Mar 5, 2010, 10:50 AM EDT
MLB’s Rob Manfred attended a PED seminar yesterday and offered some more words about HGH testing in baseball:
Manfred said that the positive test in England “is an important
confirmation of the strength and science involved” in the H.G.H. blood
test and that baseball was working to apply the test on a widespread
An HGH test may or may not be workable and wonderful and all of that — I really don’t know enough about it, or the drug, to say — but I am rather surprised that everyone keeps referring to this rugby player as evidence that people need to get moving on the test.
Why? Because all of the stories that have come out since that test note that the player wasn’t caught merely by testing. Rather, his league had intelligence (i.e. a tip) that he was using HGH, and then went to specifically test him based on that tip. If they didn’t have the tip, they never would have caught the guy in all likelihood, because HGH doesn’t stay in the bloodstream that long. Indeed, the UK anti-doping agency that caught the guy is on record as saying that intelligence, as opposed to testing, is becoming far more important in their battle against HGH. The same sort of intelligence that nabbed Braves’ prospect Jordan Schafer for HGH just last year.
I don’t offer this to slam baseball’s desire to implement HGH testing. As with most things, a combination approach is best. Do some testing if it makes sense. Use intelligence too. It’s all good. It’s just probably worth remembering that there is more to life than just testing, and that, contrary to what so many writers say, the presence or absence of an HGH test doesn’t automatically render baseball’s drug program effective or ineffective.