November 14, 2003

Now with 5-7% real juice!: The results of the anonymous random MLB drug testing show that 5-7% of these random anonymous boys are on steroids. Next up: Mandatory drug testing next year for everyone, also checking for THG. Should be interesting to see who shows up considerably less bulky next spring.

posted by jerseygirl to baseball at 09:23 AM - 22 comments

Not to state the obvious, but these 5-7% are simply the ones who have been careless enough to get caught (e.g. using well-known substances, or not tapering their doses at the right time). I therefore assume that the real percentage of steroid use is much higher.

posted by molafson at 09:33 AM on November 14, 2003

True, but what we know is more than enough to be disgusted. Maybe the ball wasn't juiced after all.

posted by rcade at 09:52 AM on November 14, 2003

espn radio had marvin miller of the MLBPA on this morning. someone should have tested his ass for drugs. he was saying that there are still no facts regarding the effects of drugs such as steroids and other drugs that are banned. he was saying that everything he's read from doctors and other experts regarding the drugs are pure opinion and that there are no facts as far as the effects of these drugs....every report he's read has just been doctors opinons regarding long term effects.....citing dairy products and chocolate as examples of 'substances' that, in the past, were considred to be bad for your health.....and now they are okay. i didn't really understand his point. even that numbskull golic came with the usual suspects of steroid abuse....citing lyle alzado as a case of the effects of steroids. miller was saying there was no evidence that alzado died because of steroids. i'll tell's going to be interesting to see that list swell up in the coming is going to have it's hands full defending it's superstars.

posted by oliver_crunk at 10:25 AM on November 14, 2003

I still contend that bigger muscles don't make better hitters. Guys like Mondesi, Fullmer, Kapler, Nixon, and a slew of others all look pretty juiced up to me, but aren't exactly killing the ball power-wise, though Trot had a career year. Shawn Green hit 47 two season ago and he looks lanky as hell. Pay-Rod also doesn't have the classic McGwire-esque 'roidy bod and he's a power fiend. Hitting is a skill - the bi-products of steriods; strength and speed, seem beneficial only as an after-effect of the science of putting bat to ball. As much to do with eye, balance and mechanics as anything else. With millions at stake (and in A-Rod's case - quater-billions) I can't blame a soul for trying this. And the mere fact that so many try it would lend creedence to the arguement that it has a power-positive effect. Clearly, I have no point.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:42 AM on November 14, 2003

Next season, the tests are no longer anonymous. Should we start a pool on who will be the first big name to get busted in the media? I call Giambi! Seriously, though, the players really have no one to blame but themselves for this. The Union thought that never in a million years would more than 5% of active players get caught with steriods. Otherwise, they would never have agreed to all of the extra measures that will be taken this coming season.

posted by Jugwine at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2003

Weedy - you are right that there still has to be an ability to hit the ball, but that in no way lessens the effect that steroids wil have. When you get to this level of skill it is all about incremental improvements. You can almost take as a given that all the hitters fall within a certain narrow range of ability (obviously there are outlier freaks like the Tony Gwynns and Rob Deers of the world). For those players steroids give them just that edge in bat speed that turns warning track outs into home runs, and in some ball parks pop flies into home runs. To me, this is unsurprising but devastating. Years ago Ford Frick insisted on putting an asterisk by Roger Maris' name because he set the home run record in a longer season than Babe Ruth. If Bonds turns out to be on steroids (which will never, ever be proven because it's not too late for him to stop) would there be an asterisk? What about McGwire? What about Bret Boone years ago with his record setting season for a second baseman? And Sosa's consecutive years with 50 home runs or whatever record it is? PLAYERS ARE CHEATING!

posted by vito90 at 11:32 AM on November 14, 2003

There never was any such asterisk, vito. It was a suggestion by Frick (Ruth's friend and biographer before he became commissioner), but was never enacted. Because, of course, the Commissioner of Baseball has no authority whatsoever over Macmillan or any subsequent publisher of "the record book". MLB as an organization has never published such a thing.

posted by roger at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2003

You're right about the necessary talent, Weedy, but I think vito's point is the salient one: do we want to be looking back in 30 years, thinking of 1930-1989 as a sort of Dead Ball Era? This site came about beause so many MetaFilter members made it clear they thought sports were worthless. Will sport have any merit, will athletic achievement matter when hormones and genetic engineering are thought of in the same way as a bigger glove or a lighter bat? I'd hate to be discussing Todd Marinovich in a couple of decades[1] and have someone tell me his father was a genius, an innovator at breeding athletes[2] for fame and fortune. Sport, like art, (should) reflect and magnify aspects of our culture. Regardless of the outcome for sport, we've got serious thinking to do in the years ahead about what it means to be human in a time when you can make yourself so much "more". [1] I hate to be dicussing him now. If he's still a topic of conversation in a few years, blech. [2] Some father in East Germany is the real one anyway.

