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Friday, August 05, 2011

Verducci: MLB trying to curtail use of deer antler spray as steroid alternative

They can’t take their eyes off of you…

Baseball sent a warning to its major and minor league players last week that may sound odd, if not comical, but is a sign of these drug-testing times: stop ingesting deer antler spray.

Until the warning went out, baseball players, taking their cues from the body-building and NFL cultures, felt safe using a deer antler spray as an alternative to steroids with almost no risk of flunking a drug test.

Deer antlers? Yes, chemists have figured out that the velvet from immature deer antlers includes insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1, which mediates the level of human growth hormone in the body, and is also banned by MLB and the World Anti-Doping Agency, among others, for its muscle-building and fat-cutting effects.

The antlers are harvested from young deer, ground up and packaged into spray form. The substance is sprayed under the tongue. One manufacturer touts among its benefits “anabolic or growth stimulation,” “athletic performance” and “muscular strength and endurance.”

IGF-1, like HGH, cannot be detected in the urine tests used by baseball. Under the right circumstances, it could be detected in a blood test, but the players association has not agreed to blood testing.

 

Repoz Posted: August 05, 2011 at 10:22 PM | 97 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fantasy baseball, special topics, steroids

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   1. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 05, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#3893655)
Well, now we know what Bautista had for breakfast, lunch and dinner on September 4, 2009.

(I kid.)
   2. The District Attorney Posted: August 05, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#3893697)
But what about elk semen?
   3.   Posted: August 05, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3893746)
You know, we could save a lot of time, effort, money and sanctimony by just letting the athletes do whatever to their ####### bodies.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 05, 2011 at 11:51 PM (#3893754)
Why not, works for pro-wrestling.
   5. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 05, 2011 at 11:55 PM (#3893766)
Deer antlers? Yes, chemists have figured out that the velvet from immature deer antlers includes insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1, which mediates the level of human growth hormone in the body, and is also banned by MLB and the World Anti-Doping Agency, among others, for its muscle-building and fat-cutting effects.


Is this a suspendable substance, then? If so, why not just suspend people?
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: August 05, 2011 at 11:58 PM (#3893775)
So THAT'S what those symbols the Texas Rangers flash are all about!
   7. Ron J Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3893839)
#5 Well there is the tiny matter that it's not currently detectable (see lead in -- no I didn't read the story either). Now MLB might have hired Kevin, so they'd know who was using, but without a positive test there's not a lot they can do.

And if more than a handful of hitters are using this #### then we know one thing for certain -- it doesn't enhance baseball performance. Offense is down as oh so many stories have told us.
   8. SteveM. Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:47 AM (#3893851)
Won't anyone think of the deer?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#3893858)
And if more than a handful of hitters are using this #### then we know one thing for certain -- it doesn't enhance baseball performance. Offense is down as oh so many stories have told us.

Maybe just like steroids only work for hitters, deer antler velvet only works for pitchers.
   10. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:59 AM (#3893870)
You know, we could save a lot of time, effort, money and sanctimony by just letting the athletes do whatever to their ####### bodies.


A thousand times this!!!
   11. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 01:33 AM (#3893951)
#5 Well there is the tiny matter that it's not currently detectable (see lead in -- no I didn't read the story either). Now MLB might have hired Kevin, so they'd know who was using, but without a positive test there's not a lot they can do.

And if more than a handful of hitters are using this #### then we know one thing for certain -- it doesn't enhance baseball performance. Offense is down as oh so many stories have told us.


Heh--thanks Ron.

You know, we could save a lot of time, effort, money and sanctimony by just letting the athletes do whatever to their ####### bodies.


So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?
   12. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 06, 2011 at 01:41 AM (#3893963)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?

Sure, why not?
   13. Banta Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:01 AM (#3894000)
THINK OF THE CHILDREN. THEIR NOSES ARE TOO SMALL TO DO LINES PROPERLY.
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#3894002)
Won't anyone think of the deer?


You kid, but the farms where this garbage is harvested are awful.

Earlier thread on the subject, which then turned into a spotlight for Cold Prosimian's rants.
   15. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:41 AM (#3894064)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?


Absolutely. I mean, in a perfect world, nobody abuses anything to gain an advantage. But since it's impossible to police the myriads of exotic "supplements", why not? Why punish guys who's drug of choice is passe, and let the cutting edge guys slide?
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: August 06, 2011 at 03:30 AM (#3894077)
You kid, but the farms where this garbage is harvested are awful.

I was gonna say--the first thing that occurred to me when I read this was that it sounds like an abomination from an animal rights standpoint. Let the flamewars begin.

EDIT: I'd completely missed the prior thread on the subject. Will read it now...
   17. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 06, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3894080)
Chemists have figured out that the velvet from immature deer antlers includes insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1, which mediates the level of human growth hormone in the body, and is also banned by MLB and the World Anti-Doping Agency, among others, for its muscle-building and fat-cutting effects.


