Melky Cabrera did a big no-no, and now he's paying for it. But if you ask BALCO founder Victor Conte, Cabrera isn't the only player pushing the limits of Major League Baseball's drug policy.
Conte spoke to USA Today following Cabrera's 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone, and he feels the Giants outfielder is not alone in using performance-enhancing drugs.
Conte was reportedly pressed to make an educated guess on just how many Major League Baseball players are still taking illegal PEDs and circumventing the system. His response was rather alarming.
"I would say," Conte reportedly said while speaking slowly, "maybe as much as half of baseball."
Now, this is a guy who served time in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering. He doesn't exactly have the best reputation, but he was a prominent figure of the Steroid Era, and he claims to still have connections within the game of baseball.
"I'm not going to name names," Conte reportedly said, "but I've talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they're doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball."
As you might expect, high-end officials of the MLB aren't too pleased with Conte smearing the game, especially in the wake of Wednesday's news. In fact, MLB vice president Rob Manfred isn't buying Conte's claims.
"There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that," Manfred reportedly said. "He's just making that up. It's a guess.
"We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.''
Cabrera is the fourth big leaguer suspended for drug use this season, so the current testing policy is obviously working to an extent. But if you believe Conte's assertions, it's not working out as much as the MLB probably hoped. Then again, Conte thinks it's so easy to get around the testing that he wonders whether the MLB actually has a genuine interest in stopping PED offenders.
"To circumvent the test is like taking candy from a baby," Conte reportedly said. "It's so easy to circumvent. I call it the 'duck-and-dodge' system. The only people that get caught are the dumb, and the dumber."
So how do major leaguers apparently get around the league's drug testing?
"What these guys are doing is using fast-acting testosterone, creams, gels, patches and micro-dose injections," Conte reportedly said. "They put this stuff on after a game, let it circulate in their blood stream, and eight hours later, it's out of their system when they take a drug test. It's so simple."
So simple? Tell that to Cabrera.
Hey, Mr. Cabrera, that's a tremendous-looking trophy. Now give it back.
It was in my mind, the whole game, it was in my mind.
–Felix Hernandez, being as honest as he was dominant following Wednesday's perfect game
Focusing on the important things, I see.
My dad just round house kicked the umpire in the face… But they shoulda called him safe. Smh #badcall
— Torii Hunter Jr. (@THunterJr) August 16, 2012
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