Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Steroid Era is Over? Hardly.

Victor Conte, former BALCO founder is one of the smartest minds in all of sports, not only when it comes to steroids, but also training and nutrition, had some bold things to say about Performance Enhancing Drugs within Major League Baseball, Biogenesis, Bud Selig, and 50 percent of the League:

"I'm not going to name names," Conte said, "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's comments, of course, stem from this present Biogenesis scandal --  Needless to say, MLB disagrees with Conte's estimates.

"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. "He's just making that up. It's a guess. We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.''

Let’s put these numbers into perspective. There are probably 1,000 baseball players. The contract that Major League Baseball has says that they can test up to 375 players a year during the off-season. That would be 37.5% of 1,000 players, right?

If you look at the actual numbers that they tested in 2008, 2009 and 2010, it’s about an average of 60 players. So if you’ve got the right and the ability, and you’re serious about drug testing and reducing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, why would you not test 37.5% of the players? Why are you only testing 6%?

Conte said that testosterone has become the PED of choice, as designer or stealth steroids are now detectable and have fallen out of use.

"(The players have gone) old-school, (and have gone) back (to using) fast-acting testosterone, like your body produces. The only way to (detect synthetic testosterone) is using this CIR testing, for $400 bucks a pop.  And they’re (just routine urine testing) these guys, on the average in baseball, twice a year.  Here’s what my understanding is:  They test in Spring Training, then shortly after training camp, early in May.
Damn!  These high-profile players get tested again, and in most cases, what does that mean? Green light, open season, “I’ve had both tests!”

Conte affirms the only way of truly nabbing a doper is to bypass the simple urine test, and target samples with Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry analysis test instead.  The Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry analysis (CIR test) will only take place if a specimen varies substantially from a player's baseline testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. The CIR test actually confirms what percent of elevated testosterone is actually synthetic.

"They need to implement the Carbon Isotope Ratio test for testosterone randomly," Conte said. "Currently a player can go home or to the hotel after a game, use a testosterone cream, gel or patch, and it will be undetectable by the time he goes to the ballpark the next day. The CIR test can detect it for up to two weeks.

"I think these guys are using testosterone every single day of the week."

Conte knows Biogenesis relied heavily upon the sale and distribution of "Troches."

"Troches are like Life Savers, and they have 30 different flavors.  You want raspberry, you want bubblegum, you want cinnamon...typically these have 75 milligrams of testosterone, and somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of it gets absorbed.  It’s my understanding that the guys were popping a couple of these per day. And what that means is, say you absorb on average 10 percent, well that’s a total of 150 milligrams (total), so you would absorb about 15 milligrams per day. A healthy male produces about eight milligrams per day, so you can double and even triple your testosterone level."

"But it’s the timing. . .When you take this stuff, it peaks at about four hours, and by six hours after you take it, you’re back down below the (allowable) 4-to-1 T-E ratio. So all they gotta do is, after a game, even if they finish at 10 o’clock, they take it, and by the time they wake up they already have a normal T-E ratio."

The CIR test costs about $450, roughly the same as the blood test for HGH.

"The blood test is a waste because HGH doesn't enhance performance nearly as much as testosterone," Conte said. "Take the same $400 and do CIR testing. Why spend money on HGH when testosterone is the real problem? They are plugging the wrong hole."

"The players know that the testing is inept. You have to be dumber than dumb to get caught (by test) using testosterone."

"The second problem, and probably even a bigger loophole, is off-season testing. They can test up to 375 players, or about 30 percent of MLB, and they only test about 5o players, or less than 5 percent. If you’ve got a genuine interest in busting people, you put your hook and line in the pond when you know the fish are biting. They’re not doing that. So a lot of this, I believe, is propaganda. They’re out there promoting, “We’re doing this and we’re doing that, the toughest testing in American sports,” but I believe it’s all a joke."

"If they’re going to give you that (loophole), and you know other guys are doing (steroids), you calculate the risk-to-return. What (punishment) are you going to get, 50 games? The incentive is too great and the consequences too minimal."

"What’s the biggest lie of all? It’s Bud Selig saying, 'The steroid era is over.'”

Major League Baseball and Bud Selig may be attempting to make a statement over this whole Biogenesis scandal -- targeting players like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, specifically; in addition to Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, and Jhonny Peralta.

But the statement that they are making isn't exactly how much they are "cleaning up," the Game; Rather, the statement is how completely inept MLB PED testing is.  And how, without the help from outside sources like Victor Conte or Anthony Bosch, we may have never known that PED use is happy and healthy in Major League Baseball.

For, this assault upon the Game wasn't due to a series of failed tests.  It was due to criminals coming forward and leaking the truth to the Press.  What truth?  That our Commissioner and MLB's stellar testing is a facade, which not only turns a blind eye to PED use within the Game, but refuses to address it's rampant proliferation.  Hell, had Porter Fischer never come forward, we would only be left with a season of baseball -- one where 20+ alleged PED users prevailed, and one where 20+ MLB PED tests never detected one damned thing...

~kat gill