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Victor Conte: 50 percent of MLB players are using PEDs

Victor-ConteBALCO founder Victor Conte sat down for an interview with Jim Rome on on Wednesday and discussed his relationship with New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. During the segment, Conte confirmed a report from last week that claimed A-Rod contacted him with the help of Bill Romanowski in search of legal products that could help give him an edge.

“In the month previous to his visit I was contacted by Bill Romanowski a couple times and he expressed that Alex would like to meet with me for consultation regarding nutritional supplementation,” Conte told Rome. “They wanted to make sure that nobody was in the building and the coast was clear and so on. It was a little bit bizarre that they didn’t just mosey on in.”

If Rodriguez was indeed searching for legal supplements, it’s strange that he wanted to be that secretive. Then again, BALCO doesn’t exactly have the best reputation with Major League Baseball.

“I told him straight up I said, ‘What is this about?’” Conte said. “He said, ‘Performance enhancement — legal performance enhancement.’ So I was very clear that I have no interest in anything from the dark side.”

When Conte was asked about MLB’s drug program, he described it as “inept.” In fact, he estimated that half of the players in the league use performance-enhancing substances at some point during the calendar year.

“If I define (players using performance-enhancing drugs) as the entire calendar year, including the offseason, I believe it’s about 50%. Listen, performance-enhancing drugs work. I know that.”

That is a much different opinion from that of former Detroit Tiger Robert Fick, who recently admitted to using steroids but said he believes baseball is almost 90% clean. However, Conte may have more first-hand knowledge than someone like Fick. If nothing else, A-Rod’s alleged visit with Conte adds another element of shadiness to his story.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Report: Alex Rodriguez secretively got products from Victor Conte

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez consulted BALCO founder Victor Conte and secretively purchased legal products from the chemist last year, according to a report.

The New York Daily News says Rodriguez, with the assistance of former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski, sought out Conte last season and asked for legal products that could help give him an edge.

Conte, who spent time in prison in 2005 for distributing steroids and money laundering, has changed his career path and now says he provides athletes with legal products aimed to give them an edge in competition. He met with MLB last week to discuss his involvement with A-Rod, and he talked with the Daily News about his experience with the New York Yankees third baseman.

Conte says Romanowski, who admitted to using steroids and growth hormone provided by Conte’s BALCO company, tried to put the chemist in touch with A-Rod for a few months last year. Conte did not meet A-Rod until the Yankees player showed up uninvited at his Scientific Nutrition for Advance Conditioning (SNAC) office in San Carlos, Calif., while the Yankees were in town to play the Oakland A’s in May 2012.

A-Rod wanted the meeting to be secretive, so Romanowski checked out the office first to make sure nobody was around to see them.

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Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games for PED use; Victor Conte denies involvement

Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by MLB on Monday for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which reportedly is used by steroid users to kick-start testosterone production after a cycle. The product, which is commonly used to treat breast cancer patients, reportedly reduces side effects of steroid use.

Byrd, who is a free agent after being released by the Red Sox earlier this month, claims he wasn’t taking the substance to gain an advantage.

“Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons.”

Byrd’s positive test is notable for several reasons. The outfielder became an All-Star in 2010 with the Cubs and credited his work with Victor Conte for his success. Conte is the man who ran BALCO lab which infamously served PED users like Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

Conte continues to work with athletes but says he does so cleanly. He denied involvement with Byrd’s positive test.

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Victor Conte not buying Ryan Braun’s story

Whether or not you believe Ryan Braun’s bold declaration of innocence Friday is up to you. But if you’re one of the nearly 4,000 followers of BALCO founder Victor Conte on Twitter, you’ll know he isn’t buying it. Since an arbitrator on Thursday overturned the reigning NL MVP’s 50-game suspension, Conte hasn’t stopped tweeting his doubt over Braun’s innocence.

Here are a few highlights:

“My opinion. Braun used testosterone. Urine & result are valid. Source claim ‘insanely high.’ Untrue. Only 20 to1 T/E ratio. Others 80 to 1″

“Dopey users and dopey testers. Two failed IQ tests”

“My Opinion. Braun’s people are blowing smoke. Both A & B sample positive w/ CIR (carbon isotope ratio) confirmation. MLB ‘flawed’ technical policy will change soon”

“My opinion. Floyd Landis case like Braun case. A & B samples w/ elevated T/E ratio. CIR confirms “synthetic” testosterone. Lots of smoke”

“The WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) Director said the integrity of Braun’s urine sample had NOT been compromised and WADA would have found him positive. An MLB bad.”

“My opinion. Braun’s positive drug test for testosterone was not overturned. Simply a procedure error was made by MLB. Braun tested positive”

Conte was sentenced to four months in prison for his role with BALCO, so it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s trying to be the moral police, as he is here. Especially so with that last tweet, which, as Eye on Baseball points out, isn’t even an opinion; it’s fact.

Truth is, we might not ever know for certain whether Braun actually cheated, given his appeal was focused on the testing process rather than the actual result. Conte’s tweets are another reminder that Braun winning the arbitration hearing does not mean he never used performance-enhancing drugs. The question is: Do you believe Braun used and just happened to get off, and do you value the analysis of an ex-con like Conte?