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  1. No.

    Comment by Jonathan — January 31, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

  2. There has to be much harsher rules in regards to PEDs. This is getting ridiculous already and players have no fear of getting caught because the benefits vastly outweigh the risks. Look at Melky, ya he got caught, but he still managed to get 16 mil out of it. Make it like tennis where player are suspended for 2 years, then we wont have to keep going through this every couple years. Synthetic testosterone is just the beginning, we havent even scraped the surface of potential pharmaceutical advances. If the MLB doesn’t take a stand now, they are leaving themselves extremely vulnerable in the future.

    Comment by Josh — January 31, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

  3. “No word on whether the hip injury is PED-related”

    Sure there was. His doctor said it wasn’t, that it was a congenital defect.

    I am SHOCKED that this fact did not filter through the media with the same level of saturation of other A-Rod related “news”, for example the “incident” involving an actress feeding him popcorn during the Super Bowl.

    Comment by Steve — January 31, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

  4. He should be suspended for having a painting of himself as a centaur.

    Comment by maguro — January 31, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Or maybe before the penalties, there were hundreds of guys using and now there are only a handful of guys.

    We don’t really know how well the penalties are working because we don’t know that answer.

    We do know that in 2003, before penalties, they tested everyone (and everyone knew when the tests were coming) and caught 103 guys. We know last year they tested everyone and caught fewer than 10.

    Seems to me like the program is working.

    Comment by Steve — January 31, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  6. Yeah, why not?

    Comment by Sarge — January 31, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  7. Yeah, the doctor was really, really explicit in saying that A-Rod’s injury resulted from genetics and the amount of stress placed on the joint early on in A-Rod’s life and that PED use could not have contributed.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

  8. Can we please, please stop with the “the penalties aren’t harsh enough to deter use!” crap? They will never, ever be harsh enough to deter use, because the players who can get the best stuff will be able to avoid detection. If you believe the report A-Rod has been passing tests while juicing for at least 4 years now. You can’t deter it with penalties because you can’t catch the savviest users.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  9. Sorry. It was meant to come off as a joke. But… I’ve learned at this point simply not to place a great deal of faith in the PED denials of Rodriguez and those around him.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

  10. There isn’t “probably” a “3rd BALCO” already. There’s definitely MORE than one facility still supplying PEDs out there, and probably many more than one. Can we stop pretending that we’re all as naive about this stuff as many of the MSM sportwriters go? I see guys at the gym I go to who are pretty obviously on steroids, if they can get it millionaires certainly can.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

  11. “Definitely”? Okay, where is it, and who is it supplying?

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

  12. I think if you’re going to say that you don’t believe the word of a surgeon because he operated on A-Rod you’re taking a bigger stand than you realize.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

  13. You think that there’s a chance there isn’t a single facility supply steroids in the US? OK, fair enough.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

  14. I agree, that’s a pretty irresponsible statement.

    Comment by jdbolick — January 31, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  15. It was a joke.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  16. I’m all for punishing offenders and keeping them out of the Hall, but I’m a little sick of teams pretending that they’re victims in all this. The idea that the Yankees didn’t suspect PED usage or that they wanted him to stop once he joined their organization (and thus presumably see a decline in numbers) is fairly absurd. If they want to say that they’re upset with Rodriguez for allegedly using his own name to procure HGH, that would be fine.

    Comment by jdbolick — January 31, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  17. This. Starting an investigation based off media reports is great, but wait for evidence and results of the investigation to penalize a player.

    Comment by Anon — January 31, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  18. Oh, I’m sure you’re right. I just don’t know it for a fact, which is why I felt it inappropriate to state it with absolute certainty.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  19. If you want to put it that way, I guess Richard Nixon was forced out of office based on news reports. Fact is, sometimes the investigative media actually does their job and scoops authorities. _Of course_ it doesn’t invalidate said authorities coming along, verifying the evidence, and building an official case. How is that even a question?

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 31, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  20. Also, when I say “BALCO,” I don’t just mean a facility producing PEDs — I mean a boutique that serves numerous MLB players, that results in a firestorm of controversy once it is uncovered.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  21. I’ve learned at this point simply not to place a great deal of faith in the PED denials of Rodriguez and those around him.” suggests it was more than just a joke, but even if your motives were pure it still wasn’t appropriate.

