When Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Eric Thames homered for the fifth consecutive game on April 17, in the middle of his blazing hot start, it was pretty funny when he went back to the clubhouse and found someone from MLB’s drug testing program waiting for him. He told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that “it comes with the territory.”
Over the next eight games, Thames hit .321 and hit another four home runs, bringing his season total to 11 and his overall triple slash to .371/.482/.929. And — surprise, surprise! — he was tested again on April 25 and gave this stunningly marvelous interview.
Eric Thames was drug tested again tonight. "If people keep thinking I'm on stuff, I'll be here every day. I have a lot of blood and urine." pic.twitter.com/De1smFWVj7
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 26, 2017
Just a few days later, MLB decided to test out Thames’ claim that he has tons of blood and urine by testing him yet again, for the third time in 10 days.
Then Thames’ homer bashing went dormant for a while. He didn’t hit one for three weeks. Until Wednesday night. It was a monster two-run blast off New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom. And you’ll never guess what happened after the game.
So, Eric Thames hits first HR in three weeks and is randomly drug tested after the game. He thinks it’s funny but doesn’t think it’s random.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) June 1, 2017
Yup, he was drug tested again. At least Thames is continuing to find it amusing. It would be so easy, especially after going through a three-week homer slump, for him to be annoyed by it. But it pays to be good natured when you’re required to pee in a cup anytime MLB wants you to.
Thames’ opinion on the randomness (or non-randomness) of the testing is understandable. From his point of view, it certainly doesn’t look random. But even though Thames has been drug tested a lot this season, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not random. From the outside it’s really hard to tell, least of all because Thames’ tests are the only ones being publicized. MLB players are probably tested every day, we just don’t hear about it.
Though it would be interesting to find out how often a player like Aaron Judge is being randomly tested. Thames’ situation is different than Judge’s — Judge is younger, for starters, and Thames is back in MLB this season after rebuilding in his career in Korea, so some people might be skeptical of his comeback. Still, nobody expected Judge to smack so many homers to high heaven this quickly, either. Learning more about how often someone like Judge is tested would shed some light on how random drug testing really is.
At least Thames’ latest drug-tested homer was worth being tested over. ESPN measured it at 436 feet, which is the longest of Thames’ career.
More MLB coverage of Yahoo Sports:
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