Steroids and Corruption in Dominican Republic Baseball Factories

  • Tweet

The Dominican Republic is an incredible baseball powerhouse with a solid talent base from which Major League Baseball (MLB) has been eager to tap. Almost a quarter of MLB players are from Latin America and the overwhelming majority of those hail from the Dominican Republic. This type of demand makes the Dominican baseball community particularly susceptible to exploitation by scouts, trainers and buscones who seek to profit by developing baseball talent. Steroid abuse, age falsification and bonus kickbacks have long been problems in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican police recently arrested Victor Baez, an influential Dominican scout, on charges of fraud for age falsification last week. Baez has denied the charges telling the New York Daily News that none of his 53 players who signed professional contacts have used fraudulent identity documents nor have they used anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

An MLB spokesperson has stated that at least one Dominican player has stated otherwise by claiming Baez supplied him with a passport containing a different name and different birthday. Dominican authorities claim to have evidence supporting their charges.

Last year Victor Baez admitted that four of his players had tested positive for stanozolol commonly known by the trade name of Winstrol. However, Baez alleges that the positive steroid test resulted from the use of a contaminated protein powder purchased at GNC (General Nutrition Center).

Baseball America reports that the MLB has been scrutinizing Dominican players in recent years. Forty of the top baseball prospects from the 2010 Dominican class were tested for performance enhancing drugs.  Twenty players allegedly failed the anti-doping protocol.

The 50 game mandatory suspension for a failed drug test only applies to players with ‘signed contracts.’ The Dominican athletes who fail steroid tests under the registration program are not suspended and have the opportunity to re-test after they are officially signed.

It remains to be seen whether the MLB and Dominican authorities are serious about cracking down on age falsification and steroid use in the Dominican Republic. In the absence of more serious penalties, the situation is unlikely to change.

Baseball in the Dominican Republic

About Millard Baker