Rush to Judgment
By Andrew Fish Fain
PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs) are baseball’s version of Herpes. Just when it looks like you have taken the medicine and gotten rid of it, it comes back with a vengeance.
That’s what’s going on as the story of the Biogenesis lab is breaking. To believe what is being reported, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and some 20 or so other players are at risk of being suspended from anywhere between 50 to 100 games for having something to do with the Steroid Factory in South Florida.
Apparently, Tony Bosch, the founder of the Miami-area clinic at the center of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, has decided to turn “states evidence” against this A-List of ball players and ferret out just which ones have been lying to us now.
If Braun and A-Rod get suspended, it will mark the first time in history two former MVP’s will have been suspended for drug use. Think about that for a second, in the long and storied history of Major League Baseball, this will be a first.
Other names on the list are somewhat familiar, like Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon, both of whom were suspended just last season for 50 games for testing positive for steroids. Under the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), between Baseball and the Players Union, a first time offender gets a 50 game suspension, a second offense is 100 games and a third time means a lifetime ban from the sport.
This is where the first bit of trouble for baseball comes in for this scandal. Baseball wants to suspend both Braun and A-Rod 100 games, even though it would technically be their first offenses (I say technically because Braun tested positive after his MVP season in 2011 and it was overturned on appeal and A-Rod was supposed to be suspended back in 2009, but was not and ended up playing after just 28 games missed due to hip surgery). Baseball says that these will count as two offenses for each, the first for going to Biogenesis and the second for lying about it. I am sure if they get 100 game bans, the Union will stringently appeal and probably win.
But still, this whole story is giving the sport a black eye after it seemed like things had finally settled down from the whole BALCO fiasco.
But before we go convicting these guys based on the word of Mr. Bosch, let’s consider the one thing that is seemingly getting buried in all of this, Tony Bosch’s credibility. If you ask me, he is about as credible as Marisa Tomei’s Oscar.
Bosch was being sued by Major League Baseball. With that lawsuit hanging over his head and his clinic closed, he was broke and unable to get hired by anyone. So he went to Alex Rodriguez and asked for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. A-Rod promptly shot him down.
So what did Bosch do next? He went to the MLB offices and struck a deal. They would withdraw the lawsuit and he would sing like a canary about all the players that came to visit his clinic. So Bosch had absolutely nothing to gain by making up stories, now did he?
My other problem with all this is that not only is MLB going off of the word by a guy who has everything to gain and nothing to lose anymore, but they also want to suspend these guys without the benefit of a positive drug test.
Now I believe that PED’s are a scourge on the face of the sport I love as much as the next guy, but I also think we as a society need to be a little careful before we make this rush to judgment. All the facts need to come out, and give me some concrete proof before we ruin the name of several of the best the sport has to offer.