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Bryant Gumbel’s Commentary on A-Rod and America’s Pill-Popping Lifestyle PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:55
A-Rod
How are we supposed to feel about A-Rod? There's a pill for that

In a sense, listening to Bryant Gumbel’s closing commentary on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel dovetails off  my column yesterday for Gammons Daily (see The Blame for PEDs in Baseball Begins with You). While the title of my article seems to imply that you, Mr. or Ms. Baseball Fan, are at the root of the PED problem in sports, the piece really speaks to the many blames that got us there, with fans ultimately in control. Gumbel hits on something in this closing commentary that speaks to the issue as well: America is a drug-happy society. We take pills for a myriad of issues. Going further, we take hGH for anti-aging. We take steroids—legitimately so—to address a host of aliments. As Gumbel notes, how do we really feel about Alex Rodriguez when we’re pill-popping crazy?

“Finally tonight, what are we supposed to do with Alex Rodriguez? Embrace him? Pity him? Scorn him? I can easily understand any or all of those reactions because I think he’s a liar and a fraud. But what I don’t understand are the expressions of shock and outrage over his alleged drug use because, frankly, this country’s crazy about drugs.

Modern Americans reach for a drug for any and everything – for problems real and imagined. It’s why we consume more pills than any nation on earth and why TV ads are relentlessly selling us Xarelto, Abilify, Stelara, Prodaxa, and dozens of other drugs we never ever guessed we supposedly needed.

Americans are only about five percent of the world’s population yet we take 80% of the world’s painkillers and a whopping 99% of the world’s Vicodin. We have four million kids on Ritalin, 22-million women on antidepressants, over 30-million adults on sleeping pills, 32 million on Statins, 45 million on another drug I can’t even begin to pronounce. The list goes on and on.

So think what you will of Alex Rodriguez but when so many moms and dads are active parts of a national drug epidemic, let’s stop crying that a ballplayer’s the one setting a bad example for kids. And let’s skip the expressions of outrage and shock because however you may choose to view A-Rod’s alleged drugs use, there’s no denying the ugly reality that that’s become the American way.”

Source: HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Miguel Tejada Receives Second-Longest PED Suspension in MLB History for Stimulants PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:03

MiggyKansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada has received a 105-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. It is the second-longest PED suspension handed down by MLB behind only Alex Rodriguez pending 211 game suspension, which could see those games lowered, or overturned entirely. The only other drug related suspensions that have been longer were Pasual Perez being suspended for the entire 1992 season for cocaine, and Dwight Gooden suspended for all of the 1995 season for violating a drug aftercare program.

SEE THE ALL-TIME MLB/MiLB DRUG SUSPENSION LIST

Tejada tested positive twice in close proximity to each other thus garnering a 25 game and 80 game suspension concurrently for a total of 105 games. The drug agreement between the players and the league states that for a first positive test for stimulants, a player receives no suspension, but follow-up testing. Therefore Tejada has tested positive three times. If he were to come back and play after a lengthy suspension, and test positive again, he could be banned from the game for life. Based upon the drug agreement a player that has a fourth violation can see permanent banishment from MLB and Minor League Baseball by the commissioner, which would automatically be brought forward to an arbitrator to ultimately rule on the case.

Tejada released a statement through the MLB Players Association saying, ““I apologize to my teammates, the Royals organization and to the Kansas City fans. I have a medical condition that requires medication to treat. I took that medication while re-applying for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Under the requirements of the Joint Drug Program, I made a mistake in doing so.”

Sources confirm that the Therapeutic Use Exemption was for Adderall, a powerful stimulant used to treat ADD and ADHD. The exemption expired on April 15 of this year but Tejada did not get it renewed.

Earlier this week, the former 2002 AL MVP shortstop was placed on the 60-day DL for a minor calf strain, leading to speculation that he might be facing a potential suspension.

Tejada has been tied to PEDs in the past. He admitted in 2009 to lying to Congress about using PEDs, which a misdemeanor charge that could have had him serving a year in jail. Based on sentencing guidelines, he did not serve time.

In 2008, he admitted to lying about his age saying at the time he was 33, two years older he was listed in the team media guide for the Astros.

