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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. kcroyal - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    It would be a fail a because you guys at HBT are PED apologists?

    • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      So you’re ok with MLB cooperating with a drug dealer?

      • randygnyc - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        The drug dealer has no moral or ethical obligation to MLB. The players do. Law enforcement may pursue the dealer. In this instance, MLB goes after the players.

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:09 PM

        Of course MLB goes after players. Should it promise drug dealers that it will do everything in its power to make sure they get off easy to do so? Isn’t that counterproductive to “clean up”?

      • somekat - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        see my post below. They aren’t stopping the feds from bringing charges up on him. They aren’t stopping the feds from fining him to oblivion. They just are dropping their law suit. What money would they get from him? They would just win in principal, it would cost them more in legal fees than they will ever recoup from this guy after the government is done with him

        They have no authority over this guy, they do have some over the players

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        They are NOT “just dropping the lawsuit”. They also promise to:

        …“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.”

      • approvenothing - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

        The only thing about this i find fairly interesting is that for once i agree with Randy. Other than that im just going to hide behind my computer and laugh at this situation. It is to stupid for me to try to take MLB or the players seriously. I thought we were done with all of this nonsense years ago, or i only wished.

    • apmn - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      He played every card in the PED apologist’s deck in this article.

      • MyNameIsWilliamBillForShort - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        And he even made up a few new ones. Beautiful.

      • rockingrhino - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        Except that he is right. The game still has PED users and this is more a power play than a way to stop or even slow it down. The union will fight it and win, and MLB will have more egg on its face.

        The reality is that Colon and Melky were suspended already for PED use, most like from Bosch. Do you suspend them again for it?

        I have no problem nailing PED users if they are caught. But this smells more like MLB wanting to nail Braun and A-Rod because they both embarrassed Selig.

  2. rhmurphy - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    You sure it’s not just that this blog has been arguing that MLB wouldn’t be able to suspend players based on this for months, and now that is shown to be incorrect, the action must be slammed for being evil?

    • DJ MC - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      How have they been shown to be incorrect?

      MLB can announce that they are suspending any player for any reason. That doesn’t mean that the suspensions will hold up, or that the league won’t come out looking far worse than they would have otherwise.

  3. sophiethegreatdane - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    It’s not MLB’s job to punish the dealers. That’s the job of law enforcement. What could MLB even do to him besides sue?

    • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      If MLB wants the game cleaned up and integrity restored, they should be focusing on helping get rid of the dealers.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        There are no dealors without drug addicts. Its time for a clean up in baseball. People who apologize for the likes of A Rod, Bonds and all the rest of the scum that have difiled the game with steroid use. If you are going to allow this this to happen then it is time to let Pete Rose into the hall of fame whose records are actually legitimate.

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        “There are no dealors without drug addicts”
        I’m really glad law enforcement doesn’t seem to think the way you do.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Nate keep making excuses for the likes of these scum balls. I no longer watch baseball because of thier actions. People like Barry Bonds are cheaters and to let them off the hook is absolute bullsh it. No one held guns to thier heads and said take steroids.

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        Where did I make excuses for the players? What excuses? Any player who breaks the rules and can be punished in accordance with the agreement between the league and the union should absolutely be punished, in my opinion. All I’ve been saying here is that promising a drug dealer that you’re going to do your best to help them get off the hook is a bad idea and is counterproductive to “cleaning up baseball”. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t put words in my mouth.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      Agreed. I’ll split the difference with Matthew. I don’t think 100-game suspensions are likely to stand but really, all MLB has the power to do is punish the players. Across the board, standard suspensions are the best it can do.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 5, 2013 at 5:39 AM

        One of the things that has everyone so up in arms over this mess is a common misunderstanding over what process is in play. We have criminal court should the authorities decide to prosecute Mr. Bosch (MLB has no authority here people,) civil court should MLB decide to sue Mr. Bosch (the waiving of which right MLB would likely be stipulating to as part of an agreement with the rat for taking the cheese,) and then there is the matter of a league suspension process which is governed by the CBA.

        An extra 50 games for obfuscation doesn’t seem that unlikely to me. Furthermore, if I were in Selig’s shoes with a splentive rage and desperate desire for vengeance, I’d probably start by saying the cheating was a 50-game and the obfuscation is worth another 100 games as a separate consequent misdeed.

