The public is tired of hearing about it, Major League Baseball is surely wishing it would all just go away, and the players involved probably wish another, bigger scandal would come along and wipe the months of negative publicity away. None more so than Alex Rodriguez, it seems. Even though he initiated the appeal of his 211 game suspension for alleged use of performance enhancing drugs including steroids and Human Growth Hormone, the player having the worst year ever spoke in early December about his wish that his name was not on the back page of every gossip section and magazine in recent memory. A Rod may have to wait a little longer for his wish to come true, however, as it seems that with each new day comes some new dirt on the Biogenesis debacle. Here are the latest twisty turns in Baseball’s soapy drug scandal drama.
MLB – 0, A Rod – 1?
It seemed for months now that Rodriguez just couldn’t catch a break. All the evidence seemed to favor Major League Baseball, and the third baseman’s public antics seemed to rub a whole nation the wrong way. Recently, though, Rodriguez may be gaining some ground in his “David” fight against “Goliath” MLB. First came the news that an arrest was made in the biggest little car break in in memory, when Boca Raton police announced they arrested Reginald St. Fleur and charged him with stealing Biogenesis documents out of former Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer’s car. It seems Fischer was traveling to bring the documents to an official from the Florida Department of Health when he made a stop at Boca Tanning. When he came out, his car had been vandalized and the documents stolen.
Now, it appears there’s more to this break in story than meets the eye. A lawyer for the accused thief, St. Fleur, claims the break in was staged. Attorney Alan Sowen says that Porter Fischer himself may have had a hand in the incident, because he learned a few days before that he would not be able to sell them to MLB investigators for $125,000 as he had hoped. Left with a useless box of documents, Sowen claims Fischer could have masterminded the incident. Lending credibility to this claim are the facts that Fischer knew the 20-year-old St. Fleur beforehand, and he had just received notice that he was not allowed to destroy or transmit the papers to anyone. Gary Jones, a friend of Fischer, was somehow able to obtain the stolen papers and sell them to an investigator for the MLB for . . . $125,000. Suddenly, it could be argued that MLB knowingly purchased stolen documents, and that they were employing underhanded actions to build a case against Rodriguez.
A second blow came when Major League Baseball tried to ask U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos to hold Alex Rodriguez’s public relations man in contempt of court for not speaking about leaking documents in A Rod’s arbitration hearings, and the Judge refused. It seems that a key point in the suspension hearings is the MLB’s assertion that Rodriguez knowingly and deliberately tried to hinder the MLB’s investigation into the Biogenesis case, even going so far as to purchase documents linking other players to Biogenesis, and then leaking them to Yahoo! Sports to draw the attention off A Rod. The specific names in the leaked info were those of Milwaukee Brewers player Ryan Braun, and A Rod’s own team mate, Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli. The assertion by MLB that Rodriguez actively hindered their investigation was originally used as sound reasoning as to why Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games when most of the other Biogenesis-linked players were given 50-game suspensions.
Although the world and A Rod all want the whole mess to go away, with new revelations involving arrests, outbursts, shady dealings, and more coming out every day, it’s hard for the media to resist the temptation to give the story just one more splashy headline, or for the public to get caught up in the whole thing just as they do their favorite television reality show. Let’s hope nobody forgets that all of the exciting magician tricks are covering up a simple story: professional athletes tried to cheat by using performance enhancing drugs, and they got caught. End of story? We’ll see.