On the heels of a steroid-tinged Hall of Fame vote that saw not a single player gain induction, Major League Baseball and the Players Association have announced that they’ve agreed to pretty dramatic changes to their joint drug testing program. The biggest change will see random, unannounced, in-season blood tests for human grown hormone. It’s going to be wild when the first player gets hit with that one.
In addition, beginning in the 2013 season, the parties have authorized the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited Montreal Laboratory to establish a longitudinal profile program, in which a Player’s baseline Testosterone/Epitestosterone (T/E) ratio and other data will be maintained by the laboratory, with strict protections for confidentiality, in order to enhance its ability to detect the use of Testosterone and other prohibited substances. The laboratory will automatically conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) analysis on all specimens that vary materially from a Player’s baseline values. The laboratory also will increase the number of random IRMS analysis it conducts on specimens. The longitudinal program being implemented by the parties will be one of the most significant programs of its kind in the world.
Having a baseline testosterone level for individual players will more easily allow for testers to detect variances. I wonder if the combined effect of these changes will be more positive tests, or if – even better – fewer and fewer players will even try to beat the system.