Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recap & Thoughts On The 60 Minutes Interview About The Alex Rodriguez Case

Tonight's episode of 60 Minutes included an interview with various people regarding the suspension of Alex Rodriguez (you may have read or heard about that). I decided to live-blog the show, not only to share my opinions as they happen, but to also give people a chance to read about it should they not be able to watch.

I'm basically going to present some things said in quotes and italics, and then give my reaction to them after. So without further adieu, here goes...
"His actions were beyond comprehension" - Bud Selig
That is what Bud said in the teaser before the interview. What he said, and how he said it, really hit home. That tells me there is certainly a lot more to what ARod did than we know. Selig has heard about dozens of players having used PEDs, and even saw Melky Cabrera invent a website to cover his use, so clearly Rodriguez did far more than use.
Five days before Alex hit home run #600, he contacted Anthony Bosch to find out what Manny Ramirez took to revitalize his career at age 35. Alex wanted to know "the secret".  
Bosch would regularly draw Rodriguez's blood in order to test it, to make sure the drugs were dissipating. It even went as far as Bosch drawing ARod's blood at a Miami nightclub, as Alex was out rather than meeting with Bosch that evening. But it had to be done.
The first part was interesting, as Manny was tested positive, and ARod was around the same age when his skills were diminishing. But it's the second part that really got me thinking... this is the type of evidence that is hard to ignore. Sure, it's hearsay, but going as far as to say it happened in public like that is something. I mean, there must have been people around that could deny such a thing happening, but no one has come forward.
Testosterone Troches (aka "gummies") were taken 10-15 minutes before game time. Troches would be gone right after the game, so in case of a test they wouldn't show up. They could also be taken in the locker room or dugout without being seen. "They could think of them as sunflower seeds, candy, or gum." Troches would allow those that took them to have more energy, strength, and focus. 
Text messages, which were linked to Alex's Blackberry, showed a conversation about when to take them. Alex had texted Bosch asking if he should take them at 10:45am for a 1:00pm game, but Bosch told him to wait until 12:30pm. Hearing about how easy they are to take, it's pretty disturbing.
"I did it because I had a responsibility to do it to let them know that if they are going to take something like this, do it the right way." Bosch was then asked why he didn't just stop doing it, or not do it at all, and Bosch said his approach was "you're going to do this, let me show you how to do this... the right way, and let's not get caught." 
This makes sense to me. It's like the debate about birth control being given to teenagers. Some feel that teens are going to have sex anyway, so why not give them condoms and such to avoid STDs and/or pregnancy? Although it's not a perfect comparison, seeing as how one is legal and one is not, the idea beyond both stances matches up.
"Yes", Anthony Bosch said he would still be doing it if he didn't get caught.
That sounded like a pretty honest answer to me. I believe most criminals would continue their nefarious ways as long as they were getting something out of it. And we're not talking about a few bucks here.
Bosch was asked why he thought Alex would trust him. Bosch said that his track record and knowledge made it so. And it was actually a "cakewalk" to beat the system. 
That was a good question, as somebody that could afford the best doctors has reason to be skeptical of somebody that doesn't even have a license to practice medicine. But with Bosch's track record and knowledge, and the fact that legitimate doctors with a lot to lose would not want to get involved like this, I can see ARod and other baseball players going with it.
Bosch was then asked if he ever think about integrity of game? His answer was a simple "no". He went on to say that he "loves the game of baseball, but unfortunately this [PEDs] is a part of baseball. He finished up his answer by talking about the length of a baseball season, saying bodies break down, and this has always been part of game. 
Bosch ignored the fact that players do things other than drugs in order to cope with the long season, as well as various aches and pains. Things like massages, whirlpool treatments, and legal medical treatments. Bosch is clearly a little delusional, as PEDs clearly do not need to be a part of the game. Players have gotten through things without using. Just because there's a quick-fix now, doesn't mean it should be accepted.
