Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Roundup

The long awaited Mitchell Report into PED use in Major League Baseball was released today. Among those present on the dais for Mitchell's press conference was Richard McLaren, the arbiter selected by USADA for the Landis AAA hearing. Given a chance to speak, he told the assembled press that he reiterated Mitchell's recommendation that an independent body be responsible for drug testing. One can only imagine he thinks that WADA and USADA are part of that "independant" solution space.

We suspect there are readers here and members of the Player's association who may think there's a need for a different independant body than the WADA crowd. Donald Fehr, leader of the union, had this to say about HGH testing:

[W]e've committed, when a valid urine test is developed for human growth hormone, we'll adopt it," Fehr said. "It has to be a valid test that complies with all scientific protections and safeguards, that's peer reviewed by people other than those who develop it. My understanding of the current state of the science does not yet allow for that. It is being worked on.

"Looks good to me!" may not meet the standard of "peer reviewed by people other than those who develop it" raised by Fehr.


The VeloNews contains an interview this morning with the controversial owner of Rock Racing, Michael Ball, who has many bones to pick with WADA/USADA and how they conduct business:

As I've said before, this sport is eating itself, they are eating their young. These rogue elements, if you will, within the USADAs and the WADAs, are absurd, and are killing this sport, for whatever reason. They might think in their warped sense of righteousness or crusading to save the sport, but they are killing it.

The VeloNews Wednesday Mailbag feature is still discussing Vino and his ignominious exit from cycling.

The CyclingNews writes that a new system of keeping track of riders' whereabouts has been established:

The online whereabouts system, known as Anti-Doping Administrative Management System (ADAMS), will enable riders to enter login with a username and password and then enter their location. The system, already implemented by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in other sports, will only be available in English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese – the current UCI athlete location form is currently available in Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese versions

ESPN reports on the much hyped meeting yesterday between WADA president Dick Pound and BALCO founder Victor Conte in which it was assumed name athletes would be exposed. They were not, but Pound says that Conte described loopholes in the testing system that have allowed competitors to get away with cheating in the past, and he hopes to maintain a productive relationship with Conte in the future.

The NY Times says that the Mitchell Report, due out this afternoon, will be highly critical of the baseball commissioner's office and the way that the sport has tolerated the use of PEDs for years, this coming from a source who has read the full report:

That person and one other person familiar with Mitchell’s findings said the report would name more than 50 active and former major league players who are linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The person who read the report said among those named would be the winners of Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. The report is also expected to call for beefed-up testing, but it apparently does not address the use of amphetamines.

As Joe Lindsey in the Boulder Report said yesterday this may truly be the Festina affair of baseball, but will have far more impact due to baseball's wider popularity.

Discussion heard on cable news networks this morning about the Mitchell Report float the speculation that not only can baseball survive the controversy that is sure to ensue, but that discussion of the PEDs is "sexy". Cycling would obviously not see it that way.

Reuters refreshes our memories with a "factbox" of recent US doping scandals in anticipation of the release of the Mitchell Report this afternoon.

AlterNet thinks the Mitchell Report hangs Bonds even further out to dry, as perhaps the scapegoat symbol for all of Baseball. Some think Landis has a similar media role in Cycling.

East Coast Bias is impressed with Travis Henry's fight against the league's allegations that he used a banned substance, and feels that most athletes, like Floyd Landis, face an uphill battle when trying to defend themselves against "false positives":

Most major sports leagues which have drug policies exercise a dictatorship over the process and its results, and the players' appeals are usually fruitless. No better example of this exists than the Floyd Landis case. Floyd spent millions of dollars over more than a year to demonstrate that the lab had conducted the test incorrectly, and in spite of gross errors noted in the final decision, he was still found guilty...

Eightzero writes stirringly of Floyd Landis' impending CAS appeal and describes what some of the ramifications of the hearing's outcome might be. He only wants to see Landis vindicated, and though he acknowledges the many doping scandals in cycling this year he feels Floyd was screwed, and thanks for the nice plug:

But what will really make me cheer is the day that CAS gives us back what was taken from us in 2006 – Floyd’s great stage 17 comeback in the tour. When I see the tapes of it, I laugh at Liggett and Sherwin’s commentary of “this is a stage win that will be talked about for years to come.” They had no idea how true that was going to be. At the finish, I punch the air with Floyd – I do that on my own bike when I have a great ride myself. And I wait for the day I read when the CAS gives it all back to us.


Mike Solberg said...

Wow, this baseball stuff could get interesting. It is only tangentially related to Floyd, but is certainly part of the bigger picture.

It will be particularly interesting to see how all these "non-analytical positives" play out.

Apparently Roger Clemens is among those named. Doesn't get any bigger than that. The guy is, what , 42 years old and until last year was throwing like he had a bionic arm.

MLB better being saving their pennies - they are going to need a lot of extra ink to print all those *'s.


Cub said...

The more interesting thing to me was the suggestion that baseball contract with an outside agency to implement their anti-doping program (if this suggestion is really in the report).

Is Mitchell thinking WADA? I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I hope they aren't dumb enough to go that route. It has never made sense to me that a sport would use an outside agency to enforce the rules of their own game.

ESPN write Buster Olney wrote a good column about how to evaluate the Mitchell report when it comes out. He seems to be a voice of reason, which is rare among sports journalists. Might be interesting to see what he thinks after reading the report.

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

Just started reading the Mitchell report, and what do you know? One of the people working with Senator Mitchell was none other than Richard McLaren ... "a distinguished arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

Eightzero said...

You mean to tell me ROger Clemens has been riding up that pitchers mound like he's on a damned Harley? Maybe this is why you don't find any virgins within a hundred miles of baseball parks?

Ali said...

I'm in firm agreement with Michael Ball. I'm not by nature a liberalist, but neither am I one of those walking hammers in Pink Floyd's The Wall. That's how I see the current ADAs with respect to cycling.


Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
strbuk said...

What interests me most , in the limited time I have had today to watch the fallout from the Mitchell Report, is the "slack" given many of those named as steroid/hgh users. I don't remember any such slack being given Floyd Landis despite the somewhat shady rep of the LNDD (at least as shady as some of those who have "named names" in MLB). Gosh I sound a bit bitter, time to go to work and blow my runny nose.


wschart said...

Pro cycling has been made out to be, by many in the media, the bad boy poster child for sport gone wrong via doping. Well, at least it was making some effort, while MLB apparently stuck its collective head in the sand.