FanDuel - WFBC

May 23, 2007

Jason Giambi: Hopped Up On Goofballs?: The Yankees' DH failed a test for amphetamines last year and has been subject to increased testing since then, according to The New York Daily News. According to the linked article, the Yanks are once again considering voiding Giambi's contract for use of illegal drugs, but are wary of the legal mess that could develop as a result.

posted by The_Black_Hand to baseball at 04:52 PM - 19 comments

Count me in as one of those people unimpressed with the way the entire sports community is handling recent drug allegations. Amphetamines have been commonplace in clubhouses for more than 40 years, so the fact that Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi has failed a test for greenies is as shocking as the sun coming up. Throw out a list of any player that has played the game since the 1950s and what you have is a list of players who have, at one time or another, popped a greenie to get up for a game. No exceptions. Turning to steroids, the demonizing of Barry Bonds as the uber villain of drug-using athletes is as absurd as any running storyline i have ever seen. The entire country is focused on Barry, his over-sized head, giant arms and surly attitude. And almost to a man, people seem to think that as soon as he goes away, so will the problems with drugs in sports. Well, guess what? Barry Bonds may be the poster child for cheaters anonymous, but the night Hank Aaron his his 715th home run, the ball was caught by a journeyman pitcher named Tom House, who was sitting in the bullpen. The interesting part about that is that House has ADMITTED to using steroids as far back as the late 1960s. Now if House was popping horse steroids and HgH and amphetamines as far back as the 1960s, why is it that the "steroid age" only started in the early 1990s, according to most experts? Until sports fans, sports "journalists" and members of the sporting community stop trying to play politics with PEDs and actually face up to the issues in an honest, open manner, stories like this will have as much relevance as Paris Hilton going to jail for 45 days for whatever it is she did to go to jail for 45 days. Thank you for reading my rant. Have a great rest of your day.

posted by Cameron Frye at 06:22 PM on May 23

Jason Giambi made a comment earlier in the week that everyone in baseball should apolegize for the steroid and performance enhancing problem in baseball. Everyone from the players to the owners and Gm's. That comment was read on an ESPN game for which Joe Morgan was doing the play by play. Stay with me here, I'll make my point. Morgan's response was "why should the GM's and owners appologize" Joe, you ARE an idiot!! Let's look at what happens when a big time player is signed by a major league club. After his agent agrees to terms, what happens?, the player takes a physical. What happens when a player takes a physical? Blood test. Why? TO CHECK FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS amongst other things!!! Steroids and Amphetamines are illegal drugs! There is no way any Gm didn't know a player he signed was taking performance enhancing drugs. That especially goes for Bud Sielig when he was running the Brewers. After the strike, owners were looking for anything to get fans back in the stands. The McGuire, Sosa home run battle was the best thing that ever happened to the owners after the strike, and you can be damn sure none of them were going to say anything about steroids if it was going to effect their pocketbook. The GM's and owners pleading their case of innocence is just total BULLSHIT!!!! Anyone who wonders why athletes take steroids need look no further than Barry Bonds younger brother, good ballplayer, but warning track power. He now drives a forklift in New Jersey.

posted by MGDADDYO at 07:49 PM on May 23

Cameron, it's not a bad rant, but you're talking about MLB, not the "entire sports community". One of the barriers to meaningful solutions, as I see it, is that the world of sports is big and diverse, and if you try to view PED issues across the "entire sports community", you can only speak in terms of a few broad generalizations. To consider actual issues, you need to look at the problem in context: there are some common problems between PED use in the Major Leagues and in (for example) international track and field, but there are also very many differences, some institutional, some inherent to the sport. You're quite right about MLB having to deal with a history of many years of perfectly legal PED use. MLB came late to the party as far as addressing PED problems. Not surprisingly, the issues have become garbled in many cases in the minds of policymakers, and certainly in the minds of the majority of fans. Furthermore, those who would make PED policy for MLB are IMO inheriting some fallout from the failures of WADA and its precursors, which are just recently becoming apparent. It won't be solved any time soon, and no one should expect it to be.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:30 AM on May 24

