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Thursday, August 16, 2012

ESPN: Victor Conte: Many players cheat

Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO who spent time in prison for distributing steroids, is certain that Melky Cabrera is far from alone in using performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’m not going to name names,” Conte said in an interview with USA Today, “but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”....Conte was asked by USA Today to make an educated guess as to how many players in baseball are using PEDs.

“I would say,” Conte said, according to the newspaper, “maybe as much as half of baseball.”

Major League Baseball isn’t putting much stock in Conte’s estimate.

“There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said, according to USA Today. “He’s just making that up. It’s a guess.

but the cream and the clear help you guess better

Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: steroids

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4209698)
Whyyyyyyy would a lot of the top players in baseball tell Victor Conte that?

Albert Pujols: "Arn't you the guy who went to jail after pleading guilty to distributing steroids, and arn't you writing an upcoming book about steroids?...oh yeah, I'm totally using."
   2. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4209701)
Conte was/is still advising Marlon Byrd, no? I wouldn't be surprised if he's still pretty plugged in to MLB. His Twitter feed is pretty fantastic and is *very* pessimistic towards most antidoping activities because he thinks the loopholes are too huge.
   3. Lassus Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4209707)
“I’m not going to name names,” Conte said in an interview with USA Today, “but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing."

I'm going to echo Dale. Regardless of the truth of the number of players using, the idea that they are running their mouth to Victor Conte is complete ########.

Although, then again, baseball players aren't entirely known for their smarts.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4209715)
It's not the crime,
And it's not the thought.
It ain't the deed.
It's if you get caught.
   5. Graham Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4209717)
I still can't believe that Victor Conte was in Tower of Power for a few years.
   6. Swedish Chef Posted: August 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4209718)
I'm going to echo Dale. Regardless of the truth of the number of players using, the idea that they are running their mouth to Victor Conte is complete ########.

Why, hasn't he of all people proven his reliability by not ratting out his former clients when he had incentive to do so? As for why they would, bet he has plenty of good tips on what stuff to use and how to do it, even if he isn't in the business anymore.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4209723)
I still can't believe that Victor Conte was in Tower of Power for a few years.

And his cousin Bruce Conte was the guitar player on the ToP album with the track "It's Not the Crime."
   8. ASmitty Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4209724)
Why, hasn't he of all people proven his reliability by not ratting out his former clients when he had incentive to do so? As for why they would, bet he has plenty of good tips on what stuff to use and how to do it, even if he isn't in the business anymore.


This was my thought. If you're going to duiscuss PEDs with ANYONE, Conte would seem to be the guy to do it with. He's knowledgable about the subject and he's proven he'd rot in a cell before he sold anyone out.
   9. Lassus Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4209725)
Why, hasn't he of all people proven his reliability by not ratting out his former clients when he had incentive to do so? As for why they would, bet he has plenty of good tips on what stuff to use and how to do it, even if he isn't in the business anymore.

This was my thought. If you're going to duiscuss PEDs with ANYONE, Conte would seem to be the guy to do it with. He's knowledgable about the subject, and he's proven he'd rot in a cell before he sold anyone out.

I agree this is a good point. At the same time, no matter what he did for Bonds, him running his mouth like this now wouldn't exactly fill me with calm contentment me if I had told him anything.
   10. Randy Jones Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4209729)
Conte did NOT go to jail for refusing to testify in the Bonds perjury trial, that was Greg Anderson.
   11. ASmitty Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4209734)
Oops.
   12. Lassus Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4209739)
AHA! I wasn't crazy.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4209743)
I still can't believe that Victor Conte was in Tower of Power for a few years.

You're not even kidding! #######-A!
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4209747)
Yes, his jail time was for his actual crimes, but he didn't rat out his clients.
   15. AWAChampion Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4209774)
People mocked Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti when they said there were a lot of steroid users too.
   16. dejarouehg Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4209777)
I'm convinced there's no way of convincing this board of the pervasiveness and effectiveness of PED's.

There's always going to be a credibility issue of an informant or "rat." Do people really expect to have people in suits and ties?

To think that the chemists making the new drugs aren't always going to have a huge edge over the testers is naive.

And, as someone above pointed out, athletes are rarely confused with Rhodes scholars.
   17. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4209788)
50% just seems too hi. If MLB is just checking for abnormally hi levels of testosterone and then checking to see if that testosterone is synthetic then the risk is too big. I've taken a lot of supps that were legal just a few months ago that upped my testosterone, almost anything worth taking is going to do that. If half of baseball is cheating then even if the testosterone were perfectly disguised as natural there would be enough flags tripped to where I'd think we'd know about it.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4209791)
People mocked Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti when they said there were a lot of steroid users too.


