The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 January 2008

What's the warranty on a freezer?

Yale first-year law student Aaron Zelinsky has perhaps a better idea than anything you might have seen in the Mitchell Report, but it takes a long time to play out:

[N]one of Mitchell's recommendations address the serious problem that some performance enhancing substances, such as human growth hormone, are difficult to detect, particularly with testing restrictions enforced by the players' union. Even with more frequent testing (and more widespread postering), players will still have a strong incentive to use these undetectable drugs. Otherwise clean players will also be hard pressed to refrain from undetectable substances because of the competitive disadvantage to staying clean.

I propose a three-part solution to this problem. First, an independent lab should store blood and urine samples from all major league players annually and test these samples (using the latest detection techniques) at 10-, 20- and 30-year intervals following each player's retirement. Second, all players should be paid over a 30-year period. Third, if any player's blood tests positive for performance enhancing drugs, that player will forfeit his remaining salary and pension and will be banned from baseball for life. In order to insert such a "bad boy" clause into pensions, Congress will need to exempt Major League Baseball from certain parts of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but such exemption should be easy to obtain in the current environment. Baseball already enjoys congressionally recognized exemptions from certain antitrust provisions; ERISA could be similarly adapted.

I doubt you could get the 30-year salary provision approved, but I like the idea of keeping the samples on ice in case better diagnostics become available.

Steven D. Leavitt notes in the Freakonomics blog:

The state-of-the-art in performance enhancement is the best set of techniques that cannot be detected using current technology. So, by definition, the most sophisticated dopers will evade detection, unless they are unlucky or make a mistake.

The threat of future improvements in testing technology is the most potent weapon available in this fight, because the user can never know for certain that the doping he does today won’t be simple to detect a decade from now.

If baseball is serious about leveling the playing field, so to speak, they're going to have to do something drastic; something drastic that might actually work is certainly to be preferred.

Posted at 7:28 PM to Almost Yogurt

And now- the most ludicrous suggestion regarding the steriod, HGH problem in baseball today.

A blood test 20, then 30 years after a players retirement?


Posted by: localmalcontent at 7:41 PM on 23 January 2008