    Comment by jdbolick — January 31, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  22. Fair enough. But in my reading of the article intially it seemed like you were questioning the integrity of A-Rod’s doctor (I know you said it was a joke but it didn’t read that way to me), but weren’t willing to make the leap of faith that a steroid supply still exists somewhere in the United States, which seems like just about as small a leap of faith as you could make.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

  23. The Congressional investigation was clearly the key event that convinced Richard Nixon to resign. That investigation was spurred by news reports by The Washington Post and other news organizations, but Congress has subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony. MLB has no such power. Their investigative authority is a great deal more toothless.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  24. No, baseball should not go down this road. It opens the door to endless suspicion and the backdoor assault on reputation. But MLB will pursue this road (if not here, then in the future) because it is impossible to contain the problem through drug testing. I think this was all set in stone a decade ago when WADA shifted their tactical focus to “non-diagnostic” evidence like confessions, police reports, newspaper clippings, and witness testimony. In the process, the legal burden transformed from a clean/doped binary (either guilty or not guilty) to a continuum of endless suspicion (we don’t know if you’re guilty, but you might be, which is good enough for a media witch hunt).

    Comment by Bryan — January 31, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  25. Leslie Knope should be suspended for having a painting of herself as a naked centaur.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — January 31, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  26. you can’t publish anything other than bad news about alex rodriguez, it’s a rule

    Comment by jim — January 31, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  27. I would guess if the whistle-blowers involved decide out of the blue to change their stories and dummy up, the government decides not to proceed with any investigation, and MLB is left with nothing but since-refuted, anonymous snippets from a newspaper article to base a case on, they’re not going to punish anyone.

    To pretend that that is a course of action that they’re pursuing now is absolutely ridiculous.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 31, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  28. No. Plain and simple, no. Any punishment such as this requires at least an investigation, as mere news reports are insufficient evidence: how many times have we heard news reports proclaim somebody guilty, then more information comes out that shows their innocence? Plus if MLB voids A-Rod’s contract, they should also voice the contracts of anyone else from this scandal.

    But just to use a theoritical example, that I don’t believe…let us just say, for a moment, that the lists with A-Rod’s name on it are forged, and only by investigating it this comes to light? You can see where the problem is with voiding A-Rod’s contract if it’s not verified the accusations are true. Who knows, you could even have teams leaking false reports about aging, overpaid players using and try to weasel out of it.

    The evidence, as it is right now from news reports, is not nearly enough to convict A-Rod of punishment in my opinion. Confirm everything, gather more evidence and see where it goes.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — January 31, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

  29. Agreed. Look at the US war on drugs. Crazy harsh penalties, not much change in usage patterns. Criminology 101: increases in punishment do not effect much human behaviour (because humans are not rational, calculating actors like outdated 19th century models say they are).

    Comment by Bryan — January 31, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  30. Also, if you want to do the year-long punishment and have it stick, make it last for 162 games no matter what. Would Melky still get his payday if he had 100~ games of the first year of it without being able to play? (You could also just make it so they are suspended for the next year to make it a full year of suspension).

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — January 31, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  31. Penalties will not deter much more at this point. 50 games is significant, maybe up it to 81 for a first, 162 for second, life for 3rd rather that 50-100-life but I doubt much would change. Olympic athletes still do it with a 2 year suspension for a first offense and life for a second (iirc). Players do it for the same reason people speed, they think they can get away with it without being caught. The more they catch the harder it is for players to think that way. Basically that is the end the owners need to work on – better tests, catching more guys year round – if they really want to kill this off.

    Comment by John Northey — January 31, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

  32. Well, it only makes sense that Miami is home to El BALCO Latino. I mean, c’mon. So the next question MLB should be asking itself is, “What is the whitest, honkiest, most Caucasian city in the US?” Because chances are, the yoked out white dudes are getting their stuff from THAT place. Fargo, Providence, small pockets of Kentucky and both of the Portlands better watch their backs . . .

    Comment by Choo — January 31, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  33. If I’m correct, you are scolding the MLB DOI for “getting scooped” when it sounds like they were doing their job investigating a florida clinic before somebody at that clinic decided to screw everybody over by handing a box of documents to a media source. How is that the MLB DOI’s fault? They can’t act on the media report, because for all they know it could be entirely false. Continuing the investigation to the best of their ability is the only responsible course of action, or have I missed something?

    And from that information, you are agreeing that A-Rod should specifically get his contract voided without mentioning what should be done with other players besides a vague “harsher punishment?” While also supporting a more unilateral and opaque investigation process to “get the truth?” I totally wouldn’t want to live in a country where Alex Remington is the dictator unless I manufactured jump to conclusions mats – I’m sure you wear them out fast.

