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MLB has Started Testing Minor Leaguers for HGH


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#1 Ed Hillel


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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:44 PM

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball has started random blood testing for human growth hormone in the minor leagues, the first professional sports league in the United States to take the aggressive step against doping.


The blood testing is limited to minor league players because they are not members of the players' association, which means the testing is not subject to collective bargaining.


http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=5402071


Should be interesting to see how the MLBPA reacts to this. Will they claim the tests are not accurate or will they jump on board in a continuing and failed effort to save face?

Edited by Ed Hillel, 22 July 2010 - 03:45 PM.


#2 BannedbyNYYFans.com

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:49 PM

Does this mean Andy Pettitte isn't going to be able to make a rehab start next month?

#3 Meff Nelton

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:57 PM

Calcaterra is all over this:


More significantly, the HGH test baseball will be using is the same one mentioned back in February: the test a British rugby league used to catch one of its players. What will likely be left out of these new columns is that (a) the rugby player was the first one in several years of alleged HGH testing to ever be caught; and (b) he was only caught because testing officials received a tip the night before that the player had received a big honking shipment of HGH. If the rugby league was really using the test, it never caught anyone through random testing.

Which can be explained by one of two things, neither of which speak well of the test in question: (1) the test gives almost universal false negatives; or (2) because HGH's duration in the blood stream -- 24-48 hours according to most experts -- is too short for random testing to ever work. Shoe leather and stool pigeons are the only way anyone has ever been caught for using HGH, and that's likely to remain the case.


I think the title of his article wraps things up rather succinctly:

Minor leaguers to be tested for HGH. This is all PR, by the way


#4 terrynever


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Posted 22 July 2010 - 04:20 PM

Testing the minor leaguers, who have no rights, is just a precursor to what MLB owners want to accomplish during the next CBA after the 2011 season ends. The threat of testing for HGH at the big league level becomes a big negotiating chip. The owners can't lose on this one and the MLBPA can't win. It has to go into the next bargaining agreement.

#5 Kilgore A. Trout


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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:07 AM

Even if the test is worthless because of the very small window that it can detect HGH in the blood, this is still a positive step forward. If the owners can get this test into the next CBA, and with using it in the minors it looks like they will push for it, it means that when in the future someone develops a better blood test for HGH they won't have to negotiate it then, they can just swap out this test for that effective one. Basically this weak test would be a placeholder for that assumed future effective testing method.

#6 Curtis_Lesspanic

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:55 AM

Even if the test is worthless because of the very small window that it can detect HGH in the blood, this is still a positive step forward. If the owners can get this test into the next CBA, and with using it in the minors it looks like they will push for it, it means that when in the future someone develops a better blood test for HGH they won't have to negotiate it then, they can just swap out this test for that effective one. Basically this weak test would be a placeholder for that assumed future effective testing method.


I agree that any test is a step in the right direction. And who knows, you could get lucky and catch someone.

But the main problem with PED testing is that the chemists who design the stuff are always going to be ahead of the testers. Case in point with HGH, I heard a couple years ago that IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor - 1) was the next step beyond HGH. Will these new tests pick that up? Probably not. With these tests, you need exact matches. A slight variation on an existing substance might just be enough to cause the test to miss it.

The major thing that legitimate testing in MLB accomplished was the elimination of all the old stand-by substances (Winstrol, Deca etc..) No more side trips to TJ when you swing through San Diego. IMO the importance of eliminating the East German Blueprints that guys like McGwire used with impunity was huge. Now MLB is simply relegated to the same un-winnable PED cat and mouse game that every other Sports league/organization/governing body is dealing with. Adopting this test is good but largely it is more of the same.

#7 Alternate34

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:28 PM

Even if the test is worthless because of the very small window that it can detect HGH in the blood, this is still a positive step forward. If the owners can get this test into the next CBA, and with using it in the minors it looks like they will push for it, it means that when in the future someone develops a better blood test for HGH they won't have to negotiate it then, they can just swap out this test for that effective one. Basically this weak test would be a placeholder for that assumed future effective testing method.


I don't agree. First, the owners may have to give something up in getting this worthless test through. It's how negotiations work. The players are generally anti-competitive balance in negotiations because it is very helpful to have rich teams be able to pay exhorbitant salaries. If the owners push for this, they may give ground on any further attempt to balance the league.

Second, the public debate will work out to demonize players who oppose a basically worthless test. The players' union gets blamed for a lot of shit that is either not their fault or shit where blame is shared by multiple parties. It's some kind of perverted populism where baseball players who are rich because they are good at what they do are targetted for hatred while owners who are rich sometimes because of their baseball industry acumen but oftentimes not are untargeted aside from their fans.

Because of this demonization, players' legitimate complaints as to the uselessness of this test will be shouted down. It could create false positives (though this particular test seems to be more about false negatives) which are universally treated as real positives in the media. Any information gleaned from it that is supposedly confidential has a high probability of being leaked. These are real risks that people will ignore because the players are underhanded dirty cheaters and their union is evil.

Lastly, I don't like deceptive PR moves in relation to PED testing. It creates a false sense of security and activates my distaste for bullshit.

#8 Hee-Seop's Fable

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 11:17 PM

I agree that any test is a step in the right direction. And who knows, you could get lucky and catch someone.

IMO the importance of eliminating the East German Blueprints that guys like McGwire used with impunity was huge. Now MLB is simply relegated to the same un-winnable PED cat and mouse game that every other Sports league/organization/governing body is dealing with. Adopting this test is good but largely it is more of the same.


Well WADA has gotten lucky of behalf of the UCI and has a Euro-pro cyclist on their hook. I presume they are using the same urine test as MLB, but someone can correct me if they know different.

http://www.cyclingne...emains-a-rarity

Dr Martial Saugy of WADA:

“The detection methods haven’t really changed or improved since 2007 and we’ve always been stunned to find so few positive tests,” he told Cyclingnews. The first athlete suspended for a positive test for HGH was Terry Newton in February 2010. That English international rugby league player committed suicide in September.

Dr. Saugy thinks that the myth of undetectable growth hormones offers a partial explanation of Sinkewitz’s positive test. “In that case, riders let up on their attention and they are caught,”




“The positive GH test in cycling is encouraging,” Pr Dine told Cyclingnews. “Perhaps the athletes who used that will be scared and will change their habits.” But the French expert is cautious too: “The GH test is still complicated to do and we still have to strongly target the athletes. What is more, the IGF-1 test is even more subtle...”