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The new HGH testing will be kind of weird

Nov 22, 2011, 12:59 PM EDT

Image (1) HGH.jpg for post 4145

The announcement that the new collective bargaining agreement provides for testing for HGH was a bit surprising, but the way it’s being implemented is kind of surprising too.  Here’s a mashup of Buster Olney’s tweets in the past few minutes reporting on that:

On HGH testing: It’s TBD when/if it goes into effect. There will be a test of HGH testing in the upcoming spring training … Players will be blood tested this spring, to determine energy levels after testing; results of testing will be discarded … Then, after results of physical reaction to blood testing is determined, the two sides will determine when and how to proceed … The blood samples taken next spring training can be tested for HGH; the first offseason testing will start next winter, 2012-2013.

There’s a lot of prudence there. When the topic of blood testing was first mentioned several years ago there was concern that players giving blood would be detrimental to their conditioning and energy-levels. This phase-in/testing regime seems to address that.

But I do love the idea of these baseline blood tests being “discarded.”  The last time that was promised for baseball drug testing a bunch of over-zealous feds seized all of the results, started prosecuting people and years of litigation ensured.  Here’s hoping there’s a “must-destroy” date inserted in the final paperwork.

  1. Kyle - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    I’m sure this will go smooth as all hell and there won’t be any incompetence involved whatsoever in this pointless nonsense.

  2. bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I still want to see the entire list of 104 from 2003.

    • Alex K - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      Right after you release your personal medical records.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        And waive all Fourth Amendment rights in the future.

    • djpostl - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      Rofl, 4th Amendment Rights. STFU man, I had to pee in a cup to even be considered for a Gov’t job so cry me a river. Assholes get embarrassed, so freakin’ what? They got their millions and nobody will try and take them back. Put the list out there.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        So glad you want to willfully flaunt a federal judge’s ruling. With that respect for authority, I’m sure you are doing very well at your gov’t job.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        Because the government was your employer, not because it was blatantly redefining what was covered by a court-ordered search warrant.

  3. dlevalley - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    “The last time that was promised for baseball drug testing a bunch of over-zealous feds seized all of the results, started prosecuting people and years of litigation ensured.”

    That’s the exact thought I had when Olney’s tweet came up on my screen. Wait, haven’t we been here before?

    It’s up to all parties involved to prove they’re not in the business of witch-hunting, and they’ve yet to do so…

  4. yardleyphils - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    I think you have to have a baseline in order to execute an accurate test for Growth Hormone. One of the problems with testing was always that you are testing for something which is naturally occurring in the body at very different quantities from individual to individual. I think you need the baseline to establish a comparison point.

    Also GH levels in blood vary significantly throughout the day and depending upon the type and duration of activity for the previous 24-36 hours.

    Of course if there is some new testing protocol none of this matters.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      Wouldn’t that mean you’d need more than one test to establish a baseline? And if so, how many would provide a significant sample size to be deemed accurate?

      Oh I forget, I’m dealing with an industry that thinks a 3-5 game sample size is justification for arm-chair psychoanalyzing a player.

      • yardleyphils - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        frankly, yes, you would. I am speculating that they must really be testing for a substance that is included in synthetic growth hormone (all GH in the world today is synthetic).

        the reason steroid testing works is that steroids are synthetic testosterone – meaning, you aren’t testing the athletes testosterone levels, you are testing for the other substances present in the drug *or* testing for metabolites that are the result of your body breaking down the synthetic testosterone molecules.

        GH on the other hand had always (in the past) consisted of nothing other than pure synthetic growth hormone, and was injected into an area of body fat so that it would be absorbed directly into the bloodstream without having to be metabolized. If it doesn’t have to be metabolized to work, then there is no way to test for metabolites (the byproduct of being broken down). So either the GH of today is different than it used to be, or they are going to be taking a lot of tests to establish a baseline for everyone in MLB.

        “Normal” GH levels for adult males is “under 5 ng/mL” of blood. You could very easily be injecting GH and getting the benefits and still test in the normal range. Because your values would stay at 5ng 24 hours a day and not move up and down like a non-enhanced athlete’s would. You’d recover from exercise faster and carry less bodyfat than a non-enhanced athlete.

        My statements are based on information from about 5 years ago, so as I said, it’s possible they’ve found a new way to test. I just can’t imagine what it is.

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