Reports Call Miami Facility an East Coast BALCO

A report by the Miami New Times was published today, linking multiple Major League players to an anti-aging wellness clinic that was reportedly a front for supplying people with HGH and other PEDs.

Among the players named in the report: Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, and three players who were suspended by Major League Baseball last year (Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera). Rodriguez is going to get the most attention, because he’s Alex Rodriguez, but the report suggests that Miami has become the new San Francisco in terms of providing PEDs to Major League players. Given the amount of players that live and train in the area during the off-season, that probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

Major League Baseball has released the following statement in response to the report.

“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances. These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts. Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program.

“The recommendations of the Mitchell Report have once again played a critical role in Major League Baseball’s ongoing efforts against performance-enhancing drugs. MLB implemented all of the recommendations made by Senator Mitchell in 2007, several of which emphasized the significance of installing proactive investigative services.

“The establishment of our Department of Investigations has represented a critical advance in these comprehensive efforts. In the years since its formation, DOI’s work has proven pivotal to bringing to light information regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances. Furthermore, DOI has built strong working relationships with federal and local law enforcement authorities. These relationships are crucial because only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

“Vigilance remains the key toward protecting the integrity of our game. We have the best and most stringent drug testing policy in professional sports, we continue to work with our doctors and trainers to learn what they are seeing day-to-day and we educate our players about the game’s unbending zero-tolerance approach. We remain fully committed to following all leads and seeking the appropriate outcomes for all those who use, purchase and are involved in the distribution of banned substances, which have no place in our game.

“We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”

The next question will be whether that active investigation leads to any suspensions. While players like Cruz and Gonzalez haven’t failed any drug tests, MLB has not previously tested for HGH during the season. The only testing for HGH last year occurred during spring training, so any player using HGH after testing clean in March would not have been caught under the old program. That is changing for 2013, but it remains to be seen whether or not MLB will attempt to suspend players linked to this facility without a failed drug test.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


61 Responses to “Reports Call Miami Facility an East Coast BALCO”

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  1. Bobby Ayala says:

    Say it ain’t so Gio!

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  2. Glomp says:

    The substance Gio was implicated in using, Aminorip, doesn’t contain any ingredients that are banned by Major League Baseball, via Criag Calcaterra on twitter.

    +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • SeanP says:

      The report said Gio was named 6 times in the documents. The documents released today only lists him once, and New Times says they are releasing more documents in the future. So, it remains to be seen whether what was released today on Gio is all they have on him or not.

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  3. TKDC says:

    A 50-game ARod suspension is a windfall for the Yankees.

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    • Jim says:

      A permanent ban would be much more valuable to the Yankees.

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    • Tomcat says:

      how funny would it be if they were secretly funding this investigation to get him banned so they are out from under his contract

      +22 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jonathan says:

      At this point in the offseason, it’s a bit too late for it to help them significantly except by way of a mid-season trade (And that’s assuming that a suspension would affect payroll). Considering it’s his “first offense” (Officially speaking), it’s only a 50 game ban.

      Beyond that, the ban is only for an actual test. A leaked document from a facility implicating isn’t going to get far with the MLBPA without a failed test.

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      • Jim says:

        What I would like to know is whether, under the CBA, a buyout of his contract during 2013 would have an impact on their 2014 cap number.

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      • Rick11 says:

        The MLB can and has suspended players for PED use even without an actual test (see Jay Gibbons and Jose Guillen, for example). You’re right about the MLBPA though– as I recall, they filed a grievance on the Guillen suspension, and it will be interesting to see what they do here.

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  4. Garrett says:

    From what I’ve read, none of the substances Gio got from them was banned or even steriods. I sure hope I’m not proven wrong.

    Go Nats!

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    • mister_rob says:

      So Gio just decided to go to an anti-aging clinic that was a front for illegal PEDs to get some stuff major league baseball has no problem with?

      I doubt it.

      +14 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        The evidence against Gio that’s public so far is a notebook documentation, “Order 1.c.1 with Zinc/MIC/… and Aminorip. For Gio and charge $1,000.” But a) what’s in that ellipsis? b) “For Gio”? not even a last name? c) what Craig Calcaterra and others are saying is that Aminorip, which is indeed a muscle builder, isn’t banned by the MLB.

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      • TKDC says:

        Does anyone have a link to the actual evidence?

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      • Wil says:

        Well, AminoRip is a protein supplement that you can buy over the counter but it doesn’t cost near 1000 dollars. So either Gio bought a whole lot of the stuff, or it’s a cover for something else.

