Sure, there’s a Mets’ angle to the Biogenesis stuff through Cesar Puello, but beyond that, I think this is a fascinating story. I’m not sure why I think it’s so interesting but perhaps because it is 1. like baseball itself still unpredictable and 2. because its complexity defies simple explanations and moralizing.
I promise not to do this everyday, but here were the best things I read about the unfolding drama in the last 24 hours.
– At HardballTalk, Craig Calceterra breaks the news that Major League Baseball has not decided on whether they would actually suspend specific players writing, a “source familiar with the Biogenesis investigation tells HardballTalk that Major League Baseball plans to interview all of the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal by the end of June…. However, it undercuts the inference many have made since that report came out that Major League Baseball has already decided to discipline the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal or that it has already decided to impose any specific penalties, be they 50 or 100 game suspensions.”
– The Daily News reports that Alex Rodriguez declined to pay off Tony Bosch, on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars, in exchange for his silence.
The Changing Reaction to the Story
Over the course of the Tuesday night through Wednesday evening the tone of much of the coverage around the Biogenesis changed tone from something like, “MLB has Tony Bosch’s cooperation, and now they will suspend a whole bunch of players” to “hold on a second, Bosch’s word is not enough; this is the beginning of a long process and potentially a longer fight.”
Here are some examples:
– Tuesday at 10:58 pm, at SI.com Tom Verducci: “Bosch’s cooperation is a major breakthrough for MLB.”
– Wednesday at SI’s Strike Zone Blog Jay Jaffe: “in the words of the Jimmy Cliff classic, there are still many rivers to cross before Braun, Rodriguez and the other dozen or so players — some of whom may not have even been publicly identified yet — are suspended.”
– Wednesday at 12:36 Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball: “the league will have an uphill climb getting the suspensions past the appeals process on just the word of Bosch…. If other players were to turn, it could make a suspension for Rodriguez and/or Braun—the two “big fish” implicated— more likely.”
– Wednesday at 10:00 pm David Lennon and Steven Marcus in Newsday: “Major League Baseball may find it difficult to penalize Alex Rodriguez and the nearly two-dozen players linked to Biogenesis, even with ESPN reporting the expected cooperation of the clinic’s founder, Anthony Bosch.” Newsday has good background from lawyers in the sports field.
– Tim Marchman has a wonderful, profanity filled recap of the action, published at 2:48 pm Wednesday at Deadspin. Marchman lines up with what I wrote yesterday that 1. MLB did not have enough evidence to punish any of the players with the evidence that they currently possess, and thus the leak to ESPN is MLB’s attempt at public punishment and shaming.
– At the Hardball Times, Labor lawyer Eugene Freedman was one of the first to run through the comprehensive problems with baseball’s case on Wednesday from a weak central witness in Tony Bosch and the battle between MLB and its own testing system and the rumors about MLB’s attempt to charge certain players twice: once for possession and once for lying. His conclusion: “This case, at first blush, appears to be just another in a long line of overreaching by the league and the owners in a multi-decade-long attempt to pretend that it doesn’t have to follow its contract or labor law.”
– Grant Bisbee at SBNation focuses on the statement MLB is making, which he claims is, “that their testing will never be good enough, so they’ll have to use other means to stop PED use.”
– The full text of the statement the MLB Players Association released is here. It begins, “The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner’s Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players, and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association.” This makes plain AGAIN, that Cesar Puello will be represented by the MLBPA, which is good for him and the Mets.
The Bud Selig Angle
– Again, at HardballTalk, Calceterra points out that this type of leak is very out of character for “late career” Bud Selig’s MLB where Selig has built strong consensus before any major move. Calceterra hypothesizes that the leak indicates a potential split within the MLB hierarchy.
– At Grantland, Jonah Keri believes that the Biogenesis investigation and leak is all about Selig’s legacy, “All of this reads like a man who seems determined to change his legacy from being the commissioner under whom everybody took steroids to the commissioner who cleaned up baseball.”