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Carlos Gomez speaks out on drug testing

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#41 TheLeviathan

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 10:43 PM

 

Two tests out of 10K + were positive for PEDs last season. Two! Yet anything short of a significant increase in testing means the players and owners "don't care?" These tests "don't do much?"

 

IMO those are extreme notions. 

 

You're conflating two different issues.And not answering the question.

 

I don't think it's extreme at all to hold them to account on the integrity of the game.Especially since they, you know, instituted the practice in the first place for expressly that purpose.

 

All I'm suggesting is it seems like a pretty easy fix to continue to do that and invest into it so players can't feel picked on.Or, just be open about picking on them.Whatever, just not this.Eventually it'll get fixed one way or the other as more players gripe publicly.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 31 May 2018 - 10:58 PM.


#42 KirbyDome89

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:14 PM

 

You're conflating two different issues.And not answering the question.

 

I don't think it's extreme at all to hold them to account on the integrity of the game.Especially since they, you know, instituted the practice in the first place for expressly that purpose.

 

All I'm suggesting is it seems like a pretty easy fix to continue to do that and invest into it so players can't feel picked on.Or, just be open about picking on them.Whatever, just not this.Eventually it'll get fixed one way or the other as more players gripe publicly.

I'm really not conflating anything. 

 

IMO the idea that anything short of a substantial increase in testing means the players and MLB "don't care," is rather extreme. The same goes for the notion that the testing "doesn't do much." I realize those are two different opinions you have, but I've addressed them separately. 

 

The numbers just don't support either claim. When only 2 players test positive for PEDs in over ten thousand attempts, I would argue that the testing is working, and there is serious consideration from both the players and MLB. I really don't understand this integrity angle, especially when such an exceptionally small number of tests turn up positive.  

 

To answer your question, apart from an almost certain MLBPA struggle, added annoyance to the daily lives of players, and dumping more $$ there isn't a massive downside. The real question is whether the efforts are worth it. It's at the point where the returns don't justify the investment. The current system is working. If Gomez and other players want to complain, then let them. Who cares? How many more complaints will be heard when players are tested every week or every other week? Does the system need to be changed then too? If the best argument for changing the testing system is that players don't like the lottery, or the perception can be unfavorable then so be it. I care about whether the testing is effective, not popular.


#43 TheLeviathan

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:42 PM

 

To answer your question, apart from an almost certain MLBPA struggle, added annoyance to the daily lives of players, and dumping more $$ there isn't a massive downside. The real question is whether the efforts are worth it. It's at the point where the returns don't justify the investment. The current system is working. If Gomez and other players want to complain, then let them. Who cares? How many more complaints will be heard when players are tested every week or every other week? Does the system need to be changed then too? If the best argument for changing the testing system is that players don't like the lottery, or the perception can be unfavorable then so be it. I care about whether the testing is effective, not popular.

 

Judging effectiveness by how many players are caught is a weak argument.Neither of us have any clue on how effective the program is. 

 

All it will cost is money.If a few million dollars more to make it more fair and thorough is the only cost....well, I'd hope that's worth it.If it's not...then, yeah, I question their commitment.

 


#44 Doomtints

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 09:15 AM

Whether targeted or random, 7-8 times is excessive. 


#45 KirbyDome89

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 09:46 AM

 

Judging effectiveness by how many players are caught is a weak argument.Neither of us have any clue on how effective the program is. 

 

All it will cost is money.If a few million dollars more to make it more fair and thorough is the only cost....well, I'd hope that's worth it.If it's not...then, yeah, I question their commitment.

Results are a weak argument now? Ok.

 

We know exactly how many tests MLB performed, how many exemptions were granted for medical reasons, how many tests were positive, what part of the year tests performed, and how candidates were selected. We can gauge effectiveness based on those numbers. 

 

Are you of the belief that MLB is actually targeting players? Short of some nefarious motives or falsifying the information that is released, I don't know how you can say that 2 positive tests in 10K+ attempts is "weak," or not a measure of effectiveness. 

 

Again, this idea that anything short of "doing more," is a lack of commitment just isn't true. If we apply that logic to our own lives for one second we see the massive flaw in that reasoning.  


#46 Nine of twelve

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:05 PM

 

Whether targeted or random, 7-8 times is excessive. 

That may be true. Or it may not be, I honestly don't know.

The parameter to consider when determining the frequency of testing is the length of time it takes the PED to clear from one's system. If a detectable level of the drug is present for 3 months after using then testing every 2-3 months is enough. If there's a drug that can be detected only during the week following use then weekly testing is needed.


#47 TheLeviathan

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 11:51 PM

Results are a weak argument now? Ok.
 
We know exactly how many tests MLB performed, how many exemptions were granted for medical reasons, how many tests were positive, what part of the year tests performed, and how candidates were selected. We can gauge effectiveness based on those numbers. 
 