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      • TKDC says:

        @Wil,

        Mirrors my thinking. You don’t go to an anti-aging clinic that is a front for illegal PEDs to spend $1000 on stuff that is within the rules of MLB.

        On the other hand, Gio is actually from Miami, so maybe this is just a horrible coincidence?

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      • MDL says:

        @WBE I think this is the original article (dated for two days in the future..?)

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      • MDL says:

        @MDL well shoot, the article linked to the report.

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      • philosofool says:

        You can’t ignore that fact that while his notebooks detail a bunch of illegal stuff for more than a dozen other athletes, nothing in his five records about Gio mentions a banned substance. Yes, it’s fishy, but it’s highly circumstantial evidence you’re pointing to, and that evidence is different from the pattern elsewhere.

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      • TKDC says:

        @philosofool

        I’m not sure “highly circumstantial evidence” means what you think it means. This is basically the strongest that circumstantial evidence can be. Client of an illegal PED operation. Front is an anti-aging business. A decidedly young (and young looking) Gio Gonzalez. Large payments. An alias to hide his identity. A clear motive. Is that not enough to pass by “highly circumstantial” to you?

        A guy showing up for spring training with 15 extra pounds of muscle or the appearance of backne is “highly circumstantial evidence.”

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      • Wil says:

        Also I read the whole article and they only make reference to one entry pertaining to Gio the one highlighted by Well-Beered Englishman above. I wonder what the other four state?

        I’m giving Gio the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that he was in those notebooks with basically all these other users doesn’t bode well.

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      • KCDaveInLA says:

        Is it impossible that this lab has engineered a substance that can improve performance without containing illegal substance? If so, no wonder these guys are flocking to the place.

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      • philosofool says:

        Circumstantial evidence is evidence that is indirect and requiring an inferrence from the evidence to the commision of a crime or transgression. Examples include finger prints, driving a car the same color and model as the one leaving the scene, and so forth, In this case, nothing specifically states that Gio used a banned substance, indeed, it says he used a legal substance. It is therefore circumstantial. If you read the article, it should be clear that the evidence regarding Gio is different from the evidence about Cabrerra or ARod. Intellectual honesty requires you to acknowledge that difference inevidence even if it does not alter your final judgment: that was my main point.

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      • TKDC says:

        Yes, but “highly” circumstantial denotes that the connection is tenuous, whereas this evidence is not. I didn’t say it wasn’t circumstantial. In fact, I said it was.

        You should read the 4th paragraph of the Wikipedia page you lifted that definition from. That is basically what is going on here.

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      • philosofool says:

        Oh, now I get it. You thought I was misusing the word “highly.”

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  5. Vince says:

    Can’t wait ’til the BBWAA justifies its next witch hunt.

    “But Longoria played in FLORIDA. And he was so young-looking.”

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  6. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    ‘In a statement issued through his representatives, Gonzalez said: “I’ve never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will. I’ve never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.”‘

    From Amanda Comak, Washington Times

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    • Mike Green says:

      Um. Has an athlete,who has never tested positive for a banned substance, ever said anything different than Gonzalez did? Usually the stout denials are maintained even in the face of one positive test.

      This is not to say that Gonzalez did anything wrong. Merely that his denial is (as usual) uninformative.

      +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jonathan says:

        Andy Pettitte came clean pretty quickly about HGH after being even remotely implicated and there were a lot of people willing to give him the benefit of the doubt prior to him admitting it.

        A-Rod also copped to it pretty quickly when his negative test leaked.

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      • Sean O'Neill says:

        That’s true Jonathan, but in A-Rod’s case at least we have pretty clear evidence here that his “admission” was incomplete at best. Based on the evidence that has emerged, it seems clear that A-Rod has continued using PEDs in his time with the Yankees, something he explicitly denied previously. Would it surprise anyone to find out that Pettitte had used PEDs for more than just recovering from one injury, as he claimed was the case? Probably not.

        The admission strategy is just that: a PR strategy to minimize damage. Outside of the Cansecos and Caminitis of the world, complete admissions of PED use are rare.

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    • Bill says:

      Well there we go then, case closed.

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  7. Jesse says:

    On one hand this story seems a bit convoluted for now.

    On the other you do have to give the mlb some credit for being somewhat ahead of the curve on parts of this ring, namely colon and cabrera. What if the drug policy was more or less working!

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    • TKDC says:

      And actually proactively looking for cheaters will always make “staying ahead of the game” still somewhat risky. An effective policy cannot be just about testing. The more of these there are, the more scared players will become. Now they just need to make sure the risk is not worth it. If there are still so many cases of users in the next few years, the punishments need to be increased. It is not enough to say that you are catching (some of the) cheaters.

