Thursday, January 13, 2005
League wanted to get steroids deal done quickly
NEW YORK -- Amphetamines were untouched by baseball's new
drug-testing agreement, with the issue left for the sport's medical
advisers to study.
Some say amphetamine use is more widespread than steroid use in
a sport when players are ground down by playing 162 games over 183
days during the regular season, with constant travel and all-night
flights leaving many weary.
"Amphetamines, better known as 'greenies,' have a long
tradition in baseball," Dr. Gary Wadler of the World Anti-Doping
Agency said after baseball announced its new deal Thursday.
"Clearly they have been demonstrated in classic studies to be
performance enhancing, to be a controlled substance in the United
States, to have very limited therapeutic value. For them not to ban
it raises questions as to the process by which they derived the
list. So that disturbs me in great measure."
Amphetamines are considered a "drug of abuse" in baseball's
testing program for players with minor league contracts, with a
first positive test subjecting a player to counseling and a second
positive test resulting in a 15-game suspension.
Victor Conte -- under federal indictment as the founder of the company Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative (BALCO) at the center of the steroids controversy -- termed baseball's new policy a joke in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, and cited stimulants like amphetamines as the reason why.
"The new baseball drug policy is still a joke," Conte said. "The question is why do they not ban stimulants? It is like attempting to reduce crime by banning the use of handguns, but still allowing criminals to use rifles.
"Steroids are only Schedule III drugs and stimulants are Schedule I drugs with higher abuse risk and much more severe criminal penalties. It makes no sense."
Management would have liked to have added amphetamines to the
banned substance list for players with major league contracts but
didn't want the issue holding up an agreement on steroids with the
Unlike major leaguers, players with minor league contracts are
"We thought we had made very substantial progress," Rob
Manfred, management's chief labor negotiator, said during a
telephone interview that followed the owners' meeting in
Scottsdale, Ariz. "We thought it was important to close it up on
the muscle-enhancing substances."
Union head Donald Fehr, speaking from Los Angeles, did not want
to address questions about amphetamines.