What's shocking to me is that this is the second time that a private result (Bonds' amphetamine test and now Giambi's test result) has leaked to the public. Only 5 people are to know about the results: the 4 members of the MLB committee (which does NOT include Selig), and the player. I'm guessing that the player isn't revealing this info, so who is the leak in MLB? Blood test. Why? TO CHECK FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS amongst other things!!! Steroids and Amphetamines are illegal drugs! There is no way any Gm didn't know a player he signed was taking performance enhancing drugs. Actually, blood tests for physicals do NOT check for illegal drugs. They use the blood test to check for hidden physical ailments (cancer, HIV, etc). Testing for illegal drugs requires a specific test for the specific drug, and you have to get permission from the player to do that test (per the bargaining agreement between the MLB and MLBPA).

posted by grum@work at 09:01 AM on May 24

I stand corrected. This being serious about issues is lame, I'm going back to making off color comments.

posted by MGDADDYO at 10:06 AM on May 24

lil brown bat - I still speak in broad generalizations and I truly believe that PEDs must be honestly and meaningfully discussed in ALL sports. I only brought up specific baseball references because the story was about a baseball player failing a test for greenies. I could have continued my rant for a few thousand more words and brought up specific examples in each and every major sporting league, but chose not to for the sake of everyone reading. I would like to take a quick survey of everyone here: Anyone in this discussion who thinks that PEDs are not a problem in the NFL, raise your hand. (Looks around for hands, but sees none). The NHL? (Still no hands) The NBA (One guy raises his hand and asks, "Is marijuana a PED?" Answer: No, but it is an illegal drug and is quite a problem in the league). Then there are the countless "minor" sports where PEDs are a problem as well, including track and field, swimming, cycling, etc, etc, etc. Hell, even horses are getting doped up these days. The only place PEDs are not a factor is in auto racing, and that's just because all the cheating is being done with the fuel and the engine - as close to PEDs as you're ever gonna get in auto racing. The actual discussion about PEDs in sports is an entirely different issue. I - and I belive that I am not alone - believe that rather than demonizing roids and other PEDs, sports should take a healthy look at proper uses of the drugs and discuss ways to use them to the athletes' advantage. But, as I said, that's another discussion in another thread. So, to summarize, PEDs are a problem in all major sports. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not being honest with himself or herself.

posted by Cameron Frye at 11:10 AM on May 24

Actually, blood tests for physicals do NOT check for illegal drugs. They use the blood test to check for hidden physical ailments (cancer, HIV, etc). Really? I didn't know that. I thought their physical wasn't much different than your normal physical. Being tested for HIV is especially strange to me.

posted by justgary at 11:55 AM on May 24

Grum, I think you are absolutely correct about the blood testing. But let's not obscure the issue here that in all likelyhood, the owners knew what was going on. Cameron, when you conducted your poll, I think you must have overlooked some hands. MGDADDYO, I usually defer to the people on this site that are wiser than myself when it comes to relevant, serious commentary. You seem to be a smart cookie-you can probably get away with hard hitting back and forth posting. I'll stick to tossing in my $.02 worth of stupid shit and then duck and cover. And I think Jason Giambi has oatmeal for brains.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:59 AM on May 24

Anyone in this discussion who thinks that PEDs are not a problem in the NFL, raise your hand. (Looks around for hands, but sees none). The NHL? (Still no hands) I'm putting up my hand for the NHL question. I don't think they are a "problem", in that they are not rampant through the league. The users are probably more likely confined to the minor-league-call-up-level players and the enforcers, if that. Unlike the other big North American sports, the NHL players will often compete in international tournaments where Olympic-level testing is required (World Junior, World Championship, World Cup, and the Olympics themselves). This constant level of testing, even outside their own league, suggests to me that they are less likely to take the chance of using PED and getting caught. Really? I didn't know that. I thought their physical wasn't much different than your normal physical. Being tested for HIV is especially strange to me. The last physical I had also involved me heading to the blood-work lab later that week to get a sample taken. It was for HIV and any other blood-obvious ailments. I'm not high-risk for any disease, but it was the standard my doctor has for every 2nd physical I get.

posted by grum@work at 11:59 AM on May 24

But let's not obscure the issue here that in all likelyhood, the owners knew what was going on. Oh, hell yes they knew, but it would probably be through observation and/or communication with trainers/managers/players themselves rather than formal testing.

