The new “scandal” in baseball is really old news in a sense. The Biogenesis Scandal, as it is being called, seems to be boiling over now with the new possibility that Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch is ready to sing like a canary. Every rat has its price, no doubt, and we can only imagine what deal MLB is making with him. But we can ask why now?
Of course, there are two big names connected to this case – Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. One is a pariah (A-Rod) and the other was supposed to be the all-American poster boy for baseball (Braun), but both are looking at long suspensions and perhaps ruination of their careers.
The Yankees have been looking for ways out of their mega millions contract with A-Rod almost since the ink was dry, but now there seems to be a golden opportunity to void that contract (if he is indeed suspended). The more difficult separation will be Braun and the Brewers, for in Milwaukee he is like a baseball god. Handsome and affable, Braun is the anti-Rod if you will. Brewers fans actually like him, while Yankees fans hate A-Rod almost as much as if he were a New York Met.
The question is what is MLB’s motivation now? We know that A-Rod has already acknowledged being a user (for what he says was a brief time in his career), but Braun got away with it last year on a technicality that irked MLB at the time. We know in the past that certain people – Pete Rose comes to mind – get on the MLB radar and are either seen as scapegoats or sacrificial lambs. With Rose it was gambling – the great evil doer was banned for life. Later on guys like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were lionized and then later destroyed by MLB because of steroids. And let us not forget Barry Bonds, someone whose presence was almost as toxic as A-Rod’s is now, who was set as an example for all the world to see how serious MLB can be about taking a stand.
Another pleasant fellow who got caught in MLB’s crosshairs was Roger (I like to throw broken bats at players) Clemens. Remember how he incredulously got better and better towards the end of his career? We were supposed to think it was the great workout regime, right? Well, they went after the Teflon pitcher and he got away with it. Or did he? Now he is persona non grata almost worse than Rose.
If there is a point to all this, we have to know what the true motivation is for MLB. A-Rod, Braun, and apparently eighteen others are on a list to be targeted. Are we to assume that this is MLB seeking justice, or are they out for blood? Will these guys be the sacrificial lambs to scare all other MLB players to get in line?
Biogenesis (sounds like a bad sci-fi TV series) could be just the tip of the iceberg. It is just one clinic in Florida; how many more places are there like this all over the country? Can we imagine that there could 20 or so players connected to each of many more just like it, and will baseball go after them with the same zeal?
Right now MLB has set its sights on Rodriguez and Braun. They seem ready to go down, but what will this do to the bigger picture for baseball? Where are all the feel good moments we are supposed to get? Like those kids who used to have McGwire and Sosa posters tacked to the wall in their rooms all over the country, we are once again faced with scandal and the notion that the great American game is not so pure and wonderful as we want it to be. In the process of getting its pound of flesh, MLB may just be opening a Pandora’s Box that will cause hemorrhaging that will leave baseball a bloody mess for a longtime to come.
Photo credits: Braun-sports illustrated.com; A-Rod-AP