As reported by ESPN's Outside the Lines over the weekend, 2011 MLB National League MVP Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers superstar left fielder, tested positive for a banned substance under the MLBs testing policy.
Not surprisingly, Braun has begun the appeal process through arbitration, which will not be decided until January at the earliest. However, if the findings of the positive test are upheld, Braun will face a 50 game suspension starting in 2012.
With new testing policies in place, MLB had hoped that the dark cloud of steroid use was behind them.
Having instituted a more comprehensive testing policy in 2002, and subsequently beefing it up in 2005, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig claimed that the new era of marquee stars, including Ryan Braun, were subjected to performance enhancement drug testing throughout their careers, thus dramatically decreasing the steroid problem in baseball.
As summarized in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the current MLB testing policy is as follows:
Each player on a team's 40-man roster, including those in the minors, is subject to at least two random drug tests each season. They can also be tested more than that, including the playoffs, if your team advances into October play. Thus, each player could be tested as often as four times. Those who have tested positive previously are subject to additional testing.
But, is this testing program comprehensive enough to really make a difference?
According to a New York Times article from earlier this year, MLB conducted 138 drug tests in the 2010 off-season.
This comprised 10 percent of players, but actually only accounted for "just three percent of all the tests conducted on players in the course of the year."
Additionally, all MLB drug testing is currently urine-based, though it set to be blood-based next year to test for HGH—something that cannot be tested for now.
Let's face it, in the era after the "Steroid Era," the lingering questions are still there. As much as Bud Selig and the rest of Major League Baseball don't want to admit it, PEDs are still part of baseball.