Three for this date

by Bill Chuck on August 7, 2013

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.

Last, but from least

3. A perfectly happy birthday to Don Larsen, 84 today.

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