Entries Tagged as 'steroids'

Who exactly is doing the drug testing of the minor league players?

Major League Baseball has now implemented random drug testing for minor league baseball players.  It’s all part of the plan… the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program to be specific. 

Who will be doing the actual testing?  A company called the National Center for Drug Free Sport.

For those interested in clicking deeper, you can find out the details on Drug Free Sport’s methods of specimen collecting (the SCAN method, Secure Collection Automated Network) and specimen analysis (they test for Anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, drugs of abuse, and masking agents, urine manipulators, adulterants).

Drug Free Sport has a wide clientele indeed.  They are being used by the NCAA, the PGA, MLB and the NBA.

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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. 

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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.

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Sammy Sosa, Steroids, and Anonymity

What is the biggest issue here?  The fact that Sosa may have used PEDs?  Or that the results from a federally administrated (and confidential) test which were contractually promised to remain anonymous were made public?

From Circling the Bases:

The greater wrong in my mind is the fact of the leaks themselves. I’m a lawyer by trade, and it shocks me that fellow officers of the court are divulging this sort of information to the media. This is evidence that was seized in an ongoing criminal case that is subject to court order putatively preventing its release. The act of leaking this stuff is, at the very least, a violation of that court order and a violation of legal ethics. Depending on the exact language of the order, it could be a criminal act. I don’t know about you, but that causes me far more concern than whether Sammy Sosa took steroids six years ago.

I know, I know, now that the truth is known, no one cares.  No one is going to cry a river for poor Sammy Sosa.  I don’t have any sympathy for him myself.  But the issue of anonymity during these tests are crucial.  I still think it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down. 

These “anonymous” tests are going to mean jack squat after a while and its use as a tool will lose its effectiveness.

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Injuries abound early in 2009

Every year it’s the same but more.  Earlier and earlier, injuries are taking their toll on the players.  Reading the baseball news is like a who’s who in the injury report.  Santana, Wood, Bonderman, the list goes on…

Now we hear Boof Bonser is out for 2009. 

Milton Bradley barely made it out of the dugout in the first game before coming out because of tightness in his quad.  (To add insult to injury, Mark DeRosa is off to a good start, with a homerun under his belt).

Granted, some of these are not serious and for the most part precautionary moves to prevent something that would impact their teams down the road.  That said, playing these kind of games this early in the (pre-) season doesn’t bode well for any (ok, most) teams who have to deal with this.

Query:  How much does steroids (or maybe, the withdrawal of steroids) have to do with increase of injuries in the MLB right now?

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Some words of calm wisdom from Tom Glavine… or is it damage control?

Tom Glavine talked to the press Friday about PED testing standards in the major leagues.

“I think that it’s easy to sit on the outside, look at what has happened and blame Bud Selig or Don Fehr and the Players Association by saying that one of these guys or all of these guys knew more and should have known more,” Glavine said. “You know what? I don’t think it’s fair to say that.

While I’m certainly not ready to absolve Bud Selig on the matter especially considering what he said the other day about not taking responsibility on the steroid issue, Glavine’s point is somewhat well taken.  The fans and the media are busy playing the blame game and most of the dialogue I hear is more directed at hatin’ on the player rather than solving the problem. 

My friend Nick once told me, “C’mon, fans like to boo!”.  Of course, he was talking about within a ballgame.  However, you could extend his point to the broader context of Major League Baseball and problems it faces.  A lot of fans (most?) would just as soon read the headlines and listen to the sound bites throw ARod to the wolves.  Most of the media, unfortunately, is complicit in this as well, fueling the fire of contempt rather than providing good solutions to the issue. 

I’m not an ARod fan and I’m certainly not condoning what he did.  I’ve just seen and heard what has happened in the past with similar issues.  Bonds, McGwire, the list is long and problem is still here. 

Glavine does advocate for consequences for Alex Rodriguez, as well he should, 

“There comes a time for everybody in life — I don’t care where you are or what you do — that you have choices to make, and sometimes people make bad choices.  If you make a bad choice, then that’s your responsibility to deal with the consequences of that bad choice, and certainly Alex is having to deal with that.

However, baseball management was definitely responsible, at least in part, for not quelling the steroid issue at some point.  With his statement to the press, Glavine needs to be careful while he treads a fine line between calm, reasoned thought and being a ‘yes’ man for the MLB (ironic since he is the player rep for the NL). 