    I understand that A-Rod should be suspended in accordance with the current rules just as Jordan Schafer was when MLB knew that he had received HGH through “non-analytical” means AKA it was delivered to his house or something equally idiotic. I also understand that I have a printer and laptop, allowing me to print an invoice with A-Rod’s name next to some supplement. MLB has decided to conduct investigations into alleged player PED misconduct instead of taking people by their word for a reason. A-Rod is probably guilty, but his guilt should be established fairly and retributive justice metted out responsibly – not just making up a new rule to void his contract when the agreed upon penalty is a suspension. Negotiate a new penalty if the current one isn’t enough, but you can’t do it ex post facto like is being suggested.

    Nobody should care if the media story gets published before the investigation is finished – the media story can be flawed and full of malarkey – MLB’s investigation needs to be held to a higher standard, even if that means they aren’t able to poop out a report within 24hrs of whiffing a story. Two Fangraphs articles in a single afternoon have been of the PED sensationalism variety – disgraceful.

    Jonah Keri’s article on the subject is worth reading in it’s entirety: http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/49258/baseballs-ped-problem-wont-seem-to-go-away

    Lost in all this is the fact that writers and the MLB seem to be focused solely on retributive justice in order to solve the PED problem, and severely neglecting any type of rehabilitation, education for players, or attempts to change the culture. That seems to tell me that MLB does not want to “solve” the problem, instead they want to appear to the public that they are addressing it while allowing idiotic violators to be caught as evidence that their sport is “clean.”

    Comment by AK7007 — January 31, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  34. I agree that if you want to kill it off the only way is by improving the rate at which you catch people. However, new drugs are being invented all the time, and you can’t develop a test for something until you know what you’re looking for. I don’t think stuff is going away any more than defensive shifting or relief pitching.

    Comment by LK — January 31, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

  35. I like this comment.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — January 31, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  36. Fair enough.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

  37. Fair point. It’s easier, as a matter of proof, to be skeptical than it is to be certain. That doesn’t necessarily make it more intellectually defensible, but it’s certainly easier.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

  38. (rehabilitation?? education????)

    Comment by Richie — January 31, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

  39. Despite the fact that MLB has been poking around this story for months, the whistleblowers clearly made a decision to leak to the New Times rather than to MLB. MLB has to find some solid evidence of its own and has not done so yet. Maybe they will.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

  40. I’m not criticizing the DOI for being in South Florida. I’m noting that they have been ineffectual thus far. Of course they have to continue the investigation.

    And wait a minute — I’m not agreeing that A-Rod should specifically get his contract voided. I’m saying that the Yankees clearly want to do this, and will probably try to fight hard to rid themselves of him once and for all. Where did you get the idea that I believed that “that A-Rod should specifically get his contract voided,” or even that I believe that harsher punishments are either necessary or good?

    If you’ll read my previous piece on suspensions as deterrents, I identify specific populations who should be viewed as being especially at risk for PED usage. I don’t favor blanket raises of PED punishments.

    As I wrote then: “If teams can pressure their players not to use, because of the damage that their absence could do to the team, then the 50 game suspension would truly be an effective deterrent. If not, then it will always pale in comparison to the money.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/melky-cabrera-50-games-ped-punishment/

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

  41. No, they have to verify the evidence that has been presented and present a case that meets whatever the relevant standard of guilt is for their process. The idea that evidence is invalid because it was first reported by a second-rate newspaper has no basis in logic or legal procedure.

    Comment by cpebbles — January 31, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

  42. I posed it as a question not to be facetious, but because the statement “(Voiding) might work this time. But in the future, the league will need to figure out why its Investigations Unit simply could not put together the story and got beaten by a local alt-weekly with a shaky business model” made me think you were in favor, but the language was vague enough that I wasn’t sure. Judging by the comments section, I am not the only reader that had this thought.

    I got the “harsher punishment” stuff from the reference to your Melky article, which admittedly upon re-reading doesn’t actually attempt to answer the question the title proposes and instead suggests restorative justice for offenders. (which is probably the right direction). The phrasing “First, it is clear that the current punishment schedule — 50 games for the first offense, 100 games for the second — is too weak to deter all players from using.” found within this article makes it sound as if harsher punishment would be more effective at deterring usage.

    Comment by AK7007 — January 31, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  43. I tried to be careful in my use of language but may not have been careful enough. Obviously, it’s hard to deter “all” players, and the draconian measures that would be required to do so are almost certainly objectionable. For example, giving a lifetime ban to every single player caught using PEDs might deter a few more than the current 50-game ban.

