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The wrong thing is OK as long as you get results, I guess

Jun 6, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

AP Anthony Bosch AP

Lester Munson, ESPN’s legal analyst, is a humdinger.

He was so monumentally and repeatedly wrong in analyzing the Barry Bonds case that people were embarrassed for him. He was wildly incorrect about evidentiary rulings. And he wasn’t merely mistaken about them. He was so awfully mistaken about them that it was clear to anyone who understood the issues that, the moment he wrote what he wrote, his take was simply incoherent. When Barry Bonds got off on three of the four charges against him, he called it a “triumph for the prosecution” — who he called “brilliant” despite their monumental screwups — and said Bonds went 0 for 4. Which makes me wonder if he knows less about baseball or the law. In the wake of his crazy ramblings about that case multiple legal experts weighed in on him and concluded that he was off his rocker. Indeed, he probably transcended wrongness at some point and went straight into Wonderland.

So it’s no surprise that when a new steroids case is in the news, Munson is going to crank up the crazy machine again. He has a Q&A over at ESPN about Biogenesis. One of the topics he handles is Major League Baseball’s gambit of (a) suing Anthony Bosch for tortious interference; and (b) leveraging that lawsuit into his cooperation in the league’s investigation.  He starts out thusly:

MLB filed a lawsuit against Bosch. Legal experts, including me, scoffed at the MLB action. The lawsuit was based on a legal theory known as “tortious interference” or wrongful obstruction of MLB’s efforts to rid baseball of steroids. Tortious interference is a legal theory of last resort. When you are stuck without a winning legal theory, you rely on the theory of tortious interference. It is rarely successful …

So far so good. But then:

Filing the tortious interference lawsuit demonstrated that MLB commissioner Bud Selig was committed to the elimination of PEDs in baseball. Stung by the embarrassing loss in the arbitration over the suspension of Ryan Braun, MLB could easily have ignored the Biogenesis issues and watched as the story slowly died. They could have enjoyed their record attendance and profits instead of taking action and prolonging the steroid era. Instead of taking an easier path, Selig pursued Bosch. The success of MLB’s lawyers in forcing Bosch into a cooperation agreement is nothing less than astonishing. It is a tribute to Selig and to the lawyers that they have succeeded in what appeared to be a hopeless situation.

And here I thought the whole problem with steroids in baseball is players getting desired results through shady means. I never realized that we should be paying “tribute” to them if it all worked out for them.

Pokes at Munson aside, why is the most reasonable assumption here that MLB’s legal strategy — which really should not have created leverage considering how ill-fated it was — is the reason Bosch is cooperating?  Do we really know enough right now to know for sure that his cooperation is because he was worried about that lawsuit? Or is it possible that MLB has offered him other things that induced it, rendering them less tribute-worthy? If Munson grants that the lawsuit was weak sauce, why is he not at all skeptical of the current arrangement? I mean, just this morning we learned that Bosch was looking to cash in prior to his getting in bed with MLB.

This is the real issue with Anthony Bosch. Why is he willing to change his story now? Was it the alleged brilliance of MLB in pursuing a misguided legal gambit, or is he simply being an opportunist?

  1. breastfedted - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Christ, Craig, how many more steroid user dong-slurping blog entries are you going to post today? It’s getting creepy how far you seem to be taking your pro-steroid crusade.

    • nategearhart - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Reading sure is hard.

      • Ralph - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Not nearly as hard as comprehension, apparently.

      • nategearhart - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Yeah I was kind of lumping that in there. If “long jump to erroneous conclusions” was an Olympic sport, this guy could win the gold.

      • natslady - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        Actually, I’m getting to the point where I skip over these posts. This is the first one I glanced at today, and I never watch the videos. If Craig is going for page-views from me, how about some good Nats trolling?

    • heyblueyoustink - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      I disagree with how you put it, cave person, but I agree with the general ” i’m done with this already” sentiment.

      Hell, i’d even take a Bryce Harper article at this point.

      • natslady - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        LOL. Unfortunately, Bryce is on the DL until June 10, and behaving himself. He does seem a little discouraged, though. Kid came on to a miracle team last year and even though he personally slumped, he recovered and won just about every prize in the book. But, Craig doesn’t approve of his underwear,l so there’s that.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        WTF is wrong with head. It’s bigger than his body!

      • indaburg - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        i just want to say thank you, natslady.

      • anthonyverna - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

        Underwear is always stuffed in packaging pictures.

    • bigharold - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      CAN WE AT LEAST STOP USING THIS GUYS MUG SHOT??

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Craig knows it helps his cause, which it is for Craig, a cause.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Craig is the same guy that thinks Bonds and Clemens should get the Red Carpet treatment to the HoF.

      Still calls Bonds and “immortal” putting him there with Ruth, Cobb, and Williams.

