MLB Suspensions: League Investigators Continuing To Look Into ACES Agency
MLB investigators "continue to look into the role sports agents may have played in connecting players with Biogenesis," as eight of the 12 players to accept 50-game suspensions yesterday "are represented by one agency, ACES, operated by brothers Seth and Sam Levinson," according to Thompson, Red, O'Keeffe & Vinton of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The Levinsons have "already been disciplined by the Players Association following an MLB investigation into the fake website ... Melky Cabrera used as a failed alibi after testing positive for testosterone." Rangers RF Nelson Cruz, one of the players suspended yesterday, reportedly "fired the Levinsons." Padres SS Everth Cabrera, who also was suspended, fired the brothers last year. A source said, "There is a difference between players who sought out Biogenesis on their own and players who were told that they need to see the people at Biogenesis" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/6).
THE CULTURAL DIVIDE: In Sacramento, Victor Contreras notes eight of the 13 players suspended yesterday "were born in the Dominican Republic," while three are from Venezuela and one from Nicaragua. Since baseball "started suspending major leaguers in 2005 for using performance-enhancing drugs, 38 of the 49 offenders were born in Latin American countries." The figures for Latino offenders are "even more staggering in the minor leagues" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/6). ESPN's T.J. Quinn noted there is a "history in the Major Leagues that Latin American players, particularly Dominican, are punished at a higher percentage." However, yesterday's suspensions are "separate from this." Quinn: "What seems to be the case here having covered this for almost a year now is it's a cluster, just like you saw clusters in Oakland, in Philadelphia, different cities where some guy gets it and he starts spreading it around. I don't think this is somehow inherent to Latin American ballplayers. It was a bunch of guys who knew each other." The "real connection for all of them" was Juan Carlos Nunez, who was part of the ACES agency. Law enforcement believes Nunez "was the one bringing them in" to the Biogenesis clinic ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/6). Giants C Guillermo Quiroz, a Venezuela native, said MLB needs to "inform the players better when they come to the U.S." Quiroz: "If you have an agent who tells you, 'This is going to help you give your family a better life and have a better career in the big leagues,' a lot of guys are going to do it, even without knowing what they're doing" (USATODAY.com, 8/5).
WORTH THE RISK? In Philadelphia, David Murphy notes Phillies P and Dominican native Antonio Bastardo, one of the players suspended, will earn more than $1M this season. That is "more than the average resident of the Dominican Republic will earn in a lifetime." That is one of the "important pieces of context to consider as we listen to the moralizing" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/6).