Hit Me With Your Best Shot

benatarYou wanna when you realize they have nothing to work with? It’s when they trot out Jack Clark with the Home Run Derby trophy to the raucous strains of Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Do these folks know how to party or what?

Actually, they introduced Jack Clark as “Jack The Ripper.” As far as nicknames go, that’s a little too obvious. Kind of boring, too. “Jack The Ripper?” C’mon St. Louis, you’re better than that…

Well, maybe not. Stan Musial was, “Stan The Man.”

Duh.

What’s it going to be, “Stan The Boy?” Of course it’s “Stan The Man.” Why not get a little creative and try something with Musial?

Come on, work with me, folks.

After taking a gander at Jack Clark, “Jack The Buffet Line” is probably more apt. Still, to take nothing away from Clark, he was the Runnin’ Red Birds’ slugger. In three years with the Cards, Clark hit 66 homers. That’s 22 in ’85 and 35 in ’87. Clark was a slugger in an age where 35 homers was a lot. In fact, 35 homers was the most Clark ever hit in his career.

In comparison, Chase Utley has clubbed at least 30 homers in two of the past three seasons and already has 20 this year. No one considers Utley a home run hitter, but in the past two-and-a-half years, Utley has cracked 75 homers. Clark’s best three-year homer stretch was 87 between 1987 to 1989.

Utley will crush that with an average second half.

Should we start calling him “Chase The Ripper” or just marvel in how much the game has changed in a relatively short time.

OK, someone crank up the Benatar.

Where did those wavy lines come from?

HowardJust did a stroll around the press box and noticed the Home Run Derby on TV… what’s with those tail lines coming off the ball? Is that cool?

I’ll tell you what is not cool (and by that I don’t mean jerky, just geeky), Jayson Stark is tweeting his crazy facts and stats about the Home Run Derby. There’s this one for instance:

Albert will be the 12th straight hometown Derby participant not to win — unless everybody else gets shut out. Last to win: Sandberg in ’90

Or:

This is only the 2nd swingoff since they abandoned the old format, which broke ties based on season totals. The other: 2007, won by Pujols!

And:

Howard 6 HR in last 9 swings. But will it be enough?

I think I’m going to stop following him.

(I’m joking, Jayson, I’m joking…)

Nevertheless, Ryan Howard climbed into first place in the Home Run Derby, but will have to hope for a slump from Prince Fielder and David Cruz. Certainly a Cruz-Prince final was not what the heads at ESPN wanted, but sometimes reality TV shows take a crazy turn.

Note: Howard dropped out of the top spot while writing this. Prince Fielder knocked him out of the finals.

So before the next walk around the box, here are some more facts:

The last time the All-Star Game was in St. Louis was 1966. The 42 years between All-Star Games is the longest span between hosting the Midsummer Classic. However, Kansas City seems poised to break it. The All-Star Game hasn’t been to KC since 1973.

Maybe they ought to have the All-Star Game in Las Vegas? Why not… the Winter Meetings were there last year and it was a huge hit. This December they’re having them in Indianapolis. Vegas to Indianapolis.

More facts:

The last time an NL team sent its entire outfield to the All-Star Game was in 1972 when Pittsburgh sent Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and Roberto Clemente. In the late 1970s, the Red Sox did it three years in a row.

President Barack Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s game. The last President to do this was George H.W. Bush in 1992. President G.H.W. Bush did it in 1991, too.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

It’s a Swing Off!

Ryan HowardSo Ryan Howard will move on to the second round since the Twins’ Joe Mauer only hit five home runs. Howard didn’t look awesome, like he’s known to be with some bombs during actual games, but he hit one 470-feet plus.

That counts.

Instead of having Mick Billmeyer pitch to him as he usually does, Howard’s high school coach was thrown into the gig. That’s cool. After all, when does a guy from the St. Louis suburbs ever get to hang out at the All-Star Game.

But you know, what about Mick? All he gets is batting practice.

Then again, when you meet Mick and talk to him, you realize the guy is living a charmed life. The guy knows a lot about catching and all that, but really every day he has in the big leagues is something else. Besides, it’s guys like Mick who make the big leagues interesting.

