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Just ten percent of players are given drug tests in the offseason

May 6, 2011, 8:47 AM EDT


Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times details a report quietly released by Major League Baseball a couple of weeks ago in which it was revealed that, in the 2010 offseason, only 10 percent of major league baseball players were given drug tests. These tests constituted just three percent of all drug tests given by baseball in 2010.

These offseason rates are significantly lower than the offseason rates seen in the NFL and Olympic sports and, given that players’ normal routines involve using the offseason for more intense workouts than they do during the regular season, it represents a pretty big loophole. Both the union and the league told Schmidt that offseason testing is an item on the agenda for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement which will be negotiated this year.

The biggest question I have is, practically speaking, how can you increase this frequency in anything approaching a fair way? Some players live two miles from the team’s spring training headquarters all winter long. Some live in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi. Others live in Japan, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Unlike the NFL — in which there are numerous pre-scheduled offseason activities like minicamps — there is no time when ballplayers are truly accessible to their team in such a way as to make offseason drug testing a truly random or even arguably comprehensive thing.

  1. oldnumero7 - May 6, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    In related news, 90 per cent of players show up for Spring Training in the best shape of their lives.

  2. BC - May 6, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    If I’m a player and I know I think I have a 90 percent chance of not getting tested, shoot me up, baby!

  3. dan1111 - May 6, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    How significant is this? There is only 4 1/2 months between the end of regular season games and reporting to Spring Training. Most players take a break before beginning off-season workouts, and they would also have to allow time to get the substances out of their system before spring training. Is there really enough of a window of opportunity to make steroid use worthwhile? And even then, they still have a chance of being tested.

    • deathmonkey41 - May 6, 2011 at 11:08 AM

      Guys are still getting caught- so I guess they figure the chances of getting caught is outweighed by the lure of a huge contract.

      • dan1111 - May 6, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        Yeah, I agree. I just wonder if the limited off-season testing is really that big of a loophole.

  4. bigxrob - May 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Maybe Manny was in the 10 % last winter.

  5. howell901 - May 6, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Well, I know that in Cycling you have to leave a schedule of where you are going to be, and that it’s on the governing body to come to you. This of course is not always great either. Such as this:

    • jwbiii - May 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      “Well, I know that in Cycling you have to leave a schedule of where you are going to be, and that it’s on the governing body to come to you.”

      Is this new? Perhaps in response to the 2007 Michael Rasmussen fiasco?

  6. deathmonkey41 - May 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    In a related story, journeyman Jose Bautista hits 40 more HRs than he did the year before.

    • dan1111 - May 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      It stinks that no one can have a breakout season any more without being accused of steroid use.

      • cur68 - May 6, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        dan; don’t bother. It’s not a really a logical or knowledgeable discussion you’ll have with monkeyboy here. He’s just bored and Trolling you. Guaranteed, anything you write will be met with a replies that consists of “PEDS” and “LOL” being cap locked at you.

  7. deathmonkey41 - May 6, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    What’s up cur68? Still stalking my posts, I see. I forgot- you set me straight. He hit 40 more HRs because he’s “scrappy”- I almost forgot. Thanks.

    • BC - May 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      And he’s a ballplayer.

      • cur68 - May 6, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Natural athlete, too.

        oh, right; LOL

  8. Walk - May 7, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    Part of my duties at on time included being part of our units urinalysis ncos. Basicially i was a pee pee watcher. Our program had two types of tests a random 10% test and a full 100%. The 100% test was done just a few times a year and every time we had a drug related incident. The 10% test was just that, random number and 10% or more of the unit. The purpose of the 10% test was to scare the recreational users and anyone taking other drugs it tested for, it was a 14 point test if i recall right. We knew the 10% test wouldnt stop any addicts but it would deter people using on leave and pass and hopefully stop anyone before they began using. It was basically like locking a cash register. It wont stop a thief but would deter most people who would pick that same money up off the counter, keeping honest people honest i guess.

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