A comparative examination of illicit doping practices in baseball

Open Access
Kowalski, Patrick Kane
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Anthony Pawelczyk, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jessica Lynn Schultz, Honors Advisor
  • Peformance-Enhancing Drugs
  • Steroids
  • hGH
  • Doping
  • Major League Baseball
  • Bonds
  • Rodriguez
Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) present a considerable problem to any sporting organization. The desire to be the best drives many of the world’s best athletes. Sometimes this pursuit encourages risk-taking with PEDs. It is the responsibility of Major League Baseball to develop an effective system that both teaches its players about the impact of PED use, but also be powerful enough to dissuade PED use through testing and enforcement. Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) and Biogenesis present two recent examples from different testing periods where drug-testing protocols changed markedly, largely in respect to the Mitchell Report. Both instances share important commonalties, particularly the role of intermediaries, disreputable trainers and nutritionists, and investigative journalists that helped reveal the depth of the PED abuse. These similarities may help drive Major League Baseball’s drug testing programs in the right direction. Steps such as encouraging third-party investigation outside of traditional testing programs, incorporation of a full-scale stockroom and nutritional education within the organization and more rigorous application of current World Anti-Doping Agency testing procedures can begin an effective dissociation from baseball’s darkest age.