|HGH Testing a Weak Prop||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 05, 2011
Come one, come all! Enter the amazing world of HGH.Â This little injection will amaze you.
Can it help you heal faster?Â Of course it can! Can it help you lose weight and burn fat?Â Of course it can! How about improve your eyesight? Wink, wink. What do you think?
It's an amazing little substance! Make that arm rebound from hard use a little faster, have a little more stamina! It even makes you feel younger!
All you need is a needle and supplier!Â And best of all, it's virtually undetectable!Â In fact if the officials in your sport don't draw your blood within 48 hours, they won't be able to catch you with it!Â How amazing is that!
That's why baseball's new HGH testing policy is a sham.
The brass over at MLB knows this, but they also know the truth most sports fans, especially the casual fans, won't bother to follow the story in detail.Â If the MLB publicity machine works hard enough, the masses will believe that baseball really has an HGH policy that is more than a paper tiger.
This is a political solution, rather than a real one.Â The Players Union is seemingly giving up on blood testing for PEDs, the owners are seen as getting a HGH test, and neither is really giving anything because the only times testing is allowed by the new CBA is during the offseason and during spring training, times when only the most stupid or desperate of players would be taking HGH.
HGH has become the drug of choice among Major Leaguers for many reasons.Â It's hard to detect, doesn't show up on urine tests and leaves the body fairly quickly, unlike steroids which in some cases can have trace amounts in urine for weeks or even months.Â Its perceived benefits include weight loss, faster recovery time, increased cardiac function, quicker regeneration of overused and stressed muscles and tendons, and the easing of those nagging little injuries and aches that pile up over the course of a baseball season.Â Of course it's also billed as an age reversing drug and one that can help an older player stay in game as the years go by.Â And did we mention that it's very, very well publicized within sporting circles as well as in the media?
No, it's not the high-profile PED everyone looks for. That would be steroids.Â That's because with the exception of the Jason Szuminskis who make it to the show, the baseball world isn't filled with rocket scientists who understand each potential PED they inject or ingest and whether or not it can be detected.Â They trust dealers, trainers and even online sources for the information on those substances or in luck.
A handful of them get caught each season, but the oddity of the situation is that almost all of them seem to be minor leaguers on the verge of making it to the bigs or stars toward the end of their careers.Â Maybe that's because those two groups are the most likely to reach for steroids of some type, either to bring them to the big leagues or in order to stay there.
But HGH is useful for most players and carries a lot less in the way of risk since before this year it couldn't be tested for at all.Â And the reality is it won't really be tested for under the current CBA.Â After all, HGH is a short-term drug that is mostly of benefit as the season wears on and players wear down and isn't likely to be used much during the offseason, except by the handful of pitchers who believe the hype it will help them recover from Tommy John in half the time.
I can't say if that's true or not, but that is the information out there on the web, and no doubt some players will believe it.Â Those are the only ones apt to be caught during the offseason or preseason.
The rest of the year is a gift to anyone willing to defy the paper tiger of a drug policy.Â The lords of baseball know this, and the union knows this. Â And while I do believe that baseball's management meant to get a real HGH policy in place, the MLBPA clearly recognizes what a danger that is for some of its members.Â So instead of a real policy we got a compromise -- one which MLB could raise a big hoopla about in the media, but without any meaningful impact on the players.
But some good has come out of this.Â The Union for decades has resisted any type of blood testing, claiming that it was too invasive of the privacy of players.Â They can't make that claim anymore.Â Hopefully down the line that will allow MLB to test for other PEDs using that same blood sample.
In fact, they should do that now, if it's not 100% prohibited in the contract and get a line on how big the PED problem really is in the game today.Â Even if those numbers only come from spring training and the immediate aftermath of the season and no penalties can come from them, or names divulged, it will give management a clue as to how effective the drug policy really is so that another "steroid" era doesn't loom down the road.
Both sides know this issue isn't a dead one.Â They've left this issue open and on the table for negotiation and during the new CBA, just in case the public outcry about this joke of a testing policy becomes the type of scandal that steroids did and the public screams enough to pressure changes to when HGH tests can be performed.
And fans should cry bloody murder over this.Â The owners may own the teams, but the game belongs to us fans in another fashion entirely, and MLB should have enough integrity not to try to hoodwink us on what a great drug policy they've got in place.