No Soup for You for 50 Games!

jc-romero Baseball’s drug policy is ridiculous. J.C. Romero is the latest victim, suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season and he’ll lose $1.25 million dollars. Romero was the winning pitcher in game three & game five (the clincher) for the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

Now the lefty relief specialist has been found guilty of negligence, even though the over the counter supplement he purchased at GNC in Cherry Hill, NJ contained no warning label. He had it checked by his personal nutritionist, who said there was nothing in the supplement that was illegal. Phillies strength and conditioning coach Dong Lien told him to get a second opinion; Romero took the supplement to a second nutritionist, who cleared it. In the hearing, Lien testified to that fact, but at another time he said he suggested Romero not take it.

On Aug. 26 and Sept. 19, Romero was tested, as all players are, randomly. On Sept. 23, players’ association counsel Bob Lenaghan informed Romero he had tested positive. He immediately stopped taking all supplements, even though he had no idea it was the cause of the positive test. He spoke to Michael Weiner at the MLBPA and told him he did not know the cause of the positive test. On Oct. 1, Weiner told Romero that the specific supplement was indeed the cause of the failed test and that because it was purchased over the counter in the U.S., he believed the case would be dropped. That same day, Oct. 1, Romero was tested again. The results were negative. So for the NLDS, NLCS and World Series, Romero says the supplement was no longer in his system.

Two days later, Romero was informed that MLB would be willing to reduce his suspension to 25 games, starting at the beginning of the 2009 season, on the condition that he admitted guilt. Romero said he couldn’t because he did not believe he did anything wrong. On Oct. 12, the second set of test results came back — from the Sept. 19 test conducted four days before Romero learned he had tested positive the first time — and was positive. MLB then changed its offer: The suspension would still be reduced to 25 games, but it had to start immediately and he had to admit guilt. Again, Romero declined, because he did not believe he was in the wrong and because he did not want to miss his first World Series. The arbitration hearing was held Oct. 22 in Tampa, the first day of the World Series. Curiously, the bottle of the supplement MLB had purchased contained the label warning: “Use of this product may be banned by some athletic or government associations.” However, the bottle Romero had purchased and brought to the hearing contained no warning. In December, the players’ association informed Romero that the arbitrator had had a change of heart and was ruling against him. On Sunday, that was confirmed, and Tuesday afternoon, MLB will announce the suspension. There seems to be little question that the players’ association unwittingly misled Romero — and other players — about over-the-counter supplements purchased in the United States. Somehow, after MLB was warned in early July, those concerns about three supplements available at every GNC store did not reach the players’ association.

If you were like me, you might have skimmed the story of J.C. and thought, oh well another druggie caught with his hand in the cookie jar, but this seems far from the case in Romero’s case. He had it checked by his personal nutritionist, the Phillies strength coach, a second nutritionist, nothing was on the label, it was purchased over the counter in the United States, and the union had misled its members into believing supplements purchased over the counter in America were not banned. It seems like Romero did everything he could to find out if the supplement was banned. Now he’s paying the price, it’s a raw deal.

Today following a positive test under MLB’s minor league drug testing program, NY Mets organization secondbaseman, Kyle Suire, will be suspended fifty games. Suire tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, the commissioner’s office said. His penalty will take effect at the start of this season. He batted .297 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs last season for Kingsport of the rookie-level Appalachian League. Kyle was the fourth minor leaguer suspended this year under the program, the third for performance-enhancing drugs. One was banned after a positive test for a drug of abuse.

This also seems insane, is this what everybody was getting worked up about when talking about getting drugs out of baseball? Somehow Hispanic minor leaguers seem to get caught in this dragnet, more often than not, seems to me the message is not getting out to the players. It hardly seems worth the risk, getting caught means 50 games, Delmon Young was suspended fifty games for hitting a minor league umpire with a bat, that’s a big fine for somebody taking a banned substance, maybe the supplements outside of this country aren’t labeled properly. The players union needs to get the word out, maybe even test supplements in question, and either give a yes or no, before the player takes the substance in question.

One Response to “No Soup for You for 50 Games!”

  1. I think that before you judge Kyle Suire, one must really research the situation. Kyle Suire was NOT on Performance Enhancing Drugs.

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