Some information within this story comes courtesy of The Associated Press


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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MLB to Expand Instant Replay to Everything Short of Balls and Strikes PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:21

MLBOn a day that Commissioner Selig called, “historic”, Major League Baseball is expected to have expanded instant replay on virtually all aspects of the game, short of called balls and strikes. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “MLB vice president Joe Torre, Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz and advisor Tony La Russa presented the all-encompassing replay proposal to the 30 ownership groups” with ratification expected to occur by the league’s owners during their quarterly meetings on 13-14 in Orlando, Fla.

Like the NFL, managers would be able to “challenge” calls made by the umpires.

The MLBPA and union for the umpires would need to approve the changes that would take place in 2014. The players appear to be ready to accept the changes.

"My sense is that players will be willing to expand replay, to every base, if we have the right technology," union executive director Michael Weiner told USA TODAY Sports. "Nobody is interested in (replaying) balls or strikes, but I think the players are in favor of everything else, and I think the owners likely do as well."

Joe West, president of the World Umpires Association, did not want to talk publicly about negotiations, but said Tuesday, "This group of umpires today are more conscientious of getting things correct than ever before. Umpires want everything they can to help them."

According to USA Today:

The replay will include up to three challenges that mangers will be provided during a game, one in the first six innings, and two beginning in the seventh inning through the game's duration. If a manager is successful with his replay challenge, he will not be charged with a review.

If a manager exhausts his three challenges, and umpire crew can make a review of its own only to determine home-run calls, a rule that will be grandfathered in with the new regulations.

Cost is expected to $25-$40 million, something the owners were willing to accept. Reviews will tap into MLB Advance Media’s (MLBAM) system for capturing games and replay cameras will be monitored by those with umpiring experience.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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The Sports TV Rights-Bubble Via Peter Gammons Website PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 13:38

TV By now you’ve probably heard that the Rangers and Angels have each been part of $3 billion television rights deals. And, you’re bound to be aware that the Dodgers are on the cusp of a $7-$8 billion deal. Even if you didn’t know about the TV rights deals, their effects can be felt. Whether it was Yu Darvish for the Rangers; Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton for the Angels, or; seemingly the entire league in major trades or free agent signings for the Dodgers, TV affects rosters.

Peter Gammons has started a wonderful new website called “Gammons Daily” and I offered up to contribute to it. My first entry ran on Monday (see Sports Rights Fees Will Make You Hate Your TV), and here are some tidbits:

“These days, a franchise’s No. 4 hitter is no longer in uniform. The No. 4 hitter is the guy who negotiates the contract for the TV rights.” – Scott Boras

You, Mr. and Ms. Discerning Sports Fan, love your television. With the exception of a rare few, you will watch more sporting events on the boob-tube than you will live sitting in the stands. We build “Man Caves” around them, tap them into the internet, mount them on the wall, yes, we can dare say they are the only love we can have an affair with and not get in trouble for.

But that’s all about to change. Like an addiction we can’t shake, the costs begin to rise, and that thing we once so loved is a lifestyle we can’t shake. It’s not your fault. Your love for high-definition, nitro-fueled action is as pure as your first game of tee-ball, but that cable or satellite bill is getting out of control. It’s getting to the point where you seriously wonder whether you have to take out a second mortgage on the house just to keep up with the fix.

[….]

The bubble can’t take this much longer. It will pop under its own collective weight. The Cubs and Phillies, while not the last deal that’s in the billions, will likely be the last two club deals that reach into the stratosphere. Major League Baseball reupped on all their national broadcast deals with FOX, ESPN, and TBS which kick in next year and will double the amount they were receiving from $788.3 million annually to $1.5 billion. The NFL’s nine year extension reached in 2011 pulls in a whopping $4 billion annually. The industry is watching, as are the politicians. DirecTV CEO Mike White spoke of how this all is adding up, using the Lakers as a target. “In terms of Los Angeles, I think it’s another example of how broken this system is,” White said. “People take the same content, package it up, bid it up for 3 times the national average on a per-game basis and then try and stick it back to the other distributors in the geography. And I think that’s very unfortunate.”

