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The Biogenesis investigation turns into a Dirty Harry movie

Jun 21, 2013, 3:01 PM EDT

Dirty Harry

We read the story of a former Biogenesis employee the other day. Porter Fischer, the man who blew the whistle to the Miami New Times allowed that paper to tell his story and it was one full of intrigue. MLB investigators are intimidating him, he says. Tony Bosch is the devil. People are following him and breaking into his car and all of that. It’s good reading!

Today Tim Brown of Yahoo! looks at that story and concludes from it that Major League Baseball has taken the gloves off. They’ve gone to the mattresses. They’ve done every cliche from every mob and/or crime drama you’ve ever seen. Because this time it’s personal!

Their mistake was overestimating Major League Baseball’s leaders’ preference for restraint, their distaste for ugly public dramas.

Biogenesis, Tony Bosch, Tony’s dad, a new character with store-bought pecs and a spray-on tan namedPorter Fischer who currently can be found raging against MLB’s duplicity, the ballplayers who became clients and their many puppy-dog retrievers, all of them, they never thought MLB – Bud Selig, Rob Manfred, the 15 full-time investigators on the job, many others – would get this dirty.

Banging on doors? Rolling up in smoke-windowed sedans? Throwing grease money around? Flipping witnesses? Bringing muscle?

These are the guys are from Park Avenue?

The article itself suggests no small amount of satisfaction on Brown’s part at Major League Baseball appearing to get tough on PED guys. All of the back-slapping Brown is getting this afternoon from other writers on Twitter suggests that he is not alone in enjoying watching MLB get down and dirty and in the muck and all of that. It’s the same sort of satisfaction people take at movies in which cops play by their own rules and become criminals’ worst nightmares.

But what I’m not seeing a bit of is anyone questioning whether this Fischer guy is actually the most accurate narrator on the planet. And if he isn’t, doesn’t that totally change the story about how MLB is actually proceeding?

Possibility #1: Fischer is a b.s.-artist who, at the very least, is spinning normal investigative conduct into high drama. Personally, that’s my take on it, as everything he says in the Miami New Times story has that whiff of phoniness to it.  I’m not suggesting that anything he says is technically not true. No reason at all to question the basic facts of what he provides. But the way he puts it — the high drama, the intrigue, the danger and the conduct of everyone who is not him — just doesn’t pass the smell test. I feel like he’s a guy who interprets every event in the most dramatic and sinister fashion and I feel like he’s someone who gets some degree of satisfaction from placing himself in the middle of that drama.

A guy like that would be inclined to characterize visits from MLB investigators as something far more sinister than they really were. He’d be inclined to exaggerate offers from said investigators and A-Rod’s representatives to play up his importance in the narrative. He’d also be inclined to exaggerate take-it-or-leave-it offers into threats. He’d be inclined to turn his personal enemies like Tony Bosch into sinister arch enemies who have the ability to unleash evil. Go back and read his comments in that Miami New Times report and tell me he doesn’t strike you as that kind of fabulist. If that’s the case — and again, it’s my own personal opinion on that — Brown is probably not on the most solid ground using this guy’s story as evidence of MLB dramatically changing the nature of its investigatory tactics.

To be clear: I have no doubt MLB is vigorously investigating the Biogenesis stuff. I have no doubt that they are pouring considerable resources into it. I just think that characterizing it as some sort of Dirty Harry-style ruthless mission to take down the cheaters with extreme prejudice and at any cost is a case of a desired narrative obscuring what is, in all likelihood, a methodical and businesslike investigation led by lawyers and investigators whose goal is to impress an arbitrator, not win the girl, clean up the streets and show that hardass Captain of theirs that sometimes you gotta break the rules.

Possibility #2: Everything Fischer says is true in both fact and in tone and both he and Brown are right that MLB is engaging in behavior that is “despicable, unethical and potentially illegal.” Words, by the way, A-Rod’s attorney David Cornwell uses and which Brown notes could accurately describe the situation. If that’s the case, why is this something anyone should approve of? Why is one allegedly despicable act — PED use — properly fought by despicable acts in return? If that is the case — and again, this is what Fischer and, by extension, Brown says is going on — why is MLB not to be condemned instead of praised?

