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BALCO’s Victor Conte says there are loopholes a-plenty in baseball’s drug testing

Aug 23, 2012, 9:42 AM EDT

We talked yesterday about how the mere fact of positive drug tests does not support the claim that baseball’s drug testing program is faulty. In fact, positive tests and punished players is actually evidence that it is working.  To argue that it isn’t working, you have to point out the flaws in the program itself.

Former BALCO mastermind-turned supplement and training king Victor Conte was on NBC SportsTalk last night. And he did just that. He says that there is a big loophole in baseball’s drug testing program: the offseason.  During that time, baseball tests only 5% of all players despite the fact that they have the right to test as many as 30% of players:

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Baseball has dismissed Conte’s claim, but not with specifics. Rather, they just call him a huckster and a fraud. And maybe he is. But if Conte is right and only a fraction of eligible players are being tested between October and February, baseball should explain why that is.

Less compelling: Conte’s assertion that he knows that many players are using.

  1. ajcardsfan - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    So is that 5% just the players with the top statistics, or what? If they’re only doing the 5% like Conte is suggesting, does the MLB take like all of the poor performers and maybe one or two of the big names to attempt and avoid tarnishing their image?

  2. Rich Stowe - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    I mentioned somewhere on here yesterday – they are allowed by the CBA to test 350 players or so (thanks to the union they can’t test them all – if they did, then MLB would show they actually cared about catching everyone) but they only test about 60 – once during spring training (I’m guessing the players still get notice) and then only if “needed” during the season

    • danandcasey - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Your characterization of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is contrary to the express program description and articles I have read about the conduct of the program. The Program, which is administered jointly by the Office of the Commissioner and the MLBPA, requires that all players be tested for PEDs and stimulants and hGH during spring training. “All players” include every player on a 40-man roster, any free agents, and any player released from a roster but who has not retired. Accordingly, during spring training, more than 1200 players are tested. The date for the tests are random and unannounced. Urine is sampled for PEDs and stimulants. Blood is drawn for hGH.

      During the season, all players — players on a 40 man roster — are tested for PEDS and stimulants. This is a second test, that is, in addition to the spring training test. Players are randomly selected as to date (all players are ultimately tested). hGH is not randomly tested for during the season. Only test is for cause.

      Additionally, 1400 more PED and stimulant tests can be taken. Of these 1400 tests, up to 200 tests are to be conducted in the 2012-13 off season. Off season tests are for PEDs only. The Program did not specify off season testing before the 2012-13 off season. The 200 number increases over time to 250.

      The program is explained in detail here: http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/pa/pdf/jda.pdf.

      • paperlions - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        Exactly, MLB conducts over 3500 tests/year, EVERY players is tested during ST and at least once during the season at randomly selected times, addition tests are selected completely at random (random player and random time)…it works out to an average of nearly 5 tests per player per year.

  3. temporarilyexiled - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Remember when Canseco was the sleazebag-of-the-moment?

    It took a long time before people were able to separate the message from the messenger.

    Maybe when the commissioner’s office and the players’ union are more transparent in their dealings, someone like Victor Conte will be reduced to a sideshow.

    Until then…

    • bigleagues - Aug 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      There are those who will always remember Victor Conte for his involvement with Barry Bonds and BALCO.

      And then there are those of us who will always remember Victor Conte as a former long-time touring member of Tower of Power (and Herbie Hancock) and his current eponymous project.

      Yes, that’s right . . . Victor Conte, PED genius aside, is actually a GREAT bassist.

      And now, I take you back to 1977 to witness a much younger, less tainted Victor Conte Live on stage with Tower of Power . . .

  4. illadelphiasphinest - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Of course guys are using. Braun, Melky, Colon, Galvis just to name a few. All player should be randomly tested weekly or biweekly or something. If I gotta take a drug test to work at Home Depot or Best Buy for $10/hr. Then these guys should have to take drug tests to play a childs game for 6 months a year and make millions n millions of dollers.

  5. yahmule - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Self serving asshat is self serving.

  6. paperlions - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    With respect to off-season tests….so what. The effects of testosterone use is temporary anyway, and the maximum effect of such short-term use will be small, and likely completely gone by the time the regular season starts (as guys would have to get off the stuff before ST). You don’t do testosterone for a couple months and enjoy year-long benefits no matter how much you work out during that time….the gained muscle mass and strength will quickly be lost when the player doesn’t cycle back on to the drug.

  7. willclarkgameface - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    If Selig were serious about curbing use of roids, he would hire Victor Conte to get to the true bottom of the shit pile. Until then, Selig is nothing more than a joker.

    • temporarilyexiled - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      That would be a deck FULL of jokers.

      But it’s definitely a point of view headed in the right direction.

      Selig impresses me as someone who likes the arrangement he already has with his rich buddies thank you very much, and anything else that could upset it in the slightest is a mosquito to be swatted.

      Of course, he does come up with ideas of his own from time to time, just to remind us that he’s completely out of touch with the rest of us.

  8. yahmule - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    The Canseco comparisons are comical, if only because so many people completely miss the point. Jose never would have said shit about PEDS, but he was hurt and angry about being blackballed from MLB. His motivations were revenge against the people running baseball and the desire for publicity that he could somehow transform into financial gain. Conte’s motivations are virtually identical. Both of them felt betrayed by a league that implicitly allowed and arguably encouraged PED usage. Conte is beside himself with delight to be provided all these forums to make assertions that can’t be proven while painting himself in the most sympathetic light possible. Canseco lacked the intellect to pull that off completely, but that didn’t stop plenty of people who should have known better from calling him the “only honest man in baseball”. It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to be manipulated by individuals with utterly transparent agendas.

    • temporarilyexiled - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      You’re completely right.

      Still, Canseco was blowing the whistle LONG before it was fashionable to do so.

      Which is probably why someone like him who couldn’t manage his own PR if it came up out of the toilet and bit him on the ass was the one who spoke up.

      That his motivations were dogcrap doesn’t make his story also dogcrap.

      We know who Conte is.

      We know some of what he did.

      We don’t know everything we need to about the sport we adore.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Still, Canseco was blowing the whistle LONG before it was fashionable to do so.

        Of course he was, and if you read the excerpts from his book, Canseco was the guy injecting everyone!

  9. csilojohnson - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    “It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to be manipulated by individuals with utterly transparent agendas” well put yahmule.

  10. seeingwhatsticks - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I don’t ask for a lot from this site but in the future can you please introduce Victore Conte as “former Tower of Power bassist Victor Conte”? Thanks guys.

  11. jonirocit - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Stop giving this douchebag a forum to spew his nonsense . The dude is a slimy felon ..

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