Make sure and read the rest, here


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Tapping Craft Beer, Hillsboro Hops Top Online Seller in All of Minor League Baseball PDF Print E-mail
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Latest MiLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 12 August 2013 15:53

Barley

When the Single-A Yakima Bears moved in to fill the void in Portland, OR for professional baseball, the owners knew that with the larger market, rebranding would be a part of the equation. A new ballpark, a larger metro area, all offered opportunity for a new look. The idea of “tapping” into something of a trademark for Portland seemed a logical choice.

So when Short Season LLC, the owners of the club, came up with the name the Hillsboro Hops, they had to know they were hitting on something very “Portland” in the craft beer craze (CNN ranked Portland as the #1 beer city in the US). The question was always, how could their merchandise tie into it?

Starting with their mascot, Barley, who was recently voted the Northwest League’s Best Mascot, it all made sense… Balls “hop”, hops are used to make beer, as is barley.

It would be one thing if the marketing was a local or regional sensation. But according to sources, the Hillsboro Hops have the best online merchandise sales—not in just the Northwest League—but all of Minor League Baseball. While numbers weren’t provided, to achieve that mark is a sign that the logo resonates with fans, as does the idea of craft beer. After all, baseball, hot dogs, and yes, beer, are a timeless tradition. The Hops just seem to be happy to run the keg dry at this point.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Alex Rodriguez Likely To Play Rest of Season Pending Suspension Appeal PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 08 August 2013 14:27
A-Rod
Barring injury, Alex Rodriguez will likely play out the remainder of the 2013 season

On Wednesday, the Major League Baseball Players Association formally filed a grievance regarding Alex Rodriguez’ 211 game suspension for PED use associated to the Biogenesis scandal. While the suspension is slated to kick in today, based upon provisions in the drug agreement between the players and the league, Rodriguez’ suspension is stayed until the grievance is heard by an independent arbitrator.

First reported by The Associated Press, the process of having the grievance heard by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz would not occur until November or December. If so, barring injury, Rodriguez would be allowed to play for the Yankees through the rest of the 2013 regular season, and should the Yankees rise in the standings, any postseason play. Should Horowitz uphold part or all of the league’s suspension it would begin being served at the start of the 2014 season.

The remaining 13 players that were suspended as part of MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis, including former MVP Ryan Braun, and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, and Everth Cabrera all accepted suspensions without appeal and thus will all serve their suspensions in the 2013 season. Rodriguez was the only player to receive such a high number of games under suspension that would carry over into the 2014 season. It is unclear how Horowitz will rule, but he does have the option of lowering the number of games served and thus, any ruling may not have Rodriguez serving 211 games beginning in 2014 and carrying over into the 2015 season. In 1992 former commissioner Fay Vincent suspended pitcher Steve Howe for life after his seventh drug violation but an arbitrator knocked that down to 119 games.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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MLBPA Fighting A-Rod Suspension Really About Punishment Fitting the Crime PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:44
A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez has the MLBPA in his corner, but it's likely over how long
his suspension is, not if he's deserving of one

UPDATE: According to The Associated Press, the MLBPA has formally filed a grievance in the Rodriguez case. He will continue to have his 211 game suspension stayed until Fredric Horowitz, the independent arbitrator, hears the case. According to the report, that will not be until November or December meaning that barring injury, Rodriguez will be allowed to play through the remainder of the 2013 season. - Maury Brown

+++++ +++++ +++++

On Thursday, MLB’s suspension of Alex Rodriguez kicks in, and at some stage the collectively bargained process around his rights to a grievance will officially start. An army of writers have spilled gallons of ink on the subject with the particulars around all the Biogenesis suspensions at the heart of it. Some have vilified baseball’s highest-paid player, while others have said that Bud Selig has done something that most thought impossible by making Rodriguez a sympatric figure. Out of the 14 players suspended, A-Rod will be the only one to file a grievance. The reaction by some has been, “You’re going to tell me 13 players said, ‘You caught me,’ but only one is going to say, he’s innocent?” In looking at the situation, that’s not what this appeal is all about. It’s about much more.

It’s not just A-Rod “fighting for his life” it’s about the MLBPA and assuring that the punishment fits the crime as defined by the jointly agreed upon drug policy. The league has said that they have a mountain of evidence, including “his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.” To add, the league said, “Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation.” Based upon that, the suspension length reached subjectively by the league was 211 regular games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play. The ambiguity with which the suspension length was rendered is the concern of the MLBPA.

