By Ross Newhan
The Commissioner and Players Union may have been tardy in reacting to the spread of steroids and performance enhancing substances, but they deserve credit for accelerating the pace to an extent that baseball now has the most comprehensive testing program in U.S. professionnal sports.
The latest improvements, as agreed to by Bud Selig (through his labor leader Rob Manfred) and the union's executive director, Michael Weiner, is highlighted by in-season blood tests aimed at detecting human growth hormone and a more rigorous protocol aimed at unmasking the development of synthetic testosterone.
I reported in my blog of Nov. 28 that there was widespread industry concern about the development of synthetics and that the union and commissioner's office was negotiating a testing program designed to better detect the unending work of unethical chemists trying to stay ahead of the game.
For baseball, it's a constant process that may never be totally perfect, but give the Commissioner and union appropriate recognition for continuing to work at it.
One of the highlights of the baseball off-season will be held Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza: The 10th annual dinner/auction known as the "Spirit of the Game" and sponsored by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
The event was the branchild of Los Angeles insurance man and philanthropist Dennis Gilbert, and has helped dozens of scouts--a transient and indispensible profession--through periods of illness and unemployment. Harrison Ford will be among the presenters, and Vin Scully, Jim Palmer and Ferguson Jenkins are only a few of the baseball luminaries who will be honored. Ticket inquiries: 818 224-3906.