posted by grum@work at 12:00 PM on May 24

THX-1138, don't hold back because you think you're going to say stupid shit. Once I hit 40, I realized how overrated acting like an adult is. Let it go son!! Saying stupid shit keeps the rest of the world happy(see Clinton Portis and of course, George W.) There's no reason why I should be the only one with the taste of leather on my tongue from having my foot in my mouth. (I can see what some of you are thinking with the leather comment,.... don't go there)

posted by MGDADDYO at 12:58 PM on May 24

Jason Giambi is a loser when it comes to drugs. He keeps making the same mistake over and over again and in the end it maybe his end....The Yankees are like all the owners talking trash about getting rid of him and voiding his contract. I am sure that the players union and contracts that they sign have something in them that will prevent all this from happening. If anybody believes that the Yankees didn't know he was still on drugs is completely kidding themselves. The way the contracts are written today would most likely make it very expensive for the Yankees to attempt to break it. It would take years in court to settle this type of case or the Yankees would have already gotten rid of him when this situation came to the papers and the interest of the media. All of us writing in these postings seem at first look to be far more aware of what is happening then the media in general. How many times have the media gotten it wrong just to sell more papers or more articles. The media today is interested in making news more than reporting it sometimes. The facts in regards to Giambi is as simple as the nose on your face. Did he or didn't he isn't in question here. Giambi did do the drugs, of course the owners knew, and I think THX got it right on the nose "Giambi has oatmeal for brains"....

posted by The Old Man at 01:03 PM on May 24

Cameron: I still speak in broad generalizations and I truly believe that PEDs must be honestly and meaningfully discussed in ALL sports. Well, if you're talking about ALL sports, you will be talking in broad generalizations -- very broad generalizations. How honestly and meaningfully will you be talking? Not very. "Performance-enhancing" has very different meanings depending on what "performance" consists of in a given sport; therefore, a drug that is going to be relevant in one sport -- that is, have a real or perceived performance-enhancing effect -- isn't going to be something that makes sense to target in another sport. That's just one example of the limitations of trying to discuss PED issues for ALL sports. Anyone in this discussion who thinks that PEDs are not a problem in the NFL, raise your hand. (Looks around for hands, but sees none). I'm going to turn your question around on you: define the problem. What, precisely, is the nature of the problem that you see? This, IMO, is the biggest PED "problem" today: that the bodies governing sports, the athletes, and mokes like us venting our hot air have forgotten exactly what "problem" we're trying to solve. We can't articulate it. If you can't say what the problem is, how can you hope to fix it? If you can't say exactly why it is a problem, why should you expect support for your fix? I'm not saying the problem does not exist. I'm saying that when the nature of the problem gets fuzzy in people's mind, the solution is not likely to be effective. Then there are the countless "minor" sports where PEDs are a problem as well, including track and field, swimming, cycling, etc, etc, etc. Hell, even horses are getting doped up these days. "Minor" sports? You're coming late to the party too, I see.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:17 PM on May 24

MGDDADYO: No worries. I'm 42, play music for a living ( I have a real job, but the gigs pay better), collect dragons and TV and movie props, play baseball and football with the kids in the neighborhood and sit on the floor and watch Mickey Mouse with my 5 yr. old. Not only do I not know how to act like an adult, I'm not sure what ones supposed to look like. If saying stupid shit does indeed make the world happy, then I must be downright beloved. I did have a link for the leather comment, but as a matter of decorum decided it was best left alone.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:33 PM on May 24

Being tested for HIV is especially strange to me. Things changed in all of the major sports (and most of the "minor" ones, too) after the Magic Johnson declaration. All umbrella insurance policies for the leagues had to be changed, and players' unions also got involved in "protecting" their members against HIV/AIDS primarily, but other communicable diseases as well (Hepatitis, Pam Anderson, etc.).

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:48 PM on May 24

The last physical I had also involved me heading to the blood-work lab later that week to get a sample taken. It was for HIV and any other blood-obvious ailments. I'm not high-risk for any disease, but it was the standard my doctor has for every 2nd physical I get. Hmm, I've had physicals needed for health work, and there was no hiv test. I remember hearing about a movement to get hiv brought in as a standard part of a physical, but there was another movement against it. Worries about privace, scared of the results, and it required a signed paper that allowed the test. Interesting (and I'm not shocked about contact sports including it, but the rest has me confused).

