Skip to content

The Feds won’t give info to Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis investigation. Good.

Jan 31, 2013, 7:36 AM EDT

Novitzky

Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times writes this morning about the relationship between the Drug Enforcement Agency and Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis clinic investigation. They are not working hand-in-hand:

While the league’s investigators are attempting to learn as much as they can about the report, they are hamstrung by players’ longstanding refusals to speak to them and by the federal government’s reluctance to provide baseball with information it has uncovered in its own investigations.

The lack of player cooperation Schmidt refers to is the refusal of players to talk about other players’ drug use which he contrasts with the cooperation cyclists have given the Unites States Anti-Doping Agency. Ratting out each other in exchange for reduced suspensions and the like. Which should be pretty understandable at this point given that Joint Drug Agreement entered into between the league and the union provides no basis for leniency in punishment. It’s, by design, a zero-tolerance program. If you start letting guys off for ratting out other guys, you don’t have a zero-tolerance program.

Indeed, what you have is a breeding ground for mistrust and a strong incentive for those players for whom a 50-game suspension is extremely financially harmful to throw their teammates under the bus based on either real or fabricated information.  The players obviously wouldn’t want that. But the owners — and their employee, Bud Selig — wouldn’t want that either in all likelihood because in addition to violating baseball’s longstanding rule of “what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse,” such a setup could serve to destabilize teams and create problems for managers, GMs and owners.

As for the lack of government cooperation with Major League Baseball: well, good.  Major League Baseball is a private business, not an arm of the government and I have never been comfortable with the idea of the government doing special favors for private business, especially in a law enforcement context. If they want to do their own investigation, let them (and they are).

As Buster Olney noted on Twitter this morning, the fact that federal investigators gave drug dealers like Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee leniency for cooperating with the Mitchell Report investigators was ridiculous.  George Mitchell did not represent the government. His interviewers worked for DLA Piper. We think of baseball as some greater institution, but that setup was no different than a cop compelling someone to talk to McDonalds or Microsoft or Wal-Mart. If law enforcement is to give leniency to criminals in exchange for cooperation, that cooperation should be to the benefit of the public good, not to the benefit of the corporate good.

This all goes back to what I was talking about on Tuesday: what are the priorities here? Is the priority to get headlines with famous names being hung out to dry or is the priority to break up what may very well be an illegal drug distribution network? Back in 2007 the feds, led by the overzealous-in-the-extreme Jeff Novitzky, decided that it was more important to prosecute famous people to get their names in the paper. That didn’t really work out too well, so it’s understandable now that the feds might not have all that great an interest in putting the squeeze to A-Rod — which is what would be the purpose of cooperation with MLB — and a much greater interest in taking down a drug operation. That would be benefited by NOT talking to folks outside of law enforcement.  Folks who, you know, like to do things like leak information to the New York Daily News I-Team.

So good for the feds for treating this like any other law enforcement operation. The folks who are mad that government power isn’t being used to either make headlines or make a billion dollar corproation’s p.r. operation smoother probably need to ask why those things are important to them in the first place.

Latest Posts
  1. The Dodgers acquired Chris Heisey from Toronto last night

    Sep 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Wait — he wasn’t with the Dodgers already?

  2. John Kruk is a fan of Jessica Mendoza

    Sep 1, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT

    Jessica Mendoza Getty Images

    “It wouldn’t surprise me if Jessica’s a regular on Sunday, Monday or Wednesday night baseball, whenever the time comes,” Kruk said.

  3. Wanna buy Babe Ruth’s apartment?

    Sep 1, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Ruth Called Shot Baseball

    It’s pretty nice. But it also cost $1.6M.

  4. Shoeless Joe Jackson is not being reinstated

    Sep 1, 2015, 8:44 AM EDT

    Joe Jackson

    Put differently: It ain’t so.

  5. And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

    Sep 1, 2015, 7:25 AM EDT

    Matt Williams Getty Images

    Matt Williams wears sunglasses like this so you cannot tell that he is asleep.

  6. Dodgers get Justin Ruggiano from Mariners

    Sep 1, 2015, 12:51 AM EDT

    Seattle Mariners' Justin Ruggiano watches his two-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) AP

    Ruggiano will provide some depth with Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez on the disabled list.

  7. Report: Giants to acquire Alejandro De Aza from Red Sox

    Sep 1, 2015, 12:37 AM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - June 24:  Alejandro De Aza #31 of the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Giants made a last-minute deal before the waiver trade deadline expired, picking up outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Red Sox.

  8. Shelby Miller’s winless streak extended to 19 starts

    Aug 31, 2015, 11:35 PM EDT

    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller reacts after Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI-single in the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Atlanta. Colorado won 6-3. (AP Photo/Jon Barash) AP

    Miller could use a little bit of luck these days.

  9. Cubs designate Mike Olt for assignment

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:12 PM EDT

    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05:  Mike Olt #20 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the St. Louis Cardinals during the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 3-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Olt was designated for assignment after the Cubs acquired Austin Jackson from the Mariners.

  10. Dodgers place Enrique Hernandez on disabled list with hamstring injury

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Kike Hernandez can't get to a ball hit for a single by Cincinnati Reds' Brayan Pena during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) AP

    Enrique Hernandez has begun to take away playing time from the struggling Joc Pederson in recent days, but now the Dodgers will have to make due without him for a while.

  11. Royals pick up Jonny Gomes from Braves

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:43 PM EDT

    Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was pitching in relief, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Chris Young rounds the bases after a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    Gomes, 34, is batting .221/.325/.364 with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 83 games this season.

  12. The Yankees intend to bring CC Sabathia back as a starting pitcher

    Aug 31, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during their game at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

    CC Sabathia was shut down earlier this month due to an arthritic condition in his right knee.

  13. Video: Kevin Kiermaier takes to the sky to rob Manny Machado of a home run

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:53 PM EDT

    kiermaier 1

    Kiermaier makes a leaping catch to rob Manny Machado of a home run.

  14. Cardinals skipping Carlos Martinez’s next start due to back issue

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 22:  Carlos Martinez #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park August 22, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Marco Gonzales is expected to start in his place Tuesday.

  15. Report: Giants talking to Red Sox about trade for Alejandro De Aza

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 15:  Alejandro De Aza #31 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases on a home run in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park on August 15, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

    De Aza is batting .292 with 18 extra-base hits (including four home runs), 25 RBI, and an .831 OPS in 60 games since joining the Red Sox in June.

  16. Cubs acquire Austin Jackson from Mariners

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    Seattle Mariners' Austin Jackson celebrates after scoring the go-ahead run on a single by Mike Zunino during the 12th inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The Mariners won 10-8. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) AP

    Jackson, an impending free agent, is batting .272/.312/.387 with eight home runs, 38 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 107 games this season.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. B. Crawford (2802)
  2. C. Correa (2561)
  3. Y. Puig (2503)
  4. G. Stanton (2458)
  5. G. Springer (2387)
  1. H. Pence (2308)
  2. J. Hamilton (2180)
  3. M. Teixeira (1977)
  4. H. Ramirez (1948)
  5. J. Fernandez (1920)