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Did a Cardinals minor leaguer get a drug suspension for eating a steak?

Mar 7, 2011, 1:36 PM EDT

syringe

Or a burger. Or some other beef-product. Larry at IIATMS has the interesting story of Lainer Bueno, beef products and the banned PED Clenbuterol.

I have no idea if Bueno was using a PED intentionally and, given his stature as a player, it probably makes no real difference baseball history regardless.  But the uncertainty in fact and dogmatism in practice regarding this particular PED illustrates why some of us are so uncomfortable with casting everyone who has ever tested positive for a PED as a black-hearted cheater and every anti-doping group like WADA as a bunch of white knights.

There’s a bunch we don’t know, folks. And most of us don’t even know we don’t know it.

  1. BC - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    The guy that won the Tour de France (name escapes me) had this happen to him.

    • sdelmonte - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:42 PM

      Floyd Landis.

      • lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 5:07 PM

        No, not Floyd Landis. Landis tested positive for exogenous (synthetic) testosterone.

  2. lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Alberto Contador.

    There are other cases in cycling that you may not have heard of. Li Fuyu and Alessandro Colo are other examples. Cycling operates under WADA’s anti-doping code, where it’s difficult to avoid sanction (or even get a reduced sanction) in a case involving alleged accidental doping. Baseball’s anti-doping rules make it easier to avoid punishment for accidental doping — at least in theory. I don’t know of any case where a baseball player avoided punishment by arguing that his doping was accidental.

    • cktai - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      The Contador case is quite interesting. He was tested for 50 picograms of clenbutarol, which is 40 times less then WADA-accredited labs are required to detect. Had his blood been tested by a different lab then the one in Cologne, it would probably never have been detected. Has there been any report on how much they found in Bueno’s blood?

      • lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        cktai, to be clear, Contador’s sample measured a concentration of clenbuterol of approximately 50 picograms per milliliter. There’s something like 75 milliliters of urine in a sample per the WADA Code, so naturally there was more than 50 picograms of clenbuterol in the entire sample. Also, there ARE other labs around the world that can detect these low-level of concentrations of clenbuterol — including the Montreal WADA lab that does the testing for Major League Baseball. But to be sure, there ARE many labs in the world where Contador would not have tested positive.

        There’s no report I’ve seen of the concentration of clenbuterol found in Bueno’s sample. Clenbuterol is not a “threshold” substance, meaning that the detection of ANY amount of this stuff is a doping offense. So the anti-doping labs would not normally announce the concentrations they find of these drugs. The concentrations provided for athletes like Contador are all estimates.

        By the way, the measured concentrations of clenbuterol in food poisoning cases are quite high, in the hundreds of nanograms per milliliter range (1 nanogram = 1000 picograms). So even a high concentration of clenbuterol could still possibly indicate accidental ingestion by Bueno.

  3. cintiphil - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    It is hard to believe that this could happen, although positive readings for coke can happen, after eating poppy seeds.

    • lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      For the record, poppy seed consumption can cause someone to flunk a drug test for opiates (morphine, heroin). I don’t think poppy seeds would cause a positive reading for cocaine. But as Craig says, there’s a bunch we don’t know.

      • cur68 - Mar 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        he meant heroin/morphine. want to flunk a test for coke? Take coke.

  4. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    I have read they are putting artificial growth hormone in cows.

    • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      Steak is cow, right? Shows how much I know about Steak (I don’t like steak)

  5. frankvzappa - Mar 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    welcome to the poisonous nightmare that is your food supply…chemicals, hormones, preservatives, genetically modified frankenfood, you will eat it and like it, but rest assured that the fact you no longer eat actual food has nothing to do with the fact that everybody has cancer…oh, and the fluoride that is actually toxic waste aluminum byproduct that is in EVERYTHING really doesnt make you too stupid to realize this…please go back to you televisions now…

  6. frankvzappa - Mar 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    ps…i understand they may not put that stuff in meat here, but equally bad and worse things are happening here…

    • lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      Um … you DID compose “Uncle Meat”. Right?

  7. Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Steroids are a huge problem in food too. It causes females to mature at younger ages, AHEM!! Dad’s of little girls watch bovine growth hormones in milk as well as meat……. We use so much medication for everything that we’re contaminating our own waterways with it. Umm and our children…

  8. Jason @ IIATMS - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    I nominate this thread as the feel-good thread of 2011 so far.

    • Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Proof of how some players thrive in Philly. They keep eating hormone fortified Cheese steaks. Brilliant!!!

    • sdelmonte - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      Jason, you have some good writers (and thinkers) working for you. I might root for the other guys in NYC, but your site is a must for all fans.

  9. lbehrendt - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Jason, don’t worry, the year is still young.

    I’m no expert on food safety. But stuff like clenbuterol does not disappear once injected into livestock. Some of it passes back into the environment, where it ends up in the soil, or the water. Meanwhile, the anti-doping testers are getting better at detecting small amounts of prohibited substances. BC above mentioned the case of Alberto Contador, who was found with a 50 picogram/milliliter concentration of clenbuterol in his urine. 50 picograms is an almost unimaginably small amount of anything. 50 picograms is approximately the weight of the DNA in 8 human cells.

    One reason I’m so fascinated with the anti-doping effort is that discussions like this can travel in so many interesting and important directions.

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