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Maybe It's Too Late to Police Steroids in Baseball
Posted by Chris Liss at 5/19/2006 1:16:00 AM
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It's been pointed out by our partner Ron Shandler that out of 1200 players tested for steroids in 2005, only 12 tested postive and just about all of them were either scrubby minor leaguers or fringe major leaguers, Rafael Palmeiro, a fading former semi-star who does Viagra commericals, being the exception.

I read Buster Olney's Blog on ESPN discussing whether it's reasonable to comment one way or another whether Albert Pujols is on steroids, and his basic (and somewhat obvious) point is that we'll never truly know, either way. But there are two things we do know: (1) that more than those 12 guys must be using because if it was just those 12, and 11 of them suck, then steroids don't work, and they never would have become an issue; and (2) that if a Pujols (or some other huge star) did test positive that MLB would have an enormous incentive to keep that quiet.

Think of it this way - if the mail room guy steals office supplies, you fire him. If your best salesman, who makes you $1,000,000 a year in profit steals office supplies, you look the other way. And consider that Bud Selig looked the other way during the obviously steroid driven home run chase in 1998, so why would he want to destroy baseball's rep even further if the game's biggest stars were all juicing. At what point does it become a business decision to keep it quiet and put in a fake policy to handle the stuff that's already come out.

What would surprise you more - that a guy like Pujols or David Ortiz was juicing, or that baseball would out them if they were? Even though we have no direct evidence of the former (some circumstantial evidence such as the massive size of their physiques, their ability to hit towering home runs, (in Pujols' case, the Bonds'-like plate discipline), etc.) the latter would surprise me more. So that only those scrubs have tested positive is evidence of nothing. At this point, it's the same as if they simply had no policy, and we're just left to speculate freely. There's little doubt that some major star other than Bonds, Giambi, etc. is or was juicing.


Well your argument is obviously legitimate and you didn't even mention that MLB doesn't even test for THG which some stars could have switched to and not had to deal with any of the consaquences of possibly getting caught.
Posted by nayfel at 5/19/2006 10:36:00 AM
personally, I think at this point that MLB officials would have no problem outing a star who was on the juice. It would justify everything that they're currently doing, and it's their perception that the majority of fans care a great deal about getting steroids out of baseball. If Pujols was on the juice and did get caught, I do think they would suspend him just like they did the scrubs. If ever came out that they had a positive test on a guy and didn't do anything, the ramifications would be much worse than if the penalized that guy in the first place.

I doubt that any stars will ever get caught, though. As you said, there are obviously more than just those 12 who were using. The players simply seem to be one step ahead.
Posted by herbilk at 5/19/2006 1:44:00 PM
First, according to its web site, MLB does in fact test for THG.

10/30/2003 Baseball bans THG
Major League Baseball and its union have agreed to place the drug known as THG on the list of anabolic steroids that is subject to drug testing [in 2004].

Second, I would never put it past MLB to cover up a star player's steroid use, but with the World Anti-Doping Agency conducting the tests, the process seems tougher to skirt.

Players who want to use steroids likely will always find a way to outsmart the tests. But as long as steroid users control their use so they still produce reasonable results, everyone probably will be happy. It's when they pump the juice Canseco-style that screws everything up. It's like what Tony Soprano once said, Mr. and Mrs. John Q Public look the other way when it comes to cigarette heists, gambling, etc., but when guys are being offed left and right, then they feel unsafe and that's when the politicans get
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 5/19/2006 10:28:00 PM

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 5/19/2006 10:29:00 PM
Somewhat germane to your post, here's a rumor that Clemens has a Jordan-like suspension going on:
Posted by Erickson at 5/20/2006 1:47:00 AM

Somewhat germane to your post, here's a rumor that Clemens has a Jordan-like suspension going on:
Posted by Erickson at 5/20/2006 1:48:00 AM
I agree with Jason -- "I would never put it past MLB to cover up a star player's steroid use"

They knew of the steroid use before but they needed the big home run chase of 98 to help bring back fans. I also don't believe that all of the 66 bats they took from Sosa (after he was caught with a corked bat) were clean. They were not going to tarnish their big marketing campaign so soon after his exploits.
Posted by flutiefan at 5/20/2006 3:44:00 PM
THG is banned but not tested for.
Posted by nayfel at 5/22/2006 11:33:00 AM

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