New Book Claims MLB Gave A-Rod Permission to Use PEDs in 2007 and 2008
Well, the story of MLB’s crusade to rid baseball of Alex Rodriguez—er, steroids—just got a lot more complicated. In a new book called Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era, authors Tim Elfrink (the journalist who broke the Biogenesis story) and Gus Garcia Roberts claim that in 2007, Alex Rodriguez applied for and was granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to use steroids to treat a testosterone deficiency known as hypogonadism.
In other words, A-Rod said he had a medical condition that left him with too little testosterone. So he asked MLB for permission to take artificial testosterone, and the independent physician appointed by MLB and the MLBPA to decide such matters approved it. Then A-Roid went and hit .314/.422/.645 with 54 home runs, 156 runs batted in, and 143 runs scored, winning the 2007 AL MVP Award in a landslide.
But wait, there’s more. In 2008 A-Rod applied for an exemption to use clomiphene, an estrogen blocker usually used to treat infertility in women, and human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone used to increase production of testosterone. Both substances were banned at the time, but the independent physician denied the HCG request while approving the clomiphene use.
So what does all this mean? It doesn’t mean that A-Rod isn’t a cheater. But it does mean that MLB let him get away with cheating.
You see, typically young healthy men don’t have testosterone deficiencies, and if they do the most common cause is previous use of steroids. We already know that A-Rod used steroids in 2003 because he tested positive, and there are people out there who say he’s used since high school. So it seems as though A-Rod used the side effects of his previous PED use to get a therapeutic use exemption to excuse his future PED use. And MLB was apparently so clueless as to allow it—which may be why they were particularly pissed when A-Rod’s name turned up again in the Biogenesis documents, ultimately deciding to suspend him for the entire 2014 MLB season.