I read the article, and couldn't find any mention of negative side effects. Curious, I checked out the
Wikipedia entry for IGF-1. I also checked out the Wikipedia entry for growth hormone (HGH). The only bad stuff I could find was this:

Use of GH as a drug has been approved by the FDA for several indications. This means that the drug has acceptable safety in light of its benefits when used in the approved way. Like every drug, there are several side effects caused by GH, some common, some rare. Injection-site reaction is common. More rarely, patients can experience joint swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an increased risk of diabetes. Other side effects can include less sleep needed after dosing. This is common initially and decreases in effect after habitual use of GH. In some cases, the patient can produce an immune response against GH.


Now, I realize that Wikipedia is hardly the last word on any subject. But if what's quoted above is really the only downside of HGH, what's the big deal? I mean, if this is really the worst that it does (barring the rarest of exceptions) instead of banning it, shouldn't we be distributing it?

Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff? Because it seems like the more I read about HGH, the more it sounds like the criticism against it is more morally based, rather than health based. So I'd be most appreciate to hear the other side of the health argument, so that I can be up to speed as to why this stuff shouldn't be used.

DB
   18. Walt Davis Posted: August 06, 2011 at 04:05 AM (#3894086)
Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff?

It increases your hat size!
   19. smileyy Posted: August 06, 2011 at 05:10 AM (#3894095)
[3} Because the majority of the players don't think its worth it, as witnessed by drug testing in the CBA.

For every major leaguer spending $30k on BALCO, you have a minor leaguer or college player or high school player shooting mexican donkey testicle extract into their ass.
   20. SteveM. Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:00 AM (#3894102)
I read the article, and couldn't find any mention of negative side effects


Well there is the whole thing of having the irresistible urge to run out in front of cars.
   21. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:11 AM (#3894106)
Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff?

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
   22. shoewizard Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:17 AM (#3894108)
Ok...I'm drawing the line at Flintstone Vitamins. They can still keep taking those, right ?
   23. Ron J Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:25 AM (#3894111)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?


There's no particular reason why an employer should be the one dealing with this. If it's a criminal matter it's a matter for the criminal justice system, not MLB.

MLB has an interest if starts to affect matters on the field. Or if it starts to hurt the image of the league as a whole (as happened in the early to mid 80s), but they managed to get the whole recreational drug situation pretty much under control without random testing and harsh penalties. I won't say it's completely gone -- it would be stupid to think nobody in MLB is using anything more potent than grass -- but it's not out of control as it was in the mid 80s.
   24. RollingWave Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:40 AM (#3894113)
The deer thing is a long known Chinese medicine. though i was under the impression that it didn't shrink balls like steroids.

So I guess rhino horn is up next!

(a few years ago some Korean team members were tested positive for something but claimed they ate ginseng ... )
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:42 AM (#3894114)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?


agree with AJM, sure why not? I would prefer for them to sign a waiver before doing anything just to state that nobody other than the person making the decision is responsible for their actions. but honestly who ####### cares what people do to get themselves in the best possible shape as an athlete?...... oh wait sanctimonious a-holes care... beyond that, what person with a brain cares?
   26. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 06, 2011 at 07:18 AM (#3894116)
What drugs they use should be decided by the union. It's their bodies, and let them figure out how far they want their competitors to go and what safety risks they want to take.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: August 06, 2011 at 07:49 AM (#3894120)
Well ... while I am generally fine with the libertarian stance on drugs, there is still the problem that some drugs are restricted. Obviously the Union can't negotiate for the use of illegal drugs. They can, and long did, negotiate not to be tested for stuff but Selig would rather sell a used car for less than he paid for it than pass up a stick he can beat the Union with.

The genie is out of the bottle and there is no way MLB can go back to not testing (even if they wanted to) because it's "politically" unacceptable. The best they could do is to have magically ineffective testing like the NFL.

And even in a more libertarian world, one would imagine that the Union and possibly the public (other than wrestling fans) would insist that the drugs be done in a safe manner, under a doctor's care -- which still requires regulation.
   28. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2011 at 08:03 AM (#3894121)
but honestly who ####### cares what people do to get themselves in the best possible shape as an athlete?

If the players start dropping dead at 40 from the stuff they're doing just to be able to get a job in the majors I assume lots of people would care.

It's a bit like the games industry, sure you can insist on treating it like a 9-5 job, but there are ten people just as good as you looking for work willing to put in 80 hours a week. Are you really free to choose then?
   29. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 06, 2011 at 08:59 AM (#3894127)
Ok...I'm drawing the line at Flintstone Vitamins. They can still keep taking those, right?

Have you SEEN Bamm-Bamm? That kid's ruined the integrity of Sports Day for all the other 2-year-old caveboys!
   30. Something Other Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:14 AM (#3894128)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?