      And attempts to throws every player in MLB under the bus during the steroid era by saying “everyone was doing it” in order to defend to false heroes.

      So yes, he will write 5 blogs a day about the subject, and attack any other person who writes anything contradictory.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        tycobbfromfangraphs is the guy who thinks that the US gov’t should be able to torture and execute its’ citizens without any oversight, and that spying on their own citizens is justified.

        See how easy it is to make shit up.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Riiiiiiiiight because I can’t find quotes were Craig still calls Bonds an “immortal” or where Craig used the text-book apologist play of it being an even playing field since nearly everyone else was juicing too.

        He’s the 1st one to demand a beyond reasonable doubt type of proof yet he’s also the same one that is ready say that so many others were guilty of it when Bonds and Clemens were playing that it was even-stevens.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        “His first argument, however, is terrible. Under the ironic heading “Baseball Bonafides,” Calcaterra begins by reciting Bonds’ (and Clemens’) impressive list of achievements, which taken at face value show Barry Bonds to be one the best of the best, not just a qualified Hall of Fame baseball player, but an epitome of a Hall of Fame player along with such legends as Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson , Ted Williams and Willie Mays. “Put simply,” Craig says in conclusion, Bonds is an “immortal.” But he’s not-–not if he cheated, not if he achieved his historic status by corrupting his sport and lying to team mates and fans. And, as Calcaterra admits at the outset, this he did. As a result, the fact that Bonds won a record seven Most Valuable Player Awards is irrelevant. He cheated to win some of those awards. He gets no credit for them. In Bonds’s case, “baseball bonafides” are not bona fide at all. ”

        http://ethicsalarms.com/2012/12/13/of-course-barry-bonds-doesnt-belong-in-the-hall-of-fame/

        See?

        See how easy it is to find quotes with the internet?
        Douche

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        Riiiiiiiiight because I can’t find quotes were Craig still calls Bonds an “immortal” or where Craig used the text-book apologist play of it being an even playing field since nearly everyone else was juicing too.

        Why isn’t Bonds an “immortal”? He’s one of the best hitters ever, and combined with his defense and running, could be considered one of the best ever. Is it because he took PEDs, which weren’t banned at the time? Well so did Mays, Aaron and Mantle, and probably plenty of other players.

        WTF is an “apologist” other than a right wing buzzword used to scare people. When has Craig ever apologized about anything.

        He’s the 1st one to demand a beyond reasonable doubt type of proof yet he’s also the same one that is ready say that so many others were guilty of it when Bonds and Clemens were playing that it was even-stevens.

        You mean he’s the first one who says that MLB should go through it’s own collective bargained process instead of smearing players in the press before the process plays out? How terrible of him. Maybe we should just burn people at the stake and collect incriminating evidence later.

        He cheated to win some of those awards. He gets no credit for them. In Bonds’s case, “baseball bonafides” are not bona fide at all. ”

        How did he cheat if he didn’t break any of MLB’s rules? he did the same thing that others did, maybe used a better substance. And there are plenty of “cheaters” already in the HoF, so that argument doesn’t hold water.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Also note, that Jack Marshall is a great read for ethics information, but his opinions are often ill-formed and not backed by any evidence (at least here, I can’t speak for his legal career). He makes statements and never offers any defense, except maybe defending Bobby V which seems odd.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Ty Cobb: That passage you quote from Marshall is a deliberate misread of my post. I make it quite clear in the post that my discussion of the baseball bonafides is just looking at the numbers as they appear and that, obviously, the Hall of Fame cases have the PED aspect to be considered. Jack would have the numbers disappear when they have not.

        It’s actually true that Barry Bonds hit 762 homers and won 7 MVP awards. One might have a dim view of those things as accomplishments because of the PEDs, but they cannot claim that those things did not, in fact, occur. I spend most of the rest of that post talking about how we reconcile the numbers with the PED use.

        But Jack — and you by extension — are so emotionally invested in calling Bonds a cheater and me an apologist that it woud ruin your buzz to actually quote me in context.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        Specifically, this is passage that Jack would like to pretend does not exist:

        “Let’s first walk through their obvious baseball qualifications for the Hall — and bear with me, because I will assume in this first part that the performance enhancing drug issues don’t exist — and then deal with those pesky objections so many have to their candidacy.”

        There is no deception here. The numbers are the numbers. After that section I write:

        “While Clemens and (to some extent ) Bonds continue to either deny or play down their use of PEDs, and while the criminal prosecutions against them were either misguided, unsuccessful or both, it is simply obtuse to believe that they weren’t significant PED users.”

        Then I state that “Sure, to some extent their statistics were inflated. But by how much?”

        You and Jack may wish to say that they are 100% fabricated but that is certainly not true. They had baseball ability before they took PEDs. We simply can’t know what part of their performance was due to PEDs.