When questioned, Rodriguez would not deny he used the PEDs, but rather that he would have his day to make his case before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz (see The Most Important Man in Baseball You’ve Never Heard of). In reports prior to the suspension it was said that lawyers representing Rodriguez were willing to have him forgo the grievance if the league held to a 50 game suspension. That’s the issue. Not that he is, or is not, guilty. It’s about the length of the suspension.

The drug agreement goes into detail about how long suspensions should be, should a player test positive for PEDs. The league has decided that since the findings on the players involved in Biogenesis did not test positive, suspension lengths could vary. All but Ryan Braun and Rodriguez were slapped with 50 game suspensions. Braun, who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in 2011, but had his case rescinded in 2012 over the handling of his sample was given a 65 game suspension. As one official put it, he was hit with 50 games for his first offense, and 15 games for lying, etc.

This is a slippery slope for the MLBPA, and for the first time in years brought out aggravation and a strong sense that labor peace is under strain. As MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner said of Rodriguez’ case, “we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement.” To add an exclamation point on where the MLBPA has been in the past on fighting labor disputes, Weiner added, “ Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.“

The union, which also added that the players  have made it clear that they want a clean game and that they support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all, also is going to go to the mat to ensure that the process by which players are suspended doesn’t get back into the lordship that former commissioners such as Bowie Kuhn and Fay Vincent tried to conduct. What they’re ostensibly saying is, “You’re kidding. You want to take a player that’s never tested positive under the program, threaten through the media of a lifetime ban, and then throw the largest suspension ever on a player behind only Pete Rose and the Black Sox players at him? He might be guilty but we’ll fight you on the punishment.”

The MLBPA is in the right here. The league and Commissioner Selig are trying to make a strong statement, but this is shooting a gnat with a shotgun. In going so far over the top, they’ve not only harmed labor relations, they have a good chance of getting egg on their face. Horowitz is going to have a heck of a time reading the drug agreement and seeing anything within it that allows for such overstepping. He can see 50 games based on the agreement, but beyond that gets into areas that are not defined. A rational, subjective comment might be, “Sorry, Major League Baseball. You guys reached this agreement jointly with the union for the players. If you want it to go to the lengths that you want, try that in the next round of collective bargaining.”

Fans will likely not care about all this. On the face of it, A-Rod appears to be making a case for innocence and the MLBPA is supporting that. While that could be the case, it’s looking more and more about insuring MLB doesn’t turn into judge, jury, and executioner. That’s a larger issue that affects not only Alex Rodriguez, but all the players.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Blame Ambiguity for the Alex Rodriguez Suspension Circus PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 14:09

Maury BrownThere he was in front of a microphone just prior to the Yankees game against the White Sox. Alex Rodriguez, who the league had just hours earlier said they would suspend him on Thursday for the remainder of the 2013 season and all of 2014, was talking of how he would use the grievance process afforded him by the league and MLBPA’s drug agreement, yet never answered whether he ever used performance-enhancing substances. He’d let arbitrator Fredric Horowitz decide.

What the case really boils down to at this point isn’t whether A-Rod used the PEDs (it would seem odd that the league would have so much evidence on him, yet 13 other players with less evidence said, “You got me,” while A-Rod was the only one that didn’t), but rather how long and how much money in salary he will lose. Alex Rodriquez said he’s “fighting for his life” but what he’s really fighting over is semantics.

Beyond his suspension, there is the circus-like atmosphere that has surrounded it all. The daily leaks of information that so infuriated MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner  over confidentiality of the drug policy that he said, “The manner in which confidential information was so freely exchanged is not only a threat to the success and credibility of our jointly administered program; it calls into question the level of trust required to administer such a program.”

The matter goes deeper, and MLB and the MLBPA have only themselves to blame.

When a player tests positive for PEDs, there are clear guidelines for the penalties within the drug agreement: 50 games for a first violation, 100 for a second, and possible banishment from the game for a third. Apparently no one at the ML:BPA thought that formalizing  such a penalty structure for  non-analytical suspensions. Either they thought that would not occur or would not be this messy. Either that or the league got the ambiguity as part of collective bargaining.