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  8. BalkingHeads says:

    “Disappointed!” – Kevin Sorbo.

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  9. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    GIF evidence of Gio Gonzalez gaining an illicit advantage:
    http://gifninja.com/animatedgifs/305999/dc-sports-nexus.gif

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    • gnomez says:

      How have I never seen that gif before? That is pure gold!

      …not because it ever happened to me or anything *whistles*

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  10. Big Jgke says:

    I wish they would drop the hypocrisy and just make everything legal.

    -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • philosofool says:

      Hypocrisy?

      (Accusations of hypocrisy, by the way, are a form of ad hominem fallacy.)

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      • TKDC says:

        You have to realize that it is now cool to advocate for lawlessness when it comes to steroids. Get with the program.

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      • Someanalyst says:

        Ad hominem fallacy. But of course! Hypocrisy is actually a quantum field (SU3 I guess) – it exists until you accuse someone of it, and then, by virtue of your accusation, the hypocrisy becomes a fallacy and evaporates into the ether…

        Get out of the goddamn ivory tower.

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    • SeanP says:

      Why? So players who don’t want to take steroids will be forced to do so if they want to have the same advantages as others in order to gain money, contracts, and jobs?

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    • Baltar says:

      I’m with you, Jgke. Let them do whatever they want to their own bodies in order to entertain us.
      Didn’t this used to be a free country?

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      • Bill says:

        This has nothing to do with the “country”. MLB doesn’t want a league full of laboratory experiments (anymore). They can ban whatever they please. If Selig became a Mormon and banned caffeine, the league would be with in its rights to do this. If you want to play in the league you have to follow its rules.

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  11. Me says:

    Mlbn is saying that Gio’s father admitted to going to the clinic.

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  12. MattK says:

    BALCO was actually good at what they were doing, this seems to be more mickey mouse stuff.

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  13. Gio Gonzalez says:

    “Wait… you’re saying I could’ve gotten actual steroids there instead of just these protein shakes? Crap…”

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. chanelclemente says:

    There are enough straws being grasped here for an Olympic pick up sticks game.

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  15. SeanP says:

    This is pretty serious stuff. What if MLB gets a hold of those records and interviews all the players named in them? What if Colon, Grandal and Cabrera testify that those records are accurate? Remember, those 3 were already caught last season and will likely tell MLB that what they tested positive for is what was listed in the records. If they verify those records to MLB, then A-Rod and Gio Gonzalez will have a hard time convincing MLB those records are false.

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    • Bill says:

      Why would Colon and company turn on other players? I could see a player ratting out other players in order to avoid a suspension, but these guys have already served, they have no reason to talk.

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  16. Evan says:

    I could definitely see this going much deeper than just Gio, A-Rod, Cruz, and the rest. The article mentioned that University of Miami conditioning guru Jimmy Goins was linked as well. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the coach got steroids for University of Miami players. Goins has worked with Miami during the time that major leagures Yonder Alonso, Jemile Weeks, Scott Maine, Chris Perez, John Jay, Danny Valencia, Gaby Sanchez, and Ryan Braun played there!

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  17. glib says:

    Interestingly, I have always thought that roughly 50% of MLB players were on PED these days (down to about 100% 10 years ago). But only about 3-5% have been caught or have otherwise admitted it.

    By binomial statistics, I expect 0 or (rarely) 1 previous offenders in the sample of 6 players mentioned by the newspaper, and the 90% confidence level is probably at about 0.6 players, assuming 5%. There are 4 out of 6 previous offenders in the report. The most obvious explanation is that the fraction of offenders is close to 3-5%, and that a large fraction of them gets caught. Perhaps it is true, nowadays PED are fairly rare in baseball.

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  18. Willie says:

    Time to test Miguel Cabrera. I always suspected him ( going back to Marlins days). And as he got lazier and fatty his numbers improved. Doesn’t pass the smell test.

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  19. Robinson Cano says:

    I’m good friends with Arod. He taught me the ropes. The crazy spike in my numbers in 2008-2012 has nothing to do with PEDs. Just beer and hotdogs ( like the Babe). You believe me, right?

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  20. Bryan says:

    At this rate, the ‘war on doping’ and ‘war on drugs’ will be indistinguishable in ten or so years. Great policy! Let’s take all the things that didn’t work with our recreational drug policy and double down with it for doping in sport.

    But of course, its for the children…

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  22. Ryan Braun says:

    Amateurs always get caught…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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