        You and Jack may conclude that it doesn’t matter and that andy PED use is an automatic disqualifier. You have the right to believe that. But understand it is merely your view that such a thing makes sense, it’s not an imperative. Many, myself included, and many Hall of Fame voters would disagree.

        That’s the contours of this debate. Feel free to feel differently about it but don’t you dare assume that everyone does or should agree with you on that score.

    • natslady - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      Was going to say the same thing. Can we wait at least until there is some actual NEWS? All this moralizing/non-moralizing… yuck.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        It’s literally making me concentrate more on my job rather than goofing off around here.

      • bsbiz - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        You have my sympathies.

    • hammyofdoom - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      I wish I could be as blissfully ignorant as this. The silence you get from lack of critical thinking/reading must be amazing

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Legal experts, including me, scoffed at the MLB action.

    Shouldn’t “legal expert” always be put in quotes? I mean, the guy had to voluntarily give up his law license after he was already on probation and facing multiple charges of misconduct from the Illinois State Bar:

    “On September 30, 1986, Respondent [Munson] was suspended from the practice of law for three years and until further order of the Court, and this suspension was stayed and Respondent was placed on probation for three years with conditions. In re Munson, No. 85 CH 57, M.R. 4029. Respondent’s misconduct included his neglect of three client matters as well as misstatements regarding the status of two of the client matters. Respondent’s misconduct was attributable to his alcoholism.”
    .
    “In October 1989, Respondent discontinued practicing. Respondent has no current intention to return to the practice of law.”

    http://liestoppers.blogspot.com/2007/03/lester-munson-legal-expert.html

    • umrguy42 - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Well, “expert” should, at the very least…

      • headbeeguy - Jun 6, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        I vote for “Lester Munson, Law-Talking Guy”

  3. evanwins - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I always wanted to see a league of Baseball and a league of Football where steroids and PED’s were mandatory. All the players had to be juiced to the max. It would be these huge super athletes with amazing “enhanced” ability doing ridiculously super human things.

    That’s what I want to see. That would be entertaining.

    • jrobitaille23 - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      NFL might not make PED mandatory but they all do it and so you kind of already get to see athletes doing super human things. I’d say from the early 90s to about two years ago you had the same thing in baseball. The majority of these players were either on steroids or HGH and many still are.

    • bigsuede - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      You can already see it in WWE. They look amazing and do super human things almost daily at tv tapings and house shows.

      You can also check out their lives in retirement- many die in their 40s. Many become drug addicts to combat all the pain they experience. Super fun!

  4. sleepyirv - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    So Bud Selig is the cowboy cop who plays by his own rules but the powers-that-be can’t fire him because he GETS RESULTS.

    And this is only place where Bud Selig is comparable to a Bruce Willis character.

  5. bigsuede - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    I usually just stay on the football side- but this Craig guy is bizarre.

    I really don’t understand how a seemingly thoughtful person can be so pro-steriods/ pro-PEDs. I thought at first he must be a user himself, but he seems very small in pictures.

    Steriods and PEDs are dangerous- and the cheaters put pressure on others to follow suit and take them as well. The fact is- many players would voluntarily sacrifice their health post 40’s to get an edge in baseball and MLB needs to protect these players from themselves.

    I have lifted my whole life and been in many gyms. I know guys first hand who have used steriods and human growth hormone and experienced great results. But I also know about what happens in their late 30s and 40s when their hormones are out of wack and they can’t have sex anymore, and they start having tendon issues- I mean it is frightening. And PEDs aren’t any better- the medical community doesn’t have enough history of people taking these designer drugs to know what side effects they can produce yet.

    This is a societal issue- When MLB players can take these drugs and have people like Craig here say that it isnt a big deal- young people start thinking it isnt a big deal. None of them think about their lives post 30s- it is too far off. I just can’t understand the argument defending these drugs abuser/cheats.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      I usually just stay on the football side- but this Craig guy is bizarre.

      I really don’t understand how a seemingly thoughtful person can be so pro-steriods/ pro-PEDs. I thought at first he must be a user himself, but he seems very small in pictures.

      He’s not. Re-read the articles. If you still think he’s pro steroids, then we’re dealing with a serious issue of PEBKAC syndrome and you should get it checked out.

      • bigsuede - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        I’m sorry- isn’t this the guy who thinks steriod users should be celebrated by gaining admittance in the hall of fame?

        Isn’t he always critical whenever the MLB attempts to clean up the sport?

        Does he not want MLB to look the other way when 20 some players are outted for using banned substances?

        It seems like the views a steriod/PED salesman would hold

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        I’m sorry- isn’t this the guy who thinks steriod users should be celebrated by gaining admittance in the hall of fame?

