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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Verducci: New testing protocols could change game in fight against PEDs

The article goes into some depth about how biological passport testing works and how it’s a vast improvement over the old method.  I’m sure that it is, and I fully support MLB enhances its anti-doping efforts.  It’s a credit to Tom Verducci to research this and write a layman friendly article like this.

...but golly gee damn, sometimes I just wish we were talking about the merits of RBI and W-L.  Hopefully, as testing continues to improve as it seems to, doping will become ever scarcer and further removed from the hot stove.

Baseball began to see a trend mushrooming in 2012: players were turning to fast-acting synthetic testosterone to cheat. The 4:1 T:E ratio was providing room to maneuver for that cheating. So baseball owners and the players’ association that year began discussing how to bring their Joint Drug Agreement up to date with state of the art testing protocols. They agreed they needed to run more of the more sensitive IRMS tests, but needed a better “trigger” mechanism than the 4:1 ratio. And that’s why they turned to the biological passport testing system.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:01 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: a-rod, biological passport, bosch, hgh, peds, steroids, testosterone

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   1. dr. scott Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4638924)
this is a good article, definately worth reading... my favorite part...

The drug supplier also told 60 Minutes he schooled Rodriguez on how to provide a urine sample in order to evade testing: provide only urine from mid-stream, not from the beginning or the end of a stream.



Seems this is the supplier making the player do something that will likely get pee on him for no good reason. I love it.
   2. Publius Publicola Posted: January 14, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4639049)
They announced the system upgrade on Jan. 13, 2013 -- just nine days before former Biogenesis employee Porter Fisher turned over to the Miami New Times documents that belonged to Bosch and whose publication would lead to the biggest doping bust in baseball's history.


Porter Fisher. Rat or not a rat?
   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 14, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4639138)
When a friend declared A-Rod to be a cheater today, I replied, "yes, like a spitballer".

He stopped, and said, "no, that's not cheating, steroids are cheating".
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2014 at 02:33 AM (#4639247)
From the article:

According to Bosch, Rodriguez paid him $12,000 a month to administer his sophisticated doping program, which included multiple banned substances that could be administered by creams, injections, pills and the "gummies," or a lozenge-like drug called "troches." Rodriguez would take the troches at a specific time before games, according to Bosch. The drug supplier also told 60 Minutes he schooled Rodriguez on how to provide a urine sample in order to evade testing: provide only urine from mid-stream, not from the beginning or the end of a stream.

"There's no science I know of behind any of that," Wadler said. "It's a classic case of athletes trusting pseudo-science over science."


Now I know that sentence from Wadler is being placed into a context that it might not have been said in -- i.e. it's not clear that Wadler's "any of that" is meant to encompass the specific things listed in the previous paragraph ... yet another reason to never trust reporters :-) -- but taking it at face value, he's saying Bosch's protocol was likely ineffective.

On the article the 4:1 T/E ratio is long-standing and it's that high because supposedly elite athletes have very high natural T/E ratios. Nothing wrong with tracking that more specifically by player and it's just the initial screener to a more precise test so even if there are a lot of false positives on the basic test they'll hopefully be caught by the second test and nothing's wasted but money.

Presumably one way around this is to start early and get your T/E up as high as you can safely maintain it before you're ever drafted. Still a problem I suppose if they come knocking when you're "red" (wasn't that the Armstrong lingo).
   5. SteveF Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:04 AM (#4639259)
Some random samples will also be subject to the carbon isotope test without needing to first fail the T/E ratio test.
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4639302)
At the high end, performance enhancing drugs are always going to stay a step ahead of testing. It's the nature of testing; you can't test for what you don't yet know exists.

I'm fairly ignorant on this topic so please correct me if you think I'm far wrong, but... it seems to me that the story of the so-named Steroid Era wasn't so much that an elite cadre of the top players were using and getting away with it, but that due to the lack of testing and implicit nudging of players to "get stronger" by teams, everyone was using performance enhancers that even at the time could have been tested for, had MLB wished to do so.
   7. Rally Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4639307)
I'm fairly ignorant on this topic so please correct me if you think I'm far wrong, but... it seems to me that the story of the so-named Steroid Era wasn't so much that an elite cadre of the top players were using and getting away with it, but that due to the lack of testing and implicit nudging of players to "get stronger" by teams, everyone was using performance enhancers that even at the time could have been tested for, had MLB wished to do so.


Most of that. I'd change "everyone" to a substantial, but unknown, portion of players. 25%?, 50%?, 70%? We'll never find out.

and this: "had MLB wished to do so" to "had MLB been allowed to do so". They can't force any player to submit to a test without bargaining for that with the union.
   8. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:56 AM (#4639312)
My personal opinion, obviously unsupported by evidence, is that practically everyone from the early 90s through mid-2000s--over 90%--was using PEDs to some greater or lesser extent. Certainly no less than 80%.
   9. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4639341)
The drug supplier also told 60 Minutes he schooled Rodriguez on how to provide a urine sample in order to evade testing: provide only urine from mid-stream, not from the beginning or the end of a stream.

It has been well-known for years that the urine test is unreliable and fairly easy to beat.

Blood testing on the other hand, which finally went into effect last season, is much harder to game.
   10. Ron J2 Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4639435)
#4 "Glowing" was Tyler Hamilton's term.

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