Anyway, Albert Pujols came up and suddenly the ballpark turned into the dance floor at the club with all the camera lights flashing.

On another note, it would seem that the ball would fly out of the park considering how humid it is. It’s downright soupy here in The Loo, and much too warm for my liking. However, a few of the ol’ salts still banging around the big league writing circuit say that for St. Louis in July this weather is downright temperate.

Plus, it’s difficult for paint to dry in this type of climate. If one were to ask if a basic, one coat of paint on a wall would dry faster than the Home Run Derby to end, it would be a push.

As a betting man I’d take paint in a squeaker. That’s especially the case with Pujols needing his last swing to forge a tie to get into the “swing-off” with David Cruz and Carlos Pena. The winner advances and the loser(s) get to kick back with the kids running wild on the sidelines with their dads.

Fingers, Finger and jaunty little hats

finger-and-fingersBeer at the ballpark is $8.75. That’s a lot of money. That’s especially a lot of money when one considers that they made it just down the street from the ballpark. Like literally. That watery, flavorless Budweiser beer is made very near the famous St. Louis Arch – which is very cool, by the way – as well as the main office for Purina pet foods.

Can’t make this up, folks. Doggies and kitties need to eat, too.

Anyway, I haven’t seen too many things here that knocked me over. For instance, I haven’t seen Rollie Fingers yet and I heard he was here. I saw a guy that almost looked like Rich Hofmann, and I gave away my All-Star Game lanyard that held my credential because the nice St. Louis-ian who sold me the faux-chicken sandwich (yeah, eat your bleep, veggie boy!) thought it was cool and asked me for it.

Besides, it was itchy.

I thought Tim Lincecum’s jaunty little cap was neat. So did he, too. After all, Tim Lincecum liked it so much that he wore it to the press conference with the managers and Bob Costas. He even had to endure a wisecrack from that smart-ass Costas, too. You know, something about how it was the same style of hat Jim Bunning wore at the ’64 All-Star Game at Shea Stadium.

If you’ve heard one Jim Bunning joke, you’ve heard them all.

So Ryan Howard is coming to hit and he has his high school coach pitching to him. Cameras are popping like strobe lights…

Time to watch.

Albert the Great

We tend to get cynical in this business, especially when we see approximately one million people all wearing the same shirt in hero worship of one guy. It’s almost cult like the way they act around here about Albert Pujols.

And by “we,” I mean “me.”

Anyway, when the Cardinals traveled to Clearwater to play the Phillies during spring training, I inched in very close to watch Albert Pujols to take BP. Then I went back to the press box and wrote this:

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Guys like me get jaded. Hang around the ballpark for as long as I have and some days and events tend to blend together. As a result, sometimes things that are really, really cool get lost in the shuffle.

Take last October for instance — there were so many significant moments that got lost in uber-poignant events that it’s difficult to remember them all. For instance, Shane Victorino’s little tête-à-tête with Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers in the NLCS in L.A. was pretty big. It definitely set some sort of tone for the rest of that series, just like Brett Myers’ AB vs. CC Sabathia in the NLDS and Pat Burrell’s two-homer game in the clincher in Milwaukee.

Phew! Yes, October was such a blur.

So this afternoon I took a little me time. A moment to enjoy something that doesn’t come around all that much in these parts.

Yep, I watched Albert Pujols take batting practice and, man, let me tell you… the dude smashed some whompers. The ball takes a different flight off Pujols’ bat compared to his counterparts’. It’s almost exactly like a plane taking off — it builds up speed on a straight line and then, whoosh, it takes off.

The aftermath is an assault on firm standing structures like tiki bars, scoreboards and people that leave dents and welts so it’s best to seek cover when Pujols takes BP.

Here’s the thing:

Albert Pujols is the best hitter I’ve ever seen. Yes, that’s what I said…

Albert Pujols is the best hitter I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading this story …

Here we go…

IMG00229Having computer issues here at the park… all of sudden the wireless slowed to a crawl.