    But, as I argued in the Melky article, the true power lies with the teams and the clubhouses. If they can create a culture in which players are no longer tacitly encouraged to use because it will help them to play despite being hurt, but instead are actively discouraged from using because of the potential harms to the team, that will be a far more effective deterrent than the MLB punishment schedule.

    Comment by Alex Remington — January 31, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

  44. I see nothing wrong with questioning the integrity of the surgeon. There are all sorts of epidemiological/statistical studies that show that doctors will be sensitive to a good payday. Dentists filling cavities that could heal on their own, non-statistical fluctuations in the number of stent/bypass operations by hospital or cardiologist, the US spending 16% (highest in the world) of GDP on health and getting the 20th worst outcomes in key statistics (slightly below Cuba in life expectancy!), correlations between financial ties to Big Pharma and frequency of prescriptions. Doctors of the rich are just like any other employee of the rich.

    Comment by glib — January 31, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

  45. How do we really know how many players got caught. MLB controls the testing program. Do you really think they want their top stars being suspended, especially the cost controlled ones. That would cost MLB and owners a ton of revenue. So we only know who MLB told us were caught.

    Also, the 103 caught in 2003 was on the low side because all the players were told when the testing would be. Many of them surely stopped using until the tests were completed.

    I am pretty sure players have found a way around the testing. Either using low dose testosterone which is cleared quickly from the body, and perhaps some teams are tipping players off. This explains the lack of positives from teams in the North-Middle Eastern market, which is the biggest market,

    Comment by pft — January 31, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  46. Ok, that’s fair. But would you be at all surprised to find another half dozen of these labs?

    Comment by MikeS — January 31, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  47. HGH causes abnormal bone growth. His femoral head had abnormal growth Doctors presumed was congenital but perhaps could in fact be do to HGH, and this abnormal growth caused the impingment which tore up his labrum.

    Hard to imagine a world class athlete like Arod could have such a congenital defect that only caused him a problem recently.

    Comment by pft — January 31, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  48. Creatine enhances muscle bulidng like steroids but is legal. Many teams send their players to API. The founder there has long touted creatine despite possible health consequences.

    Athletes can use short acting steroids which clear the body within 24 hrs. Take it before the game and the next day when you report to the park where you may be tested it is gone from your body having done its job.

    Players will always seek an edge. The Babe took an extract of sheeps testicles, a crude attempt at boosting testosterone before there was synthetic testosterone and was sick as a dog as reported in the NY papers in the day.

    I say let them take what they want. Does not matter how many muscles you have, unless you have the god given talent to hit a 95 mph FB, they won’t do you much good, and you will be going against pitchers who throw 95 mph because they use the same stuff or have enhanced elbow ligaments.

    Comment by pft — January 31, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

  49. Also, the players have to agree on the punishment. MLB can not unilaterally decide this.

    Comment by pft — January 31, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

  50. This level of passive racism is fascinating, soul-crushing and alarming in equally advanced levels all at the same time; Kudos.

    Comment by Oh, Beepy — January 31, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

  51. pft, You may want to read your copy of the Joint Drug Agreement again. It’s right there on the first page: “The Independent Program Administrator shall have no affiliations with the Commissioner’s Office, any Major League Club, or the Players Association.”

    Comment by jwb — January 31, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

  52. No affiliations means he should not work for either party. he is jointly appointed, and both parties can initiate a process to remove him at anytime.

    Furthermore, you missed this.

    “The IPA shall have no authority to discipline Players for violations of the Program. All such authority shall repose in the Commissioner’s Office”

    So once a positive result goes to the commissioners desk, what happens after that is up to the commissioner. He can discipline according to the procedures and penalties agreed to or not.

    Comment by pft — January 31, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  53. MLB should come up with a system to penalize teams from trying to weasel out of honoring massive, risky long-term contracts that were, in essence, back-loaded: bargains in the early years and, predictably, a money-sink-hole in later years.

    F the Yankees, is I guess what I am trying to say here.

    Comment by SnowLeopard — January 31, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  54. At this point, I don’t care what MLB does. What I think should happen is that Congress should eliminate baseball’s anti-trust exemption. Without going down the path that Congress has usually taken – ie threaten to eliminate the exemption and then accept MLB expansion instead. The true nuclear option. The only reason MLB and the players union can be so constipated about this issue is that MLB faces no threat of competition.

    Eliminate that anti-trust exemption (specifically re MLB’s control of all “organized baseball” in the US) – and a new league (composed initially of some of the current minor league teams that can then break free of being “farm” teams) can start up and recruit clean players who are pissed off at the junkies.

    Competition is the only way corrupt institutions ever truly reform or die.

