Congratulations! It's your first day working for Major League Baseball. You probably grew up a huge baseball fan, and while this isn't as good as actually playing, you're about to embark on a fun and rewarding career with MLB. But first, there's something you need to read and sign.
Oh, and take this cup. We're going to need you to pee in it. MLB has a strict and sweeping drug testing policy that covers even its lowliest office drones. If Ryan Braun can't shoot himself full of stanozolol, neither can Jim from Accounts Payable.
Deadspin has obtained Major League Baseball's handbook of policies and procedures, the 161-page manual given to every employee before beginning work at MLB. It covers everything from building security to conflicts of interest, vacation-day rollovers to improper use of the office fax machine, for employees at MLB's central offices (the main office in New York on Park Avenue, MLB.com in Manhattan's Chelsea Market, and MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J.).
The full MLB employee handbook can be read at bottom. We've pulled out some highlights.
Flipping through the table of contents, you think hey, maybe this won't be terrible. Maybe they really do love their baseball here. The handbook is divided into nine "innings." Then you realize the innings are just sections. The sixth "inning" is all about how to fill out your expense reports. This is the worst baseball game ever.
Let's hit the basics. You're going to have to look presentable. No jeans or T-shirts—this is a workplace.
For a comparison, a former NHL employee tells us that the dress code at hockey's offices are a little more relaxed—jeans are acceptable, but collared shirts are still a must.
These are the paid holidays MLB you'll be given—standard, with the exception of Columbus Day. (It's the playoffs!)
Now you'll have to give a urine sample, or you won't be allowed to work here.
This one's especially fascinating. Employees, from the lowliest PA on MLB Tonight to the commissioner himself, are covered under a sweeping drug policy. It's not the same as the one governing the players—there is no mandatory random testing—but it's not far off. The list of prohibited substances is identical and comprehensive. Unlike most workplaces that institute drug testing, MLB doesn't merely test for the "Big Four" (opiates, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, PCP). MLB wants to know if its web staff is taking Adderall to stay up for the West Coast games, or if the administrative assistants are on hormone replacement therapy.
Employees must submit to a urine test upon taking the job; they can be asked to submit to unannounced urine tests at any time during their employment. They're also subject to immediate testing if there's reason to believe they're using prohibited substances.
Refusal to sign acknowledgement and acceptance of the drug policy, or refusal to submit to tests, is a fireable offense.
By comparison, there is no drug testing of NHL employees.
We like to complain from time to time about the various ways our hopeless war on PEDs tends to encroach on civilian life. Here's a good example. Workplace testing is a morass of drug-warrior illogic to begin with, and MLB's employee policy takes things a step further into comedy. What's it to MLB if Jim from Accounts Payable wants to get swole on his own time?
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive in to the rest of the handbook. The first "inning" is a history of baseball. It does make for interesting reading—the version of the sport's origins officially endorsed by MLB. It eschews the Abner Doubleday/Cooperstown mythology for an admission that no one is exactly sure whether the game was an American invention, or evolved from the English games of cricket and rounders. (Bud Selig may want to read up.)