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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. chill1184 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    This whole episode is just setting a really bad precedent.

    As for those who want the dealer punished; I view that in the equivalent of those who want to blame gun manufactures for the death of someone that came at the point of a gun. It makes no sense

    • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Agreed no one held a gun to these idiots heads and forced them to take drugs they did this all on thier own and now need to pay the price.

      • chill1184 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Exactly. Punish the end user not the maker

    • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      Why not equate it to how outside baseball, in real life, the feds don’t make deals with dealers in order to get users, because that’s ass-backwards and stupid?

      • chill1184 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:24 PM

        Agreed and on a side note the drug war as a hole is pretty damm stupid and wasteful among other things.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        You make an excellent apologist for users nate.

      • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM

        The feds don’t make deals with dealers to get users because most users are penny ante. Going after those users is the equivalent of using a water pistol to fight a forest fire. But in the context of major league baseball, going after the users makes a lot more sense. (Why? Because the MLB users are hardly penny ante, and have a lot further to fall than the addict who is feeding her addiction by giving hand jobs for crack.)

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

        It seems that way, but I think that’s apples and oranges. It seems that in the “normal” drug community, nabbing dealers will provide a deterrent to other dealers, who drive the drug economy. But In this instance, where the users are the big fish, making a deal with the dealer can set an example of the users, who drive the PED economy.

      • mazblast - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        American of African Descent has it right. Go after those who benefit the most from the offense.

      • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        Problem is, this isn’t the feds. This is basically an employer suing an employee…..good luck on this.

      • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:41 PM

        As I said elsewhere, this action ennobles dealers; it sends a message that they can sell to MLB players, and MLB will help them along as long as they rat out the players later.

    • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Keep your guns out of my steroids.

  2. al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    People like Bonds ARod and Clemens to name a few should never be allowed into the Hall of Fame. They are tainted and they have tainted the game. Any of these individuals who have used or are using steroids need to be removed from baseball they have destroyed the game.

    • Alex K - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      What about player who used amphetamines? They were breaking rules by taking PED’s. Should they be blackballed? If you think so then prepare to blackball a bunch of legends.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        You have proof that they did, then they should be banned also. ARod, Bonds and Clemens are known cheaters and should never be allowed into the hall.

      • Alex K - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        So at the very least you are willing to dismiss everything Hank Aaron and Willie Mays did. They have both admitted to using greenies.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:24 PM

        Do you have proof that Aarons or Mays used amphetamines, because if you don’t then you shouldnt make these accusations.

      • tomtravis76 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM

        Clemens never tested positive nor did he admit to taking anything unlike Bonds and ARod. We can speculate, but you need to have proof and be found guilty of it. Not guilty by public opinion.

        Never rooted for any team Clemens was a part of, just think a person doesn’t deserve being taken to the woodshed over and over because someone wants to have Clemens on their wall.

      • paperlions - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        Proof? You mean besides their public admission? Those aren’t enough for you? Pretty much every player between WWII and 2006 used amphetamines at one time or another…and usually far more often than that.

      • Alex K - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/420301

        Also, Aaron admitted using “greenies” in his book.

        http://www.cosellout.com/2007/08/22/behind-the-myths-part-755-hank-aaron-bonds-with-barry/

        Money quote from abouve link:

        “The 500thhome run came against Mike McCormick of the Giants, which meant that Willie Mays was on the field at the time. Willie elected not to have his picture taken with me that day, saying it wasn’t appropriate for him to fraternize with a player whose team had just beaten the Giants. For years Willie had been king and I’m sure that he wasn’t crazy about me elbowing into his territory. Most fans and critics still considered Willie to be a better player than me. It seems like the only ones who took up my cause were my teammates. Guys like Uecker and Boyer used to argue with the visiting writers who didn’t think I belonged in the class with Mays. It made me feel a little awkward to sit by my locker and hear them going on like that, but don’t think I didn’t appreciate it. [new paragraph begins] Actually, the 1968 season wasn’t the best time to present my case. It was the first time since my rookie year that I didn’t drive in or score 100 runs. I was so frustrated that at one point I tried using a pep pill ”a greenie” that one of my teammates gave me. When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a stupid thing to do”. 

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

        Tom, Bud Selig is going on a witch hunt based solely on someone’s say-so and not failed tests. If Bosch’s word is good enough reason to burn these guys (not just Arod and Braun) at the stake, why shouldn’t Roger Clemens burn as well based on the testimony of Brian McNamee? Gotta use the same yardstick for evidence if you want to be fair.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:13 PM

        Wow, Alex one time what a criminal Aarons was. Is that the best you can do.