posted by justgary at 05:03 PM on May 24

lil brown bat - Maybe my word choice was wrong. I do not expect officials from all the major and minor sports to get together in a single room and try to discuss a single policy that will work for everyone. It would never work. What I am saying is that everyone needs to have SOME KIND of discussion and either evaluate or re-evaluate their policy on PEDs. And not just once, but at least once per year. The testing procedure in any sport is never as current as the drugs being distributed to the athletes in that sport. As an example, steroids are rarely linked to players in the NFL. But something tells me that the guys coming into and remaining in the NFL are not all clean. Shawn Merriman was one of the very few people who failed a test last season. The result? A four-game suspension and a slap on the wrist. After that suspension, he came back and still ended up winning defensive player awards. Somehow, I am not naive enough to believe that Merriman's positive test was a 1-time deal or some accident caused by tainted "legal" supplements". He got sloppy and got caught. Most of the other NFL players just don't get caught. Doesn't mean they aren't using. My opinion - and one with which I am assuming you disagree - is that the NFL is happy to only have the occasional failure and uses the lack of positive results to show a lack of abuse from their players. Well, a lack of evidence does not necessarily mean a lack of guilt. I know the flip side is true also, but in my view, the NFL chooses to continue to use out-dated testing methods and bury their heads in the sand about the results. THAT is the problem. And until the sport-watching public stands up and makes the respective sport take notice, very little will change. Baseball continues to have its proverbial head in the sand and even the threat of Congressional involvement is not enough to change the thought process. As for me "coming late to the party too" with my comment about minor sports, you cannot label me a xenophobe. That much is true. I am American and I like my sports in fairly easy-to-use categories, but I do not base my "major" and "minor" descriptions on where the sport is popular. I base my designations on simple economics. When a sport like cycling can organize itself enough to bring in 200 billion US or 150 billion EU in a single season, call me. Until then, it's been relegated to the minors. Sure the Tour de France is huge, but one event does not an entire sport make. I consider golf a "major" sport because the combined revenue of the events brings the "sport" into a realm of big money maker. When swimming can find the money to report billions of dollars in profit from certain events, I will raise its profile. I am not a huge fan of European football at all, but it is the most major of all major sports. Its worldwide base and revenue stream are things of legend. It may be a minor sport in the US, but that does not stop the machine from rolling along. Again, I ramble. My point was originally ans still is that any and every sport out there today is only willing to go so far as to appear to be doing the job. Meanwhile, the cheater is willing to go so much farther than the enforcer - and almost always does go farther, usually with minimal risk of detection. Finally, were it up to me, I would drastically revamp all rules on PED consumption, but as I stated earlier, that is another debate for another thread.

posted by Cameron Frye at 06:20 PM on May 24

Hmm, I've had physicals needed for health work, and there was no hiv test. I remember hearing about a movement to get hiv brought in as a standard part of a physical, but there was another movement against it. Worries about privace, scared of the results, and it required a signed paper that allowed the test. Interesting (and I'm not shocked about contact sports including it, but the rest has me confused). Just so there is no confusion, my physicals have nothing to do with work and are voluntary. They are strictly "maintenance and prevention" visits I have every year, since my work health plan (plus socialized medicine up here) covers them for me. To be honest, they didn't do the HIV test during my last blood work because I'm a near-zero probability case.

posted by grum@work at 11:37 PM on May 24

Cameron: As for me "coming late to the party too" with my comment about minor sports, you cannot label me a xenophobe. That much is true. I am American and I like my sports in fairly easy-to-use categories, but I do not base my "major" and "minor" descriptions on where the sport is popular. I base my designations on simple economics. ...which has what relevance, exactly, to the discussion of PED regulation? None that I can see. The professional leagues in the USA are latecomers to the game of PED regulation -- they've only quite recently been taking it seriously, to the extent that they do take it seriously at all. OTOH, your so-called "minor" sports have been grappling with these issues for decades. US-based pro leagues are latecomers, and those who are forming their view of PED issues by looking through that lens are likewise latecomers. At the same time, the presence of PED enforcement in professional leagues raises a whole 'nother set of issues, probably the biggest of which is the radically different status of an athlete who is an employee, and thus has some measure of protection under employment laws, and who is furthermore likely represented in collective bargaining by a union. An NFL player has a whole different legal status than, say, a member of the US volleyball team. So there are clear areas where a professional league can't simply inherit the "lessons learned" from amateur athletics, and many other areas where it could but really shouldn't...and, unfortunately, there are also a lot of "lessons that should have been learned but weren't". Finally, were it up to me, I would drastically revamp all rules on PED consumption, but as I stated earlier, that is another debate for another thread. Were it up to me, I would radically reexamine all rules on PED consumption. I think there are a lot of assumptions that need to be questioned.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:55 AM on May 25

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