Sure, why not?
Agree with this and the general tenor of other responses. I distill this kind of thing to individual cases and I'm having a hard time figuring that my state legislature, or the US Congress, are better able to figure out whether I should take those things than I am.

I also can't help noticing that the people I know who are in chronic pain are relentlessly interfered with in getting the drugs they desperately need by increasingly onerous regulations, said regulations largely the result of hysterical, pandering politicians terrified that someone, somewhere, might be getting high. And enjoying it.

NYS just decided patients can't get a month's prescription of Oxycodone. Now it's 28 days, max. That's brilliant. No refills are allowed, so terribly ill, handicapped patients nonetheless have to spend the bulk of a day traveling to their doctor's offices in order to physically pick up their ####### prescriptions. Ah, and you can only refill within five days of when your last refill ends, so if a friend is going to the county's only pharmacy six days before your refill ends, that's too ####### bad. Oh, well, no one can pick the drugs up for you anyway, so get your broken ass in your ####### wheelchair and take the ####### bus, pal. In February.

It's an absolute shame and a disgrace.
   31. Something Other Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:21 AM (#3894129)
If the players start dropping dead at 40 from the stuff they're doing just to be able to get a job in the majors I assume lots of people would care.
Look at the NFL, and what happens to former players. They're not dropping dead at 40, but they're not living long, healthy lives, either.

And, sad to say, "lots of people" don't seem to care very much.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:53 AM (#3894132)
Look at the NFL, and what happens to former players. They're not dropping dead at 40, but they're not living long, healthy lives, either.

Why not, works for pro-wrestling.

This. It's pretty awful that people here want to encourage a drug culture that will cost players their lives and health just b/c they don't want to read some sanctimonious sportswriters rant on steroids.
   33. Greg K Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:58 AM (#3894134)
Won't anyone think of the deer?

They're rats with hooves. I could shoot one in the mouth and feel NOTHING!
   34. Greg K Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:17 AM (#3894135)
Earlier thread on the subject, which then turned into a spotlight for Cold Prosimian's rants.

I'm just sad that thread took the direction it did when it could have been a great discussion in the ins and outs of time travel tourism.

The great thing is it can go both ways. I think some people in the past would be very interested in what's going on these days. I think Shakespeare would have liked 10 Things I Hate About You. Of course if Bill and Ted is any indication some may not adapt well to the 21st century. Also it would require the use of an amnesia ray (ie. revovler) before sending them back.
   35. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:24 AM (#3894136)
It's pretty awful that people here want to encourage a drug culture that will cost players their lives and health just b/c they don't want to read some sanctimonious sportswriters rant on steroids.

It's pretty awful that people think they should be able to tell other people how to live their lives.
   36. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:29 AM (#3894138)
Also it would require the use of an amnesia ray (ie. revovler) before sending them back.

I thought of objecting that nobody would want to travel if they couldn't remember a thing afterwards. Then I realized that people still go to Ibiza a lot.
   37. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:34 AM (#3894139)
It's pretty awful that people here want to encourage a drug culture that will cost players their lives and health just b/c they don't want to read some sanctimonious sportswriters rant on steroids.

Well I think there's a lot of room between encouraging a drug culture and encouraging a situation where athletes who put their bodies under unthinkable strain use these sorts of substances in a supervised program as a means to cope with these demands. I've always been of the mind that further research into these sorts of things could be of enormous benefit to professional athletics (and athletes) and the rush to ban them before exploring putting them to best use I think has been unfortunate.

As for wrestling, it's difficult to point the finger at steroids when injuries and painkillers are almost certainly the far bigger culprits in that industries problems. It isn't like the steroids led to the painkillers that did the majority of those guys in.
   38. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:40 AM (#3894140)
It's pretty awful that people think they should be able to tell other people how to live their lives.

Consider a great PED with serious health effects. If everybody uses, everybody risks their health for no gain compared to their peers. The ones who wouldn't want to use will be shut out from the game. What is the gain to society, or indeed anyone?

Why would it be any less evil to be coerced into using by the need to compete with your peers, than to be forced to use by the owner?
   39. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:40 AM (#3894141)
Now, I realize that Wikipedia is hardly the last word on any subject. But if what's quoted above is really the only downside of HGH, what's the big deal? I mean, if this is really the worst that it does (barring the rarest of exceptions) instead of banning it, shouldn't we be distributing it?

Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff? Because it seems like the more I read about HGH, the more it sounds like the criticism against it is more morally based, rather than health based. So I'd be most appreciate to hear the other side of the health argument, so that I can be up to speed as to why this stuff shouldn't be used.


Diabetes is one of the negative effects of abusing HGH. High dosages lead to insulin resistance. With IGF1, things get a bit more interesting: low levels of IGF1 have been associated with incidence of diabetes, so there might be an argument as to why it should be distributed, what with type 2 diabetes in the US going through the roof.
   40. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:46 AM (#3894143)
onsider a great PED with serious health effects. If everybody uses, everybody risks their health for no gain compared to their peers. The ones who wouldn't want to use will be shut out from the game. What is the gain to society, or indeed anyone?

