It finally happened. After months of rumors and speculation surrounding the Biogenesis fallout, Major League Baseball suspended 13 players for performance-enhancing drug violations this week. The suspensions included a 211-game ban for Alex Rodriguez, intended to cover the remainder of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. According to a statement from MLB, A-Rod was punished under the Joint Drug Agreement for use and possession of numerous forms of PEDs over the course of multiple years, and under the collective bargaining agreement for attempting to cover up his PED use by obstructing the league’s investigation. The moment was heralded as “historic,” “sport-altering,” “an incomprehensible circus,” and “aimless and desperate, even by its own aggressively sophomoric standards.” (That last one may be about Grown Ups 2.)
Here’s what we know so far: A-Rod — and A-Rod alone — has appealed his suspension to independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. This pits the most powerful man in baseball, commissioner Bud Selig, against its most reviled (and well-paid) player. Rodriguez will be permitted to play pending the outcome of the appeal, providing us with our second-most memorable “the banned is out on the field” moment (inspiration via the New York Post), while the other players have already begun serving their time. The suspension of Rodriguez, like the other Biogenesis players, was the result of a “non-analytical positive,” which means the proof of PED use or possession was based on something other than a positive drug test. In this case, Major League Baseball claims to have “overwhelming evidence” of Rodriguez’s use, including eyewitness testimony, receipts, checks, and text messages.
What can we expect Rodriguez to argue in his appeal? It’s difficult to anticipate the defenses without knowing the precise basis for the suspension. We know it was based on the Joint Drug Agreement and the CBA, but we don’t know what portion of the suspension was attributable to the Joint Drug Agreement and what portion was attributable to the CBA, and we don’t know what sections of the Joint Drug Agreement were used to determine the disciplinary action.
Without answers to these questions, we can only speculate as to his defense, but let’s go ahead and speculate. Here are some of the arguments we might see from A-Rod.
Sometime after the All-Star break, Major League Baseball plans to suspend Ryan Braun along with as many as 20 other players accused of performance-enhancing drug use, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Tuesday.
The report highlights the latest chapter in MLB's quest to take down Braun and others implicated in the ongoing investigation into Miami's Biogenesis clinic and its former proprietor, Tony Bosch. The Miami New Times first reported on the story in January. OTL’s own previous digging revealed the scope of baseball's investigation, MLB's attempts to suspend Braun and Alex Rodriguez for longer than the typical first-time offense would typically mandate, and Bosch's cooperation. The only morsel of new news this week is that MLB now seems to have a timetable for its targeted suspensions — though a cynic could argue that "sometime after next week's All-Star break" is an awfully open-ended estimate.
Major League Baseball has reportedly compelled former Biogenesis proprietor Tony Bosch to testify in the league's case against roughly 20 players accused of performance-enhancing drug use. The list of accused players includes Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, and Jhonny Peralta.
The report from ESPN's Outside the Lines marks the latest development in a scandal first reported by the Miami New Times in January. The New Times wrote that Rodriguez, Cabrera, Colon, and Yasmani Grandal headed the list of players who allegedly bought PEDs from Biogenesis. All four of those players had either admitted to using PEDs in the past (Rodriguez) or been suspended for PED use (Cabrera, Colon, and Grandal) when the report came out. Two other major league players not previously linked to PED use, Gio Gonzalez and Cruz, were also named in the report.
In case you were out living your own sports dreams by eating pretzels like Jason Alexander circa '94, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday:
The Los Angeles Kings once again showed that Staples Center is a fortress, extending their unbeaten home playoff record with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks to narrow Chicago's Western Conference finals lead to 2-1. "Man, it's harder to win there than it is at a Staples," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I mean, you go in, and the prices are way higher than you'd find online, but it's like, I need index cards today and where the hell else can you get index cards? Then you end up wandering down an aisle and remembering that your wife told you the router was on the fritz, so you go to pick up a new one, but all the models are weird and overpriced. Then you get up to the counter, and boom, Jonathan Quick rejects your credit card. So you go to shoplift some highlighters. Which, and trust me on this one, only makes things worse."
Oklahoma avenged its defeat in last year's Women's College World Series by completing its sweep of the Tennessee Volunteers with a 4-0 series-clinching win. Oklahoma became the first WCWS champion to finish first in the nation in ERA and scoring, putting it in the conversation about the greatest women's college softball teams of all time. Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops differed in his assessment, however, saying, "Last year's model was definitely better; it's always better when you make it to the finals and lose. Builds character. Shows true greatness."
Welcome to the latest installment of The Triangle’s mailbag, The Bake Shop, in which we try to serve up piping-hot answers to your most burning questions. As always, you can submit a question or observation to us by e-mailing email@example.com. Onward!
Q: I have a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. We live outside of Boston. As a native of upstate NY, I like the Yankees, more because I hate the whole Boston-underdog b.s. than because I like the Yankees. Am I a sexist because I don't care who my daughter cheers for but I bought my son NY Yankees and NY Giants clothing?
— Russ C.
Bakes: I love how this question took a sharp turn and veered right off the road. It reads like an LSAT problem as written by Eminem: "If Billy is taller than Margaret and Jack, and Margaret is taller than Richard and Anna, but not Sam, and Sam is the same height as Billy, which came in handy when Billy murdered Sam in cold blood for the love of Anna and then drove around wearing his clothes for a week while chain-smoking, will the dry-cleaning bill cost more or less than the cigarettes?"
Here's the thing. I'm biased, of course, as someone who spent much of the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII on the phone with her equally-freaking-out dad. But because the Bake Shop is a judgment-free zone, I won't give you a hard time for depriving your dear, sweet daughter, who I'll bet loves and looks up to her daddy more than anything in the whole wide world, of the unique and lifelong connection that develops between two people who love the same teams. It's no sweat; she might not even grow up to like sports, and she'd probably want to antagonize her little brother by hating his teams even if she did.