When it comes to drugs, Major League Baseball has learned nothing from the past, wishes to learn nothing in the future
Jun 4, 2013, 11:04 PM EDT
I don’t know what Ryan Braun or Alex Rodriguez or Nelson Cruz or any of the other players thus far implicated in the Biogenesis mess has done. I don’t know what they’ve taken. I don’t know what they’ve said beyond their curt, lawyerly public statements. I don’t know if they’ve lied. But I know this much: any action Major League Baseball takes against them based on the cooperation of Anthony Bosch is equivalent to erecting a building on a rotten foundation. But of course, baseball has done this before, so it’s not all that surprising that they’ll attempt to do it again.
The lever Major League Baseball is using to get Bosch’s cooperation is a specious lawsuit. I wrote about it at length when it was filed against Bosch back in March. The lawsuit is a transparent attempt to obtain documents as opposed to vindicate legal rights.Baseball has suffered no cognizable injury at law from Biogenesis. It has not been harmed financially nor has it had its reputation legally harmed in any way by this little clinic.
What it has done, however, is put the fear of God into the sleazy clinic owner at the center of it all. Bosch already faces professional ruination due to an investigation by the State of Florida. The MLB lawsuit, even if it never reached a conclusion, could mean financial ruination for him as well. He had no friends in the world and nowhere to turn. That is, until Bud Selig offered him a lifeline. “Sing for me, Tony, and your problems will largely disappear,” Bud is telling him.
And don’t think they won’t. This was Major League Baseball’s m.o. during the Mitchell Report. Drug dealers — actual felons, had they had the book thrown at them as they should have — got off with a slap on the wrist or nothing at all because Major League Baseball and, in the case of the Mitchell Report, a former United States Senator, went to bat for them with the government. In exchange they got dirt a-plenty. I presume the same arrangement is being constructed for Mr. Bosch as well.
Except the return baseball got for its past deals was pretty paltry, all things considered. Brian McNamee and Kirk Radomski sang for the Mitchell Report investigators. And the result was a partial list of PED users. The lowest hanging fruit. The stupid guys who wrote personal checks for illegal drugs and used dealers who were well known among Major League Baseball officials. While this all made for a big splash in late 2007, as time has gone on we have learned that the Mitchell Report barely scratched the surface of the problem. PED use remained widespread, other, smarter drug dealers continued to ply their trade. And the end game of the entire exercise — the criminal prosecutions of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — ended in abject failure.
It didn’t have to be that way. Major League Baseball was hell-bent on hanging a few big-name players out to dry. Major League Baseball decided that the most interesting and important thing about steroids in baseball was who used and who didn’t as opposed to what steroids meant, how they damaged the game and how they damaged its users. It did that rather than asking the real questions about PEDs. The ones that would make a difference. Questions about PED habits. Players’ introduction to PEDs. Questions about their actual impact. Questions about the culture of drugs in baseball that could, hopefully, provide answers about how to stop it.
But these questions were never answered, never asked. Indeed, Major League Baseball has evinced a profound lack of curiosity about such topics. A lack of curiosity that mirrored the blinkered approach to the matter the press and the game took in the 1990s. To the extent we know the answers to any of these questions the information is piecemeal and, without the imprimatur of Major League Baseball, unofficial, unacknowledged and not at all rigorously researched.
Baseball is doing this again. Getting into bed with a drug dealer who, allegedly, provided PEDs to dozens and possibly scores of players. Using his likely unreliable and clearly self-serving words to nab a few big names rather than to understand and address the problem they have in front of them. If Bud Selig cared a wit about what actually went on with Biogenesis he’d ignore Bosch completely, work with the union to get players on board with spilling their guts in exchange for amnesty or reduced discipline and end the process with a far more thorough accounting of what went on than they can ever expect from a cornered man looking to save his neck.
But then again, Major League Baseball has never seemed too interested in what actually went on with any of this in any thorough way. The Mitchell Report was certainly not meant to answer any questions. It was meant to stop them. To put a bookend on the p.r. disaster that Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco uncorked in 2002. To put a bookend on the steroids era itself, really, and to allow fans, the press and the government to pretend that steroids use was limited to a certain unfortunate time and to certain unsavory group of people. Baseball is doing it again. It’s going to nip Biogenesis in the bud, hang a few big names out to dry and declare victory.
If, in fact, it actually achieves victory. Because the union is not going to simply sit back if Major League Baseball is going to attempt to level double-dip penalties against some of its highest profile players without a drug test or even a single reliable witness. Yes, “just cause” is a basis for discipline under the Joint Drug Agreement. But the words of a pressured, compromised and disgraced phony physician/criminal isn’t the stuff of “just cause” in most adversarial proceedings, baseball arbitrations included.