    Comment by jfree — January 31, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

  55. Goddamnit Jerry

    Comment by James — January 31, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

  56. Eliminating the anti-trust exemption would just lead to a spate of litigation whenever the teams and MLBPA try to negotiate a new labor deal. There’s a reason baseball has had years of labor peace while other sports– such as the NFL and NHL– keep ending up in court: the judicial option is closed to baseball players (by virtue of the anti-trust exemption) and so the players have to bargain instead.

    Comment by Rick — February 1, 2013 @ 12:13 am

  57. Your issue with creatine is laughable.

    Comment by Mark — February 1, 2013 @ 2:05 am

  58. The reality is that Congress already eliminated baseball’s anti-trust exemption re labor issues (at the MLB level only) in 1998 (the Curt Flood Act). So your point is moot.

    What they didn’t do is eliminate the control of MLB over the dozen or so “minor” leagues (via media market rights, draft, direct ownership, MLB assignment of players to serve the interests of the MLB parent, etc). That monopoly control is what allows for economic rent collected by both MLB owners (via media contract) and the elite players (via long-term guarantees). And that creates the financial incentive for PED’s and its coverup.

    Re the other sports. It isn’t their lack of anti-trust exemption that creates labor strife. It is the lack of potentially competitive leagues – which creates a big pool of money to argue over. But baseball is different. Those leagues exist – and were taken over (and strangled) by MLB.

    Comment by jfree — February 1, 2013 @ 2:09 am

  59. As well as the fact that even most high level doctors would have no idea what HGH related bone growth would look like because the studys have not been done on healthy above average athletes. So even if the surgeon wasn’t lying, he was guessing.

    Comment by Mark — February 1, 2013 @ 2:13 am

  60. Yes, absolutely, yes. Something needs to be done to show kids that taking steroids is not a good idea. I say AROD should be banned for life from the game! Just like Pete Rose.

    Comment by kiss my GO NATS — February 1, 2013 @ 2:19 am

  61. You also need the probable city to be a high dollar/low class slime ball infested region of the country. The California Bay Area as well as Miami are weasel breeding grounds.

    Comment by Mark — February 1, 2013 @ 2:22 am

  62. There is no way new baseball league can form, removing anti-trust can only remove relocation barriers (and even that is debatable, in NFL team can relocate at will, but in NHL no). There is no way to form league from only clean players, even WADA type testing can’t come close to guaranteeing that. And public would never be so interested in PEDs if owners haven’t behaved like they did when it started.

    NFL has much greater level of PED use than baseball, but nobody talks about that. NBA even got exception from WADA testing for their players when they agreed to let their players play in Olympics again in 1992.

    Only baseball has Holy Writers mad at the idea that today’s players may be better than heroes of their youth, willing to lead crusade against everyone today (completely ignoring that their heroes were largely taking amphetamines and everything else they thought could help them, just like today’s players). Also, only baseball has owners willing to see players dragged through mud, other owners realized that trashing players means trashing the sport itself, and losing money.

    There may be a way out of this, but not just through testing or penalties. WADA has started doing something like biological passports for athletes, where they take complete analysis of blood and urine in certain intervals and compare them constantly, essentially constantly measuring both levels and rate of change of all the significant markers. Sudden change of one or more markers can almost always be explained only by sickness or some form of drugs, even if they can’t detect drugs. Something like that for baseball players (and baseball has much more money and much less players than WADA to take care of, so they can include everything their doctors can think of, and they can test it more frequently) could eliminate most forms of PEDs. It would also improve health of the players, because they would be constantly monitored. It would also make it possible to monitor players for, for example, extremely low levels of testosterone, and giving them prescribed doses to keep levels above determined minimum, thereby both eliminating one reason for doping and keeping players healthier.

    Comment by Davor — February 1, 2013 @ 4:24 am

  63. The difference being that there was already a rule in place that allowed (demanded, even) that punishment for Rose.

    Comment by Snowman — February 1, 2013 @ 5:43 am

  64. Thats what folks said 15 years ago about steroids. Try to keep up.

    Comment by pft — February 1, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  65. Under section 7.G.2 of the Joint Drug Agreement, the commissioner can rule for disciplinary action against a player for “just cause” in the cases of violations not specifically referenced in the JDA.”

    I think the phrase “violations not specifically referenced in the JDA” would give MLB a hard road to do anything other than the standard 50 game ban for what is techically a first offence.

    Comment by Alan — February 1, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  66. Nothing to stop a new league from forming now, except a lack of investors. The anti-trust exemption simply means the teams in MLB can act as a cartel. Does not prevent a new league from starting up.

