Biogenesis clinic owner Anthony Bosch and MLB COO Rob Manfred appeared on 60 Minutes tonight to discuss the evidence that ultimately led to Alex Rodriguez's 162-game suspension for violating MLB's Joint Drug Agreement. The segment comprised of Bosch's interview, with a shorter appearance from Manfred, and even shorter appearances from commissioner Bud Selig and Rodriguez's lawyer Joe Tacopina.
The information presented is a little more detailed that what has been widely available through this process. One thing is abundantly clear, and that is that MLB's testing program is seriously flawed, provided that Bosch's testimony is actually correct. Rodriguez was asked to appear to share his side of the story but he declined. The bulk of the interviewees made him look very, very badly, as you might expect. MLB is not without its share of allegations against them in this process and those were not explored during the segment. There are two sides to this, I'm sure, and this was mainly only one of them. I can't envision a world in which either one comes out smelling like a rose in this process, so it probably doesn't matter too much.
It's difficult not to feel a little disenchanted after watching the evidence laid out the way it was. Baseball is a game we all love and it seems like there are many deep-seeded issues with it on the subject of being clean. Not that we didn't know that, but still.
Here is a very rough recap of the interviews:
Bosch: I did it because I had a responsibility. I felt I had a responsibility to do it to let them know that if they're going to take something like this, do it the right way.
60 Minutes: You could have said 'don't do it, it breaks the rules.' Did you ever say that?
Bosch: I never said that. My approach to all this, and I'll stand by it now and forever, you're going to do this let me show you how to do this. Let's do it the right way and let's not get caught.
- Bosch studied at medical school in Belize but never had a license. He was categorized as a heavy drinker and smoker. Criminal records only indicated traffic tickets and a citation for practicing medicine without a license.
- Bosch admitted he would still be dealing if hadn't gotten caught.
- At the beginning of the Biogenesis investigation, Bosch denied any wrongdoing. "No comment, I'm a nutritionist. I know nothing about performance-enhancing drugs," he said.
- Evidence includes more than five hundred texts with Rodriguez sent over Blackberry Messenger. MLB said the PIN number for BBM messages matched the one on Rodriguez's phone.
- Rodriguez was tested more than a dozen times, and all came back negative. Bosch gave A-Rod tips on how to beat the testing. The trick, Bosch said, was to capture middle of the stream, not the beginning or end.
- Code words were used in messages on when to take different drugs: 'cojetes' (misspelled intentionally) referred to injectable drugs, while 'night cream' meant testosterone.
- A-Rod's increased performance indicated to Bosch that they had the right protocol for him.
- 60 Minutes asked Bosch why A-Rod trusted him so much. "I had a good track record, had been doing it for years," Bosch replied. "If you knew truth about testing and flaws. It was almost a cakewalk to beat the system, to cheat."
- Bosch admitted he never thought about integrity of the game. Bosch: "I love the game of baseball. Unfortunately, this is part of baseball. Bodies break down. This has always been part of the game. Their nutrition is extremely important."
- 60 Minutes asked Bosch about fair play. His response: "What is fair play? How about this: Here I am, I'm Alex and I'm at the plate. I know the guy throwing me a 95 mph pitch is on PEDs and the guy who is going to catch the ball is on a program. The guy I have to tag at third is on it. Fair play? If everyone is on it, isn't that fair play?"
- Bud Selig said they'd never seen anything like what Rodriguez did in regards to impeding the Biogenesis investigation. 60 Minutes asked if that meant they decided to make an example of him. Selig wouldn't say A-Rod was made an example of, but that what MLB did what was fitting. "Put the drugs on one side and all the things he did to impede our investigation the other. I think 211 games was very fair," said Selig.
- Bosch said Rodriguez wanted insurance for his secrets and asked him to sign a document saying they had no relationship. Rodriguez's associates told Bosch to leave town, go to Colombia, and stay there until it blew over. Rodriguez was willing to pay $20,000-$25,000 per month and another $150,000 later. He turned down the offer. 60 Minutes asked if A-Rod knew about the offer. "Nothing happens without Alex's approval," Bosch replied.
- 60 Minutes asked A-Rod to appear on the show, but he declined the offer. Lawyer Joe Tacopina said allegations against Rodriguez were unbelievable. Tacopina insisted A-Rod didn't bribe anyone, and that Bosch coming on TV without an oath or cross-examination was laughable. Tacopina: "MLB went on effort and a campaign to threaten a witness and have gaul to accuse A-Rod of obstruction? Laughable."
- Bosch's girlfriend received a text message in Spanish that said Bosch wouldn't see the end of the year, which caused Bosch to seek the assistance of MLB out of fear for his life.
- Selig told Rob Manfred, MLB's COO, to do what he had to do in the matter. More than thirty investigators, including retired FBI, were hired. A man named "Bobby" phoned MLB saying he had more documents from Bosch's clinic. MLB bought those documents for $100,000, then made a second purchase for $25,000. 60 Minutes asked, "Doesn't that need to be called into question, the authenticity of those documents?" Manfred replied, "Our eyes were wide open to questions that would surround documents, making sure they hadn't been doctored." MLB needed Bosch's cooperation and were willing to sue both Bosch and his brother.
- Bosch: "I had no idea what I was going to do next and I relied on the advice of one of my lawyers. I said, let's go to MLB, align ourselves with someone as powerful as Alex."
- Bosch wanted personal safety first and foremost after receiving threats on his life. MLB knew individuals that had criminal records who were connected to Biogenesis. Some were associates of baseball players. Some were associates of Alex Rodriguez.
- Manfred: "The individual of greatest concern to Bosch was a known associate of Mr. Rodriguez." 60 Minutes: "Do you think A-Rod knew about the threats to Bosch's life?" Manfred: "I don't know what he knew, but I knew [this individual] was a longtime associate of Rodriguez."
- Before Bosch was aligned with MLB, an unsolicited transfer to Bosch's lawyer for just under $50,000 from A-Rod's corporation was received. Bosch's lawyer returned the money, money which Manfred sees as a bribe.
- Tacopina: "Aside from credibility issues, past lies, trying to help MLB because it will help him get out of prosecution, look at science. Science would show that if Bosch was doping A-Rod. A-Rod could have never passed drug tests."
- Manfred said there was no basis to claim that MLB paid Bosch to be a witness.
- 60 Minutes: "With MLB paying for protection, lawyers, and dropping lawsuit, hasn't that given Bosch every incentive to lie?" Responding, Manfred stressed judging the credibility of the witness, looking the witness in the eye and listening to what he says. "No one came in and contradicted Bosch."
- A-Rod has called the entire process a witch hunt. Manfred said the most important thing to remember was that for the first time in the history of the JDA, the player didn't take the stand in defense of himself.
Did you watch the 60 Minutes segment? Did your feelings on anything about the entire investigation change afterwards?
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