Entries Tagged as 'PEDs'

Pay Attention! Stimulant exemptions up in MLB

There’s an interesting piece over at The Biz of Baseball on a report put out by the MLBPA and MLB.  The report contains among other things, the number of players who were granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) from baseball’s drug policy due to their particular conditions.  All told, 115 players were exempted in one way or another from MLB’s drug policy.  Of those 115, an overwhelming 108 were being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): 108
  • Hypertension: 2
  • Hypogonadism: 2
  • Narcolepsy: 1
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): 1
  • Post-Concussion Disorder: 1

During their mandatory testing in 2009, MLB found 11 instances of Adderall, a stimulant, which is an approved substance used in the treatment of ADD.

MLB players being treated for ADD is nothing new.  A few years back, relief pitcher Scott Eyre was very open about his ADD and treatment for it.  Apparently, he was bouncing all over the place before getting help.  Once treated, he could focus and started to pitch better.  Rumor has it, his bench-mates could tolerate him better, too.

Two things I’m taking away from this… One, I never knew the extent of those baseball players who have ADD (or, let’s face it, claim to have ADD).  Out of the relatively small number of players that play in the majors, 108 is a pretty high number. 

Two, it seems Adderall is the drug of choice to treat ADD among players.  I know for a fact there is a variety of drugs out there that treat ADD and they don’t all work the same.  It just seems odd that among the 3000+ drug tests that the MLB administered that another drug wasn’t found.

Finally, in case you are wondering (I was):

Hypogonadism is when the sex glands produce little or no hormones. In men, these glands (gonads) are the testes; in women, they are the ovaries.

I know… too much information..

Q&A on the 03 drug test ruling

The New York Daily News has a pretty objective breakdown (a FAQ, if you will) on last week’s court ruling centered around 2003 drug test.

Q:Was the ruling a surprise?

A:Not exactly. It upheld previous rulings by other federal judges, and the bulk of the opinion’s reasoning was a reiteration of established legal precedents, especially concerning probable cause and other protections of the Fourth Amendment.

Maybe a bit dry reading for those who just want to skip to part where hang those taking PEDs but *I* found the article interesting. 

Sorry, Mr Aaron, I respectfully disagree

There are few baseball players who I can say I have the ultimate respect.  I feel I can put Hank Aaron in that category.  He put in his time.  He played hard and played well.  He lived his life without scandal. 

But I have to disagree with him this time. 

Aaron has publically said (in front of a banquet of Associated Press writers) he wants the list of players who tested positive in 2003 for PEDs to be released to the public. 

Aaron has been a long time and vocal opponent of use of steroids and PEDs.  He has his reasons for releasing the list.  His reasons are admirable, no doubt.  With the release of the list, he reasons the use of PEDs will diminish among current players. 

The thought though, that a presumed PED user broke his all-time record most likely lingers in his mind. 

I still have to respectfully disagree.  These tests were given privately and with the agreement that no other entity would have access to them.  To this point, every name that you have heard up until now, has been an illegal breach of contract. 

I know it isn’t popular.  It is a very populist idea to think that we should find out who they are and punish them in whichever manner possible.  The fact is that there were no penalties for a positive result for the test back in 2003.  The MLB needs to respect this.  If MLB doesn’t honor that, good luck in trying to gain the players’ trust back. 

To what end would it serve to release the list?  We can’t rewrite history.  I suppose, as some have suggested we could restrict the Hall of Fame to only the “clean” ones (and measures of the like) but in my opinion, that would plunge baseball into dark, divisive, bitter scandal all for what is a relatively small number of players. 

MLB and the Players’ Union have a system currently in place for dealing with this issue.  Let’s focus on making sure this works and not go on witch hunts.

Manny, PEDs and the media

It’s interesting to me, in light of Manny Ramirez’ suspension for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), how certain media elements are handling the story.  While some like ESPN or Sports Illustrated are taking a more hard line approach, MLB.com not surprisingly is towing the company line and taking a more conciliatory approach. 

Compare these two articles that came out the day the suspension was announced, one from Sports Illustrated and the other from MLB.com.

Both are factual and to my knowledge, accurate.   However, the SI makes some clear or at least implied allegations that go beyond Mr Ramirez:

Ramirez is the first major star to be suspended under baseball’s stricter drug-testing rules that went into effect in 2003. Until now, baseball and the players union have portrayed drug use as having been nearly eradicated in the past few years, pointing out that the major drug-related stories — involving Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and the revelations in the Mitchell Report — involved drug use prior to the 2003 tightening of the program.

It’s also interesting to note the tone of the headlines of “Related Articles” from SI.  Manny saga no longer funny, the sarcastic Didn’t see this one coming and Do you buy Ramirez’ excuse?

MLB.com’s initial article, predictably and I guess blamelessly, has a very official and almost apologetic tone to it.  There are quotes from Ramirez about his “doctor’s excuse “ and his statement of apology to the owner of the Dodgers; Joe Torre, his teammates and of course, the fans. 

We also read the requisite statements from other baseball officials on how “saddened” they are. 

Links to other articles on MLB.com point to official documents such as Major League’s official drug policy and the official statements by Ramirez and the player’s union and the MLB. And more articles about how others are sad about this…. but not angry. 

Where am I going with this?  Do I think MLB is evil because they don’t tell the whole story or because they sugar coat the issue?  Not really.  Do I think ESPN, USA Today Sports and others are the bastions of sports freedom because the speak the truth?  HARDLY. 

Just this and maybe it’s painfully obvious, baseball fans need to diversify their sports news input.  Since MLB.com obviously has direct access to the information, it’s a great place to go for the hard facts like stats, boxscores, game wrapups etc.  But for good analysis, I’ll read the columnists on the more independent (but not as independent as I’d like) media outlets. 

But for straight out-and-out opinions, I’ll read the blogs.