For those of us who may have thought that the information that leaked out from the Miami Biogenesis Clinic some time back had disappeared, we were wrong. This issue is back in the news and is not going away for some time.
Major League Baseball, not so long ago accused of ignoring blatant evidence of widespread steroid use by players, is now digging in and working very aggressively to root out those who use performance enhancing drugs. And MLB is pursuing the Miami thing with a vengeance. It’s obvious that the sport has clamped its jaws tightly around this matter and is holding tight with the tenacity of a bulldog.
It’s starting to look as if anyone who ever changed planes in Miami — never mind bought “vitamins” or any other drug at this clinic, is under suspicison and organized baseball is coming hard after those guys.
Right now it’s too soon to figure out exactly what is going to happen, but the late Tuesday night story from ESPN was pretty comprehensive and firm in its disclosure that former Biogenesis owner Tony Bosch is going to help MLB nab players, primarily because he is trying to save his own skin from prosecution by the government.
The players are suspected of violating MLB drug policy, though not laws. MLB is not trying to get them indicted, it is trying to get them benched for 50 or 100 games, depending on circumstances. If you are a major leaguer and you ever visited Biogenesis or anyone whom you are closely aligned with visited the clinic on your behalf, you are probably in deep trouble.
Those in jeopardy, whose names have been released in connection–somehow–with the Biogenesis clinic, include the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, who has a heap of physical problems already and may not have been able to return to the field any time soon anyway. Rodriguez has previously been tarnished as a confessed performance enhancing drug user. Becoming a two-time loser would not exactly enhance his credentials for the Hall of Fame, no matter what kind of career hitting numbers he finishes with.
The next biggest name under scrutiny is the Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star Ryan Braun. The 2011 National League Most Valuable Player was accused of violating the sport’s drug policy previously, but remains the only player who ever beat the rap, and escaped with no punishment. There have been know-it-all couched statements that MLB has been out to get Braun since and that it relishes this second opportunity to nail him. Surely some MLB investigators must feel that way.
Others who have been mentioned in connection with the Miami clinic include Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon (suspended from the A’s last year), Melky Cabrera (suspended from the Giants last year), Yasmani Grandal (suspended from the Padres this year), Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, and Gio Gonzalez. There have been indications that Gonzalez may be in the clear because he really did only obtain vitamins.
All of this stuff was previously brought to light by the Miami New Times newspaper and although there have been player denials and Bosch has said he has never done anything wrong, no one has disproved anything the Miami paper initially reported.
If MLB seeks to suspend the players, the players union will fight the punishments. The whole matter may yet end up in court. Reputations are in danger. Careers are at risk. The players will fight hard. MLB now appears ready for a siege and to fight equally hard to uphold the principle of the game being played on a level playing field.
We all hoped that baseball had cleaned up its act with the passages of the steroids era. Maybe the situation is a lot cleaner, but this kind of alleged cheating fallout is going to take time to resolve.