The Ryan Braun Rules are in effect!

Over at Hardball Talk, Craig Calcaterra lays out some of the changes made to the MLB CBA governing drug testing.

They’re all listed below.

The ones that seem notable or major are in bold. Many of them are designed to specifically address the Ryan Braun fiasco from this spring, and we all know where I sit on that one:

  • Adding hGH blood testing during Spring Training, during the off-season, and for reasonable cause.  The parties also agreed to study expanding hGH testing to the regular season.
  • Increasing the number of random tests during the season and off-season.
  • Modifying the Collection Procedures of the Program to clarify when collectors must deliver specimens to the courier, and how specimens should be stored prior to delivery to the courier.
  • Modifying the Appeals procedures of the Program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results.
  • ***Creating an Expert Panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the Independent Program Administrator (“IPA”) on Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) applications for ADD/ADHD medications, and another expert panel of medical professionals to advise the IPA on TUE applications for other medications.***
  • Strengthening the protocols for addressing use by players of drugs of abuse.
  • Permitting public announcement of the specific substance that resulted in a player’s positive test result or discipline.
  • Making players who are suspended for violating the Program prior to the All-Star Break (including during Spring Training and the preceding off-season) ineligible to be elected or selected for the All-Star Game.
  • Establishing a protocol for evaluating and treating players who may suffer from an alcohol use problem or who have engaged in off-field violent conduct.
  • Clarifying the rules for violations for use or possession of prohibited substances based on evidence other than positive test results (“non-analytical positives.”)
  • Increasing the penalties for criminal convictions for possession or use of drugs of abuse (including stimulants).

Now, I went ahead and tagged the part I found most interesting in bold red.

Years back I wrote a piece titled “Adderall’s on First, Ritalin’s on Second: The Ongoing Saga of PEDs in Baseball” chronicling how players were somewhat shocked when MLB first included testing for amphetamines in the first version of a CBA that had some “teeth” to it (2004).

Amphetamines, often called “greenies”, have been a big part of the game since Lord only knows when. As I wrote then:

The use of uppers is neither new nor surprising in the baseball world, going back as far as the days of Willie Mays (at least) players have been using some form or another to endure the grueling demands of the 162-game season.

While steroids, and their artificial augmentation of baseball’s favorite play, the longball, have received most of the mainstream media coverage, anyone who really knows two shits about baseball recognizes that “greenies” have always been a much more pervasive part of the game.

Countless stories of large Ronald Reagan-esque like jars filled with amphetamines (as opposed to Ronnie’s trademark jellybeans) and pots of coffee labeled “extra-caffeinated” could be found without much effort at all.

A baseball season is a long & grueling one, after all. 162 games, packed into about 180 days, taking players, coaches and fans through a hot and humid summer can wear down even the best of men.  So for decades players have turned to “artificial means” to carry them through the dog days of summer.

I told more than one friend that it would be interesting to see who “faded down the stretch” and chuckled at the sudden emergence of energy drinks as sponsors for the big league clubs.

But I never could have imagined the thing that would catch my eye exactly one year later…and every year since.

When the league banned these drugs, an amazing thing happened. The number of players claiming and obtaining “therapeutic use” exemptions for stimulants nearly quadrupled from 28 to 103.

That number has not gone down. In fact, it has moved up a tick.

Now, it appears Major League Baseball has finally had enough of that nonsense.


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