Are you of the belief that MLB is actually targeting players? Short of some nefarious motives or falsifying the information that is released, I don't know how you can say that 2 positive tests in 10K+ attempts is "weak," or not a measure of effectiveness. 
 
Again, this idea that anything short of "doing more," is a lack of commitment just isn't true. If we apply that logic to our own lives for one second we see the massive flaw in that reasoning.


Results are not necessarily effective measures since we know part of the game here is fooling the tests or staying ahead of them. Positive results are far from a certainty of effectiveness.

And no, for the hundredth and last time, the logic is just fine provided you don’t apply it incorrectly as you have done so far. MLB and the MLBPA can fix this problem with what amounts to pennies in the grand scheme should they choose to. If they don’t, it’s reasonable to conclude they either don’t care about Gomez’s concern or about the larger problem.

#48 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 07:53 AM

The numbers just don't support either claim. When only 2 players test positive for PEDs in over ten thousand attempts, I would argue that the testing is working, and there is serious consideration from both the players and MLB. I really don't understand this integrity angle, especially when such an exceptionally small number of tests turn up positive.


You sure it's the testing that's working or the masking agents? :)

#49 Shaitan

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:03 AM

Eh, every player I've heard comment on the drug testing system says they get tested "all the time." 

 

I'm sure it's annoying. I'd be annoyed if my job did that to me. If he has a problem with it, take it to the union for their next CBA.

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#50 Loosey

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:24 AM

As a deterrent wouldn't it make sense to have each player tested a minimum # of times each year.Say the rule states each player is tested a minimum 3 times each year but could be up to 5 in a calendar year.The times would be random so if you were tested 1 or 2 times you know there is at least 1 or more coming and would likely deter that player from taking the risk of being randomly selected or not.Additionally, if a player were caught they could then be subjected to unlimited amounts of testing in my opinion.


#51 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:46 AM

As a deterrent wouldn't it make sense to have each player tested a minimum # of times each year. Say the rule states each player is tested a minimum 3 times each year but could be up to 5 in a calendar year. The times would be random so if you were tested 1 or 2 times you know there is at least 1 or more coming and would likely deter that player from taking the risk of being randomly selected or not. Additionally, if a player were caught they could then be subjected to unlimited amounts of testing in my opinion.


What if a player hits his 5 test maximum by June? Now he knows he can take anything through December.
If it's random, it can't have a cap, or you'll always have guys that hit their cap with time to spare.
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#52 PDX Twin

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 09:28 AM

 

You sure it's the testing that's working or the masking agents? :)

 

I'm a lot more worried about the effectiveness of testing and whether all of the emerging PEDs are being screened effectively than about the frequency and randomness of the tests.

 

Someone earlier raised the issue of differential across teams. Suppose that one team's doc (call it the Red Sox, randomly) comes up with a new PED that is not in the testing regimen ... and maybe isn't even prohibited because no one else knows about it yet. They provide it to their players as a "vitamin supplement" and perhaps even the players do not know the true content. All of the sudden, everyone on the team is hitting .300 and smashing 25 homeruns a year. All of their prospects turn out to be stars once they reach the majors. Even 40-year-old fossil who, in his prime, couldn't make it with the Twins, manages to hit .315 with 38 homeruns. By the time the existence of this substance becomes known, of course, the brilliant team doc has two or three others to try.

 

Can we really be confident that this isn't happening?

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#53 Loosey

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 09:39 AM

 

What if a player hits his 5 test maximum by June? Now he knows he can take anything through December.
If it's random, it can't have a cap, or you'll always have guys that hit their cap with time to spare.

Very valid point.

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#54 Thrylos

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 10:04 AM

I think that there is a need for some data & perspective in this discussion.This is a pretty good piece about the half lives of PEDs and how long they stay in the body.

 

There are PEDs, including steroids and HGH, which are undetectable after a couple days of use.Unless someone is in the middle of a 15-20 day HGH cycle during the season, for example, it will be practically impossible to detect HGH users.Even the ones with the longest half lives are out of ones system in 2 weeks. 

 

So a user can use the whole off-season doping and stop 2 weeks before he reports for ST and all would be honky dory.   

 

One has to be pretty stupid to get caught these days.The steroid testing system is just for show.Really.If they really want to test, they would have to do what the international cycling federation does and test after each contest and randomly and often during the off-season, if they want to get the sport steroid-free...

Edited by Thrylos, 08 June 2018 - 10:09 AM.

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#55 laloesch

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 10:31 AM

 

It might seem that way to some players, but in reality I don't know how much more "fair," it can get other than each individual have the exact same likelihood of being randomly selected every time a test is administered. 

 

I don't particularly want to go down the "fairness," road, but there's a definite advantage to having 2 months, or any extended amount of time, in which you know you won't be subject to testing. That should be obvious. 

