(as seen in the Glavine family icebox)

Though nobody’s ever poured a tub of the stuff over Bill Parcells (that we know of) the New York Times’ Allen Salkin considers a Gatorade alternative.

When Tom Glavine, a star pitcher for the New York Mets, earned his milestone 300th victory on a hot and humid night last month, he had a secret weapon.

It was not illegal. It was so safe a baby could use it. In fact, many babies do.

Between innings, Mr. Glavine sipped Pedialyte, a liquid sold alongside diapers in drugstores that is meant to quickly rehydrate toddlers experiencing diarrhea. The neon-tinted fluid that comes in grape and other child-friendly flavors contains electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and glucose, which happen to be the basic ingredients in most sports drinks.

Without an iota of marketing effort from Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Pedialyte, the over-the-counter remedy with a teddy bear on its label has developed a small and devoted following among professional and amateur athletes, a trend that long-distance runners seem to have started sometime in the 1980s.

œIt™d be different if they were drinking formula, Brad Childress, the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings told The St. Paul Pioneer Press before last season about his players™ pre-workout predilection for the baby elixir. œBut Pedialyte is used in hospitals throughout the United States for hydration. It™s different than just your regular sports drink.

While Abbott does not market Pedialyte as a sports drink or track its sales to athletes, the company is aware of its off-label use in locker rooms. Dr. Keith Wheeler, a divisional vice president for research and development at the company, says he has done enough research to know Pedialyte will work on the field.

œIf you take a 300-pound N.F.L. lineman and put him in 95 degrees with 75 percent humidity, Dr. Wheeler said, œhe will dump a volume of electrolytes from his body through sweat that will be equivalent to a child with diarrhea.

Abbott has no plans to make Pedialyte Endurance or to pitch their product to athletes, no matter how many testimonials athletes give.

Even if Abbott did change its strategy, Pedialyte would likely be a tough sell to consumers concerned not only with performance, but with taste, which is not, wrestling coach Gary Bannat admitted, one of Pedialyte™s strong suits.

œIt tastes, he said, œlike chalk dust.