"What is fair play? The guy pitching the ball, and the guy catching the ball are on PEDs. So if everybody is on it, then is it fair?" 
This is sad but true. I'm guessing we only know a fraction of the players that have used PEDs, and both hitters and pitchers have been caught. I don't mean to imply that all players use, but it's wide-spread enough that we can't dismiss only those that have failed a test or admitted to using. Yet, it wasn't fair of Bosch to basically accuse all players of taking PEDs.
Bosch and associates of Alex Rodriguez met at restaurant after the whole story broke last year. In that meeting an associate told Bosch to leave the country until this blew over. They were going to pay Bosch a lot of money, but he was suspicious and turned down the offer. 
There is no proof of this, so I can't really share my opinion of it. However, I thought it was interesting. ARod's lawyer was interviewed, and he denied that there was any sort of bribery.
Bud Selig was taken aback by ARod's efforts to obstruct the investigation, while Rodriguez's lawyer denies doing so and turns around and says MLB obstructed things by avoiding certain witnesses. 
I can't say anything about this, as it's just more he said/she said stuff. But if there was any evidence of Alex doing that, then there was certainly reason for him getting a larger suspension than players like Ryan Braun.
Rob Manford, the MLB Chief Operating Office, was told by Bud Selig to do what he had to do to get to the bottom of the scandal. So at this point Manford hired a former secret service agent, among others involved in things like the FBI. Once word got around of such a thing more documents from Biogenesis were brought forward by somebody going by the name of "Bobby". Manford decided to make a deal with "Bobby" to obtain the documents, and spent around $125,000 to do so.  
To authenticate the documents, Anthony Bosch was needed. Therefore MLB sued Bosch, as well as his brother, and it was at this point that Bosch decided to start working with MLB instead of against him. 
Bosch said that at the time he was in a "dark place", and wasn't sure what to do next. It was his lawyer that talked him into working with MLB.
While you may not agree with the way things were done, or the way our government goes about doing things, I believe the ends in this case justify the means. In my opinion, it's more important to rid baseball of PEDs than to do so completely legitimately.
On May 9, 2013, Manford and others met Bosch at restaurant. Bosch was "fidgety and nervous", and worried about his personal safety. There had apparently been threats on Tony's life, and MLB was concerned for him. Also of note is that some associates of players surrounding the case were "dangerous". And the individual of greatest concern to Bosch was a known associate of Alex Rodriguez. Bosch did note that he doesn't know if ARod knew of the threats.
Just more he said/she said. But again, this is interesting. Rob Manford may not be an expert when it comes to acting, but if Bosch was only acting scared then he should have went into acting rather than medicine.
A bank statement showing a $50,000 payment to Anthony Bosch, from "Arod Corp." was found. Bosch said he cancelled the payment.
ARod Corp has been tied to Alex Rodriguez, and with the bank statement you can see that Alex was definitely up to shady things. Bosch is not a lawyer, coach, friend, or relative, so what other reason could there be for giving him $50,000?
The interviewer brought up the fact that MLB has given Bosche every incentive for bosch to lie, from money to security. In response, MLB said that "what we did was for his willingness to raise his hand and testify." On top of that, MLB was asked how they could find Bosch to be credible. But the fact is they could "look him in the eye", and nobody came forward to contradict what Bosch said.
A few times they brought up the fact that Bosch at first lied about being involved in PEDs, but said he later came back and said he had everything to do with them. Well, I must say, Bosch definitely looked shady when he denied it, rather than somebody defending himself against lies. And when first accused of wrong-doing, it's not strange at all for somebody to deny it, but later admit it when evidence comes up.
"I think the most important point to remember is that this was first time in the history of the JDA that a player that was accused did not take the stand in his own defense". The only place Alex denied things was in public.
Really? Alex denied everything in public, and never right to MLB or the MLBPA? That tells me quite a lot.

