Major Leagues Baseball’s marquee player Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the entire 2014 season including its postseason. It is a fact that he used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) for several years. While no one knows exactly when he started cheating and he refuses to tell, it likely dates back to at least 2003. A decade of deceit. He paid huge sums of money to prevent the MLB from obtaining evidence of his cheating. Some will claim his bribes and extortion to prevent disclosure are more heinous than his extensive use of performance enhancing drugs. The drugs provided him with an unfair advantage over other players. Asking which is worse is like asking someone if they’d rather be shot or stabbed to death. Minutes after it’s done it doesn’t matter.
Bud Selig, MLB’s Commissioner for more than 20 years is no better than A-Rod. While he wants desperately to be remembered as the one who cleaned up baseball by creating an aggressive drug-testing program, he will instead be remembered for presiding over its darkest years of steroid-infested performances by the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McQuire and, of course, A-Rod, as MLB’s biggest cheat is affectionately known by his fans. The MLB’s aggressive drug-testing program did not actually materialize until the waning hours of Selig’s tarnished stewardship. He presided over years of lax, ineffective testing. He is no less guilty of “conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interest of baseball” than his prized target. The target he stalked for 3 years could not whitewash 20 plus years of blind ineptitude.
While Rodriguez paid wads of cash in an attempt to buy the evidence that eventually sunk him, Selig’s minions used a bogus civil lawsuit to obtain that evidence. MLB sued Anthony Bosch, the founder and former proprietor of the infamous Florida-based anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Bosch provided the evidence of Rodriguez’s decade-long insatiable use of PED’s. All A-Rod’s impressive statistics actually belong to a fake bionic version of himself. Bosch identified his cryptic notes and interpreted his codes of A-Rod’s PED Regiment. It was a code that only Bosch could decipher. Why did Bosch turn against A-Rod despite all the money he had received from A-Rod and despite what he was promising to pay? Bosch turned MLB witness against A-Rod because he feared MLB’s lawsuit alleging his “tortious interference” would be successful. Another legal opinion may have been in order. But it scared Bosch enough to change his story. He had been widely quoted as saying he had never injected A-Rod. He became MLB’s prime witness.
Anthony Bosch believed he was in trouble. Good enough. Lawyers call that a ‘W’. Bosch had lived his life as a con man. He was conned by a lawyer with a nebulous civil claim against him. Makes you want to hug a lawyer doesn’t it? Bosch did keep the money that A-Rod paid him, less, of course, whatever he paid his own inept lawyer. A-Rod was stuck. He could not admit he paid Bosch to obstruct MLB’s investigation of him. But Bosch was a fool. A-Rod would have paid much more. And, MLB’s tortious interference claim against Bosch was as weak as their case against A-Rod before Bosch turned.
There are no winners here. Only losers. A good baseball player is forever tarnished. A-Rod’s drug-enhanced career makes Pete Rose’s gambling lies seem banal. Selig was paid about 300 million dollars for his utter incompetence rendering virtually every record over the last 20 years suspect. And baseball’s claim to be America’s sport should cause most Americans to cringe with embarrassment. This is not an English or Canadian story. It’s an American story. There are no happy endings in America.