Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

For the latest news on the Biogenesis front, Getting Blanked re-enlisted the help of Fraser MacKinnon Blair (@fmblair on Twitter) to help us wade through the latest revelations and what they could mean for the players involved.

During his annual All-Star game news conference, Major League Baseball Player’s Association chief Michael Weiner provided some updates regarding Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into a number of players connected to Anthony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic.

Weiner passed on a couple of interesting points regarding the nature of the (likely) forthcoming suspensions in connection to the Biogenesis investigation.

Does this change anything related to the enforcement of the Joint Drug Policy and Prevention Program?

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Baseball 2006Last week, ESPN’s Outside The Lines reported that Major League Baseball would seek to suspend 20 players connected to Biogenesis of America, a former Miami-area anti-aging clinic founded by Anthony Bosch that was implicated in providing banned substances to professional athletes in January by a whistle-blowing former employee. After a lawsuit was filed against him by MLB, Bosch reached an agreement – according to the OTL report – to cooperate with the league’s investigation into the matter, potentially offering evidence necessary to suspend several players.

In exchange for Bosch’s cooperation, MLB will not only drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, but also protect him from liability for any other legal action that might arise from his cooperation, provide security for him and speak on his behalf with any law enforcement agency that seeks to bring charges against him in the future.

This represents the very first time in professional sports that a league has investigated the past use of banned substances by multiple high-profile players for punitive purposes. And like any first time, it carries with it a lot of nuance, intricacies and questions that are likely to be ignored by our initial reaction to the possibilities of wide spread suspensions.

With a bit of distance from the story breaking, let’s go over some of the larger issues pertaining to the investigation and potential punishment, and try to gain an understanding of – forgive me for this – what it all means.

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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.

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Well, uh, this won’t end well.

Multiple ESPN sources report, both on twitter and the Outside the Lines site, that MLB is moving to suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and as many as 20 (!) other players related to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. Terry Quinn tweets the head quack Tony Bosch will roll over on multiple former clients and send the baseball world back to the stone ages.

Yikes. The report linked above provides details of the case but only serves up names “under scrutiny”. Quinn’s twitter timeline features an assumed chronology for how this whole thing will unfold.

Obviously more as this story develops, provided it does. Things are going to get suppppppper weird in the baseball world this week. Get your one sentence paragraphs ready, they’re coming a-condescending.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

In spite of the best efforts of some individuals to bury it, the Biogenesis mess is still out there, lurking around baseball like rank bodily gas. It won’t go away because it is the gift that keeps on giving – it fuels a fire that ignites very easily and burns long and hot.

Robinson Cano‘s name did not appear in the original Biogenesis reports but, as ESPN New York points out, the names of both his best friend (Melky Cabrera) and mentor (Alex Rodriguez) do show up in the notebooks and MASH notes of the South Florida quacks. But that is not all, as the head of Robinson Cano’s charitable foundation apparently appears in some Biogenesis reports.

Sonia Cruz, the spokesperson for Cano’s foundation, suddenly appeared in some Biogenesis documents, according to T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN. Cruz denied receiving anything more than treatment from the South Beach clinic:

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Houston Astros v Milwaukee Brewers

Rookie of the Year, five All-Star appearances, a National League MVP award, and glass urine containers. These are all items currently ingrained in the legacy of Ryan Braun. As Major League Baseball continues to funnel time, money, and energy into the Biogenesis clinic and the players who allegedly hold ties to the PED house, at least one of the names implicated in the scandal is leaving a lasting impact on the landscape of scary sports drugs. According to a report from Andy Martino at the New York Daily News, MLB has made a switch from plastic urine containers to glass in light of Ryan Braun’s successful challenge on a 50-game PED suspension.

Braun overturned his suspension by challenging the sample collection process. The Milwaukee Brewers star’s urine sample remained in possession of the collector for two days before it was sent to the lab for to be tested. Prior to Braun’s victory, MLB used triple-sealed plastic containers to collect and transport urine samples. Now, as Martino reports, glass containers are used:

Now, the collectors use glass bottles, made by the same manufacturer, but considered even more secure. The bottles have a locking mechanism on the top, as opposed to tamper-proof stickers on the plastic version. The only way to open the glass bottles is to smash the top with a hammer, which the lab does in what a person familiar with the process described as a “controlled manner.”

Martino notes the new glass containers will be more difficult to tamper with. While there was no announcement on the change, it was part of several changes made to the league’s testing program over the last year.

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

So maybe Major League Baseball is even more determined to attack drug cheats than previously thought. After reports the Drug Squad’s dogged pursuit of Ryan Braun and other stars failed to yield anything substantial, a New York Times report suggests the League will instead file a lawsuit against Biogenesis claiming “the individuals damaged the sport by providing some of the game’s biggest stars with performance-enhancing drugs.”

This is a huge, albeit desperate, step in the efforts to rid the game of performance-enhancing drugs. The big question is: will it work?

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