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A mass Biogenesis suspension would be a massive fail

Jun 4, 2013, 8:47 PM EDT

Bud Selig AP

MLB will let Tony Bosch off the hook, if he just gives them A-Rod and Braun.

That’s the crux of Tuesday’s Outside the Lines article. Tony Bosch, the fake doctor who ran the Biogenesis Clinic exposed by the Miami New Times earlier this year, merely has to tell MLB everything that went on at his defunct business. In return, the league will drop its lawsuit against him; “indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation; provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that may bring charges against him.”

So, forgive the dealer, punish the users.

I’m good with suspending steroid users, but I’m not comfortable with that kind of arrangement. I’m also not comfortable with punishing players who never failed steroid tests, and I’m simply not interested in seeing a couple of dozen major leaguers benched for a big chunk of the season so that Bud Selig can prove his point. It’s not cleaning up the game. It’s a power play, and the real losers in all of it are the fans rooting for the teams affected by the suspensions.

What’s more, the OTL report indicates that the league will aim for 100-game bans, rather than the 50-game standard:

One source familiar with the case said the commissioner’s office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is that the players’ connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another.

Good luck getting that to stand up. Like it or not, the CBA says its a 50-game suspension for a first offense. The idea that lying about their PED usage constitutes a second offense is laughable.

MORE: A-Rod, Braun among those MLB will reportedly suspend for Biogenesis link

This whole thing stinks like something long dead. I don’t like steroids, but I don’t want to see the season ruined because a cluster of users were outed for something they did the year before. It’s not like these 20-25 players that MLB might try to suspend are the extent of cheaters around the game. There are at least dozens and maybe hundreds more with secrets best buried who were merely lucky enough to be dealing with people smarter than Bosch. Almost all of the players associated with Bosch have strong Miami connections; this is just one subset of the players who have tried to game the system by getting ahead. Even if they deserve their punishments, the fans don’t.

In trying to suspend several stars, none with positive tests, MLB has a lot to lose and very little to gain here. Bud Selig believes Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun have embarrassed the game with their previous evasions and may think this grand gesture will add to his legacy. In so doing, he’s getting into bed with a sleazy criminal possessing pretty much zero credibility. Besides the lawyers looking at a grand payday, I can’t imagine anyone coming out a winner in this.

176 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Jack Marshall - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Ridiculous post. Who says the fans want the game played by cheaters, liars and felons? I don’t. The fans aren’t hurt one bit by getting these players out of the game and the season. The argument that all the cheaters haven’t been caught so the known cheaters shouldn’t be punished is so bereft of ethical knowledge that it’s hard to address it seriously. Cheating isn’t handled using that philosophy in academia, or when an employee is revealed to have faked credentials. We don’t refuse to prosecute tax cheats because lots of people get away with it; spouses don’t forgive adulterers because lots of cheating spouses don’t get caught. Unsolved murders aren’t an argument for letting proven killers go free.

    It’s an ignorant and a corrupt argument for letting cheaters benefit, and clean players suffer. Despicable.

    • Old Gator - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      And it’s not “despicable” to hang people with only the testimony of a corrupt fool who stands to save his own neck by throwing his clients under the bus? This goes to court, the judge laughs it out of the courtroom on so many levels it’s not even funny. The only “despicable” characters here are the members of the lynch mob, like you.

      • revskip - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:59 AM

        The members of the lynch mob? I usually like your posts Gator but this is a little over the top.

        First off, this is not a court of law handing out a capital sentence, it is a sporting league handling players who broke rules. If that league finds out that the players are doing the very thing that the league has been trying to weed out recently then why should they not swing the hammer? Because the guy who is giving the evidence is distasteful?

        These players cheated, let them serve out their suspensions like any other employee who was caught by his boss in a non-fireable offense and move on. No one is suggesting that the players should be jailed, hung in the streets or executed by firing squad. Just that they should have to take a mandatory break from their career to atone for a mistake they clearly made.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 5, 2013 at 5:27 AM

        I think you’re both right to an extent here, and the gulf is caused by the fact that we don’t know enough yet. Patience is required here – let’s see what other evidence is produced besides the word of a cheese-eater. No point shouting before we have all (or any) of the facts.

      • tophermike - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:16 AM

        I think Gator must have Braun on his fantasy team

      • Barb Caffrey - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Agree 100%, Old Gator. This is ridiculous, even for MLB. They need to stop the vendetta and realize that this harms fans, will harm gate receipts, will hurt the game big-time, and also hurts their credibility.

        I am tired of Bud Selig and his cronies throwing the fans under the bus, which is exactly what they’re doing if they insist on suspending a bunch of players who haven’t been proven to have done anything wrong _except_ by the words of a known liar and a bunch of little slips of paper.

        Also — and I don’t know how many people have thought of this — at least three of the guys on this list (Cabrera, Colon and Grandal) have already served 50 game suspensions within the last year. Wouldn’t it be double jeopardy to go after them again for what amounts to the same thing, especially as they’ve already served a suspension?

        Excellent article, Mr. Pouliot.

      • wretchu - Jun 5, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        Except it’s not just testimony, but testimony AND documentation. Documentation, FYI, that at least Braun’s team has already acknowledged is legit. Bosch claims it’s for PEDs while Braun claims it’s for consultation services under his LAST near-suspension, but the fact remains that Braun gave this guy money.

    • jargon1682 - Jun 5, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Well said Jack Marshall, I made the same point but you said it better. The last half of this article really disturbed me. They can suspend them or not once the evidence is seen in full, but even considering not doing so because it will “ruin the season” is just an awful idea.

