Sports Outside the Beltway

Baseball and Human Growth Hormone

This investigation is the last thing Bud Selig wanted to see, I’m sure.

Before Tuesday, Jason Grimsley’s biggest claims to fame were: (A) he’s the guy who once crawled through the drop ceiling at the new Comiskey Park (now called U.S. Cellular Field) to rescue Albert Belle’s corked bat, and (B) he was once traded, even-up, for Curt Schilling, just before Schilling became Curt Schilling.

But from now on, Jason Grimsley is going to have a different claim to fame.

What Jose Canseco was to the steroid mess, Jason Grimsley now represents for the human growth hormone crisis, which is soon to erupt in a congressional caucus, or in a commissioner’s office, or on a talk-show frequency near you.

Of particular interest to me was this:

For the first time since baseball instituted its new steroid policy, we have a major league player allegedly admitting — to federal investigators, as noted in the affidavit — that the loopholes in the new policy caused him to switch his substance of choice.

To — what else? — human growth hormone (HGH).

Why? Because baseball began testing for the stuff he used to take. It’s that simple.

But baseball doesn’t test for HGH, because (at least for now) there is no effective test that accurately detects HGH, and because the players’ union has never been willing to allow any kind of blood testing — the only kind of testing that eventually will work for HGH.

Will this force the player’s union to agree to blood testing – and more rigorous testing in general? This whole thing will be interesting to watch as it plays out over the coming months. What’s even more interesting is that no test currently detects HGH, which makes finding offenders even more difficult. I see this dominating baseball’s headlines at a time when baseball doesn’t want any more attention focused on this issue. With Alber Pujols out of the picture for any record chasing, there are no good distractions on the horizon for baseball until the end of the season pennant races. On the other hand, this may have tainted Pujol’s chase, so maybe getting injured in order to try another season after this has been dealt with is the best thing for any attempt Pujols makes at the record book in other seasons (assuming he’s good enough in the long term to make that happen) is for the best.

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