        And as a sidenote – now how will poor spleen-less Carl Pavano ever adjust his humours?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:56 AM

        If I was Selig (shudder), I would probably start from that postion (shudder) too, but if it goes to arbitration (which it probably will), does the arbitrator go for that? S/he is going to look at how many times MLB has given 50-game obfuscation suspensions before. It’s an easier sell if there’s a past pattern or practice. There’s more resistance if you’re doing something new.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:10 AM

        I wouldn’t be expecting to get the 100 games as a successive discipline, I’m just saying I’d start there in order to maybe fall down to another 50-gamer, but that’s just my Irish negotation style. ;)

      • historiophiliac - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        I’m Irish. I can’t keep calm!

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:46 AM

        Maybe that … and the weather … and the coffee. Definitely the coffee.

  4. illcomm - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    The sleezeballs are the cheating players of the game and the winners are the fans who want to see something as close to the naturally played game as possible.

    • jwbiii - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      When do you think that was? Here are a few hits:
      – Pitchers pitched from 50 feet away
      – There was no mound or pitching rubber
      – Catcher’s mitts were not allowed

  5. randygnyc - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Disagree.

    Bosch has no fiduciary obligations to MLB. These players do. If they used and are caught, they should all get suspended. In fact, an argument can be made, that it will take an epic event to stop it. Lets hope its this one. (And I’m saying this knowing the list might contain many Yankees, even some of my favorites)

    • theskinsman - Jun 5, 2013 at 4:38 AM

      Randy,I agree with you totally on this one. Take away a significant of the money from players who use, and issue lifetime bans for the 2nd offense,and maybe the game will clean up at last.Post steroid era,my ass.

  6. sdemp - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Maybe MLB should stick to the testing policy that is in place and stop trying to find whatever loop hole they can to suspend players and prove a point.

    Still don’t see how this helps clean up the game. . .

    • apmn - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      The testing policy was agreed upon by both MLB and the player’s union. It is the players who seem to be going after every loophole and apparently have no interest in cleaning up the game.

  7. somekat - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Disagree totally

    Is MLB letting him off the hook? Yeah

    Does it matter? No. This has nothing to do with any charges the Feds are going to bring against him. MLB isn’t law enforcement. They are dropping their lawsuit….who cares? They would only win any money in principal anyway. The government is going to fine this guy for every penny he has in the long run, he won’t have any money to take from him.

    The MLB is dropping a law suit that would in reality net them nothing but legal fees, against a guy they have no real authority over, to get information about the people they do have some authority over. How is this not a good deal for them?

    • ptfu - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Thank you for pointing this out. MLB’s deal has almost no benefits for Bosch. Either MLB doesn’t have the authority to deliver upon its promises, or there’s virtually no way those promises will be useful to Bosch.

      Dropping the lawsuit: you already covered this.

      “Indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation”: does MLB think the named players will sue him, and so Bud’s offering to pay his penalties? Hilarious. Presumably HIPAA doesn’t apply to Bosch, since he’s not actually a doctor. So, nothing to pay. Wait, Bosch’s father is an actual doc, and is involved? Too bad the deal is only for the younger Bosch. Oh, and MLB will look fantastic in actively protecting dealers, and not just letting them off the hook.

      “Provide personal security for him”: whoop de doo, they’ll provide a few rent-a-cops. This has the best chance at being useful to Bosch, assuming he’s at some risk–which is hardly obvious. Are the paparazzi pursuing him? Does Bud think the named players would retaliate against Bosch or something? Too bad Milton Bradley is, ahem, otherwise occupied, or else MLB could assign him to protect Bosch. He’d surely scare off anyone stupid enough to try something.

      “Put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that may bring charges against him”: hahahahahaha *pause to breathe* hahahahahaha “Hey, FBI, this dude knows all sorts of scandalous information, and gave us a bunch of it, but don’t do anything to him! He’s a great guy, we mean it!” Yeah, that’ll get the Feds off his case.

      If Bosch is stupid enough to take MLB’s deal, he deserves whatever happens to him later (all else being equal).

  8. nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Agreed, Matthew. MLB is sending a message to drug dealers that they can make money off the players, then get off scot-free so long as they rat the players out later.

    • randygnyc - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      It’s not MLB’s place to punish dealers, only players.

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Agreed. But what are your thoughts on the message MLB is sending to dealers, which was the point of my comment?

