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There’s going to be more drug testing soon

Nov 29, 2012, 3:35 PM EDT

So sayeth MLBPA’s boss:

Michael Weiner spoke Wednesday after a meeting of the union’s executive board. He said he expected announcements about the drug program “before too long.”

Weiner says the union and MLB have spoken about adding in-season tests for human growth hormone next year. There also is discussion about making the tests more sophisticated for all performance-enhancing drugs.

And no matter how awesome these tests are, the first time someone besides some minor league free agent gets caught, someone will yell about the tests not being good enough. Because, in the bizarro land of baseball writers, effective tests that catch cheaters are evidence that the system is broken. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered.

  1. deadeyedesign23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I think the more pressing concern is that the punishments for getting caught dont outweigh the benefits of cheating.

    • paperlions - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      Why do you say that? Because people still cheat?

      People are more likely to commit murders in states that have the death penalty than they are to commit murders in states without a death penalty….do you suggest they up the penalty to execute murderers twice….so…you know, the punishment outweighs the benefits?

      Or maybe….you know…punishments are never 100% effective deterrents.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        Not suggesting a limetime ban for PED users, but you don;t see anyone gambling on baseball do you.

      • bh192012 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        I’d like to see the data on your death penalty statement. Be sure to include data on states that have the death penalty, but don’t actually execute anyone, vs states that execute lots of people. Thanks.

      • paperlions - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        Here ya go:

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        The information is the same but it’s prevented in the opposite manner. States that have the death penalty have had (historically) higher murder rates than those without. It’s justification as a deterrent is a red herring.

    • cosanostra71 - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      How so?

    • Joe - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      That’s actually difficult to say without knowing what percentage of cheaters actually get caught. Melky Cabrera’s positive test cost him multiple millions of dollars, and he’s young enough that the taint from his failed test will likely cost him millions through the rest of his career.

      So, how much of his perceived market value (pre-suspension) was enhanced by PED use, and how much of it was a result of the natural performance curve for a player entering his later 20’s? (i.e., how would he have hit without PEDs? So much of his improved 2012 performance was due to Batting Average on Balls in Play, and I don’t think PEDs can really impact that number. Otherwise, things like his line drive rate and home run rate weren’t all that out of whack with his established career norms, especially given improvements likely due to his age.

      So it’s hard to say conclusively how much the PEDs increased his performance, but it’s easy enough to come to the conclusion that the answer is “not nearly as much as many people are assuming.”

      Then there is the question of, how likely was Cabrera to be caught? 90%? 10%? Somewhere in-between? I don’t think anybody really knows the answer to this question. If he was 90% likely to be caught and ended up sacrificing market value that he might have gained even without PEDs, then the punishment absolutely outweighed the benefits. If it was a 10% unlucky break, maybe it does not. But I don’t think we have enough information to really know this is true.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Cabrere’s positive test didn’t cost him millions of dollars if you assume his enhanced performance was a result of PEDs. When he had a .255/.317/.354 slash line in 2010 he wouldn’t have earned a 2 year 16 million dollar deal.

      • paperlions - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        So….you think PEDs allowed him to hit the ball in places that fielders weren’t standing? Because his underlying stats (HR rate, K rate, BB rate) were essentially the same as before…the only difference in productive Melky and mediocre Melky was an unsustainable high BABIP.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

        BABIP can be an overrated statistic. If he’s able to hit balls harder, and more line drives, then his BABIP will be higher. His isolated power last year was 30 points higher than his best from 2005-2010. He also hit more linedrives and fewer flyballs.

      • Joe - Nov 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        His line drive % in 2012 was 20%. In 2011 (another good year) it was 17%. For his career it’s 19%. So that’s not evidence of anything. And the LD/FB thing is due to what? Swing plane? Did PEDs cause him to change his swing plane?

        Also, were you aware that a lot of players have higher IsoP at age 27 than at age 25 and younger?

  2. paint771 - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    I love you Craig.

    On this matter, people just like to bitch, and bemoan the good old days when ballplayers just popped greenies and beat their wives.

    Honestly, every time the subject comes up about how to “improve” testing or “get rid of” steroids, it’s never entirely clear to me why the status quo isn’t perfectly fine. Obviously, too many people getting caught means there’s a plague of steroid abuse and we need to test more to get rid of it. Too few people getting caught means we’re turning a blind eye. Just ask one of the steroid police how many people getting caught is “just right” and would satisfy them. They don’t have an answer, because they’re not interested in a thoughtful or practical discussion – again, they just want to bitch.

    • thestevejeltzexperiment - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      Well, that and some of the folks in the tetsing industry have a self-interest in claiming that the problem is severe and the sky is falling — it generates revenues when a new test is developed and required.

  3. JB (the original) - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    There’s always going to be the sampling/handling/storage issue until they create a machine that they can cart around from locker room to locker room. You stick your unit in it, provide a sample on the spot, gears grind, lights flash, and you get your results, along with a copy of your horoscope.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      You stick your unit in it, provide a sample on the spot, gears grind, lights flash, and you get your results

      That’s the worst, and yet most technical, description of sex I’ve ever read.

      • temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:56 AM

        Just the future, when robots rule the earth.

  4. bostonboy82 - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Question: can someone tell me what exactly classifies as illegal substances or PED’s. example: do these include things like pre-workout supplements people like us can buy at say bodybuilding.con or Popeyes? Thanks.

    • bh192012 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      This will help.

  5. bat42boy - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Again, baseball is a day late and a dollar short. Should have done this 30 years ago.

  6. jaydoubleyou22 - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Recycled argument, CC. You are even starting to succeed less at being obnoxious. It’s just boring to read the same statement over and over again about how people getting caught cheating means theres no problem with cheating. It was illogical the first time. Saying it again and again won’t fix that.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      You should stifle the yawns and improve your reading comprehension skills. Craig did not say that the testing system catching cheaters means there is no problem with cheating, that would indeed be illogical. He stated that the system being used to catch cheaters actually catching cheaters means the testing system works–which should be a pretty obvious statement. Others have stated that the positive tests are evidence the testing system is not working, which illogical. Note also that testing and punishment are separate issues. Likewise, a positive test does not mean the testing system fails as a deterrent as some have stated because that presumes the number of positive tests would be the same in the absence of the testing.

  7. BigBeachBall - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    Nobody buys that these drug tests are even real anymore…

  8. temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    I don’t know how well the drug testing is being handled. I do know the players no longer resemble the Monstars from Space Jam. I’ll give MLB the benefit of the doubt. Like any enforcement situation, just do the best you can, realizing it’s never enough. Try to strike the right balance. I prefer putting energy into dealing with the present and future, rather than trying to rewrite history, as in all of the yearly bullshit – as Hall of Fame voters once again display their complete lack of comprehension of the simple fact that those who turn a blind eye to history are doomed to repeat it. Prevention of what they’re all up in arms about makes perfect sense. Beating that dead horse regarding what’s already happened (when they were silent, and therefore part of the problem, rather than the solution) does nothing except take the Hall down the rabbit hole.

  9. temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Time for a new picture. This one looks like the means of delivery of Guillermo Mota’s cough syrup.

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