1. On August 7, 2002, MLB players and owners agreed on the sport’s first tests for steroids.
2. On this date in 2007, Barry B*nds hit the 756th homer of his career. Hank Aaron finished his career with 755.
In today’s Washington Post, Barry Svrluga has a terrific article entitled Biogenesis scandal shows baseball has not put its drug problems behind it.
In it Svrluga points out:
But Selig’s investigation into a South Florida anti-aging clinic clearly shows that baseball’s battle with performance-enhancing drugs isn’t “over with.” Indeed, experts in sports doping believe that the problems in baseball — and cycling, track and field and other sports — remain widespread and that policing sports is proving to be nearly impossible.
He brings up what I consider the most important take away about Monday’s suspensions:
Each was levied without a positive drug test. So there comes one question: Even as MLB ramped up its testing policies in the wake of the Mitchell report in 2007 — it now tests blood in addition to urine and tests both in and out of season — what good is increased testing if established users don’t test positive?
He does make us feel a little better:
Still, many experts consider testing the backbone of any doping-prevention program. “Take away testing, and it’s back to WWE, or it’s baseball in the late ’90s,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the organization that oversees testing in the U.S. Olympic community. And Tygart points out that the first three players to serve suspensions for involvement with Biogenesis — pitcher Bartolo Colon, outfielder Melky Cabrera and catcher Yasmani Grandal — all tested positive.
But before you feel too good, he reminds us that in baseball’s two major investigations into its drug problem, both relied largely on single sources: the Mitchell report used Kirk Radomski and Anthony Bosch was critical on this current investigation.
This leads Svrugla to these obvious questions:
What if investigators hadn’t found them? What if Miami New Times never committed itself to reporting on Biogenesis? And could that one small firm, tucked away in a Coral Gables strip mall, really be the only one in the nation supplying major leaguers with drugs?
Sadly, this problem is far from over.