The start of the week brings us a new cycle of sports news to feast on despite the relative slow pace this time of year usually works at. With the Home Run Derby tonight, All-Star Game tomorrow night and other festivities put on by Major League Baseball, you would expect our attention would be focused solely on New York City and the grand show prepared for us.
Instead, PED talks continue to swirl around baseball like a hurricane, except this one is only going to get a whole lot stronger once it official makes landfall. Counter intuitive to conventional wisdom, Bud Selig and company seem to be leaking controlled amounts of information against Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and the Biogenesis case as a whole. Several thoughts run through my mind when thinking about this:
1) It seems to me as though MLB wants to appear to be coming down tougher than the current Collective Bargaining Agreement actually allows them to. Is the language in the CBA so vague that the League office can legally suspend players for each individual supplement taken, despite zero positive tests? I can’t possible see the MLBPA reacting favorably to this type of speculation, especially if found to be true.
2) MLB may not 100% believe they can peg these 21 or so players for PED usage, but instead want to ensure they suffer in the court of public opinion. However, by doing this, they open themselves up to issues with defamation, even more so if it is revealed they intentionally leaked information.
3) On the contrary, MLB is doing itself a major disservice by allowing this information to overshadow the All-Star break, which honest to god, doesn’t need to be shaded any more than it already is from the public view. One would think that baseball would shy away from taking anything away from the break and upcoming trade season, but here we are again, discussing another scandal.
To be clear, it is not an absolute that MLB is intentionally allowing damaging information to slip through their grasps, but the evidence largely points to just that. Just check out this fun nugget from NBC Sports on a plea deal for A-Rod. That didn’t come out of Rodriguez’s camp, I guarantee it.
Look, this is obviously a very complicated affair that Selig has on his hands, but the focus may quickly shift from the players accused to the way MLB is handling the situation. Is this a fair investigation or a witch hunt for past transgressions against the image baseball projects to the public eye?
The fact of the matter is that Selig crossed the line when he started allowing his office to pay for information. Once money becomes an element in fact finding, questions arise about validity of information, the means of acquiring it and from whom it originates.
This conversation isn’t going away anytime soon, in fact, it is going to get a lot worse before any resolution can be reached. The only things to do is sit back, relax and enjoying watching baseball being played on a field this week, before it is fought for in a court room.