Thursday, September 29, 2016
Shoulda stuck to ice cream sandwiches.
Remember Jesus Montero? The former Yankees and Mariners prospect? Well, he was picked up by the Blue Jays back in March after the Mariners waived him and played 126 games for Triple-A Buffalo this year. That went alright, I suppose, with Montero hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers. He played a bit of first base too, trying to break the mold he’s been stuck in as a 26-year-old DH.
If this season was a platform for him to make one last push to the bigs, the platform was just pulled out from under him: he has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
It’s been a real team effort.
With Jason Heyward‘s eighth-inning two-run home run off of Blake Wood on Monday night, the Reds set a new ignominious record, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports. The club has now allowed 242 home runs, surpassing the 241 the 1996 Tigers yielded. ....
Brandon Finnegan has allowed the most home runs on the team with 29 followed by Dan Straily at 28. Because the Reds have struggled to keep other pitchers in the rotation, eight other pitchers have given up double-digit home runs including five who have made at least 10 starts.
Coming into Monday’s action, Major League pitching had allowed 5,218 home runs. The Reds’ 239 at the time represented 4.58 percent of that total. The Twins had allowed the second-most at 209, or 4.0 percent. By the way, that 5,218 total was already the sixth-highest total in major league history. Thank you, Reds.
Steve Parris, Je t'aime
Posted: September 20, 2016 at 02:35 PM | 12 comment(s)
Friday, August 19, 2016
Turns out the shipments were just going to Peyton Manning’s wife!
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman were cleared of wrongdoing in Major League Baseball’s investigation into their possible use of performance-enhancing drugs, prompted by an Al Jazeera report.
MLB announced Friday that the investigation was complete and it “did not find any violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Howard or Zimmerman.”...
The report was based on recordings with Charles Sly, a former worked at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis. Sly also implicated several NFL players, including Peyton Manning.
Slay has since recanted his statements. Sly also declined to speak with the commissioner’s office or provide requested information.
Howard and Zimmerman filed lawsuits against Al Jazeera in January. The players claimed the report was inaccurate, unsubstantiated and reckless.
As of 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency began recommending that athletes caught intentionally using performance-enhancing drugs could be banned up to four years, doubling the previous ban. Despite that increased severity, some medical researchers say it’s still not sufficient.
“If you’re caught taking anabolic steroids, I think it should be a lifetime ban,” Stuart Phillips, a kinesiology professor at McMaster University in Canada, told the Globe and Mail.
The reasoning by Phillips, who is also a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in skeletal muscle health, is that steroids (which includes synthetic testosterone) spark a dramatic surge in muscle satellite cells, making them more efficient in repairing muscle. This means doping athletes can work harder and bounce back quicker and—here’s the kicker—these satellite cells stick around for a long time, for at least the duration of an athlete’s prime years….
This follows a landmark 2013 study in the Journal of Physiology by University of Olso physiology professor Kristian Gundersen, who injected female mice with testosterone and observed a long-lasting impact even after the doping had stopped.
“The mechanisms are very basic,” Gundersen told the Toronto paper, “and I would be very surprised if it wasn’t similar in humans.”
Posted: August 19, 2016 at 12:55 PM | 38 comment(s)
Friday, August 12, 2016
In addition to the dramatic rise in home runs per plate appearance, one of the hallmarks of the PED era was a jump in the average age of hitters. Instead of withering away, many older hitters remained productive into their late 30s and early 40s, in some cases putting up their best seasons toward the end of their careers. (We’re looking at you, Barry.) MLB’s average plate appearance-weighted age in 2005 was 29.3, the second-highest history behind 1945, when many young would-be players were at war. Most of the top 10 years for weighted player age, whether you weight by wins above replacement or by plate appearances, are either within the steroid era or around World War II.
By contrast, the average age of hitters hasn’t undergone much of an increase between 2014 and 2016. If anything, it’s gone down: last year featured the lowest WAR-weighted age since 1990, and while that number has ticked upward slightly in 2016, it’s still only level with 2013 and below 2014.3 The 1994 season, which saw the largest jump in HR/PA, also saw a 0.75-year increase in WAR-weighted age relative to 1992. At least so far, there has been no significant increase in older players’ value as there was in the steroid era.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Does it make sense that a player suspended for performance-enhancing drugs would use the same substance again while serving his penalty?