But no matter the outcome of all of that, in a few years, when the players who would cheat have learned all the lessons from Major League Baseball’s myopic approach to things, they’ll just deal with smarter dealers. Guys less susceptible to Major League Baseball’s squeeze play. And Baseball will have nothing other than an empty P.R. victory to show for itself. Nothing, because it never demonstrated a lick of curiosity about the problem itself beyond how it played in the papers.
Jul 13, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT
The Athletics avoided a series sweep in Seattle. With their win, their 59th of the season, the A’s set a franchise mark for wins at the All-Star break.
Jul 13, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
Chien-Ming Wang opted out of his minor league deal with the Reds and will look to continue his career elsewhere.
Jul 13, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT
Randy Wolf cleared out his locker at Triple-A Norfolk. He may be looking to join his fifth organization in 2014, having already spent time with the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Orioles.
Jul 13, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT
Huston Street is headed to the All-Star Game in Minnesota, replacing teammate Tyson Ross.
Jul 13, 2014, 7:48 PM EDT
Thanks to Joey Gallo, Team USA earned a victory over the World team in the Futures Game on Sunday at Target Field. Gallo earned MVP honors.
Jul 13, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
Maybe Madison Bumgarner should be in the Home Run Derby.
Jul 13, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Joey Gallo is quickly becoming a household name, especially after the round of batting practice he had on Sunday prior to the Futures Game.
Jul 13, 2014, 5:18 PM EDT
In the program for Sunday night’s Futures Game, there’s a pretty cool map that shows the hometown of each player on the Team USA roster. Except … well … see if you can spot the mistake …
Jul 13, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT
One of baseball’s coolest things is about to happen, but no one will see it.
Jul 13, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT
Tyler Clippard of the Nationals, Alfredo Simon of the Reds, and Tim Hudson of the Giants have been added to the National League roster for Tuesday night’s 2014 MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis.
Jul 13, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT
Here are the starting lineups for Sunday night’s Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on MLB Network, with Matt Vasgersian, Sean Casey, Heidi Watney, and MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo on the call.
Jul 13, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill was lifted from Saturday’s game against the Rangers after being struck by a pitch while trying to bunt in the top of the eighth inning. The ball first hit Cowgill’s right thumb and fractured it and then ricocheted off of his nose, breaking it too.
Jul 13, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez refused to get into specific in his chat with the media before Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Wrigley Field, but second baseman Dan Uggla has officially been suspended one game without pay and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution hears that it was for tardiness.
Jul 13, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
Cliff Lee is on track to return to the Phillies’ starting rotation on July 21. The veteran left-hander has been out since the middle of May because of a muscle strain in his pitching elbow but could be an attractive name at this year’s trade deadline.
Jul 13, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT
Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano has been activated from the disabled list after missing a month with an oblique strain and will start an important game against the Reds on Sunday afternoon.
Jul 13, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT
A’s starter Drew Pomeranz made his minor league rehab debut on Saturday night with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. And it was promising. The left-hander struck out seven, walked none, and yielded only one hit — a solo home run — over four strong innings.
Jul 13, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT
An MRI taken Saturday on the right arm of Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann showed a biceps strain but no major structural damage. He is expected to avoid the disabled list.
Jul 13, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was tossed out of Saturday night’s game against the Padres in the bottom of the third inning for arguing an iffy strike call on a low and inside pitch …
Jul 13, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT
The tide continues to change in the NL Central. Playing with heavy hearts in the aftermath of shortstop Jean Segura losing his nine-month-old son, the Brewers were blown out 10-2 by the visiting Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
The Indians and Angels made a small deal on Saturday, swapping a lefty reliever for cash.
- Joey Gallo earns Futures Game MVP honors after leading Team USA to victory 3
- Major League Baseball needs to shift the All-Star week schedule 42
- Braves suspend Dan Uggla one game for being extremely tardy on Saturday in Chicago 33
- Cliff Lee on track to return to Phillies’ rotation July 21 4
- MRI shows biceps strain, no structural damage, for Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann 2
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 22
- Reds hope to get Joey Votto back for the “stretch run” 8
- Jean Segura leaves Brewers following the death of his nine-month-old son 47
- Shocker: the Red Sox publicly criticize A.J. Pierzynski after cutting him (192)
- Masahiro Tanaka diagnosed with partially-torn UCL in elbow (114)
- Giants broadcaster says Angel Hernandez “does not belong in the big leagues” (102)
- David Ortiz is not pleased that his name got pulled into the John Lackey-Nelson Cruz thing (99)
- Woman knocked unconscious during fight between A’s and Giants fans outside AT&T Park (84)