MLB To Victor Conte: “La La La, I Can’t Hear You”
In the wake of Melky Cabrera’s suspension for getting caught with synthetic testosterone in his system, news outlets everywhere are bringing in experts to talk about the “steroid problem” in baseball like we had all fallen through some crack in time and wound up back in 1999 (which could explain why Limp Bizkit was trending on Twitter).
That’s what led USA Today to reach out to Victor Conte, founder of BALCO which supplied countless professional athletes, including another former Giants slugging outfielder Barry Bonds (allegedly), with performance enhancing drugs. When you want to know how bad the problem of steroids in baseball is, you go to the guy who was largely responsible for starting the problem of steroids in baseball, right? Well, it turns out baseball may have a very big problem on their hands.
“I’m not going to name name,” Conte said in an interview with USA Today, “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.”
“I would say,” Conte said, according to the newspaper,” maybe as much as half of baseball.”
And baseball’s ostrich-with-his-head-in-the-sand response:
“There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said, according to USA Today. “He’s just making that up. It’s a guess.”
“So we’re going to continue to completely ignore it.”
Yeah, why would a man associated with the home run race of the late-90s and early 2000s, that turned into a massive steroids stockpiling competition, have any idea about players juicing? It’s not like that’s how he made MILLIONS OF DOLLARS or anything. Completely unreliable!
This isn’t the first time that baseball has brushed off a shady character casting accusations on the “sanctity” of baseball. When Jose Canseco released his tell-all book naming names of people he “knew” were juicing during his playing days (even going so far as to say he injected his fellow bash brother Mark McGwire in the butt during their time in Oakland together), baseball brushed it off as the rantings of a attention-starved, cash-strapped, has-been trying to make a quick buck and stay in the spotlight. Then he was proven mostly right, Congress got involved, Sammy Sosa forgot how to speak English, and MLB looked dumber than Jose Canseco, the man who took career-advice from Kenny Powers and tweets about his theories on time travel. Dark times, indeed.
But baseball is slow to learn from its own mistakes and believes that their testing is the “very best” and “most sophisticated” program on the block. Except when they leave a urine sample in a fridge over the weekend. But Conte isn’t impressed.
“To circumvent the test is like taking candy from a baby,” he said, according to USA Today. “It’s so easy to circumvent…The only people that get caught are the dumb, and the dumber.”
So a man famous for giving athletes banned substances and then sneaking them past drug screenings has called out baseball’s drug testing as a joke. But baseball doesn’t think this guy has any credibility. A little tip: the guy who makes his money doing illegal stuff is the one with the MOST credibility on that illegal stuff.
Baseball can continue to ignore the advancing culture of sophisticated cheating by pretending it’s still a pristine game, feigning indignation and shock whenever a human being who can hit a baseball into orbit does so on a little bit more than God-given talent and moxie, but it’ll cost them. Bud Selig and MLB may want to tell everyone that the dark chapter of baseball with PEDs is behind us, but there’s a whole new book called “Dirty Tactics to Get Ahead in Baseball” that’s already getting passed around in locker rooms. And you know who knows about it? Victor Conte, the man who wrote it.