Is it time for Human Growth Hormone testing?
A U.K. rugby player tested positive for HGH recently and that fact has the New York Daily News and Buster Olney both arguing that it’s high time for baseball to implement a test of their own. If they do not, Olney says, “10 years from now they and the sport will be at risk for another round of PED hand-wringing.”
Of course, almost 100% of the HGH hand-wringing we’ve seen to date steadfastly ignores the fact that there is virtually no evidence showing that HGH enhances athletic performance, so we should only take the hand-wringing only so seriously.
Not that I’m against testing for it. Indeed, I’m fine with this if, as Buster says, the implementation of testing is accompanied by getting every bit of information in the hands of the players, the union and MLB and allowing them to thoroughly and thoughtfully consider everything. Even if there is no evidence that HGH improves performance, there is some evidence that off-label use of HGH is dangerous. And really, if the players and the league all get together and decide -- after some deliberation and consensus-building -- that blue socks are bad for the game, I’m fine with them banning those too. It’s their industry and their workplace rules and hey can do what they want with it.
My prediction, however, is that opposed to implementing something considered and reasonable, everyone will bow to media pressure and implement some half-assed, P.R.-driven plan that addresses virtually none of the legitimate concerns regarding HGH while blowing its dangers and effects out of any reasonable proportion.