By Dave Roloff Published May 21, 2005 at 5:52 AM

{image1} Commissioner Bud Selig continues to turn the screws on Donald Fehr and the MLBPA. This past week, Selig has gone public saying that he would back Congress on whatever drug policy it comes up with if the MLBPA does not respond to his latest initiative concerning steroids.

Selig's latest plan is considerably more strict than the plan that is currently in place. A first offense renders a 50 game suspension. A second offense renders a 100 game suspension, and a third offense is a lifetime ban from the game.

Baseball has made baby steps this past season by implementing a new steroid policy. Although, other than being outed in the public as a steroid user, a 10-game suspension means relatively nothing.

As of right now, Selig has the public's backing and the MLBPA by the throat. In this case, Selig is in the right and the players would look ridiculous if the try to bargain the penalties down. Basically that will make them look like they are pro-steroid, and that's them backed into a corner.

On the other hand, Selig should be cautious. This will be the second consecutive issue that the MLBPA will have given up bargaining for free. Since the arrival of Marvin Miller, the players have never lost a battle with the owners. In fact they have never even had to give in.

In a year and a half the current Collective Bargaining Agreement will have expired. Do not expect for one second that Donald Fehr will forget about being forced to have his players association give something without compensation, regardless of the fact that it is the morally correct thing to do.

There has always been a separation between what is the right thing to do and what is the most profitable bargaining chip. There is no question that while the players are being beaten into a corner, the future chances of a smooth bargaining for a new agreement are dwindling.

According to the players the plan is not without its flaws. Trying to include amphetamines on the banned list is not exactly going over smoothly. In fact so much so that some players have actually come out publicly against including amphetamines on the list.

Some players have come out saying that it would be bad for the game, that if the fans want a bunch of 2-1 games, they should ban amphetamines. It is a fine line to walk, since being pro drugs is about as PR friendly as the Marquette Gold.

Amphetamines have been a staple in the clubhouses for many years. The first truth about the use of "greenies" came out in Jim Bouton's controversial novel "Ball Four." The novel was based on Bouton's 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots. He was the first player to talk about life inside the clubhouse where the use of speed was almost mandatory.

The thought process was, "Why should I play against someone that is on them and give them the advantage?" They are also many stories where players couldn't play without them. While steroid use has fluctuated greatly over the years, many forms of amphetamines have stayed staples in Major League clubhouses.

There isn't a clubhouse in baseball that doesn't have pots of black coffee next to energy drinks such as "Red Bull," which are all readily available. Many players believe that they are a staple to their survival over a 162 game schedule.

No longer are "greenies" publicly displayed, but it also isn't a secret that things of this nature are readily accepted.

The players are sure to quietly back down on the issue of steroids, but there is a possibility that they ask to have the amphetamines clause taken out or at the minimum the scope of banned substances narrowed.

At this point of his tenure Selig is intently thinking of what his legacy as Commissioner is going to be. He has spent the last five years trying to mold that legacy. He does not want to be known as the Commissioner that canceled the World Series or the Commissioner of the "Steroid Era" of baseball.

In turn he implemented the wild card, revenue sharing, interleague play and attendance is through the roof across the board. Now he has implemented a steroid policy that could save the game from itself. Preservation of the history of the game and its statistics is one of baseball's top priorities.

If Selig can implement his current plan into law and somehow continue the games progress without a work stoppage in 18 months, he may go down as one of the greatest commissioners in history of the game.

While he has the MLBPA on their knees he may want to think about the big picture. As the old saying goes "what goes around comes around". If Selig takes too big of a bite out of Donald Fehr on the drug policy, he is sure to get bit back tenfold when negotiation for the new CBA begin.

Dave was born and raised on the south side of Milwaukee. He is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh where he graduated in Business while playing four years of football. He is a sports junkie who, instead of therapy, just watches the Bucks and the Brewers. Dave is a season ticket holder for the Brewers, Bucks and Packers, as well as a football coach at Greendale High School. Dave still likes to think he still can play baseball but has moved on to the more pedestrian sports of bowling and golf. Dave is a Pisces and it depends on whom he is walking with to determine whether he likes long walks on the beach. Dave writes with an encyclopedic knowledge and a sarcastic flare. Mainly to insure his sanity.