Though it seems like common sense, an AP report confirmed Monday that MLB’s Joint Drug Program expired along with the CBA at 11:59pm ET on December 1. That means no testing for PEDs and other substances for the first time in 20 years, which some fear will lead to rampant doping in the meantime.
“It should be a major concern to all those who value fair play,” warned Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “You could easily do what the cyclists were doing even in a good testing program, which was microdosing of testosterone. You can do testosterone gels or oral pills that could be out of your system and you can do more in maybe weeks.”
Sounds kind of like an instruction manual to me.
It’s pretty rich that this is happening just as a slew of the game’s best players were again denied entry into Cooperstown over PED suspicions, but that’s a topic for another time. As to whether current players could find themselves embroiled in any doping scandals, I guess we’ll just have a wait and see. That seems highly improbably, though, given more sophisticated substances and methods like those outlined above.
Based on how slowly things are progressing with the labor negotiations, you’d think anyone who does choose to get a little pharmaceutical assistance this winter will have plenty of time to flush the evidence. And hey, maybe that’s what the league wants. I’ve already gone down the conspiracy rabbit trail of suggesting owners wanted to create a frenzied free agency period, but what if it goes further?
By implementing a lockout and allowing the testing agreement to lapse, the league is essentially giving players carte blanche to juice. After being caught trying to doctor balls to create more pop, perhaps MLB has found a creative path to boost offense without even having to buy a baseball manufacturer. I’m not really being serious here, but I’m not being completely unserious either.
To close on a more earnest note, I could very much see this as an opportunity for injured or aging players, particularly those still looking for a contract, to jump-start their rehab and training regimen. Whether it’s recovering from surgery or getting past a lingering issue, a carefully curated menu of gels and pills could be just the ticket to get back in the game or land that last free agent deal.