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Are 50 percent of Major League Baseball players still on the “juice?” According to Victor Conte, founder of the infamous BALCO lab which once supplied athletes with illegal steroids, the answer is YES. In a recent interview, Conte claimed that “as much as half” of current players in Major League Baseball are still using performance-enhancing drugs of some kind. A startling thought considering that most baseball observers have already declared the end of the so-called “steroids era.”
“I’m not going to name names,” Conte said. “But I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”
Conte may have a point. Ryan Braun, the National League’s Most Valuable Player last year tested positive for synthetic testosterone in the playoffs, but was not suspended due to a technicality. And Wednesday, Major League Baseball suspended star outfielder Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants for 50 games after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. The “Melk Man” (as Cabrera was fondly known with the New York Yankees) was having a career year with the Giants and was poised to earn $75 million or more in free agency this winter. Now? Cabrera would be happy to wind up with half that amount.
With such great financial incentive to perform at high levels, it appears many baseball players simply can’t resist the urge to cheat. Especially when they know they can get away with it. According to Conte, if you take it before you go to sleep, by the time you get to the ballpark the next day, your testosterone level is too low to register a blip on the drug screen.
“It’s so easy to circumvent [a drug test],” Conte said. “I call it the ‘duck-and-dodge’ system. The only people that get caught are the dumb and the dumber.”
By Lance Williams