Union Not Interested In Defending MLBers With Overwhelming Evidence Tied To Biogenesis
MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner on Wednesday said that if MLB "has overwhelming evidence linking" players to the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic and its Founder, Anthony Bosch, the union "may be in the position of having to cry uncle," according to Thompson, Madden, Vinton, Red & O'Keeffe of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Not specifically speaking about any player, Weiner said, "I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence, that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal. We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the (drug) program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program." Sources said that MLB investigators have "gathered an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows" Yankee 3B Alex Rodriguez "received performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/18). SPORTS ON EARTH's Gwen Knapp writes the MLBPA has "come a long, long way from the days when the union opposed drug testing on ideological grounds, and when its No. 2 executive, Gene Orza, said that the sport had no more right to police the use of steroids than it did to prevent cigarette smoking, another harmful personal habit." The union now understands that it "has equal responsibility to players who choose not to dope and don't want PEDs to become a de facto job requirement in their business." It was a "slow learner, but it got there." In cases where Biogenesis evidence "does not support punishment, the union will fight hard for the accused players, as it should." But the "assumption that the union would wage a scorched-earth campaign simply because MLB relied on strong-arm tactics and some sketchy witnesses, in place of drug-test results, doesn't hold up" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/19).
LEAVE A LASTING IMPRESSION: ESPN.com's Buster Olney noted the Baseball HOF ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., will be held next weekend, and if MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "makes his announcement of suspensions before Friday, he will be guaranteed three days of almost uniformly positive response." The HOFers will "be asked, again, how they feel about steroid users and about MLB’s recent fight against users, and over and over again most will almost certainly say that they don’t think the PED users belong in the Hall of Fame and that Major League Baseball is doing the right thing." But having the "support of folks such as Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench and others is an extremely powerful PR weapon for Selig, who is said by colleagues to be aware of how his legacy is being shaped" (ESPN.com, 7/18).
DO FANS CARE? In Detroit, John Niyo wrote the "only relevant question as the game braces for another round of rancor and ridicule stemming from its latest doping scandal" is how this "whole mess will affect the pennant races this fall." Niyo: "Perhaps more accurately, how it’ll affect the public perception of them. Do the fans care about drug cheats? Or do they only care when it affects the home team?" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/18).
MILWAUKEE'S BEST: CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller profiled Selig and wrote the commissioner's "imprint on the game is as indelible as the Louisville Slugger trademark. Expanded playoffs. Interleague play. Realignment." Luxury tax and revenue-sharing that have "significantly improved competitive balance." Revenues that have "blown up" from $1.2B annually in '92 to "a staggering" $7.5B in '12. That figure this year "is expected to top" $8B. From the "rumpled suits and furrowed brows of the mid-1990s have emerged 21 consecutive years of labor peace and one of the most transformative figures in the history of the game." Selig has "done his time in the public dunking booth, served his sentence as a punching bag ... and emerged on the other side of the philosophical and technological battlefield stronger than ever" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/18).