Odds and sods: Murray the moron; BP agrees with me

May 13th, 2007 → 10:29 am @ // No Comments

There are days when I think Murray Chass is a bad writer, or a lazy reporter, or a grudge-carrying boob. Those are the good days. Then there are days like today, when I wonder if he knows anything about baseball at all.

Pretty much everyone who is involved with, reporters on, is a fan of, or reads about baseball is aware of the laughably porous PED-testing program MLB has in place. It’s been written about again and again and again.

But in today’s Times, Chass has a typical column, which is to say, one devoid of any new information. He also comes out with this gem, which is impressive even for him:

“Because baseball tests for steroids and other performance-enhancing substances, it is unlikely that Bonds is risking his career by using them. But baseball, as all other sports, doesn’t test for human growth hormone, so some Bonds critics believe that’s what he’s using.”

This may very well be the first time I’ve seen anyone write that the MLB testing program is so good as to all but ensure players aren’t using. In fact, Jack Curry, one of Chass’s colleagues at the Times, wrote a long, prominent story less than two months ago that highlighted just how porous baseball’s program is.

Some of the highlights of Curry’s article:

* Baseball doesn’t test for the blood booster EPO or 1GF-1, a hormone that mimics the effects of HGH.

* If a player faces a random test on game day, he has up until an hour after that night’s contest to actually give a sample. That prompted this quote: “If a guy can’t do it, he comes back in an hour?” said Dr. Gary I. Wadler, an associate professor of medicine at NYU and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. “Comes back in an hour? Give me a break. They should say that he will be chaperoned from the moment of notification. It shouldn’t even be 30 seconds later.” The players, Wadler pointed out, are not chaperoned during this time.

* A GM told Curry that, on days in which a collector comes to spring training, a player could alert teammates who hadn’t shown up yet that testing was taking place.

* Some players are notified the night before a test is going to take place.
Chass is also wrong when he says that “all other sports” are similar to baseball in that they don’t test for HGH…unless Chass doesn’t consider what takes place at the Olympics as “sport.” Finally, HGH is no small exclusion: two seasons ago, when I was with the Red Sox, HGH was widely acknowledged throughout baseball to have replaced steroids as the juicer of choice.


In cheerier news, it’s nice to see Baseball Prospectus’s Will Carroll agreeing with me when he says, “I love Tim Wakefield.” Check out his piece; it’s worth reading.

Post Categories: Baseball Prospectus & Murray Chass & Steroids & Tim Wakefield

4 Comments → “Odds and sods: Murray the moron; BP agrees with me”

  1. kinshane

    16 years ago

    In the military, we do indeed chaperone people around when they can’t, um, produce during a random urinalysis. If it takes an overly long amount of time for the urine to flow, they are escorted to the testing center and a catheter is used. Of course, we are responsible for making sure people who have access to weaponry are not tweaking or whatever, so it would seem to be more important for us to make sure the test is good. Professional athletes, while not having access to automatic rifles, do make an arseload of money, so it should be as important for them.

    It’s all about the union, baby.


  2. wired1

    16 years ago

    Thanks Murray, baseball is worried about steroids. Glad I bought the Times today.


  3. benschon

    16 years ago

    Notice the weirdly complex syntax Tom Glavine uses in this long quote from the same article. Does he really talk like that?

    Asked how he would view Bonds’s record, Glavine said: “This cloud of suspicion probably has taken away from the magnitude of appreciation. I have issues with it just like everybody else. But there’s part of me that still has a hesitancy to disregard it when we don’t know definitively that something has taken place. We all have suspicions, and those suspicions are based on pretty good evidence.”


  4. mtalinm

    16 years ago

    nothing better to talk about than fellow journalists? now that’s navel-gazing…


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