posted by yerfatma at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2003

Giambi, Sosa, McGuire, Bonds....They would be my first 4 choices. Just looking a little bulky.... This makes me sick, but as others said, not suprised. What suprises me is that the number isn't higher. Makes me sad, like Vito90 said, to think of all the records that have been broken and perhaps they weren't acheived legitimately. Makes me sick.

posted by aacheson at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2003

I should point out that a test would be considered "positive" if a) it was, in fact, positive b) the player refused to take the test There are a few players who have stated off the record that they refused to take the test because: 1) they feel it's against their civil rights to be tested randomly without cause or 2) they wanted it to be registered as a "positive" on the final count so that it would help push it past the threshhold required to enforce the mandatory testing next year, and since they knew they didn't use anything illegal, this was the only way to raise the count. Just something to chew on.

posted by grum@work at 12:17 PM on November 14, 2003

they wanted it to be registered as a "positive" on the final count so that it would help push it past the threshhold required to enforce the mandatory testing next year, and since they knew they didn't use anything illegal, this was the only way to raise the count. Do you have a link for this? I would imagine that anyone who spoke out like that would suddenly become very unpopular with the player's union. I would imagine that juiced or not, ballplayers don't want to spend the rest of their careers urinating into dixie cups.

posted by Jugwine at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2003

A number of Chicago White Sox (I think) were threatening to refuse the test in order to force mandatory testing in 2004. The Union convinced them otherwise.

posted by yerfatma at 01:04 PM on November 14, 2003

I was listening to Mike and Mike this morning, and they were talking to Peter Gammons about the test results. Gammons made a statement that upwards of 70% of the players in the union wanted mandatory testing so that their names would be cleared. Also, I thought the players were warned ahead of time about the tests, so the ones who got caught were really stupid. If thats true, it seems to me that the number of players doping would be a lot higher.

posted by BigVACub at 01:10 PM on November 14, 2003

Very, very, very interesting regarding the players refusing to take it to force testing. Good for them. And roger thanks for clarifying, I got a little overzealous there.

posted by vito90 at 02:04 PM on November 14, 2003

The punishment has no teeth though. Counseling on the first positive, 15 games and $10k on the second...according to the article after FIVE POSITIVES It will be a one year ban and $100k. Under the plan 5 positives is 2.5 seasons. People will say the court of public opinion will be tough on them, but I think that will blow over rather quickly (anyone talking about Sammy's bat in the playoffs?). It will be more like "he juices, but at least we get two more years out of him". MLB needs to nut it up and get some actual punishments going. You don't get the first time free pass with on field fighting, bat corking, or anything else in baseball, and jucing is worse than those IMO. Corked bats probably affect nothing and casse could be made fans dig the fights. Move the 15 games AND counselling to 1st offense..make the one year ban something like 3rd. 2nd is half a season to round things out nicely. Bigger fines and couselling for each offense. All the weak punishment is compunded by the fact that everyone on the 40-man roster knows they will be tested and probably has a good idea of when. Gotta be extra dumb to get caught then. Will be funny to see if some players go into slumps, get tested, and then return to form :)

posted by pivo at 02:24 PM on November 14, 2003

My bad on the timeframe...I misread the testing as two per year, where testing is actually more like once a year in a series of two tests, with extra testing for positives. But even so, now they only have to clean up once a year. Even worse. Punishments are still too weak.

posted by pivo at 02:28 PM on November 14, 2003

I am not alone.

posted by pivo at 04:03 PM on November 14, 2003

best real non-porn porn name: Dick Pound.

posted by garfield at 04:29 PM on November 14, 2003

I dunno ... Harry Colon is pretty funny.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:59 PM on November 14, 2003

I guess I like the ambiguity of 'pound'. Could it a verb, or is it an adjective? Oh, the possibilities.

posted by garfield at 05:01 PM on November 14, 2003

I'm not suprised players want testing. When you step back and think about it, would you want to be forced into taking a potentially lethal drug to stay competative? If I wasn't on juice I wouldn't want testing to clear my name ... I'd want testing so I wasn't pressured to take roids. I'd also be pissed about competing against roid freaks.

posted by Mike McD at 05:35 PM on November 14, 2003

gold star for yerfatma.

posted by djacobs at 08:17 PM on November 14, 2003

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