Should We Believe Victor Conte's Claims of 50 Percent of MLB as PED Users?

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIAugust 14, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -OCTOBER 18:  Victor Conte (R), founder of BALCO, arrives at the Federal Courthouse with his daughter Veronica Ekhardt for his sentencing in the Balco steroid case on October 18, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The case which brought international attention of the steroid use by athletes came to a close October 18 with Victor Conte receiving four months jail time and four months of house arrest.  (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Victor Conte is making headlines again, and this time it isn't because of his alleged interactions with public enemy No. 1, Alex Rodriguez.

This time Conte is making incredible claims that could potentially rock the baseball world in a way that would make the Biogenesis scandal look like a joke.

Conte appeared on Jim Rome on Showtime to discuss his relationship with Rodriguez. He talked about more than just A-Rod, however, giving his opinion on how many MLB players are juicing...and his answer was more than a little surprising.

Conte's claim that 50 percent of players are using PEDs would be enough to rock the baseball world, but can we really trust him?

The founder of BALCO would certainly know about illegal PED use, but he's gone legitimate and is now known for finding legal ways to help boost players' performance.

Is Conte accurate in his guess of 50 percent? Does he have ulterior motives? Let's take a look.


The Problem

PEDs are a big problem in baseball right now. Ever since the Mitchell Report was first released, we've learned how many players are juicing and how that has affected the game.

The problem has not gone away, and as recently as a week-and-a-half ago, MLB suspended 13 players as a result of the Biogenesis scandal.

The Mitchell Report and Biogenesis are two of the biggest scandals in MLB history when it comes to PEDs, but the two combined wouldn't even compare to a report proving that half the league is doping.


Is 50 Percent Realistic?

Before we even think about 50 percent, let's think about previous reports of drug abuse.

In 2003, a report revealed that 104 players tested positive for anabolic steroids and other PEDs. This was considered a massive number at the time, and even today it would be huge news, as the Biogenesis scandal did not include anywhere near 104 players.

However, even 104 players is nowhere near half the league.

Even assuming that Conte is considering a 25-man roster instead of a 40-man roster, MLB still has 750 players. He is then claiming that 375 players are juicing, which is over three-and-a-half times the number reported in 2003.

While it is all too likely that there were players in 2003 who were doping and weren't caught, it's unlikely that just two out of every seven players using PEDs were caught.

Conte's claim that 50 percent of the league is doping seems a bit far-fetched, but we still can't completely rule it out.


What Are His Other Possible Motives?

Let's assume that Conte is wrong in his assessment of MLB players. He should know better than anyone how many players are doping, but it seems that he intentionally increased this number, as his claim of 50 percent is well beyond the norm.

One reason why Conte is juicing the number (pun intended) could be that he wants his name to stay relevant in the baseball world.

Conte is still a businessman and could be attempting to draw in clients by keeping himself in the news, but there might be a another reason. One that also has to do with his business.

The reaction to this claim from many MLB players who aren't doping could be that they believe that half the players around them are cheating.

To say that 50 percent of the league is cheating is an interesting number because it is big enough to be a huge problem but not so big that players can immediately dismiss it.

Players who are fighting for roster spots or trying to stay elite without drugs could be shocked and appalled by this claim because it means that they are a step behind the players they are competing with.

Those guys who feel like they are falling behind could feasibly try to make up the ground lost by finding legal ways that help them even the playing field with their cheating counterparts.

How convenient that Conte is now one of the guys offering legal ways to improve.

It's not definite that he is lying for his own gain, but it could be a clever ploy to help his business.

Do you buy in to Conte's theory that 50 percent of MLB players are doping? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.