We’re getting ready to hit some dingers here at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, or The Loo, as they say. Oddly, there is a band warming up the crowd with some faux alt-rock and pyro. Lots and lots of PYRO!

The set up the stage with all banners representing all the corporate sponsors blocking the monitors and PA and set up the stage behind second base.

Is David Cook a band? If so, that just might be who was on FIRE!

Anyway, Prince Fielder will hit first and Berman is doing the intros. Luckily, we can’t hear him so well up here in the press box. Which is fine.

But make no mistake, St. Louis homeboy Ryan Howard got the loudest ovation if you exclude Albert Pujols. The truth is if you own a company that makes Albert Pujols shirts or memorabilia in St. Louis, you are a very wealthy person.

You can’t shake a dead skunk in The Loo without hitting a dude in a Albert Pujols shirt. Albert is The Man. Stan Musial needs a new nickname.

It’s a Swing Off!

image from fingerfood.typepad.com So Ryan Howard will move on to the second round since the Twins’ Joe Mauer only hit five home runs. Howard didn’t look awesome, like he’s known to be with some bombs during actual games, but he hit one 470-feet plus.

That counts.

Instead of having Mick Billmeyer pitch to him as he usually does, Howard’s high school coach was thrown into the gig. That’s cool. After all, when does a guy from the St. Louis suburbs ever get to hang out at the All-Star Game.

But you know, what about Mick? All he gets is batting practice.

Then again, when you meet Mick and talk to him, you realize the guy is living a charmed life. The guy knows a lot about catching and all that, but really every day he has in the big leagues is something else. Besides, it’s guys like Mick who make the big leagues interesting.

Anyway, Albert Pujols came up and suddenly the ballpark turned into the dance floor at the club with all the camera lights flashing.

On another note, it would seem that the ball would fly out of the park considering how humid it is. It’s downright soupy here in The Loo, and much too warm for my liking. However, a few of the ol’ salts still banging around the big league writing circuit say that for St. Louis in July this weather is downright temperate.

Plus, it’s difficult for paint to dry in this type of climate. If one were to ask if a basic, one coat of paint on a wall would dry faster than the Home Run Derby to end, it would be a push.

As a betting man I’d take paint in a squeaker. That’s especially the case with Pujols needing his last swing to forge a tie to get into the “swing-off” with David Cruz and Carlos Pena. The winner advances and the loser(s) get to kick back with the kids running wild on the sidelines with their dads.

Where did those wavy lines come from?

image from fingerfood.typepad.com Just did a stroll around the press box and noticed the Home Run Derby on TV… what’s with those tail lines coming off the ball? Is that cool?

I’ll tell you what is not cool (and by that I don’t mean jerky, just geeky), Jayson Stark is tweeting his crazy facts and stats about the Home Run Derby. There’s this one for instance:

Albert will be the 12th straight hometown Derby participant not to win — unless everybody else gets shut out. Last to win: Sandberg in ’90

Or:

This is only the 2nd swingoff since they abandoned the old format, which broke ties based on season totals. The other: 2007, won by Pujols!

And:

Howard 6 HR in last 9 swings. But will it be enough?

I think I’m going to stop following him.

(I’m joking, Jayson, I’m joking… without Crasnick and Stark, ESPN.com would have no ball writing.)

Nevertheless, Ryan Howard climbed into first place in the Home Run Derby, but will have to hope for a slump from Prince Fielder and David Cruz. Certainly a Cruz-Prince final was not what the heads at ESPN wanted, but sometimes reality TV shows take a crazy turn.

Note: Howard dropped out of the top spot while writing this. Prince Fielder knocked him out of the finals.

So before the next walk around the box, here are some more facts:

The last time the All-Star Game was in St. Louis was 1966. The 42 years between All-Star Games is the longest span between hosting the Midsummer Classic. However, Kansas City seems poised to break it. The All-Star Game hasn’t been to KC since 1973.

