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On the heels of the Miguel Tejada suspension, Mike Pelfrey discusses benefits of Adderall use

Aug 17, 2013, 7:20 PM EST

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Miguel Tejada received a 105-game suspension from Major League baseball after testing positive for amphetamines for a second and third time this year. The suspension would run through the first 65 games of the 2014 season, which may simply push the 39-year-old Tejada into retirement instead.

On the heels of that news, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey talked with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his own legal, by-the-book use of Adderall to treat his ADHD. You should read the whole article here, but here is an illuminating snippet:

“When I don’t take my Adderall, my mind, my thoughts are just all over the place,” he said. “When I’m taking it, I’m able to focus on one task and able to do one thing instead of (having) 20 different things pop in your head. It definitely helps.”

Without an attention deficit disorder or ADHD diagnosis, Adderall could give a player additional energy, Pelfrey said.

“When you don’t need it, it acts like a true amphetamine,” he said. “I don’t get all amped up on it. I’m probably more laid back when I’m on it. My thought process is toned down to one thing instead of 20 different things. Without it I’m pretty hyperactive and running around.”

Though it is easy to look at Pelfrey’s 5.26 ERA and snicker, it can be tough to muster the energy to play at peak athletic form on a day-in, day-out basis over a six-month span, which is why more and more players have been testing positive for amphetamine use in recent years rather than steroids.

Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs wrote a column earlier this year suggesting that Major League Baseball could reduce the need for players to rely on performance-enhancing drugs by expanding rosters and putting a cap on the maximum amount of games in which a player can play. Of course, the issue is complex enough that a couple tweaks to the rules won’t fix the issue, but it does show that the onus is not just on the players.

  1. aceshigh11 - Aug 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Very interesting.

    Honestly, I cannot imagine how grueling a 162-game schedule must be for everyday players. My entire body starts to ache just thinking about it.

    Sure, they’re not running around constantly like in football or basketball, but in some ways, that makes it harder. They need to be CONSTANTLY warmed up and sufficiently stretched out for those moments when they need to explode and run fast to make a play or get to a base on-time.

    It’s not at all surprising to me that players have turned to amphetamines to survive the season. They’ve been doing it for decades.

    Same with professional musicians, truckers…I’m not condoning or endorsing it, but do I understand the appeal of it? Absolutely.

    • pjmarn6 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      The HOF should be closed for the next 20 years and anyone caught using, buying, or helping someone buy or use steroids, PEDs, or any artificial stimulant should be banned from baseball for life. Judge Landis did it for the black sox. Should be done immediately.
      All the records for the last 20 years are tainted. No one knows who cheated and who didn’t. I wanted to go see the HOF but after what has happened over the last 20 years has made a mockery of all the real records and accomplishments.

      • esracerx46 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM

        You’re obviously diluted if you think drugs have only gone back 20 years. I get the argument for these sacred numbers of 755 and 61. But the fact of the matter is, if you think especially in Aaron’s case that these numbers you are mistaken. Aaron has readily admitted to using greenies. Greenies are today known as amphetamines. Perhaps Hank self diagnosed his ADD/ADHD, or perhaps, since those terms were only popularized in the 90’s, he wanted to focus more and get an edge. Im all for cleaning up the game, but in all honesty, players using PED’s doesnt effect me at all. Some of these numbers arent as taint free as you think. Should players be tested for caffeine and chew next? Should baseball ban eyeblack and sunglasses? What about those spikes that give better traction? How far do you want to take this? Steroids isnt why their was this perceived home run explosion in the mid 90’s, a lot of other factors that you may or may not be aware of occured. But if you want to place blame on something and are to simple minded to recognize other factors may be in play, by all means lump every player together and say they all used. Wait, if they all used, doesnt that mean their on the same playing field?

  2. captainwisdom8888 - Aug 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Especially in a game like baseball, the razor-sharp focus that adderall provides to a player is astounding. Not just hand-eye coordination, but your reaction time, memory, and overall cognitive thinking is ratcheted up considerably.

    One thing I don’t understand though is why a lot of these players don’t just get their own prescription for the stuff, like Pelfrey. It isn’t hard at all to find a doctor whose willing to write you a script for that, and you’ll avoid the headache of a 105-game suspension since you are legally allowed to take it.

    • Ducky Medwick - Aug 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      It goes beyond a prescription. You need a waiver from the league.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 17, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Because it’s not just getting a prescription that makes it ok. You have to get a TUE from MLB. You don’t think MLB is going to do some investigating when these players apply for a TUE? They aren’t going to give a TUE to every player who gets a doc to write them a Rx.

      • paperlions - Aug 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        Nonetheless, when amphetamines were banned, the number of players with prescriptions for Adderall DOUBLED, and MLB players claim to have ADHD at more than over twice the rate of the general population. Color me skeptical on every single one of the “new” applications (and on many of the old ones as well) for a TUE based on alleged ADHD.

  3. tominma - Aug 17, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    In remember stories in the 50s and 60s of baseball players taking “greenies” (speed) to stay alert because they were playing and traveling so much. This was especially true on long road trips. It had more to do with staying awake and alert rather than focusing. That’s just what this old guy remembers!

    • aceshigh11 - Aug 17, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Yes, but isn’t being “awake” and “alert” apt to make you focus better?

      I know that I’m damned near useless most mornings until I’ve had a few cups of coffee in me and, being a night person, I’m most focused at my job around 4 or 5 PM, and I stay late to get extra productive.

      If I could work say, 3 until midnight, I’d probably get more done per hour than I currently do. It’s just the way my circadian rhythm works.

  4. moogro - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    We expect a lot from our entertainers.

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  6. coloradogolfcoupons - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    @esracerx46: “You’re obviously diluted if you think drugs “??? You mean deluded?

    “Steroids isnt why their was ”
    “if you want to place blame on something and are to simple minded ”
    ” doesnt that mean their on the same playing field?”

    I assume your editor had the day off…

    • Cris E - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Or his pharmacist.

  7. bdnnbd - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    You think everyone that’s used amphetamines should be banned? Get a grip guy.

  8. 4d3fect - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Spilborghs’ post was a good read, insightful and nuanced. Recommend.

  9. clairewoods12 - Jan 14, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    Numerous narcotics are in severely short supply. Dwindling raw materials among other issues are leading to many narcotics to not be produced in adequate amounts. One of the most substantial medication shortages is that of Adderall, a well-known medication for treating Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Article source: Adderall among prescription drug shortages

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