But like I said above: I seriously doubt MLB is cracking skulls. I think they may be happy to have that impression out there because maybe that’s useful for the sake of deterrence, but I think it’s just an impression. I find it fascinating how eager people seem to be to eat it up and I think it reveals just how much some folks think of the overall story of PEDs in baseball as a drama pitting good against evil as opposed to anything resembling real life.

  1. tcostant - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    More like part of what Fister says is true…

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    MLB is commended for their dirty tactics for getting the PED users because PED users are the worst people EVER!!!

    (I hope people see the sarcasm)

    • bravojawja - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Real sarcasm would have spelled it “EVAR!!1!”

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        Ha! I like it

    • zzalapski - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      If A-Rod, history’s greatest monster, can still walk the streets without fearing for his life, clearly MLB needs to crack down harder.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Well, obviously.

      • vivabear - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        Greatest…..or worst?

  3. bougin89 - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Chief: Have you been following that man?
    Harry Callahan: Yeah, I’ve been following him on my own time. And anybody can tell I didn’t do that to him.
    Chief: How?
    Harry Callahan: Cause he looks too damn good, that’s how!

    • bigharold - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      Ever wonder if that movie would, with it’s iconic lines, have made the same impact had someone other than Eastwood played Harry?

      Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum Paul Newman, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen and Robert Redford ALL turned it down first.

      I read that it was in fact Newman the recommended Eastwood. Go figure.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Walt Kowalski and Will Munny – those two could not have been anyone but Clint. But Harry Callahan could have been others. As for the aforementioned, my take would be:

        Sinatra – nope
        John Wayne – no way
        Robert Mitchum – yes
        Paul Newman – no
        Burt Lancaster – yes
        Steve McQueen – maybe
        Robert Redford – no

        Lloyd Bridges could have pulled it off too

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        I couldn’t disagree with you more. The grittyness of the character, the hard stone look, steely blue eyed glare, Eastwood had years of practice with the spaghetti westerns. It’s why he fit the role so perfectly. No one on that list could have pulled the iconic nature of “Harry Callahan” off except Eastwood. Maybe John Wayne in his younger years, or even Yule Brenner when he was younger, but no one on that list at that time.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        Great question. I have a list of guys who could have played Harry Callahan without ruining a potential franchise.

        Robert Conrad, Ben Gazzara, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, James Caan, maybe Jon Voight.

      • gloccamorra - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:13 PM

        I’d have only quibbled with the ‘maybe’ for Steve McQueen He could have pulled it off. But “pulled it off” does NOT mean equals Eastwood, only that those others could have done a passable job with the role.

      • badintent - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        The left winger POS Redford ? He don’t have the stones to play Wizard of Oz.Burt Lancaster or Steve would have been my first choices.Newman was too nice a guy.
        My personal pick would have been Lee Marvin. I loved the way he killed those Russians in Gorky Park

      • anxovies - Jun 22, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        I heard Rick Moranis turned it down.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        All right wing pieces of theet have (a) bad intent.

  4. serbingood - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Might be more true than not. In today’s atmosphere, governance has adopted a shoot first and ask the real questions later mentality. Everyone is guilty until proved innocent. It feels like Selig and the boys have gone all Darryl Issa on the PED issue.

    What I find amusing is a player can get a STEROID INJECTION from a doctor to speed up healing or to reduce pain, ’cause those are the GOOD steroids. If a player takes a different steroid for similar reasons he faces a 50/100 game ban. As a patient that gets the GOOD steroid injections a couple times a year I know that they come from a compounding pharmacy; it’s not an off the shelf Rx. Maybe all steroids should be banned, regardless of the source. It sends a mixed message. MLB says MY steroids are good, yours aren’t.

    Whatever happens in the end, only the lawyers will end up being the winners. They get paid by the hour.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      In all fairness, corticosteroids are very different from anabolic steroids.

    • Barb Caffrey - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      Asthmatics take steroid inhalers, and anyone in baseball who needs his inhaler should be allowed to have one. I am firmly against this policy (adopted by the World Baseball Classic, and condoned by MLB) that says a man who has asthma should not be able to take his albuterol rescue inhaler because — gasp, shudders, horrors! — it’s a steroid.