      • MyNameIsWilliamBillForShort - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        If the drug dealer doesn’t play for MLB, then WTF do you want MB to do to the guy? That nonsense line that Matthew quoted doesn’t mean dick. Big deal..they will “put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that may bring charges against him” That and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. You are making too much about MLB’s “good word”. The feds will punish anybody they want with or without a “good word” from MLB.

    • nolanwiffle - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      …..or the players could simply stop engaging in illegal activities.

      • nategearhart - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        That sure would be swell, wouldn’t it? But players have demonstrated that they aren’t going to stop of their own accord. Meanwhile, MLB’s decision here isn’t going to help anything.

      • nolanwiffle - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        That surely would be swell. And if a player can’t stop engaging in illegal activities that are detrimental to the game, throw him out of the league. It’s not a player’s God-given right to play major league baseball.

        If players won’t stop by their own accord, as you suggest, what recourse does MLB have?

  9. thebadguyswon - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Bud Selig has needed to step down for ten years now. This is what happens when people keep working well after their expiration date. Obviously, Selig has no life outside of his job as Grand Wizard of MLB.

  10. onbucky96 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Thanks for nothin Bud. Stay out of Milwaukee, you’re useless. Except for your son in law. Who conveniently worked in the Brewers front office. And once the team was sold, Laurel Prieb got a job in the commissioners office. I guess nepotism really does start at home.

  11. schmedley69 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    I applaud this move. If you are going to have a PED policy, then you have to go all in to enforce the rules. If you don’t punish the cheaters then the clean players will be the ones who pay the price. Teach all of these frauds a lesson.

  12. charlutes - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    This is a great post by Matthew, many thanks.

  13. barkleyblows - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Another laughable article by NBC. Braun should be suspended for life along with A Rod.

    Kick the cheats out and maybe they can clean up the game.

    • nbjays - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      Don’t forget Bonds and Clemens. If someone’s sworn word is enough evidence for MLB to ban Braun and ARod for life, then MLB has an obligation to use the same yardstick against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. After all, they both had people testifying against them.

  14. darthicarus - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    I think the obvious answer for the players involved would be to let Bud make his decision, then request an outside source to look over the evidence again & judge based on what they see. This “outside source” of course would have to be part of Selig’s current instant replay mastermind consortium. Based on their inability to determine anything based on evidence provided Bud can get screwed over again because of his own ineptitude. Problem solved!

  15. charlutes - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    “I’m also not comfortable with punishing players who never failed a drug test”

    Ditto.

    • anotheryx - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      While I can see your point, the purpose of the drug test is to find out who used prohibited drug. When mean become more important than result, it’s time to revisit the process.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      Wait, so other credible evidence is no good to you? What about an admission? What about video? Nothing but a test?

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Pretty sure Lance still hasn’t failed a test

  16. grumpyoleman - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Only thing laughable was a writer that wasn’t raised right and defends a bunch of cheaters. Baseball will be fine and the true fans will get to see better baseball

  17. simon94022 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    If this were law enforcement dealing with a garden variety drug case, then of course the dealer would be the big fish, and going after the users would make little sense.

    But in this case, the rich and powerful figures at the root of the problem are the player/users, not this low life dealer. And MLB is not a law enforcement agency anyway. All MLB could do to Bosch is destroy him financially by running up his legal bills in a case MLB likely wouldn’t win. By contrast, MLB has some ability to take action against the players involved, and exemplary punishment here will do far more to clean up the game than suing Bosch ever could.

    As for the outrage about MLB cooperating with a low life such as Bosch, how do you think prosecutors obtain convictions of criminals in any complicated case? You cut a deal with a low ranking scumbag in exchange for testimony against the higher ups.

  18. tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Shutupshupupshutup!

    This is great!

    I don’t care who wins, who loses, who ends up looking worse….

    All I care about is that there is going to be chaos.

    And I enjoy chaos.

    CHAOS! WOO!

    (Yes, I have had a few beers….but it’s only because sometimes that leads to more chaos!!)

    • darthicarus - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      Some people just like to watch the world burn

      • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        I have to admit. I’m kinda excited myself. Sorry.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

        Right?

        It’s like….SOMETHING is happening and it’s interesting.

        I don’t even care when there are massive screwups at work.

        I enjoy them. “Well, today’s gonna be different than yesterday.”