 

You can work on a time frame rather than a completely randomized schedule, and I said as much in my OP, but the frequency would have to increase significantly to avoid the flaws above. I'm not sure it's feasible and/or worthwhile.  

 

yeah i don't know "how much fair" they can make the testing other than to tell players what month, what day and what hour they can get tested so they don't get caught.I'm not interested in what Gomez has to say, guy runs his mouth a lot.If were not careful we'll be back to mid 90's era juicing because of fairness.Suck it up guys you juice ya lose and get suspended.sorry.

Edited by laloesch, 08 June 2018 - 10:34 AM.


#56 KirbyDome89

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 01:15 AM

 

Results are not necessarily effective measures since we know part of the game here is fooling the tests or staying ahead of them. Positive results are far from a certainty of effectiveness.

And no, for the hundredth and last time, the logic is just fine provided you don’t apply it incorrectly as you have done so far. MLB and the MLBPA can fix this problem with what amounts to pennies in the grand scheme should they choose to. If they don’t, it’s reasonable to conclude they either don’t care about Gomez’s concern or about the larger problem.

Sure, you can beat the tests, but increasing the frequency of testing won't aid in discovering substances that aren't currently detectable. 

 

What you're saying about the level of concern MLB and the union have for PEDs is no different than when others question the work ethic, ect pertaining to players. There's no misapplication here; you're saying more can be done, and until it is neither side cares. I'm telling you that logic starts to unravel outside of this thread. If you spend X hours on an experiment but you could have squeezed out Y hours that doesn't mean you didn't care about ensuring the viability of your results. You can plug in an infinite number of other examples to see that the proposition "can do more," = lack of concern just isn't true. 


#57 KirbyDome89

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 01:22 AM

 

You sure it's the testing that's working or the masking agents? :)

No doubt some players probably are able to successfully mask banned substances.  


#58 KirbyDome89

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 01:38 AM

 

I'm a lot more worried about the effectiveness of testing and whether all of the emerging PEDs are being screened effectively than about the frequency and randomness of the tests.

 

Someone earlier raised the issue of differential across teams. Suppose that one team's doc (call it the Red Sox, randomly) comes up with a new PED that is not in the testing regimen ... and maybe isn't even prohibited because no one else knows about it yet. They provide it to their players as a "vitamin supplement" and perhaps even the players do not know the true content. All of the sudden, everyone on the team is hitting .300 and smashing 25 homeruns a year. All of their prospects turn out to be stars once they reach the majors. Even 40-year-old fossil who, in his prime, couldn't make it with the Twins, manages to hit .315 with 38 homeruns. By the time the existence of this substance becomes known, of course, the brilliant team doc has two or three others to try.

 

Can we really be confident that this isn't happening?

Yes, you should be confident. 

 

Team physicians aren't mad pharmacologists concocting miracle drugs. 

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#59 PDX Twin

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 09:58 AM

 

Yes, you should be confident. 

 

Team physicians aren't mad pharmacologists concocting miracle drugs. 

 

Perhaps not, but there are mad pharmacologists out there (e.g., BALCO) and the incentives for a team/player to use their products are enormous (e.g., B. Bonds). Testing has improved, but there is still a frontier and beyond it the economics of cheating haven't changed all that much.

It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#60 Nine of twelve

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 11:14 AM

 

I think that there is a need for some data & perspective in this discussion.This is a pretty good piece about the half lives of PEDs and how long they stay in the body.

 

There are PEDs, including steroids and HGH, which are undetectable after a couple days of use.Unless someone is in the middle of a 15-20 day HGH cycle during the season, for example, it will be practically impossible to detect HGH users.Even the ones with the longest half lives are out of ones system in 2 weeks. 

 

So a user can use the whole off-season doping and stop 2 weeks before he reports for ST and all would be honky dory.   

 

One has to be pretty stupid to get caught these days.The steroid testing system is just for show.Really.If they really want to test, they would have to do what the international cycling federation does and test after each contest and randomly and often during the off-season, if they want to get the sport steroid-free...

In order to be certain that all PED use will be caught every player would need to be tested pretty much on a year-round weekly basis. That will not happen.

So unannounced random testing is pretty much the only way to keep PED use under control, but with some constraints as follows:

1.) Every player under contract to a major league team will submit to testing.

2.) Every player will be tested at least a certain number of times per year, with the number of times to be determined, and the testing will be done year round.

3.) No player will go more than a certain amount of time without being tested, with the amount of time to be determined.

4.) There will be no maximum number of times a player can be tested.

5.) The testing will be done by a group affiliated neither with MLB nor with the players' union.

6.) The method of scheduling who will be tested and when will be approved by all parties involved including an independent medical adviser, however the schedule itself will not be known by anyone other than the group administering the tests.

7.) If blood testing is more reliable than urinalysis then that should be adopted as the standard.

 

I know some of these points are already in place but as many have mentioned there are loopholes and other weaknesses in the current program that I think can be addressed.