SBD/June 7, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Source: MLB PED Investigation Not Just Based On Bosch; Selig Declines Comment On Issue

Braun is scheduled to be interviewed by MLB in the next phase of the investigation
MLB's investigation into alleged PED usage by players connected to the Miami-area Biogenesis clinic is "being built on testimony and evidence provided by many witnesses in addition to the cooperation of the anti-aging clinic's founder, Anthony Bosch," according to a source cited by Steven Marcus of NEWSDAY. The source said interviews with "tons" of people will help frame the basis of MLB's investigation. Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, who has been allegedly linked with the clinic alongside Brewers LF Ryan Braun, is "among those scheduled to be interviewed by MLB as part of the next phase of the investigation." What the players "say to MLB investigators could determine what, if any, discipline they may face." The source said that if players are "found to have lied to investigators, that could result in a more significant penalty." It appears that "much of MLB's case will rest on what is called a non-analytical positive, meaning evidence other than a blood or urine test to detect banned substances" (NEWSDAY, 6/7). Bosch is scheduled to meet Friday with MLB officials, who hope Bosch will "provide enough credible information to allow them to seek drug suspensions of up to 20 players.” The meeting is expected to include Bosch and his attorney Susy Ribero-Ayala, as well as MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred, Senior VP/Investigations Dan Mullin and other baseball investigators. Attorneys from MLB’s outside counsel, Proskauer Rose, are also expected to attend (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/7).

SELIG PROUD OF TESTING PROGRAM: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday night at the MLB Draft declined to specifically address the league's ongoing investigation of the clinic. But he said the probe represents further evidence the league remains fervent in combating PEDs. Selig: "We're in the midst of a very comprehensive investigation and it would be inappropriate for me to comment. I've said I'm proud of our agreement. I'm proud that we have the toughest testing program in America. And you know what, this proves it" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). NBCSPORTS.com's Joe Posnanski wrote Selig "has always had a heightened sensitivity about his own legacy," and the Biogenesis case is Selig "trying for that last and most important victory for his legacy." He "knows that the most successful commissioners in baseball made a final and lasting statement on the game." Kenesaw Mountain Landis "made a final and lasting statement about gambling," Happy Chandler "made a final and lasting statement about baseball integration" and Bowie Kuhn "made a final and lasting statement by losing" repeatedly to late MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller. Posnanski: "I think Selig wants to erase the steroid stain on his record" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/6). In Buffalo, Mike Harrington writes, "This is a legacy item for Selig." If Bosch is his "ticket to expose steroid cheats, the Commish is going to punch it before he steps down" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/7). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "My takeaway on all of this is how badly baseball wants to put away Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. They may suspend them without a positive drug test. They want them out of here" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/6). 

NOT WITHOUT POTENTIAL PITFALLS: ESPN.com's Howard Bryant wrote Selig's "gambit with Biogenesis will test the two most fragile strains of his commissionership: the efforts to overcome the steroid taint with the toughest drug policy of the major sports, and the uneasy alliance with the players' association that has kept baseball, of all sports, from locking its doors for nearly 20 years." The "strength of that alliance will be revealed" in the coming weeks and months. The commissioner's office internally is "relying on the union's belief in the testing in place." It is "unclear, though, if Biogenesis is the battleground where these strains should be tested." The "real issue is baseball's attempt to suspend players for their association with a wellness clinic, without actual positive-test violations of the league's drug policy" (ESPN.com, 6/6).

DOES THE PUBLIC CARE? In California, Jeff Miller writes Selig "cares deeply about how PEDs continue to rot baseball from the inside out, even as fewer and fewer fans seem to be bothered." This investigation "isn't even front-page news in most places, despite it involving a former MVP in Braun and a player considered to be among the greatest of all time in Rodriguez." There "seem to be three types of fans left who do care: 1) Older ones; 2) Those who still consider Roger Maris and the number 61 to be sacred; and 3) Bob Costas." The "day-to-day reality of this game will move on" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/7).
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