In all, it looks as though Bud Selig and MLB had reason to give Alex Rodriguez a longer ban than anybody else. Of course, nothing is proven, but we're not talking about putting ARod in prison or anything. As a fan I'm a bit concerned with the alternatives the Yankees have to play third base, but as a fan of baseball and what's right I'm with Selig and MLB.

Full Video Of 60 Minutes From Tonight

*The embed video option is not working so here is a link*

Anthony Bosch and COO of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred were on 60 Minutes tonight talking about the Alex Rodriguez suspension. In case you missed it watch it here in it's entirety. I won't post my opinion here because I think I have made it well known across Twitter and this blog so now it's your turn to be the judge. Leave a comment in the comment box.

MLBPA Not Happy About Tonight's 60 Minutes

"This interview is bull...!"

Not long before the 60 Minutes episode regarding the suspension of Alex Rodriguez, the Major League Baseball Player's Association released the following statement:
It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator’s decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez. It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the “60 Minutes” segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB’s principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB’s blessing. 
MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning of tonight’s “60 Minutes” segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB’s inability to let the result of yesterday’s decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB. 
Throughout this process the Players Association has repeatedly shown it is committed to an effective drug program that is strong and fair. And as we indicated in our statement yesterday, although we do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision, we respect the process and will act accordingly. We believe the other involved parties should do the same.
I'd like to think this is a network trying to use this big news event to create ratings, and that they did so by pulling in Anthony Bosch and not so much MLB or Fredric Horowitz (the arbiter that made the final decision on the suspension). After all, that's what we were led to believe earlier when the interview was first announced. But, according to MLBPA, MLB had quite a bit to do with the interview. If that turns out to be true, then it'll be another black eye to the league, as going there is pretty lame. Especially so soon after the decision was made.

If you're able to see the interview live, then great. I'm really looking forward to it myself. However if you're going to miss it, or would simply like to hear an opinion on it, then check back here soon afterwards.

Do The Yankees Need To Replace Alex Rodriguez Now?

Right after arbiter Fredric Horotiz decided to suspend Alex Rodriguez or the entire 2014 season, Yankee fans turned their attention to what the team should do at third base. Do they change their stance on Mark Reynolds and offer him a major league contract, as opposed to the minor league deal Reynolds turned down? Do they sign Michael Young, who they tried to trade for last season? Do they really turn over regular third base duty to a guy that's hit .226/.307/.395 in the previous three seasons?

"Ronery... I'm so ronery." *

Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez. Call him a lair, a cheat, misunderstood, or a victim of a witch hunt, but one thing you can't say about ARod is that he sucks. Even last year, his worst offensive season since he became a regular player in MLB in 1996, he was still better than average (111 OPS+). Going from ARod to somebody like Kelly Johnson, whose OPS+ between 2011 and 2013 was 91, is certainly a downgrade. But can the current Yankees offense take the hit?

If you go by the regular starters at each position last season, you'll find that their average OPS+ was a pathetic 87. Four, yes four, of their regulars had an OPS+ at or under 75 (Chris Stewart - 57, Jayson Nix - 71, Vernon Wells - 72, and Ichiro Suzuki - 75).

So what would the Yankees offense have looked like in 2013 had they gone into the season with their current lineup? Well let's see each man's OPS+ last season (or their last healthy season)...

Catcher - Brian McCann 115
First Base - Mark Teixeira 115 (going by 2012, as he missed 147 games in 2013)
Second Base - Brian Roberts 89
Third Base - Kelly Johnson 99
Shortstop - Derek Jeter 114 (going by 2012, as he missed 145 games in 2013)
Left Field - Carlos Beltran 128
Center Field - Jacoby Ellsbury 114
Right Field - Brett Gardner 108
Designated Hitter - Alfonso Soriano 112

Unlike in 2013, when they had four players at or under a 75 OPS+, not one of the current projected starters hit under 89. That lowest OPS+ was actually two points higher than the 2013 Yankee regulars averaged. And to be totally fair, that "89" comes from Brian Roberts, who was far from healthy last year, and hasn't been healthy since the 2009 season.

By the way, the average OPS+ by those nine players is 110. Just a tad bit better than last year's regulars.

Just a bit.

To say that the offense has gotten worse, or isn't significantly better, is plain ignorant. It's not even close. Which is why I shake my head every time I read or hear someone say the Yankees need to get Mark Reynolds, or need to get Michael Young, or need any other hitter. The only thing the Yankees need to do is add a starting pitcher or two. Going into the season with a starting rotation of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, and two of David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Adam Warren, or Vidal Nuno would not be good.

The only thing I can figure is that people are blinded by the team going from Robinson Cano, the best second baseman in the game, to Brian Roberts, a guy that shouldn't be counted on to play more than 50 games. While that's a legit concern in and of itself, that alone is not a reason to be concerned about the team's ability to score runs next season. It takes a heck of a lot more than one man to carry the offense, and in this blogger's opinion the Yankees have addressed that fact quite well.