Why would it be any less evil to be coerced into using by the need to compete with your peers, than to be forced to use by the owner?



Thought experiments are nice, they are also meaningless.

The "greatness" of a PED involves several factors:
1. Positive effects
2. Negative effects
3 Legality and availability
4 Detectability

There are very few PEDs that are "great" in all ways, the one that comes to mind is creatine monohydrate, legal, cheap (because the researcher who discovered the process to synthesise it did not file for a patent), not detectable, loads of proven positive effects, no proven negative effects (despite lots of attempted scaremongering)

Most PEDs will be not "great" in some ways. A PED that is very difficult to detect, that clears the body fast, will also very likely have a lot of negative effects. Conversely, one that is "great" in the sense of few negative effects, will also be very easily detectable.
   41. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:48 AM (#3894144)
Why not, works for pro-wrestling.

This. It's pretty awful that people here want to encourage a drug culture that will cost players their lives and health just b/c they don't want to read some sanctimonious sportswriters rant on steroids.


Yet painkillers, the easy availability of painkillers, and the abuse of painkillers, despite all the well known negative effects, is tolerated. Why?
   42. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:52 AM (#3894145)
Consider a great PED with serious health effects. If everybody uses, everybody risks their health for no gain compared to their peers. The ones who wouldn't want to use will be shut out from the game. What is the gain to society, or indeed anyone?

This is not based in reality.

I should point out that I'm not just talking about baseball players getting steroids. I'm talking about your random guy who wants random drug. Also, I have no problem* if a company wants negotiate drugs out of their workplace, I do have a problem if they are forced to by the government.

*No problem in the sense that they should be allowed to.
   43. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:03 PM (#3894146)
Thought experiments are nice, they are also meaningless.

Thought experiments are not only meaningful but necessary to probe the consequences of the scenario advocated, there being no real-life example.

And you can't make rules disregarding what will happen after they come into effect. If you let all PEDs free there will be new PEDs, created by well-funded labs under new requirements. Assuming today's substances will remain state of the art is just wrong.


The "greatness" of a PED involves several factors:
1. Positive effects
2. Negative effects
3 Legality and availability
4 Detectability


The latter two are wholly inapplicable in the free-for-all world. And it's not a stretch to think that emphasizing the safety of a new PED will cut into its effectiveness, and people willing to compromise on safety will get better stuff.
   44. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:07 PM (#3894147)
This is not based in reality.

Neither is yours.

Also, I have no problem* if a company wants negotiate drugs out of their workplace, I do have a problem if they are forced to by the government.

Do you have a problem if the company makes drug use mandatory?
   45. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 12:13 PM (#3894148)

Thought experiments are not only meaningful but necessary to probe the consequences of the scenario advocated, there being no real-life example.


There are real life examples. Thought experiments are never meaningful, even without real life examples, a thought experiment is nothing more than mental masturbation.

The latter two are wholly inapplicable in the free-for-all world. And it's not a stretch to think that emphasizing the safety of a new PED will cut into its effectiveness, and people willing to compromise on safety will get better stuff.


Well yes. That is PRECISELY the point of a free for all world. What PED an athlete uses should be based on positive vs negative physiological effects, not legality and detectability.

Whether a PED is safe, is part of whether it is "better". If it is not safe, it is not "better".
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 06, 2011 at 01:10 PM (#3894158)
if what's quoted above is really the only downside of HGH, what's the big deal?


What's quoted deals with side-effects of use in the prescribed dose and manner. It says nothing about risks that might be associated with unsupervised abuse. Winstrol is pretty darned safe if you don't take mountains of it.

The real downside of hGH as a PED is that it isn't a PED.

If the players start dropping dead at 40 from the stuff they're doing just to be able to get a job in the majors I assume lots of people would care.

Look at the NFL, and what happens to former players. They're not dropping dead at 40, but they're not living long, healthy lives, either.


The "steroid era" in MLB started at least 25 years ago. The list of drug-abusers who dropped dead at 40 is pretty damned short, and that guy's health issues had a lot more to do with cocaine than testosterone. To the extent that playing in the NFL shortens life expectancy, it's had this effect since long before PEDs were common. And of course, studies limited to former NFL players who have already died will obviously underestimate average life expectancy for all NFL players.

I'm not saying that drug abuse isn't bad. I'm just saying that a lot of people seem to think that there's mountains of data about PED users "dropping dead at 40" somewhere out there when there really isn't.
   47. ray james Posted: August 06, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3894182)
Thought experiments are never meaningful, even without real life examples, a thought experiment is nothing more than mental masturbation.


Doesn't every hypothesis, right and wrong, start as a thought experiment? If one required empirical data first before hypothesizing, we would still be rubbing two sticks together to cook dinner.
   48. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3894188)
Doesn't every hypothesis, right and wrong, start as a thought experiment? If one required empirical data first before hypothesizing, we would still be rubbing two sticks together to cook dinner.