        Why shouldn’t they be allowed in? Guys like Clemens and Bonds didn’t break any of MLB’s rules when they took PEDs. If the only accusation you can make is that they broke federal laws, well then start by kicking out Ruth, Aaron, Mays and Mantle who also did. Be consistent.

        Isn’t he always critical whenever the MLB attempts to clean up the sport?

        No, he’s critical when MLB tries to do an end run around a collectively bargained agreement with the players. If you have an agreement between Party A and Party B, why shouldn’t Party A get called out if they don’t wish to follow the agreemenT?

        Does he not want MLB to look the other way when 20 some players are outted for using banned substances?

        [citation needed]

        It seems like the views a steriod/PED salesman would hold

        Yes, a guy who thinks MLB should follow it’s agreed upon rules is a definitely a steroid salesman.

        /boggle

      • Jack Marshall - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Regarding your previous remark—I don’t know which “ill-formed” opinion pieces you are referring to, but in the one linked, my exposition was pretty thorough. On the other hand, declaring opinions are “not backed by evidence” without citing either an opinion or the missing evidence pretty much defines hypocrisy.

        To answer one of your silly arguments above, using illegally obtained PED’s IS cheating, whether a sport has specifically declared it so or not. It is presumed that abiding by the law is what all players do. Breaking the law for a competitive advantage is still cheating.

      • bigsuede - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        Church-

        1) Fay Vincent banned the use of PED’s for players back in the early 90’s. When Bonds and Clemons used steriods they were certainly against the rules of the game.

        2) As a guy who witkined labor law and worked on a couple negotiations- it is VERY rare that a union even brings a suit against an employer regarding enforcing safety issues. The evidence that is here would likely get a person found guilty of taking the PED, therefore to suspend them over the evidence doesn’t seem like such a stretch. Secondly- the majority of players DO NOT take PED’s- are they really going to support the union protecting players who use this stuff to inflate their salaries at the expense of their own? That isnt rational.

        3) Dude are you serious?

        4) MLB says they suspend players who use PEDs. Documentation from a business selling PED’s is solid evidence. Again, people are convicted in court for a lot less everyday.

      • bsbiz - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        The documentation itself is not very good. You have names written in a book and amounts. I can do literally the same thing and it carries the same amount of weight. If he produces financial records that prove he was actually paid that amount, there is proof there.

        Fay Vincent banned them knowing full well that such a gesture was symbolic and that any testing would have to be collectively bargained. He has admitted it himself.

        Clearly you haven’t been paying attention to the unity of this union.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        @Jack

        To answer one of your silly arguments above, using illegally obtained PED’s IS cheating, whether a sport has specifically declared it so or not. It is presumed that abiding by the law is what all players do. Breaking the law for a competitive advantage is still cheating.

        So you are in favor of Mays and Aaron not being in the HoF, as amphetamines were a Schedule II drug? Let’s be consistent here. Ruth most certainly drank during Prohibition, which was also against federal law. Mantle used steroids.

        @bigsuede

        1) Fay Vincent banned the use of PED’s for players back in the early 90′s. When Bonds and Clemons used steriods they were certainly against the rules of the game.

        His declaration was non-binding, as any change to the rules is governed by the CBA. Vincent said so himself, in this link:

        Also is 1-4 directed towards me?

        http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/5/31/4373908/fay-vincent-interview

    • tolbuck - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Funny you are attacking Craig for “defending” drug cheats. Football is swarming with them, yet we rarely hear any outrage about them. Please take the lead on attacking the NFL drug cheats. After all, it is a societal issue.

      Yes I am grumpy. I’m sick and tired of the double standard with PEDs.

      • bigsuede - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        What double standards? I don’t like PED’s in football either. I make comments about the NFL needing more stringent testing too. I am a niners fan and have never warmed to Vernon Davis.

        I also watch professional wrestling.

        I would rather these performers be safe. It sucks when we see stories of childhood heroes struggling and experiencing early deaths.

  6. specialkindofstupid - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Craig: I think these PED articles would go over better with the HBT masses if you swapped Anthony Bosch’s photo with someone a bit more photogenic. Someone like Dr. Ruth Westheimer, but I’m just spitballing here.

  7. blabidibla - Jun 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Seriously Craig, you have a problem. Just walk away for a day and let it be. For a person who rants about how the media is hyping this thing, you are creating your own monster.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Where have I said the media is hyping it? It’s a legitimately big story. I believe some in the media are drawing the wrong conclusions and are being melodramatic in their prose when talking about it, but this is easily the biggest story going at the moment and likely the biggest in a couple of years.

      • blabidibla - Jun 8, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        “media hyping” being a loosely defined term that includes melodramatic and often wrong conclusions…

        I think you answered your own question.

  8. decimusprime - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Bonds was a HoF’r before steriods. period. He was a phenom. Then he met father time and tried to defy his time…mistake.

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