Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

This is the worst part – the waiting. The space in time between the action and the reaction. Last night’s semi-gigantic report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines on MLB gleefully hopping into bed — offering to “drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him” — with scumbag drug pusher Tony Bosch in a brazen attempt to punish ballplayers who violated baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement is only the beginning.

Right now, there is only speculation. Right now, there is only weary headshaking as to the depths the league will go to decorate their regal home with the heads of the transgressors. Who will it be? How will this change the game? How made will the union get?

Into that vacuum enters speculation and pontification. Many column inches and blogposts and hot twitter takes and tortured metaphors will for the greater good of shaming MLB for their specious lawsuit meant to squeeze a desperate, pathetic man. Or, alternately, the praise chorus will sing loudly as Bud Selig and his crew finally clean up the game for good.

The cheaters will be banished! The playing field levelled! Consumer confidence will hit an all-time high and the league and players’ union will finally get down to the business of making money. If only it were that simple.

There are already plenty of strong takes around the thinking internet. People with a strong grip on the legal ramifications for Tony Bosch and familiarity with the inner workings of a determined (and well financed) legal team out for blood. That their entire case is built on the, as Craig Calcaterra put it, “likely unreliable and clearly self-serving” testimony of a man facing certain ruin doesn’t seem to matter. Not as if the players don’t have their own motivation for lying and/or cheating.

The league, and a not-insignificant portion of its fanbase, wants blood. They want a name and they want to see somebody punished. As Craiggers notes in his excellent HBT post, attacking the end user isn’t likely to shake the underpinning of the entire drug culture in baseball. I’m not law-talking guy, but the entire concept of “punishment as sole deterrent” seems flawed and unsuccessful to me, a simple man who just likes baseball who doesn’t know much (any) law.

So now we’re in the shit. We’re in the plausibility deniability, legalese and cut eye stage of this process. Every player whose surname either ends with a “Z” or a vowel is going to issue some sort of statement, or refuse to discuss the matter. A lot of people will be running scared. Maybe they should be afraid – if they broke the rules and benefited from illegal means, shouldn’t punishment await? Maybe Bosch is just the first domino to fall, and players with more to lose will take their turn singing.

I don’t know how this ends or even what I want, personally, from the entire process. Sweeping it under the carpet seems short-sighted but, then again, I can’t say I especially care about the fate of the twenty names pushed forward by ESPN. My fandom is not in doubt. I am not the target market for this moral sales pitch.

I like baseball. I like to watch baseball and discuss baseball and make jokes about baseball and marvel at those that play baseball at its highest level. I care about David Wright, not sown affidavits. This isn’t a baseball story. It’s a story of business and optics and PR and regret and filthy lucre. It sucks. I selfishly hate it because it gets in the way of the actual baseball.

But MLB has their reasons, I suppose. They have their reasons and they have the resources to make sure they get their men. We can hope that they’re doing this for the right reasons, whatever those reasons might be. We can hope they’re going to take the testimony and scattered notes of a sleazy quack in an attempt to tear down some of the most recognizable names in their sport in pursuit of A Better Baseball World.

I don’t know what that looks like in this instance, but I hope it’s the goal. Really, I just hope there is a goal beyond vindication. Justice? Is that what we’re talking about? It certainly doesn’t feel that way. But I suppose it rarely does.

Comments (11)

  1. Although you’d only be speculating at this point but where does this witch hunt put people like Melky and Grandal who have recently served suspensions for substances, presumably, provided to them by Biogenesis? Surely double jeopardy applies to them.

    • I think the ESPN report has Braun and Arod getting 100 game suspensions for a double offence of violating drug policy and also for lying to MLB, so maybe something similar will apply to Melky, Grandal

      • So dumb (not you, MLB)! Newsflash: They all lie about it. What is a guilty player’s appeal if not an elaborate lie under the cover of legal proceedings? They all appeal, therefore they all lie.

        It’s a really slippery slope MLB is tap dancing at the top of if you ask me. It creates a precedent for MLB to suspend every player for 100 games after a first offense if they appeal and are found guilty anyways.

        Definitely think those guys should be protected by double jeopardy. They didn’t discover new offenses, just where they’d been getting their junk from the first time.

      • I agree. Take the time and conduct a thorough investigation. However, if there is evidence Melky has doped after his suspension he should give back his portion of his salary back to the Jays.

  2. Well seeing as MLB seems more intent on suspending anyone and everyone who may have taken steroids than finding those who actually tested positive, why don’t they just suspend the entire league on the assumption that most players have taken steroids at some point? They’d probably be right about more players than wrong, so that must be good for the league right??????????

  3. I’m not sure the drug culture in baseball is a cultural problem, so much as it is a technological one. What I take from the scandal is that a nontrivial amount of players believed they could get away with it.

    I don’t know it matters much their willingness to cheat, so much as their belief they could. That suggests to me that the league’s testing program has not exhausted all resources possible ensuring that it’s up-to-date with everything it needs to detect. One step behind the game if you will.

    If the league’s testing program were to get hip to the methods of a Biogenesis and the other labs that will surely follow BEFORE they do, and proves they can achieve this feat with consistency, you wouldn’t hear anything about players believing they can beat this system. Master the science first, and then you don’t have to rely on trumped-up testimony from a shady drug dealer.

  4. My biggest problem with this is the potential suspensions of Melky, Grandal, Colon, etc who had already been suspended once for the same infraction.

    If, for instance, I get caught selling drugs and am found guilty and am charged, serve my punishment to it’s conclusion. I then resume my life without selling any more drugs and evidence is found later that shows that not only did I sell the drugs they caught me selling, but also that I sold drugs several weeks before as well! Would any normal-thinking person ever call for me to then serve a punishment for the offence that was discovered second? Wouldn’t it just be assumed that Melky was using PEDs on a regular basis up until they caught him?

    The other big problem with the MLB’s witch hunt is the Banned Substance List itself. I fully support the banning of Anabolic Steroids which is an illegal substance to purchase in the countries where Major League Baseball is played. As far as I know they do not make any distinction about why a substance gets banned. You or I can go purchase some deer antler spray to help us work out, but a major-leaguer who is – in at least one sense – paid to work out to the best attainable result cannot because it was arbitrarily placed on the BSL, not due to any inherent health risks or laws being broken, but because it works too well. Are they going to ban the Velocity/Weighted Ball training program because its making it possible for a pitcher to be better than he could be without it? What about Creatine, Muscle Milk, and any number of other ‘performance enhancing products/supplements’? I would really appreciate if someone who is on the “Ban The Cheaters” team would explain to me where the line gets drawn and why, because it all seems to arbitrary and vague to be anything but a crock of shit to me.

  5. This is so goddamn infuriating. Are there really still chunks of the fanbase who want blood for the steroid era? Does it seriously improve the product of the game if you banish some of the biggest stars for the most nebulous accusations imaginable? They didn’t even test positive, some caricature of a “doctor” just drew up some receipts in his dreamjournal.
    If MLB wants to present itself as a vigilant and thoughtful protector of the game, it seems to me they would do a much better job by educating the public about precisely what drugs they’re looking for, what the supposed unfair effects of these drugs are, and the circumstances by which players obtain them. That would at the very least put my on MLB’s side, as right now it feels like they’re purposely keeping the subject mysterious. Keep it vague, and count on outrage as soon as they say the word “steroids”. MLB feels like the enemy of my favorite sport, they stomp around removing the players i love to watch and just assume i’ll agree with them. Jesus.

    don’t they care that Braun is on my fantasy team??????fuckers

  6. We want Dingers.

  7. This is all so fucking boring.

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