Dirk Hayhurst on Positive Banned Substance Results

Posted on August 29, 2012 | in Baseball, Lean Tools, Sports, Standardized Work, Training | by

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Full disclosure: I am a big Dirk Hayhurst fan.

Dirk is a former Major League pitcher (who is presumably trying to get back to the bigs), but is probably better known as an author chronicling his time in the minor leagues. His newest book is called Out of My League which followed his first book The Bullpen Gospels. He also has a fairly popular blog where he takes on newsworthy topics affecting professional baseball players.

My fandom exists because of his writing and his frequent interactions with fans on Twitter. He doesn’t hold anything back and is brutally honest (well, except for attempting to maintain the anonymity of the players he describes in his books by using code names). His openness is probably an impediment to his attempt to re-climb the ladder to the majors (anybody read Ball Four by Jim Bouton?), but it’s also provided an insider’s view of the very closed-off world of sports to those on the outside. It’s hard not to feel a connection to him.

So when he writes I listen. And today he was very damning of Marcus Stroman, the #22 overall draft pick this year by the Toronto Blue Jays because he was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s banned substances policy.

What intrigues me about Dirk’s stance is that his ire is not with the policy or the substance, but the player’s failure to take advantage of processes and procedures MLB puts in place to protect its players and maintain an “even playing field” as it pertains to player nutrition and health.

There are measures to protect (the players) and the organization for this EXACT situation. If you don’t know, you go to the trainers and you get the substance checked out. A player can’t trust a substance bought over the counter because Baseball’s testing scrutiny is more severe than the FDA’s.

This is the equivalent of having a standardized work document in place that explains the process and safety precautions, yet a worker elects to disregard the established process to cut a corner and ends up getting seriously hurt.

Standardized work processes have multiple benefits. It is a collection of the “best practice” for completing the process (for productivity and quality), it establishes the best practice for safe operation, and it helps protect the end customer, the company, and the process user. Failure to follow a standardized process is risky for those entities, but it also shows disrespect to those entities and what they feel is important.

Same with Mr. Stroman. This information is continually communicated to players via team meetings and coaches/managers. He failed to follow a policy and set of tools put in place to protect him and the organization, and now both he and the organization got hurt.

Ignorance is not a viable excuse. There is no reason for a player to be in the dark of what they’re ingesting. Marcus, you had the time, the money and the forewarning to get something you ingested tested. You should have.

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