      • Alex K - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:25 PM

        Aaron admitted to using “greenies”. One time or a thousand times doesn’t matter to my point. I don’t have to “do better” to be correct. You should now feel free to demonize Hank Aaron like you do the modern players. There is just as much, if not more, evidence that he used PEDs.

        And if doing it one time makes it okay in your eyes then you need more information about most of the modern players to hold them accountable.

        Or is it that you just want to ignore Aaron’s use because it makes you feel yucky?

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:37 AM

        Amphetamines weren’t banned by MLB back then.

      • Alex K - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        That doesn’t really matter. They were taking drugs to help them play better. They weren’t doing it naturally either. If you want to claim that people taking PEDs is ruining baseball you have to include everyone who took PEDs illegal or not.

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Someone popping a greenie once in while is a lot different than someone being on a steroid program. And again it wasn’t banned back then. Players today are breaking actual rules.

      • Alex K - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        There is a difference. The “greenie” probably helped a lot more than the steroid cycle.

        And, once again, it doesn’t matter if it was banned or not. It was using drugs to try and make yourself better, so not clean. The players now are not ruining the game with drug use any more than past players did.

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 5, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Without a rule in place popping a greenie was no different than eating right, lifting weights, or running to improve your performance.

      • Alex K - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        Nope, it’s still taking a drug.

  3. elmo - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Saying Bosch has no credibility because he’s sleazy isn’t really saying anything other than that he’s sleazy. Which isn’t the issue. If you honestly think he’s making it up (for money, attention, whatever) don’t just insinuate, make your case.

    • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Yeah, but he made money off this, then said he was innocent and did nothing wrong, said he got paid for legal help now he turns….yikes.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      He’s also not a licensed doctor, practicing “medicine” without a license is a crime, isn’t it? It’s not exactly Dr. James Andrews that’s testifying against the players here.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Practicing medicine without a license is a crime, but I don’t think those prosecuted normally get super-harsh punishments. He wasn’t performing surgeries or anything like that. What did that lady get who did the butt implants? 5-10 years and a fine or something? Plus, Bosch might be able to work another deal where he gives up where he got his drugs (because someone was selling to him without a license) for a lighter sentence.

  4. wheels579 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Like it or not, anybody would want the same benefit of doubt Braun got for winning an appeal of a failed test if they were in his shoes. According to MLB’s own collectively-bargained policy, Braun is therefore a first time offender going forward. MLB’s own policy calls for 15-30 games and $100K fine for first-time offenders without a failed test. So thats what they should push for. Anything more is about a vendetta, not justice. Roger Goodell made the same power play with Bountygate and got burned. Selig should know better.

    • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      Unless a statement is made in this case then what you are saying is that it is ok to juice. The integrity of the game is shot.

      • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        No, what he’s saying is that you don’t get to toss process out the window so that you can arrive at your preferred outcome.

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        ARod is a two time offender. Is that enough proof for you.

      • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        No it is not. The police arrest someone who’s been convicted of a crime in the past, does that mean we can dispense with the trial?

      • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        If the shoe fits.

      • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        Please tell me you don’t vote.

  5. al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    It really distresses me to see individuals on this site making excuses for these ball players. It shows the state of our society and how low we have sunk as a people that we encourage cheaters who have earned nothing.

  6. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Matthew go hug a tree. If you and 20 co-workers at NBC Sports were outed for purchasing illegal drugs but never failed a drug test, I’m pretty sure you would be writing for Bleacher Report by the weekend. As for it being ‘unfair to the fans’? Tough. This is how you play cop when you want people to stop commuting crimes in your town. Get over it. It will be for the greater good.

    • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Did you ever watch V for Vendetta? If so, were you rooting for the government?

  7. badintent - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz want Arodless hung by the stones.
    Google CBC “The Fifth Estate” show on 15 year old baseball players dying from steroids that they were told to take by evil trainers so that they would get big and could sign a major league contract at 16 in The Dominican Republic .