*if you don't understand this quote, you sir... are beneath me.

CBS 60 Minutes To Release Details On Alex Rodriguez & The Biogenesis Fallout

For the first time in my life, and I mean that, I will be watch CBS's show 60 Minutes tonight. Tonight 60 minutes exclusively offers fans a look at the inside of the whole Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis saga, at least from the eyes of the interviewed drug pushing Anthony Bosch. Bosch claims he injected Alex himself with banned substances because Alex was "scared of needles." Here are some expected quotes from Bosch in his interview tonight.

He personally delivered banned substances, including testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1 and human growth hormone to Rodriguez at least a dozen times and Rodriguez paid him $12,000 a month in cash.
He personally injected Rodriguez because “Alex is scared of needles, so at times, he would ask me to inject.”
Rodriguez’s mission was to hit 800 home runs and that the Yankee slugger asked him for what he gave MLB superstar Manny Ramirez, a former Bosch client
Text messages obtained by 60 Minutes between him and Rodriguez indicate that at times they communicated daily about the substances the slugger took on his “protocol”
Says Rodriguez associates intimidated him to try to prevent him from cooperating with MLB in its investigation of the Yankee third baseman.

Remember to watch 60 Minutes on CBS after the football game, check you local listings for times, channels, and all that good stuff. Anthony Bosch and Major League Baseball COO Robert Manfred will be on the show but not Alex himself after repeatedly denying requests to be on the show. This is one 60 Minutes you do not want to miss, Yankees fan or not.

A Rod Could Make 2014 Even More Awkward

Alex Rodriguez could be at Yankee Stadium for as many as 81 games next season despite his 162 game suspension due to a little "perk" written into his contract. As pointed out by Anthony McCarron above, and also shown HERE in a post I personally wrote in July of 2013, Alex may purchase up to four of the best Legends Suite season tickets from 2009 - 2017. That means Alex could purchase Seat 9 on Row 2 of Section 028 right behind the visitors dugout next season and be in attendance for every Yankees home game for a mere $32,400. 

Would Alex do it? He could heckle the opposing team, give directions to whoever is playing third base for us next season, help out with roll call, and get fed popcorn by Torri Wilson. This just keeps getting better all the time, doesn't it?

Yankees Close To Deal With Scott Sizemore

The New York Yankees and infielder Scott Sizemore are close to a deal according to Ken Davidoff on his Twitter account. The deal is a minor league deal for the 29 year old Sizemore and there is no mention on whether an invite to Spring Training was included. It is worth noting that Sizemore played 91 games at third base in 2011 and he gives the Yankees more depth in the infield, something you cannot have too much of right now.

The problem with Sizemore is getting him on the field as he has missed all but two games during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Sizemore has had two separate tears of his ACL muscle so it makes you wonder if his range has diminished some, you would think it would have had to at this point. Not a season changing signing for the Yankees, right now anyway, but there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal.

Mark Reynolds Unlikely To Return To Yankees

It has been reported this morning by our very own Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Mark Reynolds is unlikely to return to the New York Yankees. Citing the good ole unnamed source Feinsand claims that the Yankees only offered Reynolds a minor league deal and I am in agreement with Mark when I say "he won't take that."

Reynolds played in 36 games for the Yankees last season hitting six home runs and compiling a slash of .236/.300/.455. Reynolds is entering his age 30 season and still strikes out a ton and that may be turning the Yankees in other directions now that we know Alex Rodriguez will miss the entire 2014 season. Michael Young is still available as is Stephen Drew so stay tuned.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #79 Tino Martinez (Again)

Tino Martinez was a fan favorite in the Bronx after joining the Yankees in 1996, replacing Don Mattingly. He was a part of the Yankees string of dominance of World Series wins and appearances that really brought the game back to life in the Bronx. Tino's second season in pinstripes in 1997 was arguably his best as he posted monster numbers and career highs with 44 home runs and 141 RBI's while being named a starter in the MLB All Star Game, also winning a Silver Slugger Award and finished second in the American League MVP voting.

79 days until Yankees Opening Day

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/12

Nada? Not a single free agent signing? George Steinbrenner didn't buy or fire someone on this day? Wow. Enjoy the day everyone, this extremely boring day.