Major League Baseball Gets Serious About Drug Testing
Major League Baseball has announced that they will be expanding their drug testing program, to include in-season testing for both HGH and synthetic testosterone. The move comes more than a year after the League’s November 2011 decision to begin testing for HGH, which made it the first major sport in the United States to test for human growth hormone. This newest decision will again put baseball ahead of other major sports, such as football, since the NFL is still on the fence about testing for HGH despite a 2011 decision to test for it, and the NFL doesn’t have a strong testosterone test, either. Major League Baseball will stand out in 2013 as having the “toughest testing program of any of the professional sports leagues in North America,” according to an article in the New York Times.
Even though the League has always been ahead of other sports in their testing policies, they didn’t yet test in season, and some of the League’s most famous players have had issues with performance enhancing drug use, so MLB hasn’t been without its fair share of scandals. In fact, just last week the announcement came there would be no new players inducted into the Hall of Fame after a decision given by the the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Even with big names on the ballot, such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the organization felt that there were too many questions about the use of performance enhancing drug use by the candidates that were up for induction.
The MLB’s new testing policy is another step in the direction of tougher testing that will help the League ensure clean players. The HGH test the League uses requires athletes to submit blood samples rather than urine samples, and until now players were only tested in the off season or during spring training. Now players will be subject to testing for HGH, which is said to help a player build muscle and recover from injuries quicker, and will also be tested for high levels of testosterone, indicating whether the athletes have used performance enhancers to up their testosterone levels. The new tests can be performed anytime, which will mean players will need to test clean throughout the season. It could be just the thing to help ensure that some of the sports greatest players can enjoy their place in the Hall of Fame in the years to come without the suspicion from officials and the public that has clouded the sport until now.