Marlon Byrd gets his supplements from Victor Conte

Rangers’ outfielder Marlon Byrd is either really brave, really stupid, really trusting or some combination of the three:

Marlon Byrd wouldn’t be pulling down $3 million as a Major League baseball player without getting a second chance from an obscure community college after he nearly had a leg amputated more than a decade ago. So shrugging off Victor Conte’s reputation as a notorious steroid pusher, he says, isn’t difficult for him.

Conte has provided the Texas Rangers center fielder with a variety of pills and powders for 18 months. Not once has Byrd asked Conte whether any of it could trigger a positive drug test.

“I didn’t need to,” Byrd said. “From our conversations, there was no need to ask.”

I can’t imagine that Victor Conte is so stupid that he would go back to peddling designer steroids to high-profile athletes after doing federal time for that very thing. But still, if you’re Marlon Byrd, is teaming up with Conte the smartest thing you’ve ever done? Byrd’s drug tests are probably the highlight of the year back at MLB central. The Feds probably own five houses near Conte’s just so they can be more comfortable during surveillance.

All of that said, the article contains all kinds of details about Byrd’s relationship with Conte and the stuff he’s taking, so it’s interesting reading. My only other shallow observation: I don’t understand the world of supplements at all, but upon reading this I can’t help but wonder how much of that business is about selling confidence and the placebo effect as opposed to these outrageously complicated-sounding compounds actually making a ton of difference from a physiological perspective.

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Comments

  1. The Rabbit said...

    After JC Romero’s suspension for “negligence”, not PED use, you gotta wonder what Byrd is thinking..assuming that he actually is.

  2. Bob Tufts said...

    There’s a master list of MLB approved supplements and Byrd appears to be putting his career at risk.

    However, since 25% of supplements sold over the counter have been shown to be tainted with illicit substances, Conte would actually be a better source for “pure” pills.

    The club should infrom Byrd that his use of non-approved supplements will not be tolerated.

  3. Jason said...

    He’s not taking anything that you can’t buy at your local supplement store: protein, creatine, arginine, zinc, magnesium, caffeine, green tea extract, glocosamine, chonodroitin, etc [they don’t sound so bad w/o the fancy names do they?].  These aren’t designer drugs, they’re supplements people: please read what the products contain prior to positing your inane ideas about how idiotic someone must be simply because they’re associated with someone who has a bad reputation. 
    When and if Marlon Byrd fails a drug test for using banned substances you can hop back onto your high horse, but until then please do a little research.

  4. Jack Marshall said...

    Oh, nonsense, Jason. It’s called the appearance of impropriety. It’s why players who hang out with gamblers, even if all they’re doing is exchanging recipes, will get a call from MLB. With so much drug suspicion focused on athletes generally and baseball players specifically, it is foolish and irresponsible for any player to encourage public suspicion by linking himself to a convicted steroid pusher, especially if all he’s acquiring is stuff that could be easily gotten elsewhere. Do you think it would be similarly harmless for Byrd to hire Greg Anderson as his trainer? I also suggest that he shouldn’t start a regular poker game including Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, as fun as it might be, even though there’s nothing wrong with poker.

    High horses have nothing to do with it.
    He’s an idiot.

  5. Andy H. said...

    “I didn’t need to,” Byrd said. “From our conversations, there was no need to ask.”

    Conte: Don’t ask what’s in these.
    Byrd:  OK!

    Seriously, Conte isn’t simply someone with a bad reputation.  Conte has a bad reputation specifically because he is a convicted and admitted steroid dealer. This is sort of like the issue discussed re: Manny Ramirez.  It’s one thing to overlook someone’s moral failings in general, but I think it is another when their moral failing is precisely related to your dealings with them.

  6. Jason said...

    I’m sure MLB has contacted him, and has been performing regular drug tests on him.  As long as he passes his tests he’s allowed to converse with/trust whomever he pleases. 
    “especially if all he’s acquiring is stuff that could be easily gotten elsewhere.”  Byrd specifically mentioned that he didn’t like the other brands of supplements, so it’s not a issue of using another brand; it’s an issue of preferring the quality from SNAC.  I’d be willing to bet that SNAC is heavily tested for supplemental quality; as is ErgoPharm (Patric Arnold’s company), so using their products is probably safer than using MuscleTech or BSN for example. 
    It’s obviously not the brightest idea to unequivocally trust Conte with your career right now, but we don’t know the breadth of their conversation to make a definitive judgement on Byrd’s mental state.

  7. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Not sure if they’re in the same union, but it appears they answered the same ad on the back of the matchbook cover.

  8. Michael said...

    Ah, the simple, blanket “what an idiot.”

    With an argument that awesome, who are any of us to argue?

  9. Aaron Moreno said...

    Maybe Byrd figures that, since everyone is watching Conte, and thus watching Byrd, Victor doesn’t have a big incentive to screw him.

  10. Alireza said...

    One thing most people don’t realize is that Conte developed one of the most successful and potent natural supplements ever in ZMA (Zinc Magnesium-Aspartate).  The guy knew his natural stuff before he ever started with the “designer” steroids like THG. 

    I agree with Aaron Moreno’s point that Byrd probably figures Conte isn’t going to be giving him illegal stuff because he is closely watched.  It is probably the truth too, because Conte’s knowledge of advanced nutrition and legal, healthy supplementation is second to none.

    As for the comparison to J.C. Romero, I think that is ridiculous.  Romero took a legally available product that was advertised as containing perfectly legal ingredients and was labeled according to FDA regulations.  He got screwed over because the manufacturer was unscrupulous.

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