    Players are pretty happy with MLB, at least those still playing. I could see a league starting up made of AAAA type players and older players who can not find a MLB job, but going up against the MLB is pretty risky venture.

    Comment by pft — February 1, 2013 @ 7:26 am

  67. jwb, can you explain the cycling tests?

    Of course words on a page are exactly what happens in reality!!!

    Comment by dafuq — February 1, 2013 @ 8:06 am

  68. You don’t understand how steroids work or how they’re tested. Stop making up completely ludicrous examples.

    Comment by dafuq — February 1, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  69. Except it makes A-Rod healthier and better at his profession. What a great lesson to teach your children! Allow an arbitrary definition of ethics, that is likely implemented in an arbitrary fashion to help facilitate mediocrity due to public ignorance!!!

    Comment by dafuq — February 1, 2013 @ 8:14 am

  70. Baseball’s anti-trust exception is unique, but it probably is no longer necessary. It would be prohibitively capital-intensive to build a baseball league capable of competing with MLB. The barriers to entry have created an effective natural monopoly for major league baseball.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 9:09 am

  71. @jfree

    The Curt Flood case actually did exactly the opposite of what you think, as the Supreme Court affirmed the anti-trust exemption for labor issues in baseball in particular: The Court “concluded that Congress as yet has had no intention to subject baseball’s reserve system to the reach of the antitrust statutes,” and said baseball continues to enjoy “exemption from the federal antitrust laws.”

    As for your other points, I just don’t see the asserted link between other baseball leagues and a reduction in PED use: The NFL, for instance, has faced competition over the years– the AFL, the XFL, the UFL, and so on– and yet it continues to face its own PED issues. Also, even if competitive baseball leagues did develop, there’s no guarantee they themselves would be clean. We know from sports like cycling that even strict drug testing programs won’t prevent rampant cheating, and so even if these independently competitive leagues develop, and even if they implement draconian testing policies, there’s no assurance that only “clean” players would populate the league.

    Comment by Rick — February 1, 2013 @ 9:17 am

  72. Indeed. The ‘protect the kids’-rationale would demand silly outcomes such as banning Matt Kemp for playing through injury.

    Comment by TiensyGohan — February 1, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  73. Is it necessarily “irrational” for a baseball player to use PEDs that he believes are necessary for him to keep his job when the punishment is a temporary suspension from that job?

    Comment by Andrew — February 1, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  74. These guys have guaranteed contracts, any puishment is essentially short term, he still gets most of his money. Melky can attest to that fact.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — February 1, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  75. Second story in one week about a New York team that apparently thinks the rules should not apply to them.

    Comment by TKDC — February 1, 2013 @ 10:21 am

  76. I agree. The Yankees aren’t trying to get out of the contract because he took PEDs. They’re trying to get out of the contract because he’s not performing as well as he used to. This is just an excuse for them to avoid overpaying him.

    Heck, there was talk about him never playing again so that they can collect insurance money. It’s clear that PEDs aren’t the issue with them – underperformance is the issue.

    Comment by vivalajeter — February 1, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  77. Ryan Braun is one of the best players in baseball, plays for the team that the commissioner used to own, is considered a shining star of competitive balance (small market team retains superstar with large contract), yet still had his failed test exposed.

    The fact that it was later overturned by an independent arbitor is irrelevant to the idea that the Commissioner would cover up positives from stars.

    Comment by Steve — February 1, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  78. Or we could wait and see if the NFL allows Ray Lewis to play in the Super Bowl Sunday.

    Of course, since it’s football, I think we all know what’s going to happen here and there’s no shortage of media personalities willing to apply a double-standard to baseball players.

    Comment by chuckb — February 1, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  79. Suspending players for 1/3 of the season doesn’t show kids that taking steroids is wrong?

    Give me a break. The public outcry and vilification alone should let kids know that steroids are wrong.

    Comment by chuckb — February 1, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

  80. It needs to be noted that, presumably, Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera have already been punished for 50 games for using the substances indicated in this report. If MLB plans to punish A-Rod, they have to punish all of those implicated — including the wildly popular Gio Gonzalez and Colon and Cabrera. Except that the latter 2 have already been punished for this. Surely MLB wouldn’t punish them again, would they? The players’ union would rightly lose their shit if they did.

    But there’s no real way to know if this incident is the same incident for which they have already tested positive — and A-Rod and the others, presumably, have tested negative. So how do you justify the contradictory punishments — punishing Cabrera and Colon twice for the same incident or punishing all of them the same amount when only 2 of them tested positive?

