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MLB: How Ridiculous Can It Get? Baseball Players Can't Use Deer Antler Spray

Harold FriendChief Writer IAugust 7, 2011

Mark McGwire
Mark McGwireJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is a private cartel, which allows it to dictate guidelines for its employees.  It can make up almost any rules it desires.

Last week, baseball sent a memorandum to players, both in the majors and minors, demanding that ingesting deer antler spray be stopped because it has become a banned substance.

As part of the deer's growth process, their antlers produce insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1.

In baseball players and all other humans, Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) is synthesized primarily in the liver in response to Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production.

The vast number of benefits of IGF-1 centers around muscle development and performance. It builds muscle and cuts fat.

Urine tests cannot detect IGF-1, but it might be detected, under the right circumstances, by a blood test.

The basis of the ban is that MLB claims that the drug-testing industry discovered deer spray could produce positive tests for methyltestosterone, which is banned in the majors and minors.

Let’s get that straight.

MLB has not banned deer antler spray because it contains IGF-1. It has banned the spray because it might contain "potentially contaminated nutritional supplements” that might show up on a drug test.

The entire situation borders on the insane.

If player tests positive for methyltestosterone, simply delay the player’s suspension, have him cease the use of antler deer spray, if he were using it, and re-test at a later date.

Yes, a player who was not using deer antler spray, but tested positive for methyltestosterone, could claim he was using the spray and that produced the positive test. The player should be forced to take another test(s), which would help solve the problem.

Of course, that will never happen because it creates too many inconveniences for those in charge.

Our pituitary gland produces HGH. It is not a foreign substance to humans. It is not harmful to most individuals. All athletes should have the option of using HGH under the direct supervision of a physician.

In a randomized, double-blind human study, IGF-1 stimulated a significant increase in strength and efficiency of heart function in individuals that had severely damaged hearts. IGF-1 also helps preserve cardiac function in normal, healthy people.

Some major league pitchers have had heart problems. Darryl Kile died at the age of 31. His full medical history is not publicly available, but his family history included the presence of coronary artery disease at an early age.

Kile’s father passed away due to a heart attack in his early 40s.  Such a family history must be considered an ominous sign.

New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen each recently suffered from an irregular heart beat, which the medical establishment takes very seriously.

What if IGF-1 were recommended for them? Would they be cheating? Would baseball allow them to take it by giving them a waiver?  Would having a serious medical condition become an advantage because of its treatment?

The attempt to ban performance-enhancing substances is analogous and closely related to the “War on Drugs.”  Both are situations that are impossible to control.