Does it make sense that the player would commit a third violation and invite a lifetime ban just weeks before he was due to appeal?
Those are the questions that free-agent catcher Cody Stanley is asking — and he said that his inability to find suitable answers makes him fear for his fellow players.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Colabello claims, “I can give you a thousand different theories [on how the metabolite showed up on the test]. My mind has literally gone to every possible corner that you can imagine. It’s gone to my mom’s breast cancer medicine. It’s gone to my dog’s medication.”
Unfortunately for Colabello, the damage is already done. His theories and words aren’t sufficient enough to clear his name or drop the 80-game suspension he’s currently serving without pay. He’ll have to step back onto the field with an air of doubt surrounding him.
This isn’t anything new for him, though.
“I have to prove myself every day,” Colabello said. “That will never change for me … I think it keeps me on edge, it keeps me motivated, keeps me inspired. I always say like anytime somebody doubts me it’s just one more stick for the fire.”
The sports world has seen this storyline play out before, and often it ends in a mea culpa. But Colabello won’t be apologizing.
“I wish I could say I’m sorry,” he said passionately. “I can’t do that. I’m not gonna do that. That’s not what happened here. This isn’t an ‘I’m sorry’ kind of moment. I would never, have never, and will never compromise the integrity of baseball. Ever. Period. End of story. And not just the game of baseball, but life.”
This is a must read.
Dykstra earned roughly $36.5 million during his major league career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
But it never was enough. Ask him to pinpoint a moment or two (or three) when things began to spin out of control on him, and he says it wasn’t really one moment.
Then, he pauses. Long. Several seconds pass.
“Money became, like, the driving force of my life, you know?” he says slowly. “Even though I had a ton of it, I wanted more. Money’s important; we all need money to live. But when you do things for the love of money, it’s like the baseball gods…when you do things for the love of money, you get f—king brought back to reality real f—king quick.
“Next thing you know, you’re sitting in front of your locker wondering how you’re 0-for-15. It happens that quick. So it’s kind of like, you know, so, I’m not looking for the big kill anymore. I don’t need it.
“Prison, being locked up in a cage, changed a lot about how I think. But I don’t recommend people take that path. Not really, know what I mean? I’m just saying, when you get put in a situation, you either deal with it, though, or you f—king quit. I’m not a quitter. I fought through that s—t. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I did it.”
Friday, June 24, 2016
He tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid used to increase speed and strength. He was banned 50 games in 2014 after a positive test for an amphetamine.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
A pair of draft prospects have tested positive during Major League Baseball’s Scouting Bureau’s pre-draft testing.
Industry sources have told Baseball America that shortstop Delvin Perez, the Puerto Rican shortstop who ranks No. 8 on the BA Top 500 Draft Prospects, failed the drug test administered by the Major League Scouting Bureau. Perez’s positive test was first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Kentucky third baseman/second baseman JaVon Shelby tested positive for Adderall, a stimulant that is classified as a performance enhancer.
Perez failed the test for an undisclosed performance enhancer, according to sources. Perez has been linked to teams throughout the first 10 picks, as high as Cincinnati at No. 2 and also including the Brewers at No. 5, the Marlins at No. 7 and the White Sox at No. 10. A positive test does not affect a player’s eligibility to be selected.
Posted: June 08, 2016 at 12:19 AM | 11 comment(s)
Friday, June 03, 2016
I disagree with the idea that bigger penalties wouldn’t be effective. Byrd knew that he’d be back. A quicker path to permanent bans would, at the least, have prevented him from getting another contract. A penalty which would require him to repay money earned and force teams and players to terminate long-term contracts would also disincentivize PED use. (I realize collecting paid salary would be difficult in many cases.)
Where was the risk? There was none. And after not taking a risk, Byrd made just over $17 million dollars. He got to continue doing the only thing he knew. He escaped the ash-and-maple scythe that takes down every player. He won. Compared to the scenario without PEDs, he absolutely won.
