Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drugs in the D.R.

As positive PED tests dwindle to zero in the Majors, there has been a precipitous spike in the Dominican Summer League:

Galvez was one of 40 DSL players suspended this past season for 50 games for use of performance-enhancing drugs, an incidence that made front-page news in the Dominican Republic.

The number is striking compared to the rest of pro baseball. The 1,207 players in the DSL — a rookie league that runs June to August and is populated mostly by Dominican and Venezuelan teenagers — made up 15% of all players under contract to major league teams at the start of the season, yet they accounted for nearly 60% (40 of 68) of positive drug tests this year.
There are many reasons cited -- poverty, naiveté, buscones, the fact that the D.R. is simply drowning in drugs -- but no matter the cause, any claim Major League Baseball makes that PEDs have been washed out of the system in a fit of post-Mitchell Report righteousness should be discounted out of hand.

UPDATE: I had forgotten when I posted this earlier, but if you have been reading IIATMS for a while, you know that a high positive rate in Latin America is nothing new.


matt said...

The cynic in me suspects this has more to do with the type of PED's (i.e. less advanced/more difficult to mask) than the prevalence of PED's.

Pete Toms said...

Lots of these stories this season, condemning the baseball culture in the DR in particular. Crooked buscones, steroid abuse, crooked scouts....and they are being published in high profile, credible publications, USA Today, BA, ESPN ( Gammons in particular, official spokesperson for MLB )....I think - and I think you agree Craig - MLB has mounted a very successful campaign in lobbying for the extension of the Rule IV draft to the DR & Venezuala etc. Whether or not that is a good idea is debatable.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Agreed, Pete. I don't know if this story is part of that very obvious campaign (it doesn't seem driven by MLB) but you never know.

Pete Toms said...

Ok, read the link.

"Baseball has taken steps to curtail steroid use since 5% to 7% of major leaguers tested positive in anonymous survey testing in 2003. This season, not a single player in the majors was caught."

I've been up on my soap box about this many times but I can't resist again. %5 - %7 in the 03 anonymous testing, does that mean that in a typical MLB game in 03 that only 3 to 4 players of the 50 in uniform were dirty????? Does anybody believe that? Is / was the testing that ineffective? Are / were the cheaters that far ahead of the testers?

In 08 not a single big leaguer tests positive????? This is as farcical as NFL testing!

The strategy has worked brilliantly though for MLB, MR and stricter regulations, blah blah blah, fans are satisified and / or sick of it and have moved on.

mooseinohio said...

The exploitation of Latino ballplayers is another example of MLB (management and union) talking out of both sides of it mouth. In my opinion anything that brings light to the situation is a good thing as the problems will only be dealt with after folks are made aware of the circumstances (the good, bad and ugly).