In a shocking turn of events, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced today that baseball's Joint Drug Agreement has been revised to include a ban on the consumption of cheeseburgers. Citing the unfair performance-enhancing nature of the burgers, as well as adverse effects on the long-term health of the players who consume them, commissioner Selig called the move "a groundbreaking, forward-thinking and ultimately necessary revision to the rules of our proud game".
The announcement came with little to no advance warning, but a source close to the commissioner's office who spoke to Lookout Landing on condition of anonymity said "it's been a long time in the making". Common conception around the league is that the move was prompted by the recent breakouts of young players like Seattle 2B Nick Franklin, who used cheeseburgers and other high-calorie synthetic foods to bulk up over the 2012-2013 offseason. Franklin, like many other burger abusers, has seen a significant power boost this season and may face suspension under the new JDA.
"The abuse of unhealthy and dangerous performance-enhancing foods like cheeseburgers is a scourge on today's otherwise morally proper game," said Commissioner Selig at the post-announcement press conference. "Stars like Yunel Escobar and Matt Garza are role models for legions of young baseball fans. After a careful analysis of the situation, we reached the inevitable conclusion that Major League Baseball couldn't be responsible for inspiring so many young children to consume chemicals as dangerous, unhealthy, and fattening as those found in the common cheeseburger."
The announcement has already provoked the ire of several online baseball communities, including Vox Media's Baseball Nation. "Cheeseburgers, like it or not, have been a part of the game for decades," argued one Baseball Nation writer. "To arbitrarily begin cracking down on their consumption now invalidates decades of the game's history, and, worse, casts aspersions on several noteworthy Hall-of-Fame candidates. Will we now begin to judge the game's greatest players by their weight? What would Babe Ruth have to say about that?"
In a reaction article focused on the legal implications of the move, a fangraphs.com contributor declared it "almost inevitable" that the player's union would fight back against the new rules due to the lack of prior precedent for banning a non-synthetic performance enhancer. However, a source within the game dismissed that argument as "ridiculous. Who in their right mind would call a cheeseburger 'natural'? The bread is processed to death, the cheese is plastic, the beef is injected with bovine growth hormones and twenty different kinds of preservatives... there's nothing 'natural' about any of our fast food these days." Noted MLB sponsor Taco Bell has so far declined to comment on these statements.
When asked if the NFL's recent string of concussion headliners had had any effect on his decision to ban cheeseburgers, Selig responded in the affirmative. "Honestly," he said, "we're not just looking out for the children of America here - we're looking out for our players. While cheeseburgers do have short-term benefits for the body, such as promoting muscle growth and reducing time spent on the DL, in the long term they can have seriously detrimental effects on a player's quality of life. We're in the business of protecting our players' health, which is why we're also seriously considering bans on tobacco, alcohol, and pitching."
While most players have chosen to remain mum on the new anti-burger policy until their union puts forward an official opinion, one major leaguer told Lookout Landing that he thinks the move is "good for the game. It makes things more fair at the lower levels, especially for those players without the financial resources or connections to afford the cheeseburgers that their wealthier teammates get to eat. We want to remove the barriers that prevent people from getting into the game, and what better way to do it than by making these performance-enhancing meals illegal?"
The sports medicine community at large has been critical of the move, suggesting that there is no logical foundation for its existence. "We humans survive by putting chemicals into our bodies; it's where our energy comes from," noted one MIT professor. "If players didn't put chemicals into their body, they wouldn't be any good at baseball. Now all of a sudden these specific chemicals make them too good, so their consumption is banned? It doesn't make any rational sense."
Selig concluded his press conference without answering all of the media contingent's questions, promising that much more will become clear when the exact language of the ban is revealed tomorrow. It's suspected that MLB will institute a strict policy of weekly tests for the milk protein casein, the coagulation of which is crucial to the formation of cheese. Players who have admitted to cheeseburger abuse in the past may face stricter penalties for future violations of the ban than their previously-clean brethren.
There's been little to no reaction from the retired player community, except for one Tweet by noted slugger and cheeseburger enthusiast Jose Canseco. The Tweet was deleted shortly after being posted, but a direct quote can be found below:
man mlb #cheeseburgerban seriously? f&%k seilg, ill still eat. i don't even care. that some tasty sh!t lol #YOLO
-Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco)
No word yet from the baseball blogging community on how long it will take for a juvenile hack to satirize the new ban with a heavy-handed metaphor, but this writer bets it'll be within the day. Still, regardless of the opinions of petty bloggers, fans, and even the players themselves, it cannot be denied: this is a big, big day for MLB
Perhaps it could even be called Supersized.