Here’s the important thing we know for sure about the breaking news in Major League Baseball’s performance enhancing drug scandal: suspended star Ryan Braun is afraid of Anthony Bosch. Put into a position where he would have to go mano a mano with the man behind the closed South Florida Biogenesis “anti-aging” clinic, now alleged to have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of PED’s to ballplayers, Braun folded his.
Alex Rodriguez, also prominently featured as about to be suspended in widespread leaks I decried in an earlier blog, http://davemarashsez.blogspot.com/2013/07/drug-punishments-impending.html, had his own leaks spread around which indicated that he was prepared to face down his latest accuser. Someone close to A-Rod alleged to the NY Daily News that Bosch had begged to be bought off, before he agreed to take money and legal protections to testify for MLB.
My guess is, Rodriguez and his advisors are considering their options. He had been saying he would be back on the field for the Yankees by August 22. Now, he has halted his rehabilitation from surgery, because, he says, he has injured a quad muscle.
Helping A-Rod assess his situation, finding a least-damaging-to-all-concerned outcome, are among the smallest reasons why Braun and Major League Baseball need to put some facts on the table. The inarticulate mumbling going on now actually hurts all concerned.
Here is what Braun has said so far about being banished for the rest of this season (66 games) and deprived of about $3 million in salary: “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”
For this, and all the quotes in this piece I am indebted to the blog of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Thomas Haudricourt.
Braun has issued a printed statement. He is as afraid to face the media as he is to face Anthony Bosch. And with good reason: his record of lying about his case.
From the Haudricourt collection:
Immediately after arbitrator Shyam Das has cleared him, because the allegedly dirty samples had been mishandled, Braun said: “I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”
The next day, at a local Milwaukee sandlot field: "If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I'd be the first one to step up and say, 'I did it. By no means am I perfect, but if I've ever made any mistakes in my life I've taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.”
After it was revealed his name was on a Biogenesis list of those who owed Bosch a lot of money: “During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant. There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch’s work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under ‘money’s owed’ and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch.”
That was enough to fool me: consistent, logical statements from a player who had heretofore had a good reputation, lacked any of the physical characteristics of a “juicer,” and had an established record of all-star quality play long before and the year after he allegedly “flunked” a drug test for the first time.
And now, like a lot of fans, I want to know everything. And, for a variety of reasons, all parties should be hurrying to fully inform.
Why did Ryan Braun “confess?” I have to put confess in quotes, because, “I have made some mistakes,” confesses to nothing.
Ryan, did you dose yourself with testosterone before the National League Playoffs in 2011 just give yourself an edge? Was it your first use? Your only use?
Why do you fear Anthony Bosch? Would it be just your word against his, that he sold you drugs, that he was more than “a consultant?” Or would it be his word and documentation of your debt and what it was for?
Or was your choice to give up a remnant of an already lost season for the Brewers and a remnant for a huge salary, with a multiply-huger contract extension already signed, because your blank-paged plea saved you from much harsher penalties and an endless campaign against you by MLB, featuring accusations placed in every form of media from the leaders of the game, Bosch and the press room’s amen corner?
Ryan, until you spell it out, everyone will assume the worst, that you juiced and lied and lied and lied. And no one will believe you have really taken ownership of your crimes until you enumerate them, and denounce them, specifically and in detail. Anything less will be taken, rightly, as sniveling.
And MLB, if you hold to your present course of obfuscation, “We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball, people will wonder what kind of a case against Braun you really had.
Manfred, a former Deputy NYC Mayor under Rudy Giuliani, is certainly offering no prosecutor's statement of facts to prove that the player’s deal was not just a calculation to call off a threatened war of unflattering leaks and pettifoggery forever.
Worse, Manfred is acting like we should believe this was no big deal, nothing to see, and that we should all move along. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter.”
Just buy your tickets for 2014, MLB is saying to Brewer fans, Braun has done nothing we’re not willing to forgive and forget. “When Ryan returns,” Manfred said, already looking forward, or is it, looking away from what's real, “we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”
Hate the player; love his home runs.
Somehow, I think most baseball fans, most disinterested observers, will want more than that. Ryan Braun and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (not his surrogate) should tell the truth.