Maybe they ought to have the All-Star Game in Las Vegas? Why not… the Winter Meetings were there last year and it was a huge hit. This December they’re having them in Indianapolis. Vegas to Indianapolis.

More facts:

The last time an NL team sent its entire outfield to the All-Star Game was in 1972 when Pittsburgh sent Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and Roberto Clemente. In the late 1970s, the Red Sox did it three years in a row.

President Barack Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s game. The last President to do this was George H.W. Bush in 1992. President G.H.W. Bush did it in 1991, too.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

image from fingerfood.typepad.com You wanna when you realize they have nothing to work with? It’s when they trot out Jack Clark with the Home Run Derby trophy to the raucous strains of Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Do these folks know how to party or what?

Actually, they introduced Jack Clark as “Jack The Ripper.” As far as nicknames go, that’s a little too obvious. Kind of boring, too. “Jack The Ripper?” C’mon St. Louis, you’re better than that…

Well, maybe not. Stan Musial was, “Stan The Man.”

Duh.

What’s it going to be, “Stan The Boy?” Of course it’s “Stan The Man.” Why not get a little creative and try something with Musial?

Come on, work with me, folks.

After taking a gander at Jack Clark, “Jack The Buffet Line” is probably more apt. Still, to take nothing away from Clark, he was the Runnin’ Red Birds’ slugger. In three years with the Cards, Clark hit 66 homers. That’s 22 in ’85 and 35 in ’87. Clark was a slugger in an age where 35 homers was a lot. In fact, 35 homers was the most Clark ever hit in his career.

In comparison, Chase Utley has clubbed at least 30 homers in two of the past three seasons and already has 20 this year. No one considers Utley a home run hitter, but in the past two-and-a-half years, Utley has cracked 75 homers. Clark’s best three-year homer stretch was 87 between 1987 to 1989.

Utley will crush that with an average second half.

Should we start calling him “Chase The Ripper” or just marvel in how much the game has changed in a relatively short time.

OK, someone crank up the Benatar.

Here we go…

image from fingerfood.typepad.com We're getting ready to hit some dingers here at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, or The Loo, as they say. Oddly, there is a band warming up the crowd with some faux alt-rock and pyro. Lots and lots of PYRO!

The set up the stage with all banners representing all the corporate sponsors blocking the monitors and PA and set up the stage behind second base.

Is David Cook a band? If so, that just might be who was on FIRE!

Anyway, Prince Fielder will hit first and Berman is doing the intros. Luckily, we can't hear him so well up here in the press box. Which is fine.

But make no mistake, St. Louis homeboy Ryan Howard got the loudest ovation if you exclude Albert Pujols. The truth is if you own a company that makes Albert Pujols shirts or memorabilia in St. Louis, you are a very wealthy person.

You can't shake a dead skunk in The Loo without hitting a dude in a Albert Pujols shirt. Albert is The Man. Stan Musial needs a new nickname.

Albert the Great

We tend to get cynical in this business, especially when we see approximately one million people all wearing the same shirt in hero worship of one guy. It’s almost cult like the way they act around here about Albert Pujols.

And by “we,” I mean “me.”

Anyway, when the Cardinals traveled to Clearwater to play the Phillies during spring training, I inched in very close to watch Albert Pujols to take BP. Then I went back to the press box and wrote this:

image from fingerfood.typepad.com CLEARWATER, Fla. – Guys like me get jaded. Hang around the ballpark for as long as I have and some days and events tend to blend together. As a result, sometimes things that are really, really cool get lost in the shuffle.

Take last October for instance — there were so many significant moments that got lost in uber-poignant events that it’s difficult to remember them all. For instance, Shane Victorino’s little tête-à-tête with Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers in the NLCS in L.A. was pretty big. It definitely set some sort of tone for the rest of that series, just like Brett Myers’ AB vs. CC Sabathia in the NLDS and Pat Burrell’s two-homer game in the clincher in Milwaukee.

Phew! Yes, October was such a blur.

So this afternoon I took a little me time. A moment to enjoy something that doesn’t come around all that much in these parts.

