The biggest Baseball story in 2012 was not the debut of either Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. It wasn’t Miguel Cabrera‘s triple crown. It wasn’t the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, the Marlins’ meltdown, Bobby Valentine‘s meltdown, the Orioles’ or A’s’ impossible seasons or anything in the playoffs ranging from Barry Zito to Raul Ibanez to the Cards-Braves play-in game.
You could argue without much objection from me that it was the Dodgers’ obtaining their seismic game-changing TV contract. But I think even bigger was the one that got almost no press whatsoever.
On August 16, Melky Cabrera was suspended after testing positive for artificial testosterone. That same day, BALCO founder Victor Conte was asked how many guys still use PEDs. Conte dropped this bomb:
“Maybe as much as half of Baseball… I’m not going to name names, but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”
When many of us thought that PEDs were a mostly solved problem in Baseball, here was proof that we were obviously completely wrong.
The press obviously didn’t hear about it since four months later we’re still considering Melky an isolated incident. But the Union apparently did, and to their credit, they’re finally doing something about it.
The day the Melky news broke, I busted on the Union for adamantly obstructing testing methods in spite of MLB’s strong post-Mitchell efforts to clean up the Game. (The reason Cabrera was using was because he saw he and several others could easily get away with it by skirting insufficient testing methods.)
But today MLB came out with an all-new testing program; which most notably includes random in-season blood testing for HGH, something I never thought I’d see as long as the Union held so much sway. Also included are increased random in-season tests for artificial testosterone; the apparent PED of choice nowadays.
This is big news and a huge step for both Baseball and the Players’ Union. I applaud them both for getting it done.