      In this case, I’m on the side of both life and common sense. So let the folks have their asthma inhalers already.

      (I’m also pro-cortisone injection and pro-painkillers, providing they’ve been recommended by a doctor or otherwise trained medical person like a PA or nurse practitioner.)

  5. banpeds - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    MLB does not need Fisher, they have more than enough to see this though and suspend these cheaters. They decided to not cut any deal with him and they will not be using him if any player decides to appeal, which I doubt they will. MLB has the goods on all of them and they will get what they deserve. MLB is no white night over the years, But I for one am Glad they are trying now. People need to stop reaching for ways to protect all these cheating players and dirtbags from Biogen. It’s amazing how many people are trying to protect the players and laying the blame for their actions at the people who want the game cleaned up. Why would all the named players so far, and plenty more to come, get invlolved with characters like Porter, Bosch and many others, unless they to were dirtbags. A whole room of liars, cheaters, dirtbags equals one thing – a rotten stink. Stop Defending all these creeps and cheaters.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      They decided to not cut any deal with him and they will not be using him if any player decides to appeal, which I doubt they will.

      You doubt any of the players will appeal? Want to buy some bridges in Manhattan, sell them to you real cheap!

      It’s amazing how many people are trying to protect the players and laying the blame for their actions at the people who want the game cleaned up.

      Name one person or entity that wants to blame Biogenesis for this scandal and not the players themselves. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

      Why would all the named players so far, and plenty more to come, get invlolved with characters like Porter, Bosch and many others, unless they to were dirtbags

      So Galahad, you must be the one person on Earth who has never met or associated with a bad person. Is it lonely atop that pedestal?

      • banpeds - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        bad persons, I know a few…associate with them, sure when I have too, like catching the people who murdered my brother… As for bridges…lol… Everyone has an opinion, you, me and everyone…We shall see… more than most blame MLB for this “witchunt” and feel the players should appeal, even if they used PEDS or the proof is supposedly not there…if they did’nt do anything wrong, then by all means appeal…

        There are quite a few players cooperating with MLB on this mess like Colon, Grandal, Melky and others…… They have already told MLB where they got the stuff from….and how and from who and how it was delivered. I would not want to be a player attempting to appeal knowing other players, and witnesses have cooperated and corroborated most, if not all of the eveidence…. Unless my character or denial is like that of Armstrong…lol….

  6. kiwicricket - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Before drawing any real conclusions, Tim Brown of Yahoo needs to click ‘spell-check’ first.

  7. jeffa43 - Jun 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Walt Whitman once said, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.” You could look it up.

    Remember the game of baseball is pure, and pristine. It is not Seligs game, it is not A-frauds game, it is our game. It is the love, and beauty of a kid throwing, hitting, and catching a ball.

    Remove all media, remove the greed, and the game is pure perfection… That cannot be taken away, no matter what outside influence is trying to poison it..

    It will all pass… And four bases, and countless hearts remain infatuated with the game we grew up with and love today.

    Think for yourself, and never let others greed and agendas influence what our hearts know as fact.

    • jeffa43 - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Whoever thumbs downed that….

      Go back to Kenya…. You are not welcome here.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        Sans the reference to Kenya, I say amen.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        I didn’t, but I take serious issue with:
        Remember the game of baseball is pure, and pristine

        It definitely isn’t. It never has been, and never was. Unless you want to remove all the actual players from the game…

  8. DJ MC - Jun 21, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    I assume that Bazooka is standing ready to make sure–for the sake of the players–Major League Basebal doesn’t run out of bubble gum.

  9. gloccamorra - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    The story has lots of intrigue, but Hollywood won’t touch it unless there’s more sex and violence, or at least room for computer wizardry. Where are the dead bodies? Where’s the femme fatale?

  10. tanzkommandant - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Why would MLB “go to the matresses”? This would imply they are the ones hiding not the other way around.

  11. sleepyirv - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    It was tough work, carrying 220 pounds of roided-out scum to the top of the Four Seasons Hotel Miami — the highest spot in the city. The scream alone is worth it.

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