Steriod Testing: Are MLB Players Finally Getting a Clue?

Steve Zawrotny, MS, CSCSContributor IFebruary 26, 2008

A few prominent MLB players are figuring out how their world really works, making it publicly known that they are in favor of more extensive testing for PEDs.

Derek Jeter, NY Yankees: Said in a radio interview over the weekend that he wouldn't have an issue with such a test since players already have blood drawn for their spring physicals. Yankees players also have blood drawn in an exit physical.

Jason Giambi, NY Yankees: "I'm up for whatever they want to do. I don't really care."

Mike Mussina, NY Yankees: "I'm not taking one side or the other, because I'm not getting into the politics of it and the right to privacy," Mussina said. "But I don't think the public opinion of us will ever be cleared up if we aren't able to test for everything possible. We can't test for everything possible doing it the way we do it now."

Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays: "They should test for everything," Thomas said. "They're testing for amphetamines, they're testing for everything now. Why not that (HGH)? That stuff is illegal."

Pedro Martinez, NY Mets: “I wish that they would check every day. That’s how bad I want the game to be clean,” said Martinez, who had his best years with Montreal and Boston from 1997-2003. “I would rather go home (than) taint the game.”

MLB's current drug testing system, with its "improvements," is still a joke. Players, like the rest of us, get blood drawn all the time for various health-related purposes. Having a routine sample tested for illegal and banned substances is no additional burden.

Ask any Olympic athlete—if they want to perform their sport, they're subject to a strict system designed to limit cheating and severely penalize those caught thereby. Cheating will never be completely eradicated from any sport, but at least WADA and the various Olympic organizations are trying.

The MLB player's union has collectively bargained the right for its players to break the law three times before they're banned from their sport. And commissioner Bud Selig thinks this is tough?

As with all things in life, it's a simple cost-benefit analysis. Let's say I'm a MLB player faced with the rather small risk of a 50-game suspension and minimal embarrassment for a first PED offense vs. the opportunity to improve my performance, enjoy fame and lifetime financial security. If I happened to be a player with a flexible moral code, this choice arranged by MLB looks like a no-brainer to me.

That Selig doesn't get this is astonishing.

MLB's waiting for an HGH urine test is just a smoke-screen to keep effective testing for PEDs from happening now. Players are kidding themselves if they think their union's current stance on testing for PEDs is good for them.

I wonder what Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds think of the job their union did for them.