We’ve gone from BALCO to Biogenesis. Good job, baseball.
Who should we believe in this latest performance enhancing drugs (PED) fiasco? Certainly not Ryan Braun or Alex Rodriguez, whose repeated denials and truth-stretching are pushing them into Lance Armstrong territory.
And certainly not Anthony Bosch, even though Major League Baseball seems to think he’s a pretty credible witness. Sorry, MLB. This is deal-with-the-devil territory.
Bosch is the founder of the now-defunct clinic in a Florida strip mall purported to be at the center of the sport’s latest scandal. He specializes in nutrition and anti-aging. And he was the subject of an MLB lawsuit in March.
Now, however, Bosch seems to indicate he’s got the goods on plenty of players. For one thing, he still has to produce them. And it’s not like he’s at the top of the credibility hill either. Why all of a sudden did Bosch, pun intended, come clean? Because he went to Rodriguez for money to help battle the lawsuit filed against him in March by MLB and A-Rod balked. The New York Daily News said the sum was hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At that point, Bosch reportedly bolted to Bud Selig’s side. Nice guy. And this is who baseball is partnering with to nail steroid cheats?
Fans are fatigued by PED talk and it’s easy to see why. Braun, remember, got out of a suspension last year by saying his testing procedures were flawed. Wonder what the alibi is going to be this time. A-Rod actually hired a PR firm to issue denials over the January report in the Miami New Times that he was a Biogenesis client.
A-Rod, remember, has long maintained his steroid use is contained within the period of 2001-03, when he was in Texas. Now in hindsight, 2007 in New York (.314-54-156) looks just a wee bit suspect. This current run of hip problems? Awfully suspicious.
The one thing you do like is the clear climate change in baseball. A few years ago, when it seemed like there were dirty players all over, there was plenty of cover from the union and fellow players to protect the cheats. Now it seems like they’re not getting anywhere near that kind of help from their mates.
Who in their right mind would ever back up A-Rod, or Braun or a repeated liar like Melky Cabrera? At this point, no one.
For his part, this is a legacy item for Selig. If Bosch is his ticket to expose steroid cheats, the Commish is going to punch it before he steps down. That’s likely to happen by 2015. Selig & Co. didn’t do anything about PEDs in the late ’90s but things have taken a different twist the last few years.
The game is certainly cleaner now and the offensive explosions have gone away. But just imagine if baseball could really get the goods, especially on A-Rod. There could be a huge list of names (the ones that have already leaked out include ex-Bisons Bartolo Colon, Jhonny Peralta and Fernando Martinez).
Just imagine if the Yankees could get out of the albatross that is A-Rod’s contract. Even if they just get out of the next 100 games and save $15 million, that would be a bonus for them.
The other angle that will prove very interesting here is the fervor with which the Players’ Association will protect its members. The union is in full support of the testing program and plenty of members are sick of A-Rod and Braun. They could turn into sacrificial lambs because they’re virtually indefensible.
It’s going to be a long process. If and when suspensions are announced, whether for 50 or 100 games, there are going to be appeals and likely lawsuits trying to overturn them. They will be desperation measures for the likes of A-Rod and Braun. They will be fights worth the price in Selig’s mind.