugs.

Today a positive drug test triggers strict penalties:

  • First violation: 50-game suspension.
  • Second violation: 100-game suspension.
  • Third violation: lifetime ban from the sport.
Tough enforcement of penalties for doping in baseball has upended the problem. (© AP Images)

While MLB officials acknowledge that continued vigilance is needed, current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says: “I think our game is cleaner than it’s ever been. I think our testing program is as good as it can possibly be given the available science.”

Winter Olympics fans are right to feel cheated by the latest doping revelations. The answer may be as close as the baseball diamond.