If mocking Jose Canseco is wrong, I don't want to be right.
   19. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4209799)
And, as someone above pointed out, athletes are rarely confused with Rhodes scholars.


One of the scholarship selection criteria from Cecil Rhodes' will:

Energy to use one's talents to the fullest, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports

(I don't mean to pick on you, dejarouehg, and I know what you mean. Lots of Rhodes Scholars are athletes, but they're cross country runners at Ursinus or they row crew at Yale or something like that.)
   20. Moeball Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4209807)
Bud Selig's Diary:

I don't know why people keep talking about steroids in baseball. After all, nobody in baseball is doing steroids. That's football players that are doing that stuff. Look how big they are!

Hmm, some players have been caught. But I bet it's mostly Barry Bonds. His numbers look suspicious. Nobody's that good. I have to make a statement for the press.

The "steroids" era lasted from 2001 to 2004
Uh, make that 2000 to 2005
Uh, make that 1999 to 2006
Uh, make that 1998 to 2007
Uh, make that 1997 to 2008
Uh, make that 1996 to 2009
Uh, make that 1995 to 2010
Uh, make that 1994 to 2010 (finally found an end date! Everybody's clean now!)
Uh, make that 1993 to 2010
Uh, make that 1992 to 2010 (but the pitching was so good in '92 - how could anybody have been using?)
Uh, make that 1991 to 2010 (darn, why are so many pitchers getting caught now that we finally started testing? Why are any pitchers using anyways? After all, it only helps the hitters, right?)
Uh, make that 1990 to 2010
Uh, make that 1989 to 2010
Uh, make that 1988 to 2010
Uh, make that 1987 to 2010
Uh, make that 1986 to 2010 (but nobody was using before Jose Canseco, right?)
Uh, make that 1986 to 2011 (damn you, Ryan Braun, I was telling people the "steroids" era was over and everybody was clean from here on out)
Uh, make that 1986 to 2012 (how the heck did Melky Cabrera get caught? And somebody please put a muzzle on Victor Conte!)


(sigh)
   21. dejarouehg Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4209849)
50% just seems too hi.
The phrase, "will we never learn," pops into my head. Your logic makes sense but I remember a player telling me how easy it was to disguise marijuana use. It was startling. (It's probably how the NBA avoids daily suspensions.)

What's too bad, at least for me, is I really wanted to believe that Ryan Braun was innocent. Not that the Cabrera incident should sway that feeling one way or the other but I've lost hope on that one.

19 - I debated between using "Rhodes Scholars" and brain surgeons thinking someone here is bright enough to nail me, as I too, am not a Rhodes scholar. Regardless, I appreciate the information.

20 - Didn't Tom House speak of using it in the late 70's?

Perhaps, those who argue that we should legalize everything are right, then we could possibly do away with the righteous indignance of those who act like the cheaters are always on other teams and are hurting their team.
   22. tjm1 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4209853)
(I don't mean to pick on you, dejarouehg, and I know what you mean. Lots of Rhodes Scholars are athletes, but they're cross country runners at Ursinus or they row crew at Yale or something like that.)


Myron Rolle was a football player at Florida State and is now in the NFL.


   23. dejarouehg Posted: August 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4209866)
I thought Chad Pennington was as well, or at least was considered.
   24. Tripon Posted: August 16, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4209871)
If I wanted to point a finger a another sport, I'd pick basketball.
   25. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 16, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4209908)
Illegal drugs are one thing, but it's impolite to point.
   26. alilisd Posted: August 16, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4210001)
I've taken a lot of supps that were legal just a few months ago that upped my testosterone, almost anything worth taking is going to do that.


Such as? Oh, and if you could provide the test results, too, that would be great.
   27. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4210018)
Such as? Oh, and if you could provide the test results, too, that would be great.


If I say a derivative of Halodrol that hadn't been banned yet do I still need to dig out my test levels or will you take it on faith, because this was on the market a few months ago.

http://www.strongsupplementshop.com/mutantplexx-by-amf/

A year ago I was taking emass which had 25 mg of halodrol and two years ago I was taking some rockhard concoction that had 50 mg. I'm certain that at some point over that time my test levels would have tripped MLB's protocol.

Here's emass http://www.strongsupplementshop.com/emass-3x-60ct-by-galaxy-supplements/

You'll notice that one of those other ingredients is Superdrol in 25 mg as well

The rock hard isn't available anymore and the sites down, it was Granite X stacked with Halocore, so i was actually on 50 mg Holodrol and 50 mg Superdrol

Why do you ask?
   28. BurlyBuehrle Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4210031)
@27:

I definitely take it on faith that these substances would have raised your testosterone level. As for whether they would have tripped MLB's protocols, I certainly don't know.

Query: when you say "hadn't been banned yet" do you mean by MLB? By USADA? By U.S. law?

