Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, whose return from injury has been so eagerly anticipated by fans, media, teammates, and fantasy baseball players, is back in New York, not in Florida, being tested for his overactive thyroid. (In other, lesser but grosser Mets injury news, Francisco Rodriguez has pinkeye.) This condition, from most accounts, is caused by a viral infection or is a simple natural imbalance that will normalize itself soon. You know what doesn’t cause it? Human growth hormone. Not that it’s stopping anyone from just blatantly throwing it out there anyway.
Sure, there has been a “connection” between HGH — which Reyes has denied ever taking, and Dr. Galea, the man causing all the silly headaches for various Mets right now, has denied ever giving to anyone — and thyroid levels, but there is a connection between HGH and everything: It’s a growth hormone, after all. (The only part of humanity that HGH has zero “connection” with is death.) In the linked piece above, Mike Lupica quotes Dr. Lewis Maharam, a man who “has made sense about performance-enhancing drugs for years,” as saying, “there is a possibility that human growth hormone could cause a spike of thyroid hormone levels.” Yes. There is a “possibility.” There is also a small possibility that you once wore orthotics (even though you deny it), and a small possibility that once wearing those orthotics caused you to be a hit by a bus a few months later. There’s absolutely no reason to make that “connection” whatsoever, other than the accuser wanting to raise everyone’s eyebrows without a scintilla of proof of a single factor in the equation, but, you know, there’s always a “possibility.”
Reyes’s thyroid levels are being tested today, and we’ll find out what it takes to fix him. But it’s a completely curable ailment, and as skeptical as you might be about when he’s coming back (after last year, it’s difficult to blame you), he is coming back. If Reyes misses time this year, it won’t be because of his thyroid condition. The Mets expect him back this week. Now, the Mets always expect Reyes back — skepticism is understood — but let’s try to stick to what we might have a chance of knowing here. We have no idea if HGH is causing thyroid problems. We have no idea exactly what kind of thyroid problem Reyes has. We have no idea if Reyes has ever taken HGH. Yet everyone’s still throwing them all together, assuming all three, because … well, because everyone is “skeptical.”
In the magazine this week, we wrote about Carlos Beltran’s situation, and how many hoops we make athletes jump through to make it on the field, and how much we chastise them if they don’t do it in exactly the way we want. Reyes is next. PEDs are the new witch hunt. Toss Reyes down the well; let’s see if he floats.