Well, yes.

It STARTS as a thought experiment. It doesn't end there. Those who love engaging in mental masturbation thought experiments, tend to be only interested in the thought experiment part, not the empirical material part, which in the end is the only part that matters.

Furthermore, the hypothesis will be based on whatever empirical data that already exists.
   49. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#3894191)
Look at the NFL, and what happens to former players. They're not dropping dead at 40, but they're not living long, healthy lives, either.


Sure. You could also look at former boxers. And bodybuilders and powerlifters (2 populations which also abuse steroids, but, unlike NFL players nor boxers, do not get their brains smashed on a regularly and frequently)

So, the question is what is the cause, or what are the causes of the health problems of NFL players?

Does an NFL player develope dementia, Alzheimer's, and all sorts of mental health problems, along with all the other problems, as a result of steroids? Or, the repeated violent collisions, the repeated violent hits that are so popular among sports fans? If the NFL, in the interests of player health, were to drastically curtail the violent hitting, and turn football into something akin to basketball or soccer, how would fans react, including those fans who are oh soooo concerned for the players' health?
   50. ray james Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3894192)
It STARTS as a thought experiment. It doesn't end there.


So then thought experiments AREN'T meaningless, as you said they were, but function as a starting point for further inquiry.

And then, how do you propose to move beyond there? Would you have MLB commission well-controlled studies? The drug companies? The players union? Who is going to fund the studies that will answer the questions you want to have answered? Just asking because they will cost a lot of money to do.

And would you clarify what you would want studied? Do you want studies to show that widespread PED use is or is not coercive? Or studies that prove or disprove a cost/benefit ratio in favor of allowing players to use whatever they want?

Just trying to clarify what the conversation is all about.
   51. rfloh Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3894198)
So then thought experiments AREN'T meaningless, as you said they were, but function as a starting point for further inquiry.


They are meaningless on their own.

And then, how do you propose to move beyond there? Would you have MLB commission well-controlled studies? The drug companies? The players union? Who is going to fund the studies that will answer the questions you want to have answered? Just asking because they will cost a lot of money to do.


No, the problem is not money. The problem is legality. No studies are possible, when the stuff is illegal. If the stuff is legal, the possibility of profit, will provide the money for the studies. Not to mention academic curiosity. Hence, there are tons of studies on a legal PED such as creatine monohydrate.

Two, even without formal studies, there is considerable knowledge on the various physiological effects of various PEDs. The problem is that the debate has always been based on propaganda. For example, initially, many doctors, scientists, trued to spread the lies that steroids don't have any positive benefits (but do have lots of negative effects); they discarded material science, and allowed themselves to become the tools to spread lies.

And would you clarify what you would want studied? Do you want studies to show that widespread PED use is or is not coercive? Or studies that prove or disprove a cost/benefit ratio in favor of allowing players to use whatever they want?


I want studies on the physiological effects of various PEDs, positive and negative, studies that are based purely on the science. I want a debate on PED use, based on science. Not scare-mongering, not personal views on what is aesthetic or not, not based on nostalgia (the idiotic argument that amphetamines are not PEDs), not based on some argument for "naturalness".
   52. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3894199)
Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff?

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot


In retrospect, I should've gone with Over the Top.
   53. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3894201)
You know, we could save a lot of time, effort, money and sanctimony by just letting the athletes do whatever to their ####### bodies.


And let them carry guns and shoot each other on the basepaths. It's their 2nd Amendment rights, after all, and people will buy more tickets hoping someone gets shot. It will also reduce salary costs. Win-win!
   54. Greg K Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3894204)
And let them carry guns and shoot each other on the basepaths. It's their 2nd Amendment rights, after all, and people will buy more tickets hoping someone gets shot. It will also reduce salary costs. Win-win!

Come on, be serious. With the amount of roster turnover salary costs will go up!

Unless you're suggesting the players families don't get their salaries after their deaths. That would just be plain silly.
   55. ray james Posted: August 06, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3894212)
No, the problem is not money. The problem is legality. No studies are possible, when the stuff is illegal.


That's not true. Legality isn't really the issue. If a drug company wanted to market a product to athletes for performance enhancement, there's no law preventing them from doing that. They would just have to go through the hassle of doing all the studies.

I think there are lots of reasons why they haven't already done so. First, most of the products the athletes are doing surreptitiously have already been studied to a significant degree and they have some nasty side effects. The risk benefit ratio might tilt in favor of use when the the alternative is poor quality of life but that ratio radically shifts in perfectly healthy individuals. Then there is the post-licensure risk of a lawsuit if/when adverse events occur. It's not worth it to the drug companies to take on that risk. And there is the risk of brandname tarnishment if a product acquires a particularly nasty reputation. You know what would happen if, say, Pfizer marketed hGH to athletes that was subsequently linked to cancer or something and it got splashed all over the sports pages. And then there is the risk of endangering a product already licensed for one indication, when subsequent studies for PED use identify a previously unknown adverse event. Drug companies won't do additional safety studies on licensed products unless they have to. The added studies impose additional risk.

