Marlon Byrd of the Texas Rangers (currently tied for first in the AL West with the Angels) is working with the former head of BALCO, Victor Conte on a nutritional supplement program through Conte’s new company, Conte’s San Carlos, Calif., business now goes by the acronym SNAC, standing for Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning. Conte, who has been at the center of the steroid controversy in the past for providing PEDs to Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Bill Romanowski, Dwain Chambers, Kelli White, and others, did not reach out to Byrd, but rather the other way around. As reported by Steve Hanson of Yahoo! Sports:
“I’d been doing the GNC-can search, putting this product with that, seeking and searching,” Byrd said. “I tried everything over the counter. I needed an expert.”
Soon tubs of “Proglycosyn: The Ultimate Post-Workout Recovery Formula,” tubes of “Physiobalm: Muscle and Joint Rejuvenator,” and bottles of “Aerobitine: The Ultimate Anti-Fatigue/Fat Loss Formula,” “Vitalyze: The Mental and Physical Performance Enhancer” and “ZMA: Rapid Anabolic Sleep Enhancer” began arriving at Byrd’s New Jersey home. Later he had the products sent to the Rangers’ spring training site in Surprise, Ariz., and to the Rangers’ clubhouse in Arlington, Texas.
“Marlon was working with a doctor, doing blood testing, a fairly sophisticated regimen,” Conte said. “He faxed me the blood results and nutritional program. I told him, ‘You are taking a bite of this and a bite of that. I’ll teach you how to sit down and have a feast.’ ”
To date, Byrd has not tested positive for performance-enhancing substances, even if Conte’s SNAC company is not on the approved list that the MLBPA has provided.
Even though Conte has been found to be as clean as Byrd’s recent drug tests, the Rangers organization has frowned on Byrd’s association with Conte. As further reported:
Two years ago, the Rangers instructed pitcher Scott Feldman(notes) to dispose of Proglycosyn he’d obtained from SNAC after a reporter saw it in his locker. “Our doctors say there may not be anything wrong with [Conte’s products], but there’s no sense having yourself associated with the name at this point,” general manager Jon Daniels said at the time.
Feldman quickly distanced himself from Conte, too, claiming he never used the product. However, SNAC sales receipts produced by Conte a few days ago indicate the pitcher purchased a total of 16 tubs of Proglycosyn in January, February and April of 2007, far more than one person could use.
As noted in Hanson’s article, Conte is hardly the epicenter of the recent PED controversy. The likes of Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez have no ties to Conte. Still, BALCO scandal, due to its association to Barry Bonds through the book Game of Shadows will be something the Conte will most likely have to deal with so long as he is involved in providing nutritional supplements to athletes.
NOTE: Look for an interview with Victor Conte shortly on The Biz of Baseball
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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