Whether the “performance enhancing” substance is Toradol, anabolic steroids, steroid precursors (prohormones), steroid masking agents, stimulants, or whey protein powder, fundamental questions need to be answered by the Commissioner:
- What is the definition of “performance enhancing”?
- What are the short and long-term dangers to the player?
- Is there a valid test to determine the presence of the substance?
- What is the elixir of Brown-Sequard? [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5314753]
What if Bud were interviewed by Earl Nash?
BS: Can I have someone get you a cup of coffee?
EN: Oh, no thanks, I’m cutting back on caffeine.
BS: I can’t perform well without at least a dozen cups a day. Mind if I smoke?
EN: Go ahead; I never smoked; the nicotine increases you pulse rate.
BS: It also reduces my stress…
EN: Did you read that the World Anti-Doping Agency included “Stimulants: caffeine and nicotine in its 2013 Monitoring Program?
BS: But, Earl, are you aware that for the first time this year, baseball will test players for human growth hormone during the season. For the first time this year, I can suspend players without a positive test.
EN: But, are you aware that HGH is not even anabolic and has not been proven to help athletic performance.
BS: Well, definitions are tricky…
EN: My point exactly. How would you define substances that are used for performance enhancement?
BS: Simple: PEDs. Performance Enhancing Drugs. Drugs.
EN: What about PESs– performance enhancement substances?
BS: Well, that goes beyond “drugs.” We are focused on PEDs—DRUGS! Take a look at our report: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S JOINT DRUG PREVENTION AND TREATMENT PROGRAM; you’ll find it all spelled out there; the PEDs are anabolic steroids, steroid precursors (prohormones), steroid masking agents, and stimulants…Performance Enhancing DRUGS.
EN: I did and it uses the heading “PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES”
BS: The Drugs of Abuse are right at the top…
EN: Yes, they are and they are followed by lists for two other categories:
B. Performance Enhancing Substances and
C. Stimulants, including Amphetamines.
BS: Oh, sure, “Greenies”–they’ve been around for decades…
EN: Yes, there were usually two coffee pots in MLB; one had caffeinated coffee; the other was coffee with “greenies” [Amphetamines] added. What have you done to rid MLB of banned Amphetamines, since you took over as Commissioner in 1992?
BS: In 2005 I took a leadership role in proposing a ban on amphetamines; that was a first for the major North American sports leagues.
EN: Right. So, when you become Commissioner in 1992, you were aware amphetamines were widely used in clubhouses since the mid-1950s and it took you, what, 13 years to propose a ban?
BS: But, we will test for HGH the first time this year. When a player fails a HGH test, he goes to the CIR screening.
EN: Why not just go with the CIR test to start?
BS: The CIR test is very costly–$400 per test.
EN: But doesn’t your two-step procedure allow a player to avoid penalties the first time he is caught?
BS: Perhaps, but we realize a cost savings by not using the CIR test first…
EN: Since the current list of banned substances include not only “drugs,” but also use the term “Performance Enhancing Substances,” what other “substances” would qualify to be banned?
BS: Well, I’m no medical expert…but, common sense tells me that the three words are quite clear: any Substance that Enhances Performance would qualify to be on the banned list…
EN: OK, as I mentioned earlier the World Anti-Doping Agency included “Stimulants: caffeine and nicotine in its 2013 Monitoring Program…
EN: Well, it is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug…in North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily.
BS: Well, now, if we start with caffeine, where do we draw the line?
EN: That’s my point: where do you draw the line? Nicotine?
BS: Well I am pushing very hard to ban chewing tobacco…
EN: OK, then you understand that nicotine can cause high blood pressure, raises your heart rate, that could lead to a heart attack, and most of all it is a very addictive chemical.
BS: Well, surely a few puffs in the dugout tunnel right before returning to the field can’t be all that bad.
EN: Actually, people are most likely to have a heart attack right after the first few puffs…
[Bud sips his coffee and lights up another butt.]
BS: Trying to define what should go on a list of substances that enhance performance is such a broad topic…It’s hard to draw the line in such a general way…
EN: OK, why don’t I name a few groups of substances that would enhance a player’s performance and you can react to them individually…
BS: OK, fire away.
EN: OK, how about these:
- Lean mass builders that drive or amplify the growth of muscle and lean body mass; sometimes they’re used to reduce body fat.
BS: More muscle and less fat should improve a player’s performance…
BS: Enhancing focus and adding energy should improve a player’s performance…
EN: Painkillers that mask athletes’ pain so they can continue to compete and perform beyond their usual pain thresholds.
BS: Raising the pain threshold should improve a player’s performance…
EN: Diuretics that expel water from athletes’ bodies. Blood boosters increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.
BS: More oxygen in the blood should improve a player’s performance…
EN: What about these substances that are legal and readily available via the internet “vitamin” sites, or local GNC store in the mall?
BS: Such as?
BS: Well, I have always taken Geritol…
EN: Iron deficiency?
BS: Yes and it makes me fatigued…
EN: Iron deficiency is the world’s most prevalent nutrient deficiency.
EN: Suppose a player with fatigue discovers he needs an iron supplement. The latest one is SFP (Soluble Ferric Pyrophosphate)…
BS: Really? Let me write that down…
EN: So, suppose a player is iron deficient and he takes a supplement like SFP or even Geritol, which would make him less fatigued…
BS: What’s your point?
EN: Well, wouldn’t taking a non-prescription supplement that reduces fatigue enhance the player’s performance?
