|HGH Testing may not Reach Majors||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 27, 2011
There was a time not that long ago when the juicers and PED users could use their chemical enhancers without fear of detection.¬† Some of them are still probably getting away with using since many of the drugs used for enhancements can only be detected via blood test, something the current CBA doesn't allow for.
But slowly technology is catching up with at least the modern generation of steroids, hormones and drugs which heighten awareness and help keep a player more focused than he might normally be.
Up until last week, I don't know if any player, trainer or agent believed that there really was an effective test for HGH or that anyone would be suspended or banned due to testing.¬† Up until now the only baseball player suspended for HGH had been Atlanta Braves prospect Jordan Schafer, who was suspended not for a positive test but due to external evidence that he had obtained and used the substance.
But now Mike Jacobs, a minor leaguer who was once a Major Leaguer, tested positive for using Human Growth Hormone and has been banned for 50 games.¬† That test led to his immediate release by the Colorado Rockies and may have finished Jacobs in professional baseball.¬† And it never would have happened if Jacobs had been playing in the Majors.
That's because in the minors the players have no union strong enough to represent them, and prevent blood testing for PEDs.¬† In the Majors that could never have happened, at least under the current CBA.¬† And while the MLBPA (the player's union) will oppose blood testing for HGH or any other substance, the first effective test for HGH test will provide impetus for change.
It is likely that that very issue will be a bone of contention between owners and the union, but it's not likely to be a big one, but rather a bargaining chip to be used or discarded in return for concession from the other side.¬† It's unlikely that the union will yield on the issue of blood tests.¬† They've been vehement in terms of opposition to that for the last several CBA's and are unlikely to change their opinion when it comes to what they see as an issue of privacy and rights.
But it's not impossible that they might change their mind if there is enough public pressure or if the owners offer a plum good enough to make the trade for blood tests palatable.
The question is why the owners would do such a thing?¬† They turned a blind eye to PEDs in the past, and forced a drug policy only when the public outcry and congressional hearings forced the issue into a spotlight so hot that the credibility of the game was called into question.
That's the rub; the pressure isn't there now.¬† Most fans have put the steroid era behind them and give it little thought today except perhaps when it comes to Hall of Fame voting or when it comes to castigating a player too stupid to use PEDs that can be detected in a urine test.
Without that pressure, it's unlikely that Jacobs will be a catalyst for change or that HGH testing will be a part of the next CBA.