There was no other way to describe America’s pastime. In our youth, names of players like Sammy Sosa were on posters and hanging on walls instead of being written in detailed reports stating how they used performance-enhancing drugs. Following the Mitchell Report, it was widely assumed that the days of juicing in the game were over. Major League Baseball has suspended just eleven players since the start of the 2008 season, but those eleven are the unlucky ones because baseball is infested with cheaters. A new steroid era has dawned.
In this current season five major league players have tested positive for a banned substance: Ryan Braun (who won on appeal), Guillermo Mota, Freddy Galvis, Melky Cabrera, and Bartolo Colon. However, what goes under the radar is, according to ESPN, much worse—eighty two players in the minor league system have failed drug tests, thirteen of them in the Dominican Summer League. A source that is close to signing with an MLB team as a prospect from the Dominican tells me that “plenty” of the players in the D.R. are juicing, yet very few of them get caught. One of the many issues: PEDs can be purchased in pharmacies in some Latin American countries, sparking Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to call for better education on banned substances in that part of the world. Don’t only fault Latin America for the convenience of buying steroids—if you pick a random banned substance and put the word “buy” in front of it in Google, you can buy it right from there. ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said on SportsCenter following the Colon incident that “they are playing by a different set of rules in places other than this country,” focusing on the Dominican as the main culprit. If the MLB does not educate further in countries other than the United States, the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball will only worsen from than the initial steroid era.
As stated in the new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball is limited in the amount of drug tests it may do in the offseason: 200 in this upcoming offseason, 225 in the following offseason, and 250 for the remainder of the CBA that expires in 2016. BALCO Founder Victor Conte mentioned in an interview with Bob Ley of “Outside The Lines” that Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program has not taken the opportunity to use the maximum amount of offseason drug tests to which they are allowed. Conte said the MLB previously had the right to do up to 375 offseason tests but only recorded roughly fifty to sixty tests in the prior offseason. From there, the famed steroid distributor said he believes about 50% of major league players are on steroids. With the capability to test nearly half of the players on active rosters, Major League Baseball only tested about 7%. If you think about what players can do with such poor testing, you will easily realize how half of the players in the game are juicing. Synthetic testosterone, the current drug of choice that appeared in Braun, Cabrera, and Colon’s failed tests, is reported to quickly be out of your system in just hours and, according to Conte, if taken in small doses, it “may not elevate testosterone levels enough to trigger further testing.”
What’s To Come
Along with other steroid users including David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon was linked to Dominican steroid trainer Angel Presinal, who goes by the name Nao in the area. A few years ago, Presinal was banned from private areas in all MLB stadiums after leaving a full bag of steroids in a major league clubhouse in the fall of 2001. Presinal has retained ties to some of the players that he was in contact with when supplying them with steroids, but now his son has been reported to have been training with his father’s clients, including Yankees star Robinson Cano. This leads into a source telling me that at least two Dominican “MLB stars”, whom have ties to Nao have failed drug tests recently and will be suspended in the near future. Other writers I have spoken to hear other suspicions of failed drug tests that will be made public at some point in time. It is impossible to deny-a new batch of stars are about to join the infamous bunch of cheaters in Major League Baseball.