Created on: January 13, 2013
When the Baseball Hall of Fame announced last week that no one has been elected in the 2013 class, it was taken as a sign. The message was that players who were associated in any way with steroids will probably never see their plaque on the wall in Cooperstown. 75 percent is the number a player has to reach, so when names like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds do not crack 40 percent, it was a signal. Evidently, those retired players were not the only ones listening.
On Thursday, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) reached an agreement on expanded drug testing in 2013. In line with the controversy that is the steroid era, both parties decided to expand the blood testing for HGH that came about during the 2012 spring training. The difference with this new agreement is that players will be subject to this testing throughout the season, not just in the spring. They will also continue to use urine tests for other performance enhancing drugs.
Bud Selig tried to blow off the timing of the announcement, saying that negotiations have been going on for quite awhile. However, it is hard to believe that it is just coincidental that this statement was released after the baseball sportswriters made their own judgement on guys they believe cheated this great game. This news puts Major League Baseball at the forefront of drug testing now in the four major professional sports, which has been saluted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In a statement found on ESPN.com, WADA President John Fahey said, "WADA applauds MLB and its players' union on the ground-breaking announcement that it will be testing players for human growth hormone (HGH) from next season onwards. MLB has shown leadership by becoming the first of the major professional sports in North America to accept that it needs to protect both its athletes and its sport by introducing HGH testing."
One would have to say that MLB has come a long way since the mid 90s, when steroids ruled the league and testing was frowned upon by its union. Fans have to give big time applause to union chief Michael Weiner, who had to be receptive to making changes or this expanded testing would never have been implemented. It is a far cry from the contentious banter that used to take place when Donald Fehr ran the MLB Players Union.
The ESPN.com article also notes that under this new agreement, WADA will play an expanded role. For every player tested under the new rules, WADA will keep records on them, which will include their baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. WADA will also, when a urine sample varies, conduct a Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) test on it.
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