And even if licensure occurred, the leagues themselves might decide to ban them anyway, for image or marketing reasons. And there is the market itself, which is pretty small by pharma standards, and many of the substances discussed are not patent-protected. Why would a company take on all that risk without a secure and substantial economic reward is not present?

Right now, I just don't see a way forward for the studies you are talking about ever being done. And until they are done, it's not possible to gauge relative risk or how they can be used safely under a doctor's care.
   56. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 06, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3894232)
If a drug company wanted to market a product to athletes for performance enhancement, there's no law preventing them from doing that.

There certainly is law preventing that. Enhancement of athletic performance is not an accepted use for any drug. Any investigational new drug application that listed athletic performance enhancement as an indication for use would be summarily rejected by FDA on that basis alone.
   57. Eugene Freedman Posted: August 06, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3894252)
Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff? Because it seems like the more I read about HGH, the more it sounds like the criticism against it is more morally based, rather than health based. So I'd be most appreciate to hear the other side of the health argument, so that I can be up to speed as to why this stuff shouldn't be used.


My understanding, while quite limited, is that if you have any cancer cells, they will grow much faster if you are taking any growth hormone.
   58. VoodooR Posted: August 06, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3894259)
If Barry Bonds had dropped dead when he was 40... he'd already be in the Hall of Fame.
   59. Ron J Posted: August 06, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3894267)
That's not true. Legality isn't really the issue


There's the example of the study that the documentary "High Performance".

Worth noting, the CBC has tried to pretend it never showed the documentary. The only links I can find to it are via the wayback machine. It's not alone. I can't find the documentary any place and every summary or review I've found has an agenda. (Mostly people thundering about daring to actually study the effects of various things claimed to be performance enhancing in a controlled setting)
   60. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3894269)
So, like, coke? Oxy? We're supposed to let them use illegal drugs and/or abuse legal ones?

Sure, why not?


Some snarker/nonthinker is going to call me a tinfoil-hattist, but embracing this idea is a step along the path towards post-apocalyptic culture, where the strong thrive (but don't live very long) and laws don't exist. The argument seems to be that if SOME drugs are allowed, ALL drugs should be. You'd have Neanderthals making bets in Vegas about when particular star athletes are going to have heart attacks.

We might not be able to reach the ideal (at which the drugs used by all athletes are safe and nobody has an advantage because they're willing to take something that is dangerous and someone else isn't), but shouldn't we try to get as close as we can?

The attitude of many on here about this issue seems to be "let them die."
   61. DCW3 Posted: August 06, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3894271)
NYS just decided patients can't get a month's prescription of Oxycodone. Now it's 28 days, max. That's brilliant. No refills are allowed, so terribly ill, handicapped patients nonetheless have to spend the bulk of a day traveling to their doctor's offices in order to physically pick up their ####### prescriptions. Ah, and you can only refill within five days of when your last refill ends, so if a friend is going to the county's only pharmacy six days before your refill ends, that's too ####### bad. Oh, well, no one can pick the drugs up for you anyway, so get your broken ass in your ####### wheelchair and take the ####### bus, pal. In February.

Pseudoephedrine is probably going to end up becoming prescription-only in most states within a few years, which is going to suck for people like me with chronic allergies. I'm already starting to see letters to the editor calling for it to be banned entirely, which sounds absurd now, but I'd be willing to bet that that's the next bastion the anti-drug crusaders move to once they realize that making it prescription-only doesn't magically make the meth problem disappear.
   62. Squash Posted: August 06, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3894295)
Some snarker/nonthinker is going to call me a tinfoil-hattist, but embracing this idea is a step along the path towards post-apocalyptic culture, where the strong thrive (but don't live very long) and laws don't exist. The argument seems to be that if SOME drugs are allowed, ALL drugs should be. You'd have Neanderthals making bets in Vegas about when particular star athletes are going to have heart attacks.

The problem I have with the "everything should be legal" argument is that it seems to assume that everyone taking drugs would be doing so in a calm and rational manner, and those who don't are an acceptable tradeoff for one's own personal freedom. Part of being in a society and getting all the good stuff that comes with that is accepting the flipside, which is that while you or I get to do 99% of what we want at any given moment, there is that 1% that we as a group have to agree to not do (or do) in order for the society to function best/most efficiently, be it drug laws or seatbelt laws or whatever. The fetishism of that 1% in pockets of America is a little odd - perhaps it's that we have so much freedom and our basic needs are so provided for that we need something to ##### about. Your life isn't really meaningfully tarnished by the fact that you can't do all the coke you want, or have to ride your motorcycle with your helmet on, or own an AK-47 - and if it is, society as a group has decided that's an acceptable tradeoff for the multitude of additional illness and death certain laws prevent, perhaps your own. Even though I know no one on this board would ever develop a drug problem, as we are all perfectly calm and rational.
   63. smileyy Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3894299)
Pseudoephedrine is probably going to end up becoming prescription-only in most states within a few years, which is going to suck for people like me with chronic allergies.


