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Neifi Perez, Super Genius

Neifi Perez's career with the Detroit Tigers was likely already over, as Dave Dombrowski's pursuit of a shortstop/utility infielder in recent weeks had made it pretty clear that the team had decided to move on.

Maybe you already saw the news on the newly installed sidebar widget, but Neifi's 2007 season (and quite possibly any future career he had in baseball) is now officially over after he tested positive yet again for use of a banned stimulant. In accordance with baseball's new policy, Neifi has been suspended for 80 games. If you're keeping track of these things - and Neifi apparently isn't - such a penalty comes with a third positive test for amphetamines.

So for clarity's sake, let's review the sequence of events. Neifi was caught once, which under the new drug policy essentially means he was placed on notice. He probably received a finger wagging and a stern "don't do this again, and was likely put on a whole new schedule of random drug tests. For most players, that would probably be enough to compel them to stop taking banned stimulants, lest he be caught again and incur a multi-game suspension.

Neifi, however, apparently thought he could beat the system. Either that, or - as David Ortiz might say in his defense - Neifi is running up against the language barrier and just doesn't know that what he's taking is illegal. However, that rationale would seem to wear increasingly thin each time he gets caught. Regardless, Neifi tested positive a second time and drew a 25-game suspension. Again, having your livelihood taken away for a substantial period of time might be sufficient to scare a lot of people straight. Gee, I'd better stop taking this stuff.

But not Neifi. Unless someone didn't sit him down and explain that a third positive test for amphetamines would result in being suspended for half a season, or didn't translate the label on a bottle of pills for him (and maybe that's possible, since he couldn't be around the team for 25 games), Neifi looked at the potential penalties facing him and sneered the sneer of defiance. Or these were the acts of an extremely desperate man, doing all he could to keep his major league job.

Could it be that Neifi relishes being a trend-setter? Perhaps knowing that he won't establish a mark on the game of baseball for his play, Neifi chose another avenue for setting a precedent. When he was given his 25-game suspension, Neifi was the first major leaguer to receive such a penalty under the new drug policy. But you know, maybe someone will come along and join him in those ranks. So Neifi had to do something else to stand out, to set the bar high enough to stay out of reach. While he's at it, why not be the first major leaguer to be banned for 80 games for ingesting a substance he's not supposed to?

What a #@$%ing moron.

On the bright side, Neifi has helped his team. Because of the suspensions, the Tigers will save about $1.2 million in salary. (If only they could've passed some of that money along to Eric Gagne to get him to waive that no-trade clause...)

(via Matt Watson @ The Fanhouse)