Baseball’s annual drug report came out yesterday and the results are not terribly surprising: 3,714 drug tests and 17 positives, only two of which were for PEDs used by Edinson Volquez and Ronny Paulino. The other positives were stimulants and recreational drugs.
These test results will lead to predictable statements from the predictable parties: Major League Baseball will crow about how low the drug-use rate is and will say it’s because of its tough testing regime. The anti-drug people like the World Anti-Doping Agency* will say it’s evidence that baseball is whitewashing a no-doubt rampant drug problem. It’s just what they do.
I’m more interested in another number: 105. That’s how many players got Theraputic Use Exemptions in order to be able to take the drug Adderall and similar ADD-treatment products. They’re stimulants, by the way, and they’re otherwise banned because they work like greenies. 105 players represents around 10 percent of those players who are tested. ADD occurs in something like three percent of the population. I don’t know enough about ADD to say anything particularly intelligent here, but I am curious to know what sort of medical documentation is needed before baseball grants a Theraputic Use Exemption. A doctor’s note? An exam? Must there be some evidence of ADD diagnosis in the player as a child? Because that’s when most ADD cases present themselves.
Or is this just the big loophole?
*I love how they have the word “Agency” in their title. You usually see that in government offices because the term “agency,” quite literally, speaks to a relationship in which one acts pursuant to the instructions of a greater power. The President is too busy to forecast the weather, so he appoints agents to do so: the National Weather Service. WADA, however, is not a government organization. It does not act under the orders of someone else. It’s a self-appointed group that promotes its services and — more importantly — its seal-of-approval to sports leagues and governing bodies. The use of the word “agency” is designed to make it sound more official and more powerful than it truly is. Which tells you an awful lot about WADA.