  8. FinFan68 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    PED usage has been and still is rampant in professional sports. Mostly because players want an edge to get their status and subsequent pay. Most do not get caught because they are usually a couple steps ahead of detection and enforcement. If integrity of the game and level playing field matter at all then the cheaters need to be punished and a strong message sent. It can be reasonably deduced that these guys were associated with the doctor/dealer for PEDs rather than legitimate reasons. The only thing that could prevent suspensions would be the specific CBA language. Regardless, cheating in any way should never be condoned or defended. It cheapens everything else and hurts the fans and legit players far more than a bunch of cheaters getting suspended at the same time

  9. Lew Weinstein - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    How do you suspend players when they never failed a drug test? This is more an indictment of MLB than it is of the players. On the other hand, if there’s proof, then that’s different.

  10. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    @nategearhart- stupid argument. In ‘real life’ it’s about stopping the drugs from being funneled to the street and maintain order in society. In baseball it’s to stop cheaters from cheating. It’s ‘ass backwards’ because we’re talking about baseball players and steroids and not society and a crack epidemic or whatever. You really don’t understand the difference here?

    • chill1184 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      Remind me how well the war on drugs has worked? People learned the lesson when it came to alcohol prohibition but still think it will work against drugs.

    • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      You don’t see how MLB having this dealer’s back in exchange for ratting out players will encourage more dealers?

      • samu0034 - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:30 AM

        Yes, because the Feds are never going to go after a guy who sells illegal drugs and then admits to doing so. Don’t get me wrong, I think what MLB is doing is pretty much a witch hunt, but the logical extension is not MLB supported sting operations, in which the dealer will be forgiven by the Feds. Which is pretty much where your rationale leads…

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

        That MLB is even willing to go to bat for the guy says all we need to know about how interested they are in cleaning up drugs in baseball.

  11. Steve A - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    I don’t have a problem with players being suspended if MLB has knowledge that they used banned substances. Wasn’t Manny Ramirez suspended the first time, in 2009, without a positive test?

    However, this feels like a case of MLB bullying Bosch to get the information they wanted on ARod and Braun. The other players were caught in the riptide. MLB sues Bosch, then offers to rescind the lawsuit for his cooperation. Who wouldn’t take that deal?

    • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      Same thing prosecutors do to get information.

    • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      No, he failed a test an actual DRUG test based on information or whatever you want to call it. the suspended him on the failed test. look it up, Tim Brown wants to get all high and mighty without giving the facts.

  12. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    What is it with everybody equating this to the ‘War on Drugs’? This is steroids in baseball. We’re not talking about society here people. It’s athletes using hormones to enhance athletic performance. It’s something that effects just the individual and the sport. Drugs like heroin, crack, etc destroy families, cause mass dilapidation of neighborhoods or towns, paralyze industry. For Christ sake this is not at all associated with the ‘War on Drugs’. Go to FoxNews.com and bitch about your politics there.

  13. al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Most people like nate don’t get it. Just like most people can’t understand why Barry Bonds was prosecuted. He was not prosecuted for steroid use as some think. He was prosecuted, because he lied to a federal grand jury. At the end of the day these cheaters have to live with themselves, but we as fans should not have to put up with the cheating and should demand that these players are permanently removed from baseball with lifetime bans.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      but we as fans should not have to put up with the cheating and should demand that these players are permanently removed from baseball with lifetime bans.

      Cheating has been prevalent in baseball for decades, since back to the Black Sox scandal. Why are you acting so high and mighty about today’s players?

    • nategearhart - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      What does Barry Bonds have to do with my argument that MLB ennobling drug dealers is dangerous?

  14. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    @Steve A- not bullying. Big boy negotiation tactics. Haha.

  15. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    I believe the difference here for the 100 game suspensions is MLB is simply saying two separate infractions occurred with Braun and ARoid in the usage and lying. And MLB isn’t just going to use Bosch’s testimony as evidence for the suspension. When they filed the lawsuit against him MLB was able to receive all documentation relevant to the case and his business during the discovery phase. So they are presenting the documents as evidence and his testimony to help explain/back it up.

    • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      That’s is like me shoplifting and denying I did it and getting double the sentence when they have video evidence. Doesn’t matter anyway for Arod, time on the d/l counts as the suspension. Maybe they try and let him play 1 game then suspend him, but his team is too smart for that anyway.

  16. wheels579 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    It is hard to fathom MLB thinks it will succeed based on the testimony of an illegal drug supplier. Federal prosecutors couldn’t get a perjury conviction for Clemens when they had the alleged injector because of McNamee’s credibility problem. And we’re supposed to believe Bosch has no skeletons in his closet? Any rich athlete accused of steroid use should be presumed guilty regardless of credible evidence? Strange how even MLB didn’t think so when they needed attendance following the last strike.