Especially since its dubious that its replacement, phenylephrine, actually does anything.
   64. Greg K Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3894300)
Even though I know no one on this board would ever develop a drug problem, as we are all perfectly calm and rational.

I'd consider developing a drug problem, if I could afford it.
   65. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3894316)
Even though I know no one on this board would ever develop a drug problem, as we are all perfectly calm and rational.


The best part is that being calm and rational often has nothing to do with whether you develop a drug problem. Nobody knows how a particular drug is going to behave for them until they take it. Which means that sometimes you're going to wonder what the fuss was about, and sometimes you're going to be hooked. It can take a strong, sober mind to decide not to take something that you really enjoyed because you're worried about addiction.

The fetishism of that 1% in pockets of America is a little odd - perhaps it's that we have so much freedom and our basic needs are so provided for that we need something to ##### about.


It seems to me that it's actually the people who *aren't* getting their needs met that would benefit most from legalizing everything and making everything available. Gaining the freedom to #### up one's own life seems attractive to those with little to lose.

(Said as an unemployed guy with a history of "common" mental illness...I'm rather surprised I was able to flush that oxycodone years ago)
   66. Srul Itza Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3894319)
The real downside of hGH as a PED is that it isn't a PED.


Ding, ding, ding -- We have a winner.

Some snarker/nonthinker is going to call me a tinfoil-hattist


Nah, nut-bag will do, and it takes less time to type.
   67. Srul Itza Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3894323)
Gaining the freedom to #### up one's own life seems attractive to those with little to lose.


Gaining the freedom to fuck up others' lives is even more attractive to those with little to lose.
   68. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3894329)
There's a wide gulf between wanting my players healthy and being a card-carrying D.A.R.E. lobbyist, you know.
   69. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3894388)
This. It's pretty awful that people here want to encourage a drug culture that will cost players their lives and health just b/c they don't want to read some sanctimonious sportswriters rant on steroids.
If it helps, I don't want to read your sanctimonious rant on steroids, either...
   70. Walt Davis Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3894393)
And let them carry guns and shoot each other on the basepaths. It's their 2nd Amendment rights, after all, and people will buy more tickets hoping someone gets shot. It will also reduce salary costs. Win-win!

You kidding? LaRussa going out every inning to reload his players guns and tell them who to shoot; taking out his righty gunslinger to bring in the lefty gunslinger to shoot their lefty gunslinger; the game would go on forever.

Now arm the fans so they can shoot LaRussa ...

Enhancement of athletic performance is not an accepted use for any drug.

And this has been the missing moral component of your argument. Why should enhancement of athletic performance be a legitimate rationale for human experimentation? Should society allow human experimentation for any reason whatsoever? Do you see no basis for the position that human experimentation should only be allowed where the (expected) risk/benefit ratio is sufficiently low?

Then there's the question as to whether such tests would make any difference. Such tests inevitably lead to regulation because one of the goals of such tests is to establish "safe" dosage levels to be delivered in a controlled setting -- i.e. you need a doctor's prescription to obtain it legally. If such a study decides that X mg is the proper dosage, many athletes and non-athletes are still going to want to do 2X and that creates a black markt. Alternatively, the drug is made freely available and advertised on TV with buff PED users snorting cocaine off the stomachs of bikini models and demand might increase just a smidgen.

The fact is that the societal benefit of better athletes and even a physically stronger general population is essentially zero. Therefore there's no justification for allowing the risk of human experimentation especially with regard to something that is clearly potentially harmful given it affects body chemistry. That doesn't necessarily lead to (strict) regulation which carries its own set of cost/benefit analyses.
   71. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3894397)
Therefore there's no justification for allowing the risk of human experimentation especially with regard to something that is clearly potentially harmful given it affects body chemistry.

Shouldn't that be up to the humans being experimented on to decide?
   72. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3894410)
Part of being in a society
There's no such thing as society. There's only individuals.
   73. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3894412)
There's no such thing as society. There's only individuals.


I hope this isn't serious.
   74. rr Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3894417)
No question it's serious, although David is certainly aware enough to get how some people will respond.

Yankees/Red Sox going to hit 4.5 hours today?
   75. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3894425)
And this has been the missing moral component of your argument.

The missing moral component of whose argument? Because I wasn't making a pro-steroid testing argument at all. Just correcting someone who was claiming that any pharmaceutical company that wanted to could be marketing better PEDs to athletes tomorrow if they'd just get off their lazy butts and run a few clinical trials.

The fact is that the societal benefit of ... a physically stronger general population is essentially zero.