    • misterj167 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      How would you feel if you were fired from your job because the boss wanted to set an example, and the only real evidence he has is the word of some hosepail who will say anything to save his own neck? Even if you knew the hosepail in question?

      Because that’s exactly what’s happening here. Bosch has no credibility and every reason to give up the big names Selig wants.

      The knee-jerk reaction to blame players is the same knee-jerk reaction we have to blame working people regardless of how much money they make, and it’s this medieval mindset that makes things worse for everyone. No player who did any amount of cheating ever did as much harm to the game as the owners have, and continue to have, in great part because people like Jack Marsh insist on carrying water for them.

      If you wonder why this country is so messed up, that’s a big reason.

    • ratherbpickin - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Should you trade Ryan Braun in fantasy baseball?

      Check out http://www.4thwallsports.com

  2. saintsfire - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    all for cleaning up the game and getting a new commish, unless Selig can prove it vs Braun, Selig will most likely be de-commissioned for the good of the game.

  3. indianbob - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    There would be no “dealers” if there were no cheating “users!”

  4. stercuilus65 - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Boo-hoo the roiders are finally getting nailed and the apologists have their panties in a bunch.

  5. spoiledbratswhosuck - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Baseball stopped being baseball during the early 90’s when STERIOIDS and PEDS hit…………..

    Most of todays players suck, could not wear the jock straps of the players of prior generations……

    Mantle or McGuire
    Aaron or Bonds
    Mays or Canseco

    SOFTBALL MENTALITY has hit MLB.

    Oh by the way…………..umpiiring sucks too!

    • Alex K - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      You know you named 6 guys who took PEDs there, right?

  6. blabidibla - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    The crux of this post seems to be we should wait for a more convenient time to bust the cheaters, like in the off-season. And we should wait for the respectable, honest, illegal drug dealer to come forward with the evidence.

  7. Tick - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I’m not going to take the moral stance on this one way or another, but it seems like, legally and by the CBA, Selig is going to have a hard time pulling this off once it’s challenged, especially if it’s only from Bosch’s testimony.

  8. mskost63 - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    No matter which side of the steroid issue you fall on, the facts of the matter will be what settles this situation… And for you guys who are mad that the MLB lawyers want to cut a deal with this “doctor” in order to GET PAST THE LIES A CAUGHT PLAYER WILL/IS GOING TO TELL to get away with it has OBVIOUSLY not been privy to how our legal system works when a drug dealer is caught… immunity is ALWAYS offered (or most of the time anyway!) to anyone caught selling drugs, because there is always someone out there that THEY are getting the drugs from, and the police always want the bigger fish to fry… In this case, the players are going to lie to save their ASSES, as well as the tens of millions they stand to lose if MLB suspends them. A-Rod isn’t a first time offender is he?? NO! As a TRUE baseball fan, I want the game I pay top dollar to go and watch to be as clean as possible, as REAL as possible… if that means less balls hit into the stratosphere by juiced up idiots, SO BE IT.. I like TRUE baseball… bunt a little, steal a few bases, score some runs… kids now a days are just so used to seeing their “heroes” belt the ball out of the park, why WOULDNT these up & coming players go the cheating route – especially if that is how their HERO does it! there are rules in place agreed to by the powers that be, INCLUDING the PLAYERS… so THE PLAYERS need to live by those arrangements too! What if the OWNERS decided to not honor the CONTRACTS the players signed, and abruptly stopped paying them… would the players be mad at ownership for not living up to THEIR end of the deal? YOU BET THEY WOULD! So the players who signed the deal the union put before them need to SHUT THE FU#K UP, and play the game like it is supposed to be played… and FYI – the ones who are complaining the MOST about suspensions and MLB taking action are most likely the ones who are the CHEATERS, and as such, stand to be the ones who will be hurt the most if MLB cracks down and starts playing by the TRUE RULES that ALL agreed to play the game by!

    • Barb Caffrey - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      While I agree the game should be as clean as possible, I disagree that it’s OK to suspend players based only on hearsay testimony. If the players union allows this to go forward, they are beyond all hope because the players should get their day in court — at least in binding arbitration, as the CBA says — and be allowed to prove that this is nothing but the hearsay it surely looks to be.

      (I know no players, but am a long-time baseball fan. I’m tired of this nonsensical grandstanding. Testing is one thing, but tests can fail. Baseball has left almost no wiggle-room as it is; it sounds to me that all the players are all guilty until proven innocent, and it’s really hard to prove you’re innocent.)

  9. jeff10461 - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Back in the “Black Sox” era in order to restore integrity to the game the league and it’s new commissioner instituted a lifetime ban against gambling. Ask Pete Rose how that works. MLB should do the same for drug users of any type!

    This article is a bunch of BS advocating that the cheaters that have been caught shouldn’t be punished and that 100 day suspensions much too severe. Obviously 50 days is not severe enough to be a deterrent, why do you think the players union agreed to 50 days in the first place! 100 probably will not be enough either though fans will bitch & moan about it being unfair to them and their teams.

    As far as I’m concerned these ahole players have little to no regard for their fans and will cheat as long as the league continues to hand out slaps on the wrist to hide the fact they really don’t want to do anything to stop it!

  10. misterj167 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    By the way, how many college football players do you all think are on steroids? Does anyone seriously believe that these 18 and 19 year old kids got that big naturally? Is anyone investigating this? Of course not, because college football players don’t make a lot of money and they’re a cheap source of labor for the NFL.

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