The hits just keep coming in the Major league Baseball controversy involving nearly 20 professional players and the now defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. If you thought the story ended with the suspensions of the players accused of using performance enhancing drugs including testosterone, Human Growth Hormone, and steroids while playing professional baseball, you’d be mistaken. It seems that every few days, new information comes to light involving tempers flaring, finger pointing, and new evidence of lying, deceit or cover-ups. Most of the newest controversy involves the players with the highest profiles in the case: New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun.
Strike 1: A-Rod backlash reached a fever pitch in the Sunday game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox as fans booed the third baseman both on-field and off. But that wasn’t the worst of it. When A-Rod went to bat in the second inning, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster hit him with a fastball, by all reports purposefully. Dempster denies it was in relation to the doping scandal, and in fact some reports speculate it was because A-Rod had previously snubbed Dempster. The hit didn’t seem to faze A-Rod much, and may have ended up lighting a fire under him and the whole team as the Yankees sailed to a 9-6 final score.
Strike 2: Ryan Braun seemed to quietly accept his 65-game suspension for his association with the Biogenesis clinic, but now it seems that may have not been so. It turns out that Braun actively tried to discredit Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who was responsible for collecting his urine sample for the drug test, by painting him as anti-Semitic and a Cubs fan! Braun alleged that Laurenzi has previously messed up his collection of a sample in the Spring of 2012 by holding it at his home instead of sending it to a Fed Ex delivery location like he was supposed to, and won an appeal of a looming 50-game suspension at the time on the grounds that the handling if the sample broke the chain of custody.
Interestingly, A-Rod tried the same tactic on Braun with 60 Minutes reporting that the New York Yankee seems to have turned on Ryan Braun early in the scandal to take the heat of himself by leaking his and other players names to Yahoo! The MLB could use this choice by A-Rod to their advantage during his appeal of his 211 game suspension because it shows a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement confidentiality clause and interference with the MLB investigation.
Strike 3: A-Rod’s lawyer may be adding fuel to the anti-A-Rod fire. In talking with the Today Show’s Matt Lauer, the lawyer representing Rodriguez in his appeal of the MLB’s suspension, Joe Tacopina, said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of the Biogenesis case other than to assert that the MLB case is very weak, Biogenesis owner Tony Bosch is not credible, and even alleging that the New York Yankees concealed one of Rodriguez’ MRI’s! However, when Tacopina was invited to sign a statement allowing him to discuss the details of the case in order to help prove A-Rod’s innocence, he declined.
How many more strikes will it take before this scandal is declared “Out!”? That remains to be seen.