Victor Conte, founder of the infamous BALCO and sort of mad scientist behind the steroid era, said he estimates that “as much as half” of current players in Major League Baseball are using performance-enhancing drugs of some kind.
Conte told USA Today, “I’m not going to name names, 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.”
Conte’s comments come after the San Francisco Giants’ star Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for positive test for synthetic testosterone.
Of course, MLB disagrees with Conte’s estimates.
“There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said. “He’s just making that up. It’s a guess. We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.”
Many baseball experts believe Conte could not be so tuned into the baseball world to have an accurate assessment. They further believe he likes being in the spotlight and misses the controversy he used to enjoy before becoming an athletic leper.
Conte also indicated he wonders if “Major League Baseball has a genuine interest in stopping these guys.”
Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP tested positive before having his suspension overturned by an independent arbitrator, and now this year’s All-Star Game MVP has been hit with a 50-game suspension.
Seems like there’s truly an effort by baseball to clean it up based on those high-profile cases. But it would not be surprising if Conte is throwing around big numbers for a cause that would benefit him.
On the other hand, an even more forceful assault on PED use in baseball might make Victor Conte go away, so there’s that.