None of this chaos would be occurring if suspension lengths for those found to be in violation of the drug policy through investigation had clear penalties. Instead the league is playing hardball by twisting the drug policy around to the point of absurdity in the name of doing what’s right for the game. Alex Rodriguez basically goes from never testing positive or serving a day under suspension to the most harshly suspended player ever in the game behind only the Black Sox players, Steve Howe, and Pete Rose. Go figure.

How do such bright minds create a loophole so big as to drive a Mack truck through it? Couldn’t suspension lengths—good or bad—have at least been reached? Instead, Rodriguez—a man that is likely guilty—is exercising the grievance process, not to determine guilt or innocence, but to knock the number of games under suspension down, and therefore, allow him to collect more of his salary due to him by the Yankees.

Baseball is always keen to say that they would rather talk about the game on the field than the scandals that rock them off the diamond. They never want to say that they’re often culpable in that regard. If the league wants harsher penalties and the MLBPA wants to penalize those who leak information, maybe the two sides should quit looking to gain traction on self-interest issues and get to the heart of how this chaos kicked off in the first place. If the players and league had the exact guidelines, there’d be no recourse over suspension lengths (Rodriguez reportedly has been arguing that he should see a 50 game suspension due to being a first time offender). Baseball, you shot yourself in the foot on this one.  


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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MLB Biogenesis Suspensions Could Total $71.84 Million PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 05 August 2013 15:24
A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez could lose $63,312,219 if his suspension is upheld

The largest number of suspensions for players using performance-enhancing substances has now occurred as Major League Baseball announced that 13 players have been suspended for 50 games, with Alex Rodriguez being suspended for the remainder of the 2013 regular and postseason, as well as all of the 2014 season. Those players that accepted 50 game suspensions without pay are:

  • Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo;
  • San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera;
  • New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli;
  • Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz;
  • Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League;
  • Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, who is currently of the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League;
  • Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League;
  • Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League;
  • Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto;
  • Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta;
  • New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League; and
  • Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.

Norberto’s suspension will be effective immediately once he signs with another Major League organization.  All other suspensions are effective immediately.  None of the players will appeal their discipline.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline.

Major League Baseball’s investigation found no violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.

In terms of Rodriguez, according to the league his discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.  Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation.  The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.

Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline.

The grievance could be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in approx. 45 days, but it is unclear the exact date due to scheduling. With all players except Rodriguez accepting the suspensions without grievance, it will make it smoother with just the Rodriguez case to contend with, but it’s still unclear how long that might be. Rodriguez is scheduled to be in the Yankees line-up tonight against the White Sox.

Commissioner Selig released the following statement:

“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports.  I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case.  Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program.  We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.

“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.  For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it.  I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me.  As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.

“It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012.  With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program.  Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.

“This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing.  We continue to attack this issue on every front – from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills.  Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.

“As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field.  We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.”

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner issued the following statement regarding the Biogenesis suspensions, which show that there were deep concerns about how information was leaked to the media in the case, as well as the due process afforded Rodriguez

“The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.

For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. . Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.

The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all.  The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.

Lastly, l want to close by stating our profound disappointment in the way individuals granted access to private and privileged information felt compelled to share that information publicly.  The manner in which confidential information was so freely exchanged is not only a threat to the success and credibility of our jointly administered program; it calls into question the level of trust required to administer such a program.   It is our view that when the bargaining parties hold their annual review of the program, we must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach by any individual involved in the process.”

All told, the following from The Associated Press shows what players will lose in salary (and clubs retain) as part of the suspensions. None of the money that is held by the clubs in salary count against the Luxury Tax.

MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (MINUS ALEX RODRIGUEZ)

Player

Team

Salary

Games Lost

Pay

Nelson Cruz

Tex

$10,000,000

50

$2,732,240

Ryan Braun

Mil

$8,500,000

65

$3,091,126

Jhonny Peralta

Det

$6,000,000

50

$1,639,344

Antonio Bastardo

Phi

$1,400,000

50

$382,514

Everth Cabrera

SD

$1,275,000

50

$348,361

DL-Francisco Cervelli

NYY

$515,350

50

$140,806

x-Jesus Montero

Sea

$292,140

50

$79,820

x-Jordany Valdespin

NYM

$226,091

50

$61,773

x-Cesar Puello

NYM

$79,900

50

$21,831

TOTAL

465

$8,497,815

x-on option
DL - Disabled List

NOTE 1: Cruz also loses opportunity to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

ON ALEX RODRIGUEZ:

Lost pay covering 211 games cannot be calculated until appeal is decided or withdrawn, and the length of the suspension and the time covering 2013, 2014 and 2015 can be calculated. If 49 games are served at 2013 rate, total lost pay would be $32,749,268. If 49 games are served at 2015 rate, total lost pay would be $30,562,951.