    There’s no real way for MLB to punish these players — again, importantly, it’s not just A-Rod much as everyone wants him to be the poster boy for all that is wrong with baseball — even if they wanted to.

    Comment by chuckb — February 1, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  81. Sometimes my sarcasm doesn’t always come off. I am not racist. If you guys honestly thought I was being serious, even after I suggested that Fargo might be the PED hub of the US, than I am sorry.

    Comment by Choo — February 1, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  82. Regardless of whether there is substance behind this story or not, the Miami Times sure got it’s name out there – obviously, the story deserves to be investigated thoroughly, but it’s amazing that so many have blindly assumed truth and accuracy from an alt-weekly that most have never heard of (with a “shaky” business model) and assume Bosch and the players are simply lying – mob mentality at it’s finest! If MLB, through it’s own investigation, finds the report to be credible then fine – but until then, isn’t this a classic case of rushing to judgement? I, for one, am not willing to call Gio Gonzalez a liar until MLB itself does so.

    Comment by Gus — February 1, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

  83. Well, the New Times has been around for a while. It’s not actually “new.” Its parent company is Voice Media, basically the biggest alt-weekly chain left; they’re the parent company of the Village Voice, the godfather of alt-weeklies. (The main competitor was Creative Loafing, which basically went belly-up in 2012. It sold several of its papers to SouthComm.)

    The business model for alt-weeklies used to be obvious: have a bit of arts coverage and one or two investigative stories per week, give it away for free, and pay for it with tons of ads, especially classified ads. Unfortunately, the ad market cratered, particularly classified ads, with the emergence of craigslist.

    So the New Times’s business may be troubled — but that’s true of all newspapers. The reporting in this case appears to be pretty solid. Here are photographs showing every mention of Alex Rodriguez in the Biogenesis records:

    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/01/the_a-rod_files_every_mention.php

    Here’s every mention of Gio: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/01/the_gio_files_every_mention_of.php

    And here’s every mention of Melky: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/02/the_melky_files_all_the_mentio.php

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  84. I’ve seen the “evidence” also – and it proves Gio did what?

    Comment by Gus — February 1, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

  85. Although, to be fair, they didn’t test for HGH. Players may simply have migrated over to this. I think that this year will be a better indicator of whether or not the policy is working.

    Comment by Bill — February 1, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  86. “Pink cream.”

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

  87. On the contrary, they hate the fact that the rules apply to them — that’s why they’re lobbying to get the rules changed. That’s fundamentally how lobbying works. Everyone wants a private exception made just for them, and if they’re wealthy enough, they usually can get it.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

  88. Now that there’s a test for HGH, there is a market incentive for doctors to come up with new drugs that aren’t being tested. There will always be new drugs.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  89. Which rules do the Yankees think do not apply?

    Comment by Steve — February 1, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  90. Yes, pink cream … and Gio’s a pitcher … and Bosch was keeping track of some of his pitching stats … and Max Gonzalez was a patient … he deserves 50 games for this concrete evidence!!!
    In all seriousness though, I enjoyed the article and the background on the alt-media, good job Alex.

    Comment by Gus — February 1, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

  91. I love the discussions. It is a couple of years late but we are finally getting somewhere. It is clear that the readers now at least admit that there is a problem. MLB is trying so hard compared to everyone else that they must be commended. It is not enough but it is a lot.
    Fran Tarkenton wrote a great op ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about football and their laughable approach to PEDs.
    In response to the lead of the post, of course you do not punish someone because of news reports. We should treat PEDs with a case by case approach and spend money on investigation of both current and past players.

    Comment by enhanced performance — February 1, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  92. Hard to imagine a world class athlete like Arod could have such a congenital defect that only caused him a problem recently.

    The doctor addressed this.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/his_hip_surgeon_reveals_r9aQapAVDnVmi1tWuKTqWM

    “Kelly explained that 25 degrees of internal rotation is needed in the hips to produce an ideal swing and less than 10 percent leaves an athlete vulnerable. Kelly said Rodriguez probably was operating at well under 25 percent even in his best years as the hip impingement methodically did damage to the joint and labrum.

    As a unique athlete, A-Rod compensated by using other muscles and having a strong pain tolerance.”

    ““The easiest question anyone can ask is if this is related to steroid use. I can say with 100 percent certainty this is not a steroid injury at all. This is a mechanical injury, and mechanics are something you are born with.”