    • jargon1682 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      They couldn’t get a conviction because McNamee’s testimony is all they had. We’ll have to wait and see if they have more then just Bosch’s testimony,

      • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        Yes, and that was the Feds with subpoena power and the threat of jail and being in jail. This is a drug dealer and a liar based upon an arbitrator.

  17. miamifishfan - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Am I the only who realizes this isn’t Arods first offense??
    He of everyone deserves his 100 games suspension

    • al151998 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      ARod deserves permanent ban as a repeat offender.

    • rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      There was no language in the CBA at the time…oh and when they release the other 100 or so names it can be his second offense. 110 positive tests, 1 name leaked.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      Am I the only who realizes this isn’t Arods first offense??
      He of everyone deserves his 100 games suspension

      It’s not his second. The ’03 testing had zero punishments involved, hence why it was supposed to be anonymous. This would be his first failure, and I doubt MLB succeeds.

  18. rightherenow123 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    This is like Prosecuting those who ran a Ponzi scheme, asking them to testify who got rich off of it, and publicly hurting those who profited off it for 3 min, and .0000001% of their worth. Meanwhile, youre the one prosecuting them, who was overseeing the scheme all the years and made a fortune off it.

    Wait, sounds like a Ponzi scheme in itself.

    Oh and this isn’t criminal court….so be careful

    Btw, wouldn’t the smart thing be to let this go or use it to increase drug penalties instead of destroying baseball a little more.

  19. jargon1682 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    ” It’s not like these 20-25 players that MLB might try to suspend are the extent of cheaters around the game.”

    This is a truly ridiculous argument. You really think that unless every single person who breaks a rule or law can be caught that no one should be punished?

  20. 13arod - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    still don’t have all the evideince and going to maybe suspend them this is why mlb shoudn’t have got involved the polce shoud have took over

  21. tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Why do some people try to turn this into a capital case, with expectations of “beyond a reasonable doubt” to be applied to everything?

    Nobody is getting hanged at the end of the day, and a great many courts simply accept “what is most likely to have happened”. If the scale leans to one side more than the other, your guilt or innocence is determined.

    Give up this Law & Order mentality, it’s closer to Judge Judy, especially when we’re talking about the court of public opinion.

    No positive tests? So what? It would be nice, but don’t be so naive as to think they are a must have, Lance Armstrong STILL hasn’t failed a test. People are beating tests all the time, they always have. They are all guilty, unless this is a capital case where someone is getting the needle, then you have to acquit.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      especially when we’re talking about the court of public opinion.

      Who gives a shit about the court of public opinion?

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:48 PM

        Writers, Hall of Fame voters, Agents, Athletes, Media….
        Plus, it’s the only court open for session atm.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:54 PM

        Sponsors, Team Owners, opps some team owners (Hi Jeff)

  22. wheels579 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    This absolutely should have everything to do with the war on drugs when kids are dying from taking this stuff. If MLB cared about that, they would team up with players who haven’t failed tests and offer amnesty to turn people like Bosch into the DEA. If we catch you with a failed test without winning an appeal, you get a stiff suspension. Otherwise, use them to flush out the distributors at these clinics instead of treating the players like bigger criminals while making deals with the dealers who also sell this same stuff to the public.

  23. ningenito78 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    @wheels579- ok there have been some kids that have died taking the stuff. But to act like steroid ‘abuse’ is in the same category as others is ridiculous. The stoners are on the message board now. That’s when you know the conversation is over.

  24. crisisofinfinitephils - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    So if I am to understand this site, to have teams wear cammo on memorial day and to have God Bless America sung at ball games is worthy of hand-wringing. But it’s all ‘naw man don’t harsh their mellow’ when MLB tries to suspend cheating players when their dealing ‘doctor’ wants to sell them out. Did you guys major in feelings at college with a minor in moral equivalency?

  25. wheels579 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    @ningentio78: Use, not abuse. Suspending Braun 100 games doesn’t take the stuff off the streets. What is more effective: using dealers for witch hunts or players turning in dealers to law enforcement?

    • crisisofinfinitephils - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      It’s not MLB’s job to take anything off the streets that’s law enforcements job. MLB cares about keepin’ ped’s off the streets as much as the FBI cares about Braun being suspended.
      Now as a representative party to an organization you open yourself to a suspension when your dealer wants to/can rat you out. So actually suspending Braun, et al, acts as a deterant and would give pause to the next potential cheater rather than MLB somehow becoming a law enforcement agency that goes after fake doctors.

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