Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In his latest piece for The Athletic, former baseball big leaguer Lars Anderson talked about his experience using Adderall as a performance-enhancing drug (PED) while playing in Japan and how much it improved his on-field performance.

The big picture: Amphetamines were once super common in baseball. "Greenies" (real medical name Dexedrine), which were rumored to have been brought back by players who served in WWII, were passed around casually for decades.

  • It wasn't until 2006 that MLB began testing for amphetamines, which meant the days of pre-game coffees spiked with greenies were over.
  • Players responded by "going legit" with Adderall prescriptions, and by 2013, 9.9% of them had one.

What Anderson is saying:

  • "I had boundless amounts of easily-controlled energy," writes Anderson (subscription). "But the most striking difference was my inner state: All I wanted to do — all I cared about in the moment — was baseball."
  • "I was utterly in the moment. And what a relief it was. There was a clear mission: Win this next pitch. And then the next one. And the next one. There was no tomorrow, only the everlasting now."

Why it matters: The process for MLB players to acquire Adderall prescriptions is thorough, but since it's so easy to get pills (from, say, a friend) and relatively easy hard to test for (stays in urine for four days and blood for just 46 hours), its use could be more rampant than anyone realizes.

  • At the same time, there are athletes — like those in the general population — who have ADHD and genuinely need Adderall to function, especially in a sport like baseball, which requires such intense focus.
  • So, while many believe Adderall is a PED and that taking it is cheating, there are enough players using it as a legitimate form of medication that the conversation surrounding the drug remains more nuanced than, say, steroids.

The final word: "We all agree that athletes with poor eyesight should be allowed to wear glasses or contacts; we also generally agree that competitors should not be allowed to inject anabolic steroids that turn them into the Hulk," writes Anderson.

  • "But the fact remains that there is a world that exists between those two poles that is far more nuanced and not easily navigable, and we — even those of us who tried it — are still working out where Adderall fits."

Go deeper: World Anti-Doping Agency recommends Olympic ban for Russia

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19.
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.