Yep, I watched Albert Pujols take batting practice and, man, let me tell you… the dude smashed some whompers. The ball takes a different flight off Pujols’ bat compared to his counterparts’. It’s almost exactly like a plane taking off — it builds up speed on a straight line and then, whoosh, it takes off.

The aftermath is an assault on firm standing structures like tiki bars, scoreboards and people that leave dents and welts so it’s best to seek cover when Pujols takes BP.

Here’s the thing:

Albert Pujols is the best hitter I’ve ever seen. Yes, that’s what I said…

Albert Pujols is the best hitter I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading this story …

Fingers, Finger and jaunty little hats

image from fingerfood.typepad.com Beer at the ballpark is $8.75. That’s a lot of money. That’s especially a lot of money when one considers that they made it just down the street from the ballpark. Like literally. That watery, flavorless Budweiser beer is made very near the famous St. Louis Arch – which is very cool, by the way – as well as the main office for Purina pet foods.

Can’t make this up, folks. Doggies and kitties need to eat, too.

Anyway, I haven’t seen too many things here that knocked me over. For instance, I haven’t seen Rollie Fingers yet and I heard he was here. I saw a guy that almost looked like Rich Hofmann, and I gave away my All-Star Game lanyard that held my credential because the nice St. Louis-ian who sold me the faux-chicken sandwich (yeah, eat your bleep, veggie boy!) thought it was cool and asked me for it.

Besides, it was itchy.

I thought Tim Lincecum’s jaunty little cap was neat. So did he, too. After all, Tim Lincecum liked it so much that he wore it to the press conference with the managers and Bob Costas. He even had to endure a wisecrack from that smart-ass Costas, too. You know, something about how it was the same style of hat Jim Bunning wore at the ’64 All-Star Game at Shea Stadium.

If you’ve heard one Jim Bunning joke, you’ve heard them all.

So Ryan Howard is coming to hit and he has his high school coach pitching to him. Cameras are popping like strobe lights…

Time to watch.

How are you going to get that out?

Wouldn’t you know it… there is a high-school girls distance running camp here in Estes Park this week. Melody Fairchild, regarded by some as the best high-school cross country runner ever is the director.

I suspect we’ll see a few of the campers galavanting around town.

Anyway, I will report back tonight while watching Chase Utley in the Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium. I also may report on the Phillies first half, a trip to Boulder as well as other adventures.

The truth about the Home Run Derby is that I’ll watch until the local guy goes out and then I’ll turn it off. Oh, I might stick around a little longer tonight because it’s at Yankee Stadium and the visages are bound to be much more interesting than any other ballpark, but really, who can stand to listen to Chris Berman.

Generally I don’t care about the announcers of sporting events at all. It’s easy to block them out as long as the focus is on the actual game, but Chris Berman… man is he awful.

Listening to Chris Berman is a lot like trying to put your entire fist into your mouth. Not only is it difficult and a tremendous waste of time, but if you succeed and get those knuckles past an incisor and/or molar and actually get your fist in your mouth, now what? All you are is some jackass sitting there in front of the TV with your fist in your mouth… how are you going to get it out?

My advice? Don’t listen to Berman — turn down the sound if you must. And please, for the love of all that’s holy, do not put your fist in your mouth.

***

Wasting time

There are many things that people can lose that are very easily replaced. Money, sanity, keys, a wallet are just a few items that can be found or replaced if they are lost.

Time, however, is not one of them. Lost time will never be replaced and time, as we all know, is our most valuable commodity.

And because time is so precious I decided to turn off ESPN’s presentation of the Home Run Derby last night. I just didn’t have the time to waste in watching something so mindless – it couldn’t even be classified as junk food TV.

Actually, that’s the polite answer I give people (OK, person) who asked me if I caught the Home Run Derby last night. Truth be told, I had the tiniest of interest in knowing how Ryan Howard would perform – a scratch if you will. So when the telecast began and camera zoomed in on San Francisco’s ballpark (I honestly forget which corporation paid to put their tacky billboard on the buildings’ façade – besides, does it matter… don’t they all have the same name at this point?) I had my TV on and was set to devote some time to the event.