You don’t prevent that with bigger penalties. You can only hope to prevent it with better testing. Byrd wasn’t a vainglorious player who was upset at the attention paid to his peers, like Barry Bonds. He wasn’t a very good player who wanted to be great, like Rafael Palmeiro. He wasn’t a major leaguer who wouldn’t be a regular without a little extra strength, like Dee Gordon.
Byrd was a player with nothing to lose. Those players will brave the penalties every damned time. And here’s a spoiler: You don’t have to be 34 and facing unwelcome retirement to have nothing to lose. You can be 24 and repeating a level for the third time. You can be 20 and facing life in the independent leagues. You can be 30, with an All-Star appearance and $10 million in the bank, but struggling in Japan. You can be a player with a fragile ego who can’t contemplate the idea of struggling at baseball for the first time in his life.
Posted: June 03, 2016 at 10:54 AM | 67 comment(s)
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Vince Grzegorek of Cleveland Scene reports that Indians outfielder Marlon Byrd has tested positive for a performance enhancing drug and faces a 162-game suspension. This has not yet been confirmed by Major League Baseball, but it is expected to be soon.
The suspension would be Byrd’s second for PEDs. The first came in 2012 when he tested positive for tamoxifen, which is used to deal with the side effects of steroids. Byrd served a 50-game suspension then. As of now, a second offense brings a suspension of 162 games.
Byrd signed with the Indians in March on a minor league deal and made the team out of spring training. He’s being paid $1 million and had the possibility of another $2.5 million in performance bonuses.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Wow, what an inspiring story.
Bud Selig: It was a tight race. Every time McGwire hit a home run, Sosa would hit one right back.
Tony La Russa: Sometimes, McGwire would hit a home run, and when he finished rounding the bases, a fist would punch through his stomach, and the crowd would scream in horror as Sammy Sosa clawed his way out of Mark McGwire’s body and revealed that the home run had just been hit by Sosa in a clever disguise. Then, the real Mark McGwire would come out of the dugout and wave, and everyone would have a good laugh. Then, a fist would punch through Sosa’s stomach and a second McGwire would claw his way out of Sosa’s body, and the two McGwires would keep laughing while the rest of the crowd stared in silence.
Kerry Wood: On more than one occasion, Sosa would hit a home run, but then the umpire would smell the ball and it would smell like Mark McGwire, and so the home run would count for McGwire instead. They were in a tight race the whole year.
Bud Selig: At first, fans only cared about McGwire, but once Sosa also became a contender, all America cared about was seeing Mark and Sammy together. One day at a press conference, a reporter yelled, “McGwire and Sosa are married!” and I said, “They’re actually not,” and the reporter said, “Then what’s the point of even being alive?” People loved their friendly rivalry.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
I guess it’s *possible* they are being truthful. Of course, we’re still waiting for O.J. to find Nicole’s killer.
“I am the only one who knows what I did and didn’t do. And no matter how many different ways I tell people that I didn’t do this, ultimately what I am realizing is that no matter what I tell anyone at this point, they aren’t going to believe me until I have proof.
“So, I have to go and find that proof, not just for me, but for every member of our league. This is way bigger than Chris Colabello, because if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
“I’m working toward finding answers and won’t stop until I do.”
Posted: May 15, 2016 at 06:38 AM | 47 comment(s)
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Royals prospect Raul Mondesi Jr. has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for Clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing drug, MLB announced Tuesday. The suspension is effective immediately.
Mondesi, 20, is on Kansas City’s 40-man roster, though he is currently in Double-A. His suspension was reduced from 80 games to 50 games because he showed Clenbuterol can be found in cold medicine.
“I took an over-the-counter medication [Subrox-C], which I bought in the Dominican Republic to treat cold and flu symptoms. I failed to read the labeling on the medication or consult with my trainer or team about taking it and did not know it contained a banned substance. I tested positive for that banned substance, with a minuscule amount of Clenbuterol in my system, which could not have possibly enhanced my performance on the field, and now must face the consequences of that mistake.
“I apologize to my organization, my teammates, the fans and everyone who has supported me in my career. Never did I intend to take a substance that would give me an unfair advantage on the field. It is solely my mistake and there are no excuses for my carelessness in not being fully informed of what I put in my body. My goal is to work through this setback and make it back in time to help my organization compete for another World Series title.”
