New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez is a wanted man. This time it isn’t girls in the stands who want his phone number but rather Bud Selig and Major League Baseball that are targeting Rodriguez and Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun for their involvement with the anti-aging clinic Biogenesis that allegedly distributed performance enhancing drugs to several players including Braun and Rodriguez according to logbooks from the clinic.
Braun and Rodriguez, two MVPs that have been linked to PEDs in the past, are the biggest names linked to Biogenesis and it looks like Selig wants to make examples of them. Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids beginning in 2001 until 2003 but has claimed has not used PEDs since then. Braun, had a positive test during the 2011 playoffs but was able to avoid suspension after an arbiter ruled that the chain of custody of the urine sample had been compromised.
Major League Baseball is planning on going ahead with its own investigation after the player’s union refused to lend support to the investigation. The government is conducting its own investigation into the clinic and its founder Anthony Bosch and any results gathered by the government can be used by MLB to gather evidence against Rodriguez and Braun.
More than twenty-four players’ names have been made public. Some of them linked to PEDs and others to consulting with the clinic for legal substances. Baseball making an example of Braun and Rodriguez reeks a little of a personal vendetta more than an organization protecting its image or enforcing its rules.
I am all for MLB enforcing its rules, especially when it comes to protecting the integrity of the game. However, if it is going to go after these two players they should go after every player that is linked to PEDs in the Biogenesis logbooks, not just two players. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. So far, the only thing we know is that MLB is planning on using evidence gathered from players to make a stronger case against Braun and Rodriguez. The logbooks, as a stand-alone piece of evidence, are not enough to hold up against an appeal. So far there are whispers that Baseball is offering immunity for more evidence against the two players.
When Manny Ramirez failed his second drug test a couple of years ago he retired. He later asked for reinstatement and his suspension was retroactively applied to the time he served in retirement. Rodriguez will open the season on the disabled list after having his second hip surgery since 2008. He might miss the entire season but will not be able to return sooner than July. Any suspension he receives will be served while on the disabled list. What is the point of skewering Rodriguez now?
Major League Baseball is acting more like a scorned lover than they are an organization protecting the integrity of its game. They seem to be targeting Rodriguez and Braun because their names appear in a book next to PEDs after they claimed they never used them. Basically, they are being targeted because Baseball thinks they lied. If that is the case, and Rodriguez and Braun are the main targets of the case because of their past involvement with PEDs, then MLB is setting a dangerous precedent.
What is to stop players from using PEDs and then, when caught, ratting out bigger names in order to avoid suspension? It makes for a suddenly uncomfortable clubhouse and a less than stable gallery of witnesses. Let’s say Player Y was a teammate of Alex Rodriguez for two years. He signed with a new team in the off-season but was caught with a positive test. He knows a 50-game suspension is looming so he instead offers testimony against Rodriguez to avoid his suspension. What is to stop Player Y from inventing evidence? He can say he saw Rodriguez inject himself with steroids. Is that enough to condemn Rodriguez in relation to Biogenesis? It shouldn’t be enough but one never knows. Witch hunts are never a good thing.
Baseball must be arbitrary in order to preserve the integrity of the game. Targeting two players out of a possible 24 to as many as 90 players is not exactly conducting a fair investigation. Baseball needs to rethink their position and conduct a fair, unbiased investigation and act off of those findings.