But then I heard Chris Berman’s voice.

Click!

Goodnight, folks.

No sense wasting any time on something so drawn out and annoying where the actual action is tucked neatly into the marathon of commercials… or Berman. I’d rather stand next to a giant speaker and listen to The Who circa 1969 and get tinnitus for the rest of my life than to hear Chris Berman speak a sentence. Hey, I’m sure he’s a lovely man with many redeemable qualities and goes out of his way to take care of the little people, etc., etc. But, well, you know what I’m getting at.

I’d rather deal with a case of toenail fungus than watch the Home Run Derby.

Needless to say I have no idea what happened in the Home Run Derby other than it probably lasted too long. Based on a brief scan of the reports from San Francisco’s ballpark it sounds as if I didn’t miss anything at all.

I will, sadly, tune into the All-Star Game tonight. I can’t say I’m too into it and must admit that All-Star Games in general have lost a lot of luster in the days since I was a kid. Back then I actually looked forward to those games. Now it’s just cool to have three to four days without a baseball game.

Jaded and tired? A little.

***
In an attempt to beat another day of the heat I missed a great broadcaster named Phil Liggett call the action for Stage 3 of the Tour de France. But since Versus plays them over and over in a loop I’m sure I can catch up at a moments’ notice.

I did catch the report regarding today’s outcome and my first reaction was, “Whoa! Look at Cancellara!”

That’s right, Fabian Cancellara took another stage today and looks like he will be in Yellow when the Tour hits the mountains.

Then it gets serious.

According to reports, Cancellara let it all hang out after the peloton reeled in an early breakaway during the flat, 146-mile stage. With 400 meters to go, the Swiss champ stood up, sprinted and shocked everyone by making it stick.

Meanwhile, it appears as if Cancellara and his CSC teammates are out to defend the Yellow Jersey for as long as they can. Look, Cancellara knows that as a sprint specialist he has very little chance at winning or even holding on to Yellow for more than a few more days, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to give up.

“We’re respect this jersey, and we will work to keep it,” he said.

But for now Cancellara has been the man at the Tour. Not only did he smash up the field in the prologue, but also he took a spill and injured his wrist in the Stage 2 wreck with a kilometer to go that highlighted the day’s action. Regardless, the reigning World Champion extended his overall lead by 20 seconds to 33 seconds.

Stage 3 Final
1.) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2.) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
3.) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre-Fondital, Italy
4.) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
5.) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
6.) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
7.) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
8.) Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile, Austria
9.) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain
10.) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany

Overall
1.) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, in 15:12:08
2.) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3.) David Millar Saunier Duval, at :41
4.) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :43
5.) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, same time
6.) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
7.) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, at :46
8.) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d’Epargne, Russia, same time
9.) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :49
10.) Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, Euskaltel – Euskadi, Spain, same time

Alexandre Vinokourov, the pre-race favorite, is lurking 50 seconds back in 11th place, while top American Levi Leipheimer is a minute behind in 32nd place.

***
The wire story regarding Ivan Basso’s continued drug testing made me laugh a little. A little background: Basso is currently serving a two-year ban for doping, despite never testing positive, and was forced to take a blood and urine test when testers showed up unannounced at his home last week.

What made it funny (not ha-ha) was a story told by Floyd Landis regarding the same type of deal. In fact, Landis claims that USADA sent a tester to his house when they heard the news that his father-in-law had committed suicide.

Yes, Landis says, they did it on purpose. It’s in his book on page 212.

For the record, USADA has not returned any phone calls or e-mails to present their side of any of the stories or to refute anything. Hey, it’s not like I’m hard to find.

***
Speaking of hard to find, I decided to do some rudimentary research to see if I could find what synthetic testosterone is and how an athlete could use it to aid his performance. Simply using steroids wouldn’t help a cyclist, I figured, because muscle mass creates weight and weight is the enemy of any endurance athlete. Besides, the tests apparently show that Floyd Landis used “synthetic testosterone” during his brilliant ride during Stage 17 of last year’s Tour, and using something like that (plus, all the doctors and scientists I have asked have responded with, “It doesn’t make sense…)

So what did I find? Try this report by Tom Fine of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard University. In it, Fine writes that there is, “no difference between synthetic testosterone and naturally produced testosterone.”