  19. paperlions - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    I really have no sympathy for any of these players (assuming that they are guilty). If you are dumb enough to go to an “anti-aging clinic”, well….I have no problem with you being suspended for being so freaking stupid….and if you took HGH thinking that it would help you somehow, again, you should be suspended just for being an idiot (and not doing the 10 minute google search necessary to realize that HGH won’t help you play baseball).

    If they did it and they are caught (by test or by other evidence), punish them according to the CBA…all of them, no matter how many there are….but saying that lying constitutes an offense if freaking stupid. By that logic, if a guy test positive and they ask him if he used and he denies it, they could call it 2 violations, which seems to be in direct violation of the spirit of the rules as outlined in the CBA (of course, if the CBA had “you gotta fess up when you are caught” language, that would be different).

    • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      I can’t believe it. We agree on a PED post.

      • paperlions - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        I’ve never had a problem with punishing players for using and getting caught…but I find witch hunts and purposeful ignorance of the rules by those charged to enforce them to be distasteful, and MLB has shown it really doesn’t care about it’s own policy as long as it can grasp as some PR PED straws.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        On second thought, if A-Rod previously admitted to using PED’s, MLB could count that as a first offense and this as a second. That one might be salable.

      • paperlions - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        …but if he previously admitted to it, why was he not suspended for it?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        Because MLB didn’t choose to do it. The question then is: does the CBA *require* steps of punishment. MLB, of course, will say that at its discretion, it opted not to suspend him but that does not negate the event. It’s like in employee handbooks when employers add that bit about being able to skip disciplinary steps due to the gravity of the offense or number of infractions. I think they could make a decent argument of it (whether or not they win with it is another matter).

      • historiophiliac - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        Wait, did the CBA cover suspensions for PEDs use back then? If not, that’s why MLB didn’t suspend A-Rod the first time. Now, it can, so it will punish him accordingly for a second offense (because there are two). I think that’s a much better position for MLB to come at it from instead of saying lying is the second offense.

      • paperlions - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        It’s probably just the martinis that agree :-)

      • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

        /clinks glasses

      • mazblast - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        paperlions–He wasn’t suspended because, uh, because, uh, oh, I know! Because he’s a YANKEE (face The Bronx and bow), and it is Known Fact that no YANKEE (face the Bronx and bow) has ever done ANYTHING wrong, ever. Even Andy Pettitte’s admitted steroid use, Roger Clemens’ known use, Jason Giambi’s “I apologize but won’t say for what” and A-Roid’s “but I never used as a YANKEE” don’t violate this, the 14th Commandment.

        Here’s what’s going to happen–There will be suspensions, but quite conspicuously and strictly coincidentally, no YANKEE (face The Bronx and bow) will miss a day of active list playing time. A-Roid will have “setbacks” in his “rehab” that will just happen to last 100 games, Cano (who probably is innocent) will be exonerated, and Cervelli will be, well, simply not mentioned.

    • Alex K - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      This. The reasoning for a double offense is as specious as it gets.

  20. fearthehoody - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Blind eye so you can just enjoy the season. Makes sense!

  21. bigjimatch - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Based on your staunch defense of Braun, it doesn’t sound like you are comfortable with suspending players who failed drug tests either.

    Arod and Braun both failed drug tests and avoided suspension. The fact that they continued to use steroids Eve after getting caught once shows what juice junkies these guys really are.

  22. kardshark1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    I usually agree with you here at this site… but man, you are way off on this one. Tony Bosch is meaningless. Cheaters cheating is all that should matter to MLB. Let law enforcement handle Tony Bosch. Tony Bosch didn’t create the cheaters, the cheaters bought his morality and created him.

    • kopy - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      And it’s not like the credits are going to fade in on Bosch drinking a Pina Colada on a beach with a fine cigar.

      The man is broken and has less than nothing. This doesn’t change that.

  23. 13arod - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    i thought that it was ilegeal to let a guy off the hook that maybe sold players steriods hopefully the players are innocient i think that they are

    • anotheryx - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      That’s the business of Feds, not MLB.
      MLB can choose if they want pursuit civil suit or drop them at will.

  24. mathieug79 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    What a fucking joke!

  25. buddypuddy - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    First time I have ever agreed with Selig. Ryan Braun is one of the smarmiest personalities in the game.

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