Stop me if you've heard this one: WADA hates baseball's drug testing program

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Ever notice that when pressed to explain the problem with baseball’s drug testing regime, the first reason cited by people from the World Anti-Doping Agency is that baseball doesn’t do business with the World Anti-Doping Agency? WADA chief John Fahey:

“Baseball is the most recalcitrant,” he said,
comparing MLB with the National Football League, National Basketball
League and National Hockey League among the major U.S. leagues. “You had
the Mitchell inquiry and clear and concise recommendations from it and
they effectively did nothing.”

In contrast, Fahey said WADA was having ongoing
discussions with the NFL about incorporating some aspects of drug
testing into a future collective bargaining agreement and have for the
first time managed to “get into the front door” of the NHL to discuss
the issue.

“We continue to reach out,” he said. “I think the
interesting thing is that we are making good progress in ice hockey. We
certainly have gotten through the front door. We have movement there.”

I think the HGH blood test is pure snake oil, but WADA believes in it and baseball is the first U.S. league to actually buy in. The fact, then, that this article actually mentions the HGH blood test as a point of contention between WADA and baseball without mentioning that Bud Selig has ordered the test be given to minor leaguers means that either the article’s author, the WADA chief or both are being disingenuous on the matter.

But this is nothing new. The press is shockingly credulous when it comes to WADA, basically acting as its publicity wing, even when it’s being psycho. Last week WADA said it may try to ban caffeine again. They have literally gone after oxygen-use before. And no one in the mainstream press every stops to wonder if they’re loony.

In light of that — and in light of the fact that baseball has instituted no shortage of tests and procedures as well as continues to add to the banned substance list on a yearly basis — I can’t see what WADA is complaining about aside from MLB’s unwillingness to let WADA come in and take over its testing program like it does in foreign sports leagues.

I disagree with many of the things baseball does when it comes to PEDs. I am in complete agreement with them, however, when it comes to ignoring WADA.

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.