MLBPA releases its statement on HGH testing

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HGH.jpgThe entire statement can be read here.  The relevant part in my mind:

This week, a British rugby player was suspended as a result of a
reported positive blood test for HGH.   This development warrants
investigation and scrutiny; we already have conferred with our experts
on this matter, and with the Commissioner’s Office, and we immediately
began gathering additional information.  However, a report of a single
uncontested positive does not scientifically validate a drug test.  As
press reports have suggested, there remains substantial debate in the
testing community about the scientific validity of blood testing for
HGH.   And, as we understand it, even those who vouch for the
scientific validity of this test acknowledge that it can detect use
only 18-36 hours prior to collection.

Putting these important issues aside, inherent in blood testing of
athletes are concerns of health, safety, fairness and competition not
associated with urine testing.  We have conferred initially with the
Commissioner’s Office about this reported positive test, as we do
regarding any development in this area.  We look forward to continuing
to jointly explore all questions associated with this testing — its
scientific validity, its effectiveness in deterring use, its
availability and the significant complications associated with blood
testing, among others.

This pretty much tracks my thinking from yesterday.  Jumping in with both feet now, based on the rugby player’s test would be an exercise in PR, not a reasoned implementation of expanded PED testing.

To the extent there’s a line in the sand here, it’s that the union seems unwilling to accept blood testing of any kind, instead wanting to wait for a urine test.  I know that no urine test exists for HGH. The key question here is whether that’s the case simply because one hasn’t been developed yet or if there is some physiological reason why there can never be a urine test (Rays Fan — any insight here?).

Either way, I expect someone to spin the blood/urine test as the union being intransigent.  To those who do, I ask whether or not their employer tests their blood on a routine basis, and if not, how they would feel about it if they suddenly began to do so.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.