I ask because depending on the answer, it is useful to point out that there are a few different categories a particular supplement could land in:

(a) those that are illegal under the law and banned by one or more sports;
(b) those that are legal for you and me to use but still banned by one or more sports;
(c) those that are both legal and not banned in sports;
(d) those that are illegal under the law but not specifically banned by one or more sports. (I don't know if these exist.)

So the rules (assuming you aren't a competitive/professional athlete) are different for you than, say, Ryan Braun.

   29. cardsfanboy Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4210032)
“I would say,” Conte said, according to the newspaper, “maybe as much as half of baseball.”


It's nice to speculate, and I don't think Conte is lying when he opinions that, but I find it really far fetched to believe that he (or anyone for the most part) has enough inside knowledge to give an answer verging anywhere close to reality. I think at the best it's a wild ass guess, based upon the small circle that they run in. I mean if you are on a team that is very permissive in the usage and you are confident that about half of them are using, you might project it out to the league as a whole, while there are very likely teams out there that have very few users on it.

I would think it's silly for anybody to claim that there is a clean team, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one team have only 2-3 players on the roster using, while another is up to 12-15.(as an example)

On top of that, there are most certainly methods out there that aren't being tested or specifically banned yet.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4210036)
(d) those that are illegal under the law but not specifically banned by one or more sports. (I don't know if these exist.)


With a lot of foreign players, I'm sure they do exists. Or even legal under U.S. law but not home country law and not specifically banned by the sport. I mean a supplement that you use in your home country might be banned in the U.S. but can the sports world use the generic "it's against the law" defense on something that they didn't specifically ban and that was never used in violation of a law?
   31. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4210041)
I ask because depending on the answer, it is useful to point out that there are a few different categories a particular supplement could land in:


Halodrol wasn't banned by baseball until 2009 in any form, it has since been made illegal at certain dosages and may be flat illegal now.

My point wasn't that Braun could take what I took, more that what I took was $200 trash that I could buy at my local supp store. These are the minimum of what you'd try to use if you were serious about increasing your performance through chemical means (protein shakes and creatine don't count). If people are cheating its with substances just like the ones I took only stronger and with masking agents.

The banned PEDs by MLB take two forms, stimulants and steroids. Steroids are synthetic testosterone at their most basic levels. You can mask it, but then the masking level shows up. My point was that if 50% of players are cheating by boosting their test levels, then every time the testers figure out the masking agent a huge chunk of players would get flagged.

As for your categories, most of the MLB banned substances are banned entirely while they are only banned above certain doses by the government, so that clears up a-c. Up until a few years ago there were a lot of things that MLB didn't ban that were illegal under law.
   32. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4210044)
but can the sports world use the generic "it's against the law" defense on something that they didn't specifically ban and that was never used in violation of a law?


The answer to that question seems to be "no". Giambi and Arod are good examples in that MLB had positive results from them for steroids that were illegal but were not banned and nothing happened to them.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: August 16, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4210056)
The answer to that question seems to be "no". Giambi and Arod are good examples in that MLB had positive results from them for steroids that were illegal but were not banned and nothing happened to them.


Hasn't the rules been rewritten at least twice since then?
   34. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4210066)
Hasn't the rules been rewritten at least twice since then?


Yes, but still nobody has been suspended for what they did before the bans were put in place. We're moving so far away now that it's probably moot as applied to current MLB players. What interests me is what the league would do if a Cuban player came along who was still testing positive for a banned substance he took while in Cuba that was legal under Cuban rules. (substitute nation of choice for Cuba)
   35. Dale Sams Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4210082)
Besides, if 1/2 the players are cheating...it seems statisticlly unlikely that 2 of the last 3 players to get caught were Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera. (Meaning such high-profile names relative to their performances)

   36. MM1f Posted: August 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4210149)
Myron Rolle was a football player at Florida State and is now in the NFL.


Define "in the NFL."
   37. Sunday silence Posted: August 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4210156)
EDIT for wrong thread.
   38. Bob Tufts Posted: August 16, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4210161)
Other than Byrd, I thought that Conte didn't work with any baseball players. And during the height of the BALCO kerfuffle he made comments to the effect that he didn't work with baseball players.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:58 AM (#4210232)

Other than Byrd, I thought that Conte didn't work with any baseball players. And during the height of the BALCO kerfuffle he made comments to the effect that he didn't work with baseball players.


Man's gotta eat.

I don't actually recall -- did Conte actually work with any of the players. I recall with Bonds, Conte testified he had nothing to do with Bonds, it was all Anderson.* But was he directly involved with any of the other baseball players?