    Kelly explained that by age 15 the hip has reached its mature shape and A-Rod’s impingement injury comes from two factors: a hereditary component (having a femoral head that is more egg-shaped than spherical and thus more likely to produce a labrum tear) and a developmental component (the external forces that come from repetitive motion in playing a high-level sport for a long period).

    “Given Alex’s anatomy and sport, at some point in his career, the effects of the impingement would appear,” Kelly said.”

    Comment by Steve — February 1, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  93. Bravo, AK7007. First rate.

    Comment by Dan — February 1, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

  94. Please notice my use of the word “should.”

    Comment by TKDC — February 1, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

  95. Thanks very much for posting that, Steve. I had completely missed that interview.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  96. Fair enough — then we don’t disagree.

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  97. I was referring to the Curt Flood Act of 1998 – not the court case. It specifically includes major league baseball players (but not minor leaguers) into anti-trust law. And specifically excludes MLB from all other anti-trust law.

    re the link between anti-trust and PED’s. My assumption is that financial incentives are the major driver behind PED’s use (and cover up) in baseball. Those incentives are a direct consequence of what MLB has done to potential/existing competition (ie the “minor” leagues) using its anti-trust exemption. It has extracted economic rent and protected that rent via court cases/legislation. Most of which probably goes to the owners – but clearly a large part of it is going to the elite players – ie 16 out of the 21 biggest sports contracts in the world are MLB players (2 soccer, 2 US football, 1 basketball).

    As long as those financial incentives exist from the top-down, no set of rules/tests is going to stop it. Only competition can eliminate economic rent.

    Comment by jfree — February 1, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  98. ESPN is currently reporting, via anonymous sources, that Alex Rodriguez used to text Dr. Bosch to ask him to come over to A-Rod’s house and “inject him in person.”

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8904501/operator-miami-clinic-linked-peds-mlb-treated-yankees-alex-rodriguez-directly

    Comment by Alex Remington — February 1, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

  99. I don’t mean to nitpick but HGH isn’t steroids

    Comment by Jonesy — February 1, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

  100. “Solid” except for the facts that the dates on the handwritten notes are either wrong or the notes were misfiled. The Player’s union would certainly fight a suspension based entirely on heresay and none of this evidence would hold up in court.

    “And there may be good reason to question the evidence: The file described above gives Feb. 7, 2009 as a Monday, when it was in fact a Saturday. Another entry implicating A-Rod shows up in the “2010” book below the date Monday, Nov. 21, though the 21st fell on a Sunday in 2010. If we trust the listed days, then the records would seem to have been misfiled—those dates would match the days of the week for 2011 or 2005, not 2009 or 2010.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/01/a_rod_hgh_will_a_crackdown_on_supposedly_performance_enhancing_human_growth.html

    Comment by Jonesy — February 1, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  101. Key word is “anonymous”

    Unless someone is willing to go on record or under oath, this thing is going to go nowhere…

    Comment by Jonesy — February 1, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

  102. creatine fills your muscles with water, it doesn’t necessarily make you stronger. people taking creatine often experience a strength gain because of the exercise and other things they’re likely to be taking, like BCAAs and higher quality protein

    Comment by jim — February 1, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  103. The rule that, when a team agrees to a gargantuan, risky contract that projects to be a loser in its later years, that the team pay out that contract.

    Comment by Ian — February 1, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

  104. Why would we “spend money on investigation of past players?” An open-ended witch hunt so we can wag our collective finger and smugly feel better about ourselves? So we can give more lip service to “the sanctity of the game” that never really existed?

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    Comment by Jason B — February 2, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  105. Yeah, I’m envisioning Helen Lovejoy madly screaming “WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?” We don’t have to imagine horrible specters being visited upon later generations to deal with issues confronting us today.

    (Both political parties try to pull off that tired, hysterical appeal, too. At least it has died down somewhat post-election. Save for the gun control and national debt/deficit debates. Dammit.)

    Comment by Jason B — February 2, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

  106. You hit on the key thing Alex – *everyone* wants to shade things in their own favor. We all do it, all the time. We can justify that extra ten minutes at lunch (I took a shorter lunch on Tuesday!) or calling in sick to play hooky (they made me work a holiday!) or no reporting all of our income (greedy IRS bastards!) or driving 80 MPH (stay out of my way, you no-drivin’ grandmas! I know what I’m doing!) and on and on.

    It’s just that most of us aren’t as powerful, and/or get to do it as publicly, as the Evil Empire.

    Comment by Jason B — February 2, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

  107. “Under oath” won’t happen. There’s no criminal investigation and MLB doesn’t have subpoena power to compel testimony under oath.

    Comment by Jason B — February 2, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

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