The New York Yankees take to the field in Yankee Stadium for Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, in New York.
A discrepancy between how Major League Baseball and the minor leagues treat marijuana use means that, at least in theory, smoking pot can expedite one's path to the bigs. This has apparently been the case for some time, but only really came to light thanks to Yahoo MLB columnist Jeff Passan, who writes of an anonymous minor leaguer's plan to "just smoke my way onto the [major league] 40-man [roster]."
Here is how — again, at least in theory — you could use marijuana to hasten your path to the major leagues.
Step 1: First, become really, really good at baseball. Good enough to make it to the minor leagues and be a legitimate hot prospect that the big club sees as a very real and important part of its future. This takes natural talent, and years of hard work, but is certainly doable.
Step 2: Here's the easy part. Smoke some weed. Then smoke some more weed. Then fail a drug test, and then fail one more after that. Minor league rules dictate a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for "drugs of abuse," and marijuana falls under that umbrella. A third offense is a 100-game ban. A fourth brings a lifetime ban.
Step 3: Through your combination of stellar play and repeated positive pot tests, make apparent that it's in the best interest of the major league club that owns your rights to promote you to the 40-man big-league roster, thereby swooping you away from the minor leagues' harsh penalties and continuing your development into a star.
At this point you're probably all like, 'Whaaaaat? Whoa." Here's the deal.
While minor league baseball has the aforementioned harsh penalties for recreational drug use, the Major League Baseball Players Association uses its union bargaining power to ensure that its members cannot be suspended for smoking pot. But you don't get protected by union rules until you make a major league roster.
The upshot, as explained by Passan: "If a player shows major league potential and a team wants to shelter him from a 100-game suspension for a third offense or lifetime ban for a fourth, it simply needs to place him on the 40-man and subject him to a major league policy that cannot suspend players who test positive for weed."
If you can remain on the major league roster and keep toking up, you risk fines, more frequent testing and possibly a treatment program, but no suspensions.
Of course, no team would ever publicly admit to promoting a player because they value his big league potential more than they care about whether he smokes the occasional joint. An MLB spokesperson told Yahoo that ""we would be extremely surprised if a club made a promotion decision based on the differences in the programs."
Nonetheless, it's technically possible and an interesting scenario to consider — if you only open your mind, man.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, MLB, SPORTS