What?

Let me get straight to the point: it’s impossible to tell for sure that anyone has taken synthetic testosterone.

Unfortunately, the way Floyd Landis’ exogenous testosterone test has been portrayed in the media is as if it were a perfectly definitive test. Like pink for pregnant and white for not (not really a good example, since that isn’t so accurate). Such tests do exist: tests with a binary outcome, yes or no, and an extremely low false positive or false negative rate. This is simply not one of them.

There is no difference between synthetic testosterone and naturally produced testosterone – they’re one and the same chemical. Same atoms, in the same configuration, forming the exact same molecule, with identical chemical properties. At least at the atomic level. Once you mix natural and synthetic testosterone, you can’t separate them again, any more than you could separate Evian from Poland Springs bottled water after they’d been mixed. Actually that’s a bad example. It would be more akin to separating two kinds of distilled water from each other. Even that would be easier than testosterone, since one would presume that distilled water sources don’t change rapidly.

At any rate, natural and synthetic testosterone are usually different at the subatomic level. All the carbon in the world has six protons, and almost all the carbon in the world has six neutrons (called carbon-12). Some small portion of the carbon though, has seven neutrons (carbon-13), and an even smaller portion has eight (carbon-14).

Here’s the full link, and here’s another, which claims the test as administered by the French lab and developed by WADA is prone to “false positives.”

This information is all in the Landis wiki, but I easily stumbled upon it with no knowledge that it existed and simply by researching synthetic testosterone.

Again, the USADA has not returned phone calls or e-mails. Nor did they refute these facts during the arbitration hearing in May.

Anyway, back to the original search — synthetic testosterone commonly come in the following forms:

Testosterone Cypionate (Sold as Depo-Testosterone Cypionate)
The effect of Depo-Testosterone Cypionate is sustained longer in the body than anabolic steroids. A single injection of 200-400 mg is given once every 2-4 weeks, then a rest period of 4 weeks, followed by another injection once every 2-4 weeks.

Transdermal Testosterone (the “Patch”)
Testosterone patches allow a slow, steady release of the hormone into the body. The Testoderm patch is applied daily to a man’s shaved scrotum. The newer Androderm patch can be applied daily to the upper arms, back, thighs, or abdomen.
Miller and colleagues conducted a 12-week pilot study of an experimental low-dose testosterone patch for women. Fifty-three HIV-positive women who had lost about 10% of their normal body weight, and whose blood levels of testosterone were below the normal reference range took part in the study. They were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo patch, a patch releasing 150 micrograms of testosterone daily, or a patch releasing 300 micrograms of testosterone daily. Although the patches restored testosterone levels to normal, only the women who had used the 150 microgram patch gained weight. Unfortunately, all of the weight gained was fat, not muscle mass.

Nandrolone Decanoate (Sold as Deca-Durabolin, Hybolin Decanoate)
Deca-Durabolin is probably the most popular anabolic used in the treatment of HIV-related weight loss. It has a low rate of side effects and a high anabolic effect. The drug is given by injection into a muscle, at doses ranging from 50-200 mg, every 2-4 weeks for up to 12 weeks. After four weeks off drug, another cycle of treatment can be started. The androgenic side effects of Deca-Durabolin are much milder than those of testosterone.
At doses of up to 100 mg every 3-4 weeks for up to 12 weeks, women may be able to use this drug. If any changes in menstrual periods occur, the drug should be stopped until the cause of such changes is discovered.

Oxandrolone (Oxandrin)
This is an oral anabolic steroid available through the Special Access Programme (formerly EDRP) of the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada. The androgenic effects are very low and side effects are few. The dosage for men is generally 15-40 mg daily and for women 5-20 mg daily.

Phew! I’m growing hair in funny places just typing those sentences.