We never thought we'd see the day, but an American professional sport has taken steps to detect, punish and deter HGH usage. Effective immediately, Minor League Baseball will test for it. This is big for our friends in the NFL, as well.
Though we've known that baseball was planning this for months, it's still a shock to hear that tonight, some randomly selected baseball players will have their blood drawn and sent off to a lab to be tested.
Doing it in the minors is a dry run for the inevitable inclusion in the bigs, a welcome development to those who are convinced that doping is still rampant. But MLB isn't the only one going to be affected. If this works — and there are certainly questions, as six years of limited testing in European rugby just turned up its first positive result this year — the NFL as we know it could change drastically.
The NFLPA has come out strongly against HGH testing being included in the next CBA, due to "concerns about the test's validity." Well, here's a test to address those concerns. If it proves effective, the NFL players lose some major bargaining ammunition.
It's startling how rare a positive steroid test is in the NFL, filled as it is with unnatural physiques. But we generally write that off by assuming other PEDs. Ones, like HGH, that the league doesn't bother testing for. If HGH testing is instituted, well, football's going to be a very different game.
But, back to baseball, the only sport where the media seems to care about doping. If testing works — again, a big if — expect to see a curve similar to standard steroid testing. A large number of positives early on, as players aren't able to or don't bother to beat the test, as in the "confidential" 2003 list. Then, it'll level off, as those whose job it is to create new and better drugs find ways to get around the testing.
Dopers and testers play a game less like cat and mouse and more like Tom and Jerry, where the cat doesn't really have a chance. The mainstream science is just now catching up to the reality; dopers will soon just pull away again.