If you're Buster Olney, you're essentially saying fire away. Take aim at Ryan Braun and others, and throw patience to the wind. If you're Wendy Thurm, you're telling the world to take a breath and step back. Use logic and facts to help sort out the details of this investigation. These are prominent writers, and the truth is, their opinions represent the black and white stance we are all taking as baseball fans on the Biogenesis scandal. Either side has a fair argument. Either side can make a case.
So to help you make yours, let's catch you up.
- On January 29th, the bomb dropped. The scandal broke. The Miami New Times reported the findings of their months-long investigation into an anti-aging clinic called Biogenesis. The report, in the initial articles, linked some big-name players to the PEDs that were dispensed and distributed at the clinic. Players like Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, and Nelson Cruz.
- Immediately following the news of A-Rod's involvement, speculation began to sprout from every nook and cranny. Would the third baseman ever play for the Yankees again? Would his career go on? New York still owes the man $114 million, and that's hard to walk away from. But it's New York. They'll find a way.
- Then came the denials. Rodriguez, Gonzalez, and others got their PR teams together, they carefully discussed the best course of action, and ultimately, they hid behind pen and paper - or keyboards and computers in this case - and fired off digital denials. Gonzalez at least personalized his denial by taking to Twitter, so bonus points for him.
- Major League Baseball's investigative division launched into action. With trench coats and larger-than-normal magnifying glasses (or so I imagine), they announced that they would like to interview the implicated players. Of course, much of Major League Baseball's investigation hinges on Miami New Times' desire (or lack thereof) to release their investigative documents. Essentially MLB's investigation hinges on an already completed investigation by journalists. Bravo, baseball.
- In what seemed to be unconfirmed reports, it was suggested that Alex Rodriguez would be forced into retirement by his hip injury. This would conveniently allow the Yankees to cash in on their insurance policy for the former All-Star. However, Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, never confirmed this, and Alex Rodriguez himself said he has every intention of continuing to play. Of course, the idea of A-Rod retiring and allowing the Yankees to gracefully get out of his contract stems directly from the stain (the second stain is always the darkest) he put on the organization with his connection to this scandal.
- A little late to the game, but Nelson Cruz denied his connection to PEDs and the clinic. His PR team must have been on vacation when the rest of the denials came in.
- As the details of the Miami New Times report continued to trickle out, more and more was revealed about Rodriguez's involvement. Not only was he allegedly linked to the clinic, the clinic's director may have been the one to directly inject Rodriguez. Keep in mind, Anthony Bosch, Biogenesis' director, is not a doctor, folks.
- The evidence continued to mount, and then A-Rod did the most A-Rod thing he could do. He quite simply A-Rod(ed) himself (too much use of A-Rod as an adjective/verb?). Rodriguez and his camp suggested that there was a conspiracy to keep him down. He even went has far as to suggest Major League Baseball was behind the Biogenesis scandal. It makes total sense, right?
- If it wasn't enough for you to know that Rodriguez was linked to Biogenesis, what if I told you he doped "morning, noon, and night?" Is that something you might be interested in? Tom Verducci, using Miami News Times' report, relayed the doping schedule and sheer volume of drugs A-Rod took.
- Baseball's biggest names were stumbling. They were wobbly on their feet. Then news of Ryan Braun's connection to the clinic came and it was the hard cross that sent any chance of recovery flying helplessly to the mat. Braun, while not specifically linked to any PEDs in the clinic's records, was named in the clinic's ledgers. He denied any wrong-doing and said his attorneys consulted with Anthony Bosch prior to his appeal hearing last year for his positive PED test. Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia are also named along with Braun.
- Now, word is former New York Yankees prospect Jesus Montero has been linked to the PED scandal. Montero was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the deal that brought Michael Pineda's bum shoulder to New York. This news may actually be the best thing that's happened to New York. Now, they might not have to continue to hear just how lopsided that trade looks since it happened.
So there you have it. The story of Biogenesis tidied up into a nice bedtime tale for you. Read it to your children as they head off to sleep. They'll have dreams of needles and muscles and muscles chasing needles.
We'll continue to learn more about this scandal. Some of the truths we feel we know will be disproven. Braun may just be an unfortunate casualty of this scandal, but who knows? Other names may be released. Remember, the initial report listed just the names of players directly linked to PEDs. There may be others with loose connections.
For baseball, this means another black eye. But don't forget, in this sport we actually care about the integrity of the game. MLB may not have cared for a very long time. But we have always cared. In football, a player can be linked to a PED and still be granted sainthood (actually I think that requires dying and a lot of paperwork, but you get my point). Major League Baseball is trying to clean up the game. It will take time. The "steroid era" has not yet ended, but it's on the decline. More testing, stricter penalties, and other ideas have been tossed about as a way to clean up the game further. That's good. That's what the game needs. Ideas to make a change. Not just judgement from all angles.
Fix the problem, don't dwell on the problem. But if you insist on dwelling, check back here because we'll have plenty of updates.