*Not that I believe the man necessarily but then I don't care either.
   40. Zach Posted: August 17, 2012 at 05:33 AM (#4210233)
I think the point about the lack of screwups is a good one. If lots of players are masking their use, there are going to be good days and bad days for getting away with it. Where are the Francour-like slumps with the whizzinator?

Also, the impression I get from reading the news accounts is that the efforts to hide drug use are *not* amazingly sophisticated. I mean, in his salad days, Conte was selling stuff that could be used in the Olympics. You could have it in your blood and test clean. Bonds was never implicated until the Feds raided the lab. But Braun and Cabrera got busted for straight up testosterone, through routine urinalysis. Is it really likely that the two biggest stars caught by the testing program are using the least sophisticated methods?
   41. booond Posted: August 17, 2012 at 07:29 AM (#4210239)
After Canseco, I tend to take the criminals at their word. They may exaggerate but they are closer to the situation than anyone else.
   42. Ron J2 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4210345)
#38 Actually what he said was that Greg Anderson worked with the baseball players and that he had no direct knowledge of what Anderson was doing.

As I understand it, it was an informal agreement and since Anderson was in jail for much of the time in recent years, I'd think Conte would feel free to work with baseball players now.
   43. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4210382)
But Braun and Cabrera got busted for straight up testosterone, through routine urinalysis. Is it really likely that the two biggest stars caught by the testing program are using the least sophisticated methods?


But Conte's point is that the "straight up testosterone" is difficult to detect if the user doesn't screw up:

"To circumvent the test is like taking candy from a baby," he said, according to USA Today. "It's so easy to circumvent. I call it the 'duck-and-dodge' system. The only people that get caught are the dumb, and the dumber."


Not a lot of detail there, and "duck and dodge" could mean anything or nothing. Conte said a little bit more when the Braun test was leaked. His key point being that the drug apparently has a very short half-life. I suppose it would also be possible to beat the first test (T:E ratio) simply by taking your synthetic testosterone after the game and then popping some epitestosterone the next morning.

So why go with "sophisticated" when simple works as well or better?
   44. zenbitz Posted: August 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4210655)

The "catch rate" is the real unknown here. I mean, was Melky unlucky, stupid, or an uncommon juicer?
   45. Ron J2 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4210705)
#44 Hard to tell, but I think unlucky is the most likely.
   46. alilisd Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4210754)
If I say a derivative of Halodrol that hadn't been banned yet do I still need to dig out my test levels


Yes.

Why do you ask?


Because pro-hormones, which seem to be what you claim to be taking, were banned years ago. Seems pretty risky to me for a supplement company to be producing and selling something illegal. I'd say it's much more likely they're manufcacturing snake oil and marketing it as pro-hormones.
   47. alilisd Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4210767)
But Braun and Cabrera got busted for straight up testosterone, through routine urinalysis. Is it really likely that the two biggest stars caught by the testing program are using the least sophisticated methods?


But Conte's point is that the "straight up testosterone" is difficult to detect if the user doesn't screw up


Right. Use testosterone with a short ester, or no ester at all, and it's out of the system in a very reasonble amount of time. Granted, once it's out of the system you aren't actively reaping the benefits, but you still have whatever added strength/mass, and if you know, more or less, when you'll be tested, it's easy to use right up to the point where you can stop and have it clear before the test. Test over, back on.
   48. bigglou115 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4210818)
Because pro-hormones, which seem to be what you claim to be taking, were banned years ago. Seems pretty risky to me for a supplement company to be producing and selling something illegal. I'd say it's much more likely they're manufcacturing snake oil and marketing it as pro-hormones.


2009 was the big banning time, but halodrol, superdrol, winni, and a few others made it through unscathed for a few more years.

I'll find my levels when I get the chance, but halodrol is a 17aa which recomposes into fellow 17aa turinibol once taken. If I'm not mistaken that actually changes its definition from pro hormone to designer steroid, but I could be wrong. As of right now all I can tell you is that my test levels went up, and I gained about 10 lbs in 6 weeks while maintaining 10% on body fat as measured by induction. But I will get those levels for you.
   49. bigglou115 Posted: August 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4210852)
addendum: my roommate did have some gyno side effects on this stuff, so there's that. I'd point out that my point isn't that what I took was the equivalent of the true gear that you could get in the early aughts, just that you can still buy stuff legally that will mess with your testosterone levels.
   50. alilisd Posted: August 17, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4210943)
2009 was the big banning time, but halodrol, superdrol, winni, and a few others made it through unscathed for a few more years.


Really? I thought it was much longer ago than that, but I haven't really been paying attention the way I used to. If they really are pro-hormones, I agree they would/could raise your T levels. It was my understanding the FDA had closed the loophole for them long ago though.

I'll find my levels when I get the chance


No worries, I was just razzing you a bit. I understand what you're saying now. Glad you're monitoring your blood if you're using though!

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