|"1 gameday down, 161 to go."|
It wasn't the bell to signify round one of a heavyweight title fight, but as soon as the 60 Minutes stopwatch stopped ticking Sunday night, Alex Rodriguez's hired gun, Joseph Tacopina, came out swinging.
“Tonight’s further expansion of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred’s quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension,” Tacopina said in a statement. “In a clearly pre-orchestrated display, Selig and Manfred, having known for some time what the result of the arbitration would be (in light of Manfred sitting on the arbitration panel) put forth an unparalleled display of hubris and vindictiveness – complete with Manfred appearing in tandem with the drug dealer Tony Bosch, both in full makeup, celebrating the joint victory of Bosch’s lies and Manfred’s intimidation and payments for testimony. Tonight MLB violated every underpinning of its Basic Agreement and Joint Drug Agreement with the Players Association – which, although it has spoken out in a statement against these actions, clearly does not have the fortitude to act to stop these abuses, as it has not taken advantage of any of its innumerable opportunities to do so over the past year.
“I am sure Selig and Manfred believe this traveling circus serves Manfred's hopes of being the next Commissioner; the departing Commissioner Selig’s hopes of parlaying his success thus far in persecuting Alex into a recast chapter in the history books that would show him as a crusader, rather than the owner that colluded to corrupt the game, and Commissioner that turned a blind eye to steroids for over 20 years while personally profiting from their prevalence to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars; and Tony Bosch's hopes to further capitalize upon his lies through a multi-million dollar book deal that his MLB-provided media agent is seeking to procure for him. But in fact, what they did tonight, in addition to dragging 60 Minutes' name down to the level of supermarket tabloid journalism, is provide the world with further evidence of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred's desperation to sell the fans on the lies that they have paid Tony Bosch to tell.Later in the day Monday, A-Rod's legal reps sued Major League Baseball and, are you ready for this, the players' union. If A-Rod had any sympathy from his fellow players it probably disappeared when the suit was announced against the MLBPA. According to Steve Eder of the NY Times, "In the court filing, which named Major League Baseball and the players union, his lawyers sought to vacate his ban for the 2014 season and to hold the players union responsible for its breaches of the duty of fair representation owed to Rodriguez." New union director Tony Clark quickly responded to A-Rod's accusations:
“Perhaps the clearest message delivered by Selig and Manfred tonight is that their quest to rehabilitate Selig’s irretrievable reputation, and to make Manfred appear tough on PEDs, surely will lead MLB to seek to abolish guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, and institute lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, all while further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review. Every MLB player, and indeed every fan, should not only be disgusted by tonight’s Salem Witch Trials display, but they also should be deeply troubled by what it portends for the future trampling of players’ rights, and the distraction and damage this will cause to the game.
“Alex will continue to fight to vindicate his rights – among the fans, and in a genuine judicial forum. “
"It is unfortunate that Alex Rodriguez has chosen to sue the Players Association. His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges.
"The Players Association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez's rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career. Mr. Rodriguez's allegation that the Association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former executive director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable. When all is said and done, I am confident the Players Association will prevail."Bosch's interview on CBS proved what most everyone had probably already surmised - the owner of the Biogenesis Clinic of America was only interested in making money. He told correspondent Scott Pelley that he wanted to be sure the players used correctly - he actually stated he felt a responsibility to do so - and later added "and not get caught." You could feel the sleaze oozing off of the guy, who, in not so many words said that PED use is still prevalent game so why shouldn't A-Rod and others use it. It was a lame excuse/reason to be peddling PEDs.
I'd like to hear what a body language expert has to say about the interview, specifically concerning Bosch's grin. I don't believe he was smiling because he found things amusing. It appeared to be more of a stress/nervous reaction. It was clear well before last night that the only reason Bosch is talking is to save his own bacon. Given the choice he'd go right back to doing what he was doing. Though not asked, he certainly would do it all over again.
Pelley mentioned that Bosch went to medical school in Beliz, but held no medical licenses. (There was no mention of degrees either.) Yet none of the players involved in the scandal appeared to have any issue with Bosch's background. That his "expertise" about PEDs was all self taught. It's hard to tell who's dumber, Bosch or those who trusted and believed in him.
You can see the complete 60 Minutes interview and read the transcripts on the 60 Minutes website.
Though the 162 game ban was a major victory for Major League Baseball, the men who run the game didn't come away with their hands clean either. They used questionable means to obtain some of the information in the investigation. This was the exchange between MLB COO Rob Manfred and Pelley:
Rob Manfred: We got a call from a gentleman who identified himself only as Bobby, and said he had the Biogenesis documents and offered to make an agreement with us to get those documents.
Scott Pelley: Make an agreement? He offered to sell them to you.
Rob Manfred: That’s correct. That’s correct.
Scott Pelley: And you offered to buy them?
Rob Manfred: He offered to sell 'em, and we bought them.
Scott Pelley: How much?
Rob Manfred: $100,000 originally, and then there was a second purchase for $25,000.
Scott Pelley: But when you pay $125,000 to a guy who only identifies himself as Bobby, doesn't that immediately call into question the authenticity of the documents? He's gonna do anything he has to do to collect your $125,000.
Rob Manfred: We were eyes wide open with respect to the questions that would surround these documents in terms of authenticating them in any legal proceeding, making sure they hadn't been doctored.MLB then needed Bosch to corroborate what was in the paperwork. The investigation was well underway at that point. Pelley also asked Bud Selig if the league was attempting to make an example of A-Rod. Selig responded,
"I wouldn't call an example. I think the penalty fit what I saw was the evidence. Scott, as I looked at everything on all the players and then I got to Alex Rodriguez, and you put all the drug things on one side and then all the things that he did to impede our investigation and really do things that I had never seen any other player do, I think 211 games was a very fair penalty."This thing is far from over.