So you haven't seen the Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer?

There's no such thing as society. There's only individuals.

And if a bunch of individuals choose to socialize?
   76. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3894428)
Yankees/Red Sox going to hit 4.5 hours today?


The real question is how long do I leave the sound on....
   77. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 06, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3894433)
No, the real question is why haven't you already muted it?
   78. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:00 PM (#3894441)
Probably so I could snark about it later.
   79. Greg K Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3894446)
There's no such thing as society. There's only individuals.

You could argue that there are no such things as individuals, there's only self-aware cultural texts.
   80. rr Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3894447)
I almost always mute FOX baseball.
   81. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:27 PM (#3894457)
I'm no longer a Nieporent virgin, I guess.
   82. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 06, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#3894459)
You could argue that there are no such things as individuals, there's only self-aware cultural texts.

Oh, you zany Brits!
   83. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 06, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#3894479)
Do any of the regulars (myself included, even though I lurk most of the time) have lives?
   84. ray james Posted: August 07, 2011 at 02:12 AM (#3894504)
Any investigational new drug application that listed athletic performance enhancement as an indication for use would be summarily rejected by FDA on that basis alone.


Well, I agree it would probably be rejected. But I'm pretty certain it wouldn't be summarily rejected. Each application would be evaluated on it's merits. But I agree it would be a tough sell, especially for something that had demonstrable negative side effects.

But the point stands. There's no law against it. You just have to make a strong enough case that the benefits outweigh the risks. And it's tough to do that with peds.
   85. Ron J Posted: August 07, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3894510)
The real downside of hGH as a PED is that it isn't a PED.


Which hasn't stopped the NFL and their PA from agreeing to a blood based test that everybody agrees is basically a waste of time (because hGH clears the body so quickly)

As the song goes, "It's a strange, strange world we live in"

Look for MLB and the PA to come under pressure to follow.
   86. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2011 at 02:38 AM (#3894513)
I hope this isn't serious.
Of course it is, and don't call me Shirley.
   87. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 07, 2011 at 02:54 AM (#3894518)
Anyway, my real question here is: what is the true downside of using this stuff?

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

In retrospect, I should've gone with Over the Top.


Dammit, Rocky V was staring me in the face the whole time.
   88.   Posted: August 07, 2011 at 02:59 AM (#3894520)
lol @ the steroid zealots pretending that their concern is for the health and safety of the players.

Look, educate the players the best we can, strongly discourage or recommend against certain products, share the side effects and the scientific data, suggest healthier alternatives to what they want, all that stuff. But "banning" anything is clearly useless and ultimately if some guy wants to spray ####### antler juice under his tongue and doesn't care what it does to him, whatever...
   89. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 07, 2011 at 03:30 AM (#3894531)
Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't necessarily mean that they are a zealot or that they're dishonest in their motivations.
   90. chris p Posted: August 07, 2011 at 03:33 AM (#3894533)
stuff like this is going to be an issue, unless baseball adopts an approach more similar to what pro cycling is trying to do with the biological passport.
   91.   Posted: August 07, 2011 at 03:40 AM (#3894537)

Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't necessarily mean that they are a zealot or that they're dishonest in their motivations.


No, but a little bayes is important here.
   92. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 07, 2011 at 03:52 AM (#3894542)
86. David Nieporent (now, with children)


Being one of the least observant people on the planet, I just now realized the change in handle. So I have no idea how long it's been since you've gone from the singular to the plural, but congratulations.

DB
   93. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 07, 2011 at 04:59 AM (#3894554)
Being one of the least observant people on the planet, I just now realized the change in handle. So I have no idea how long it's been since you've gone from the singular to the plural, but congratulations.
Two months and two weeks, as of today. And thanks.

And there are several blind people who still haven't noticed, so don't feel too bad.
   94. Swedish Chef Posted: August 07, 2011 at 08:47 AM (#3894570)
You could argue that there are no such things as individuals, there's only self-aware cultural texts.

Better scratch that self-aware.
   95. Swedish Chef Posted: August 07, 2011 at 08:51 AM (#3894571)
No, but a little bayes is important here.

You mean you take as a prior the observation that you're a dishonest zealot?
   96. Something Other Posted: August 07, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3894825)
Two months and two weeks, as of today. And thanks.
Congratulations. My impression was that your handle had quickly gone from merely your name, to "with child", to "with children". I would have guessed twins, but I'm often a few light years behind the curve.

Also, I have no problem* if a company wants negotiate drugs out of their workplace, I do have a problem if they are forced to by the government.
I have a problem imagining a company *having* to negotiate being able to take drug tests unless we're taking about their dealings with well-off individuals with a lot of options, or the millionaires' players union.
   97. 'Spos Posted: August 08, 2011 at 01:00 AM (#3894908)
You could argue that there are no such things as individuals, there's only self-aware cultural texts.


I might do that in a non-baseball forum, but I'm not convinced I'm self-aware...

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