All parties need to take responsibility…

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Latest Druggie Caught in MLB’s Fishnet

Here is another example of MLB catching a young Latino taking performance enhancers. There has to be a reason why all of these Hispanic players are being caught. Either they’re being targeted, which I doubt, or they don’t fully understand the rules, and what is okay to take, and what is not, which I suspect to be the case. Somehow MLB needs to get the word out to these young men, before they are forced to pay the price. It seems very strange to me that these marginally talented young men are caught, and established stars are very rarely nabbed.

Marlins Minor League pitcher Pascual Arias was handed a 50-game suspension on Tuesday. The 20-year-old was suspended for being in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The infielder tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Arias had been playing Summer League ball in the Dominican Republic. A converted infielder, Arias was hitless in 20 at-bats with 11 strikeouts and a walk in 2007. This past season, Arias pitched in 14 games and was 0-1 with 4.50 ERA.

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MLB SNARES TWO IN DRUG NET

You might have thought the drug problem in baseball is behind us, but it’s good to see the powers that be are still on the job, catching those who violate the rules, and making them pay. The latest two villains are Damian Tavares & Ambiorix Suero, both will receive 50 game suspensions for taking performance enhancers.

Taveras is a catcher in the Yankees minor league system, who played in the Rookie Dominican Summer League, where the then 19 year old, batted .229, with one home run, in 166 at bats. In 2007 he batted .207, with one homer, in 193 at bats, in the same league. So you can see the progress he’s making and the impact taking steroids has had on his career. Stanozolol is the steroid in his system.

In 2005 Rafael Palmeiro was suspended 10 days after Stanozolol was found in his system, this came months after he testified before the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on steroid usage in baseball, and he denied using steroids.

Barry Bonds has been accused of using Stanozolol in the book, Game of Shadows. Strength coach, Brian McNamee alleged Roger Clemens was injected with Stanozolol during the 1998 baseball season.

Ambiorix Suero was found to have Boldenone in his system, it can stay in one’s system for 1 1/2 years after taking it. The 17 year old pitcher, from the Baltimore Orioles organization, appeared in six games in the Rookie Dominican Summer League in 2008, where he posted a 9.53 ERA, with eleven walks in 5 2/3 innings of work, imagine if he hadn’t taken roids.

Now I’m not saying take down the walls and let everyone take whatever they want to tack, nor am I suggesting steroid use doesn’t help athletes achieve better results. I am just not naive enough to believe, marginally talented Hispanic minor leaguers are the only ones guilty of steroid use. It seems as though the law is being disproportionately applied.

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THE RICH GET RICHER

money_bag_with_dollar_sign When I was a kid I used to get excited about teams beefing up for the home stretch with deals around the trading deadline.  But now it’s all about MONEY.  BIG MONEY!  Let’s level the playing field and bring parity to baseball.  I know what you’re thinking, the Brewers, Twins, Marlins, & Rays are all still in the race.  That’s true, but there’s something wrong when teams can steal players away for next to nothing, all because of money.

Big market teams like the Yankees & the Angels can virtually get stars for nothing.  Ivan Rodriguez going to New York for Kyle Farnsworth is obsene, so is Mark Teixeira being traded to the LA Angels of Anaheim for Casey Kotchman.  You can’t laud GM’s who steal players from smaller market ballclubs.  I am not putting teams down for taking advantage of the situation that currently exists in baseball, I just wish MLB would do something to correct it.

Some of you may be wondering my take on the White Sox getting future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. in exchange for Nick Masset & Danny Richar.  While I agree that Masset & Richar are marginal prospects at best, Junior hasn’t really done anything for the Reds this year, and the jury is out as to whether he’ll be able to play CF & help the White Sox down the stretch this year.

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MLB TOO BIG FOR ITS BRITCHES

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing the other day, MLB wasn’t going to allow Little League baseball teams to use their team names without the proper licensing. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’m afraid I’m not. It seems ridiculous to me that MLB would be concerned about the money they get off the proper licensing regarding their team names when it comes to Little League. I know their’s money to be made, but come on!

I remember being a Little League coach of seven & eight year olds when I was only 18 years old myself. Our team was called the Yankees. I honestly don’t know if there was a licensing fee paid or not for the privilege of being called the Yankees. Would the fee be less if your team was named after a loser team, like the Cubs? Just kidding.

I would think MLB would be proud to have Little Leaguers wearing their team names on their uniforms, dreaming of growing up to be a major leaguer, like their heroes, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa. Now it turns out their heroes were cheaters, doing steroids to get an unfair edge over their opponents.

In this day of corporate greed, I guess it makes sense to squeeze every penny out of every pocket. Maybe the Little Leaguers could sell lemonade so the big, rich, millionaire ballplayers could get their cut of the licensing money. I say, shame on MLB, and I think MLB is getting a little too big for its britches!

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