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Testing for Turinabol took a major leap forward two years ago, and as anti-doping labs have adopted the technology, users apparently didn’t get the word. Any drug someone takes breaks down into metabolites, a residue of the drug that can stay in the system long after the original or parent drug has cleared. Turinabol, like most oral steroids, breaks down relatively quickly in the body and used to be undetectable after a week, and sometimes even less time. But two years ago, researchers found that by increasing the sensitivity of their testing equipment, they could detect some metabolites that stayed in the body much longer.
“The window of detection has moved out to, typically, several weeks, and in some rare circumstances up to months after administration,” said Daniel Eichner, the president of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah, which works with most major sports leagues.
As a result, players who might have used it without detection for years are finding themselves suddenly vulnerable to testing.
Posted: May 05, 2016 at 06:40 AM | 6 comment(s)
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Major League Baseball is expected to announce in the next few days that another player has tested positive for the steroid Turinabol, a drug that was commonly used by East German athletes in the 1970s. The positive test is one of a handful being processed, two sources familiar with the cases told Outside the Lines, meaning it’s all but certain that more announcements will follow.
Turinabol, whose chemical compound is dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), is not something that would likely be found in the tool kit of a modern PED guru. But it is showing up widely again: Toronto Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Daniel Stumpf were suspended after traces of Turinabol were found in their systems. The two, along with the player to be named, tested positive during spring training. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Cody Stanley was suspended in September after he tested positive for the drug.
MLB officials are examining what connections might exist between the players to explain Turinabol’s apparent resurgence but have not found any so far, a source told Outside the Lines. But two possible explanations exist for why positive tests are spiking, sources said: better testing technology and/or a supplement taken by athletes….
The unnamed players who tested positive have been informed, and MLB officials are still wrapping up the administrative process required to suspend them. Sources did not say when the players tested positive or how many are on major league rosters, but anyone on a team’s 40-man roster has the right to appeal, which can delay a suspension by several weeks.
LET’S WILDLY SPECULATE!
Posted: May 04, 2016 at 12:11 PM | 11 comment(s)
Tuesday, May 03, 2016
It is not even clear that being caught affects future performance. Taking a different angle, I looked at the players with track records who were suspended in 2012 and 2013. What I did was took a look at their projections before they were suspended, and then pretended that was how they performed in the relevant season. I then applied the standard aging curve to the two seasons following the suspension season. I regarded this as their “expected performance” based on pre-suspension levels. Then I looked at their actual performance in the two seasons following the suspension and compared the two….
In more than 10 years, it does not appear that any owners have been taken advantage of financially to any significant degree. The players have great incentive to try and improve PED suspensions in whatever way possible as it is their livelihood. Players who use PEDs are taking money and roster spots away from those who do not. While players could take advantage of owners by signing a contract predicated on PED use, that has yet to cause any owner significant injury in terms of players who have been suspended.
This doesn’t sound good.
Josh Ravin isn’t well known. Dee Gordon is an All Star and a batting champion, but he’s not well known outside of baseball. Both have been suspended within a week, but while more know who Gordon is, it’s the substance Ravin tested positive for that’s a much bigger story.
While early reports were that Ravin tested positive for HGH, the actual substance is, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, a peptide. Peptides are a class of performance enhancer that is relatively new, relatively complex and have some very dangerous side effects. I’ve been writing about these substances since 2013 and I’m surprised it’s taken this long for them to make their way into American sports.
Multiple sources tell me the peptide Ravin tested positive for was GHRP-2, which in studies has shown a significant increase in plasma growth hormone levels. Because it is causing the body to create a higher level of it’s own GH, it tends to be more accessible. GHRP in any of its various forms could also be used to mask the use of HGH, though it’s unclear if this actually works absent close monitoring and lab tests.
Posted: May 03, 2016 at 11:20 AM | 7 comment(s)
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Sherman blames everyone for players using PEDs—save the sportswriters who turned a blind eye to the issue during the 90s/00s.
Dee Gordon is the villain in his 80-game suspension. Let’s be upfront about that because I want to talk about the hypocrisy that cushions a villain and propels a villain to do villainous stuff.