  • 2013 - $28 million
  • 2014 - $25 million
  • 2015 - $21 million
  • 2016 - $20 million
  • 2017 - $20 million

Assigned to minor league rosters

Player

Team

Salary

Games Lost

Pay

Fernando Martinez

NYY (AAA)

$155,501

29

$24,642

DL - Sergio Escalona

HOU (AA)

$13,500/month

26

$11,700

Fautino De Los Santos

SD (AA)

$1,700/month

26

$1,473

TOTAL

81

$37,815

DL - Disabled List

NOTE 2: Players on minor league rosters are to serve completion of 50-game suspensions in the next season they have signed with a major league organization.
NOTE 3: Jordan Norberto is a free agent.

Sources: Major League Baseball, Detroit Tigers, MLBPA, The Associated Press


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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How Did MLB’s Drug Testing Fail with Alex Rodriguez and Others? PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 04 August 2013 12:19

A-Rod

Barring a last minute change, Alex Rodriguez and up to 12 other players, including Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers and Francisco Cervelli of the Yankees, will be suspended as part of the Biogenesis PED scandal on Monday. Rodriguez is expected to be suspended immediately via a provision in the collective bargaining agreement. While a life-time ban from the game has been discussed, multiple reports now say that he will be suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and the 2014 season. All told it would come to 214 days without pay or $34 million. The remainder of his contract would be in place and worth $61 million, but it is likely the Yankees will release him at that point as he will be 40 years old.

While testosterone will surely be one of the substances that Rodriguez used, there are signs that he possibly used other substances to increase performance. Tom Verducci reports:

Rodriguez, as reported by SI in 2009, did fail a 2003 test for steroids, but testing in that season was undertaken for survey purposes only with no penalties attached. Rodriguez subsequently admitted that he used PEDs from 2001 through 2003 — again, when no testing with penalties existed — though the evidence obtained by MLB in the Biogenesis case has been reported to detail the use of PEDs by Rodriguez at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Documents said to be the logbooks of Bosch and published by the Miami New Times in January detailed an extensive doping regimen associated with Rodriguez’s name, including at least 19 different drugs to be taken morning, noon and night through multiple delivery systems, including pills, injections and lozenges.

While the focus has been on the players and the suspension process involved, which due to non-analytical findings through the investigation has meant broad interpretation by the league on suspension lengths, the idea that players could have dodged coming up positive in testing is a question that needs to be asked. If the labor agreement gets tweaks around suspension lengths for non-analytical suspensions (and that seems very likely), then looking at where the testing process has come up short needs to be in the picture, as well.

This isn’t to say that MLB’s drug testing program isn’t good; it is considered to be the best in all of professional sports. It’s to say that if Alex Rodriguez and others such as Ryan Braun used PEDs recently, how did they slip by undetected?

The key is baseball’s efforts to reach the “biological passport” level. This is a way to capture a player's set of biological markers over a period of time. So, instead of all players being measured by say, a 4:1 ratio for testosterone, each player would have their own marker. Some players may have a marker for testosterone higher, some lower, but being measured by that unique set of markers would be how a player winds up being clean or potentially doping.

As much as Rob Manfred and Michael Wiener will undoubtedly discuss changes to the drug agreement around suspension lengths, there needs to be a good look in the mirror by the league and MLBPA to say, “How did we miss this? What can help us avoid the BALCOs and Biogenesis scandals of the world from happening again?” It may be a technology hurdle. It may be a political matter between the players and the league. But, just as there is strengthening through suspensions, the best way to avoid the messiness that is now in our midst is to have the drug testing program catch the players in the first place, not through investigations. If Alex Rodriguez truly doped for this long, he passed potentially hundreds drug tests. While MLB’s drug testing is considered the best, it still is not foolproof. Biogenesis is proving that.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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