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Incontrovertible Proof, But at What Cost?

Everyone knows that something needs to be done to include to crack down on fake Dominican birth certificates and the buscones who shepherd them into MLB arms. With the well publicized (here more than anywhere else) breakdown of the Nationals front office and decomposition of the team's scouting network in the Smiley Gonzalez affair, Major League Baseball clearly felt the need to step up it's internal policing policies, if for no other reason than to help teams help themselves.

According to the New York Times, one of the steps toward doing that is using DNA tests to authenticate identity, a practice usually more welcome at crime scenes.

It's a pretty drastic step, though MLB stressed to the Times that it was only being used in extreme cases, when the league seemed to have identified an open discrepancy.

Still, that doesn't keep the tests from identifying a whole web of other issues. What happens if the test identifies a predisposition to medical issues? While those concerns might drive a team away, they also might not have been discovered in some cases without a test.

And what about the more direct, familial connection? If a DNA test comes back and reveals that a man who has raised a child is not his real father, what happens then?

Obviously, a lot of these questions cut deeper than simple age verification. Clearly, it's important that baseball come up with a more effective and efficient way to verify young prospects from the Dominican really are who they say they are. After all, the existing system hasn't worked at all. Still, the potential for serious social repercussions and the unwanted airing of potential health risks makes DNA testing seem incredibly invasive.

What do people think? Should MLB use DNA testing for prospects, or should it be forced to rely on more traditional methods, targeting better enforcement?

By Cameron Smith  |  July 22, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
 | Tags: Dominican Republic, MLB, prospects  
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