Pretty much the only institution in the game that has delivered a strong penalty to those tied to illegal performance enhancers is the Baseball Writers Association of America, which votes for the Hall of Fame. Hypocrisy alert: I might be part of the problem, because I vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Ultimately, the Hall is about the best 1 percent of players ever. For the other 99 percent, the deterrent message is not exactly powerful, certainly not as powerful as the hypocrisy.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, the National League’s reigning batting champion, has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension is effective immediately.
An email with the news was sent out at 1:17 a.m. by the commissioner’s office – not long after the Marlins completed a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles with a 5-3 win Thursday.
The statement said Gordon, who signed a five-year, $50 million extension in January, tested positive for “for exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, performance-enhancing substances, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”
Thursday, April 28, 2016
A little late on this story.
Sorry about the paucity of links the last few days. A family member has been dealing with a medical issue the last few days and I’ve been busy providing support. Luckily she’s now fine and her prognosis is good.
I’ve heard players, and I’m talking about some of the best players in the league,’’ Arrieta told USA TODAY Sports, “question whether I’ve taken steroids or not. Some of the things I hear are pretty funny, and some people are idiots, frankly.
“I’ll see on Twitter, ‘My close source revealed to me he’s on steroids.’ Well, the 10 tests I take a year say otherwise. I eat plants. I eat lean meat. I work out. And I do things the right way.
“If there are guys still on it, I hope they get caught. I care about the integrity of the game. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my family, my friends, my fans. That’s a huge motivating factor in doing it the right way.
“There are so many people that are counting on you, and leaning on all of us in this clubhouse to do some special things for the city of Chicago. To jeopardize that by taking banned substances, would be a ridiculous mistake.’’
He laughs at the cynicism and innuendo, without displaying the slightest hint of anger.
“Hey, that’s one of the best compliments you can give a guy,’’ he says. “I appreciate the fact that you think I’m pretty good, but taking steroids, that’s pushing it.’’
Posted: April 28, 2016 at 09:33 AM | 90 comment(s)
Thursday, April 21, 2016
There will always be substances which are ahead of the testing.
“If you want to cheat, there is a window to do it. Guys are finding ways around the system. It’s pretty evident, pretty well-known that the people who are making these illegal substances are ahead of the testers.”
Posted: April 21, 2016 at 08:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
At the far end of the Mexican restaurant just off the highway in a Dallas suburb, he slides into a booth.
“I could still do it,” Rafael Palmeiro says. “If I had to play a full season, I could probably hit .270, with 25 home runs. It’s between the ears, man.”
The restaurant is half-full for lunch, and the pop music on the speakers drowns out any noise. A lanky, 30-something waiter comes by every five minutes, pauses and asks if he wants water, or if he’s OK. Each time the waiter leaves, he glances back at Palmeiro.
It’s awkward, but it’s not quite celebrity gawking—he doesn’t want a photo. His curiosity is more academic. He studies him. He knows this man, of course. We all do. He was once a sure-fire baseball Hall of Famer. Now the waiter is attempting to fold together the two defining points in this man’s life and make sense of it—the 500th home run followed by his name stamped onto the wall in what was then called the Ballpark in Arlington a few miles down the road, and the announcement he was a cheater two years later.
Palmeiro smiles politely. For nearly 11 years, besides the occasional phone interview and a documentary produced about his college baseball team, he’s disappeared from public life. But now he wants to empty his soul. When the waiter leaves he turns his shoulders to face me.
“This isn’t how I envisioned my life to be.”
Friday, April 15, 2016
For the Phillies, Stumpf’s suspension will actually make it easier to keep him on the roster. Rule 5 players cannot be sent to the minors during their Rule 5 selection season. But they also must remain on the active roster for at least 90 days before they are free and clear of Rule 5 eligibility requirements. Because of Stumpf’s suspension, the Phillies don’t have to worry about carrying him on the active roster for the rest of the first half of the season. Now 32 of those 90 days on the active roster could come after Sept. 1 when the expanded rosters means a team can carry a Rule 5 pick without otherwise limiting their roster.
What this suspension indicates is that there might be a need for a rule tweak in the next collective bargaining agreement. Because as it stands right now, the risk/reward of performance enhancing drugs for a potential Rule 5 pick is often dramatically slanted toward taking PEDs.
for his generous support.
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