Just another day in today’s Major League Baseball. Another day, another scandal has emerged connecting someone to a performance enhancing drug scandal. The doping allegations are getting out of hand in the sport, taking away from the game. Most recently, 20 players including All-Stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are facing suspensions from baseball following their connections to steroids becoming clearer.
The connection that has emerged is one between the twenty players and the now closed Biogenesis of America, which was located in Miami Florida. Tony Bosch, founder of the now closed company, has reached an agreement with the MLB to be fully cooperative with the league’s investigation according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines. The league is hoping that this provides them with the necessary evidence to finally suspend the players they have long believed to be connected to steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.
Sources close to the case have suggested that the league’s top officials might forgo the standard procedure for suspensions, and seek longer ones for the more prominent superstars involved. Alex Rodriquez and Ryan Braun are the names on top of the list, and are reportedly being targeted for 100 game suspensions. The rational for skipping to a second offense punishment isn’t quite airtight. They argue that prior claims by the players that they weren’t involved with performance enhancing drugs or steroids count as a first offense, while anything that Bosch reveals to the league officials will constitute another.
Bosch is agreeing to cooperate with the league through this deal after receiving assurance from them that they would do what they could to prevent a federal investigation from starting. The league actually has no direct power to do so, but being a major organization they probably do have some connections and the ability to pull a few strings, making the deal alluring to the biochemist.
Major League baseball has said it will drop its lawsuit against Bosch as a part of this deal, hoping his help will culminate their year long investigation since his name first surfaced on their radar nearly a year ago.
The league already has records tying the twenty players to Biogenesis of America, but the paperwork they have means little without a sworn testament from Bosch. He also has said that he will provide any other forms of evidence he has to the league, things like receipts and phone records potentially could help as well.
Several players named in the case could be hard to find guilty. Bosch allegedly only dealt with cash, and often used couriers to deliver his products. As a result of this he may never have seen these men face to face, a serious hole in the league’s case.
The twenty players named in the case are listed below:
Everth Cabrera- Padres
Melky Cabrera- Blue Jays
Francisco Cervelli- Yankees
Bartolo Colon- Athletics
Nelson Cruz- Rangers
Fautino de los Santos -free agent
Gio Gonzalez- Nationals
Yasmani Grandal- Padres
Fernando Martinez- Astros
Jesus Montero- Mariners
Jordan Norberto- Free agent
Jhonny Peralta- Tigers
Cesar Puello- Mets (minor league)
Alex Rodriguez- Yankees
Five other players are listed in code names on the charts and are yet to be identified.
Ryan Braun appears to be in significant hot water as a result of documents that have surfaced. He is shown in two documents as owing money to the now defunct company. The first document states that he owes $30,000 and the second that he owes $1,500. Braun has claimed that the larger figure was the fee he was charged for having Bosch consult his appeal of last year’s 50 game suspension attempt by the league for performance enhancing drugs.
Following last night’s game, Braun was asked about the allegations, and according to USA Today replied with “I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed. I don’t know the specifics of the story that came out today, but I’ve already addressed it, I’ve already commented on it, and I’ll say nothing further about it.”
Alex Rodriguez, baseball’s highest paid player, has also fully denied the connection between him and performance enhancing drugs.
Managers of both the Brewers and Yankees have remained reluctant to answer any questions regarding the issue. Yankee’s manager Joe Girardi responded to questions last night by saying “I always worry about my players, always,” he said. “One thing you never want to forget is… they’re human beings.” adding in that “When I talk to Alex, it’s baseball-related. That’s what it is.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke played ignorant when he was asked about the charges following last night’s game, telling reporters that “I know Major League Baseball is handling it, and that’s all I know.” However since giving that speech, Roenicke has taken Braun out of the lineup for tonight’s game.
The sad truth of this incident is that Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and the 18 others are only the most recent in an extensive list of baseball players that have been caught in a steroid scandal. Home run kings Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire made us all aware of the problem plaguing the game in the mid 90s following years of video game like numbers by the two sluggers. Purists of the game ask that the records of Barry Bonds have an asterisk placed next to their name in the league annals because of his use of performance enhancers.
With suspensions becoming commonplace in today’s baseball, it is fair to ask whether or not the drugs have beat baseball. The MLB makes its money because of its star players. The crackdown on performance enhancing drugs almost always includes a headline worthy player, leading to his inevitable suspension by a league office desperate to prove its game is still credible.
Suspensions of some of the biggest stars in the game only take away from the game’s marketability the remainder of that season. Those players can’t sell tickets while they are suspended after all, and with a first offense suspension of fifty games, that isn’t a brief period of absence.
If you don’t see the impact losing Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, among others, will have on the league, imagine for a minute a basketball season without kobe, or a football season without Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady. Things would feel a little empty, much like baseball will after losing twenty of its major leaguers.
If this problem is unable to be remedied by stricter suspensions, perhaps it is time for the league to rethink its policy altogether. A removal from the game due to a first suspension would probably be harsh, but would be a strict deterrent from ever picking up a performance enhancing drug habit in the first place.
On the other hand if suspensions were removed from the game altogether, and players were allowed to use whatever they felt like to make themselves play better, the playing field would theoretically be leveled. If everyone could use drugs without fear of suspension, the number of users would go up, a bad thing for their long term health no doubt, but the quality of play would rise in a way that would even out the quality of play.
What do you think? Have steroids beat baseball after the most recent scandal involving Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and eighteen others? Vote in the poll below to give your two cents.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express
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