BS: Well, yes, but…
EN: Then, why wouldn’t it be on the list of banned “performance enhancement” substances?
BS: Banning Geritol? Isn’t that a stretch?
EN: Perhaps, but what about something like S.W.A.T.S. — Sports with Alternatives to Steroids?
BS: Sounds good to me, so far…Does it involve drugs or other substances?
EN: Nope. But the claim is that it “prompts his body to create specific nutrients and hormones — from vitamin B to testosterone.”
BS: But without using drugs or other substances?
EN: No “substances” are used at all…
BS: Well, it sounds good to me…
EN: It uses stickers, called “chips,” bearing holograms of a pyramid. Players place the chips on three acupuncture points — one on the inside of each wrist.
BS: Where did you dig this obscure stuff up, Earl?
EN: Sports Illustrated, last month…
BS: How does it work?
EN: Supposedly, radio waves can be stored in fluids and in holograms (the chips), and that when an athlete wears the holograms, the radio waves are re-emitted and prompt his body to create specific nutrients and hormones — from vitamin B to testosterone.
BS: Gee willikers; what will they come up with next?
EN: Heard of Power Balance bracelets?
BS: Bracelets? Who would fall for that?
EN: Shaquille O’Neal, swore by the bracelets. Lamar Odom was given a stake in the company in exchange for his endorsement. Drew Brees…
BS: But none of my players would use bracelets…
EN: Matt Kemp.
BS: Matt Kemp? Using bracelets?
EN: “Performance enhancement” bracelets…
BS: I can’t keep up with all these newfangled…
EN: OK, how about an old one–cortisone?
BS: Yes, I had a shot in my knee last week…
EN: And it is commonly used in Major League Baseball…
BS: Well, sure, it has been for many years.
EN: But, it’s a steroid.
BS: Steroid? My doctor told me it is a very powerful anti-inflammatory…
EN: He’s right; it is. Today players take NSAIDs like aspirin, Advil, ibuprofen, those are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. So the ultimate anti-inflammatory is a steroid—cortisone. If you are banning steroids, why isn’t cortisone on the list?
BS: Are you sure you don’t want a cup of coffee?
[Bud looks at his watch and stands.]
EN: Aren’t the penalties for cheating a joke?
BS: It’s a 50-game ban for the first positive test, a 100-game ban for the second and a lifetime ban for a third.
EN: But, do they still get paid during the ban? Why not go to a “One-and-Done” method?
BS: Fining the players might be too harsh…
EN: Really? Take Melky Cabrera. His 50-game suspension was barely over before the Blue Jays handed him a two-year, $16 million contract. After signing for $6 million in 2012, Cabrera essentially was given a $10 million raise.
BS: [Guiding Earl toward the door.] I’m moving as fast as I can.
EN: Yes, you are; you’re moving as fast as YOU can, but that’s not fast enough.
BS: Well, maybe you should try being Commissioner!
EN: Fine. Leave the key to the Men’s room on the desk…
BS: I’m ready to get out of this job. With people like you bashing me on the internet and all these complications with performance enhancing substances, I just can’t keep up anymore…
EN: Well, the Pope resigned early and MLB Commissioner is just as important.
BS: Me? Resign early?
EN: Why not? You’re already 13 years late.
BS: Come on, Earl, you know I love this game.
EN: You’re a great fan and a lousy Commissioner, Bud.
BS: Do you doubt how much I love this game?
EN: No. So, prove it. Resign now.
*The Schilling tendon procedure is a temporary surgical procedure developed by the former Boston Red Sox team physician William Morgan, MD to stabilize the peroneus brevis tendon so that it is prevented from anterior displacement during ankle eversion. If the peroneal retinaculum is torn, the peroneal tendons are no longer stabilized. This allows the peroneus brevis tendon to move untethered over the lateral malleolus, creating pain. During pitching mechanics, the snapping of the tendon over the bone is painful and distracting to the pitcher.
The procedure involves the placement of three sutures through the skin anterior to the path of the peroneus brevis tendon and into the underlying deep connective tissue. These sutures provide a temporary barrier, preventing the tendon from moving anteriorly over the malleolus. The procedure is performed with local anaesthetic, about 24 hours before the player begins to pitch. The stitches must be removed immediately following the cessation of play, and indications are that the stitches may tear during the course of a game.
The procedure is named for Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, who required the surgery to be able to pitch for the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series and Game 2 of the 2004 World Series. Schilling was the winning pitcher in both games, and his blood-soaked sock gave a new meaning to the term Red Sox during the team’s improbable run towards their first world championship in 86 years.
Buccholz blames Toradol
Toradol is the same anti-inflammatory medication that Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz believed contributed to his hospitalization in June 2012. Buchholz spent 5 days in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital for esophagitis associated with bleeding. He had to be transfused with three to four pints of blood.
“PED’s have been around as long as sport itself. From ancient Greek Olympians using drugs like opium to the gladiators of Rome using stimulants like strychnine, to cocaine’s introduction by competitors in various sports in the late 19th century, athletes have always looked for an edge. Most of the time, anything short of rigging a competition by unknowingly sedating someone or paying them to throw the event, was considered fair game. Even during the supposed golden era of baseball, many star players later admitted to using cocaine and other stimulants regularly, which, before steroids, were the premier way to impact performance through drugs.” [http://www.thebradentontimes.com/news/2013/02/10/opinion/sports_scandals_reflect_our_culture_at_large/]