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Monday, January 13, 2014

Posnanski: The 60 Minutes Report

Maybe Dusty Baker should have looked in Bosch’s eyes?

The 60 Minutes report (Part I and Part II), in case you have not seen it yet, will make you dislike everyone more. Everyone. No matter how much you may dislike Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch, Bud Selig or Rob Manfred, it is guaranteed that by the end of this thing your opinions of them will have dropped substantially. You will like your dog less after seeing this thing.

Is it worth the trip?

Baseball decided: Yes. Absolutely it’s worth it. Why? Well, for an answer to that, you have to wait all the way to the end of the 60 Minutes report…

If 60 Minutes was doing a commercial for PEDs, they could have hardly done better. In fact, they would not be ALLOWED to run that as a commercial because they did not list off the side effects. I’m constantly reminded of Buck O’Neil’s lament: If baseball leaders want kids to not use these drugs, why do they keep going on and on about HOW WELL THEY WORK?...

Pelley and 60 Minutes point out that… Rodriguez took…at least one of these gummies… April 6, 2012. Opening Day. Pelley says that Rodriguez had a “great game..”... The report doesn’t really mention that Rodriguez went one for his next 16, hit one home run in his first 13 games and hit just .272 with 18 home runs the whole season, probably the worst of his career up to that point.

In fact, the report doesn’t mention that since working with Bosch — based on Bosch’s own recollection — Rodriguez has hit .269/.356/.441 with 41 home runs in three seasons. His body has fallen apart….

Fortunately, Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred brought some integrity to the proceedings. He said that he ordered that baseball pay $125,000 for Biogenesis documents from someone that identified himself as “Bobby.”... Manfred made it very clear that extraordinary efforts were made to authenticate these documents. A lot more effort, you would assume, than spent finding Bobby’s last name…

So what point of all this again?

Scott Pelley ends the report like so: “And Bud Selig has announced his retirement from the game. Part of his legacy is the establishment of the toughest anti-doping rules in all of American pro sports.”

There it is. Bud Selig, who has been commissioner over the worst drug scandal to ever hit American sports, who presided over a game that ten years ago DID NOT TEST for drugs, got 60 Minutes to put that line at the end. Part of his legacy is this glorious chapter of buying papers from Bobby, threatening and paying off Boesch and nailing Alex Rodriguez.

Then report ended and only then, if you watch the Internet videos, do you get the biggest lesson of all. You get to see who sponsored the report.

Viagra.

The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:19 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex rodriguez, ped, television, yankees

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   1. AROM Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4637803)
He said that he ordered that baseball pay $125,000 for Biogenesis documents from someone that identified himself as “Bobby.”...


This is the kind of thing that often interests the IRS. (BTW, rumor has it that "Bobby" is a Tea Partier. Maybe that will get their attention).
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4637812)
Memo to self: get invited to MLB headquarters at 245 Park as soon as possible in order to try to grab some of the large amounts of cash they keep lying around.

   3. Guapo Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4637821)
The 12/1 article in New York magazine (which I think was previously linked here) reported that "Bobby's" name is really Gary Jones:

http://nymag.com/news/sports/alex-rodriguez-2013-12/index3.html

Did 60 Minutes just not bother to report that?
   4. John Northey Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4637823)
Maybe I should claim I have dirt on ... oh, I don't know ... Ryan Howard lets say as I'm sure Philly would like to get out of that ugly contract. Lets see, just find a few technical looking documents with drug plans, match to his teams playing schedule and ask MLB for $2 mil for it. Heck, $125k would probably be enough for an afternoon of trying to frame someone. Make sure they have just a fake first name (hmm... Alex might be fun to use) and that they pay in cash...unmarked bills and non-sequential order of course. Ideally $20's (tons of them) as they can be used without anyone getting curious (a stack of $100's is a bit too obvious).

I don't see how that would be any more or less reliable than what MLB used here.
   5. bunyon Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4637835)
I've got some really ugly HPLC traces from a student this morning. Maybe I can sell them to fund my lab.

The first peak is anthraquinone. The last peak is triethylamine. The middle peak? The middle peak, Mr. Selig, can be anything you say it is.
   6. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4637844)
Poz writes pretty well....when he takes the time to proofread.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4637847)
Poz writes pretty well....when he takes the time to proofread.


This is true of nearly all professional writers. Professional proofreaders and editors exist for a reason.

If what we read on his blog is actually what Poz's self-edited material looks like, he's up near the top of professional writers for natural readability.
   8. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4637856)
I prefer unedited Poz. His thing about Charlie Gehringer in the top 100 players had this:

Charlie Gehringer grew upon a farm just outside Fowlerville, Michigan


I read "grew upon" to mean the farm had a particularly good second baseman harvest one year.
   9. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4637864)
If what we read on his blog is actually what Poz's self-edited material looks like, he's up near the top of professional writers for natural readability.


I suppose if his stuff were perfectly edited, there'd be less of it.
   10. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4637866)
That CBS report had all the makings of a movie. It could be American Hustle 2: Miami Boogaloo.

Seriously, you've got MLB, the commissioner as Ahab, a paranoid, corrupt, playboy unlicensed doctor feelgood, a paranoid, corrupt, playboy legendary ballplayer, Miami, New York, drugs, the Yankees, the other 12 biogenesis guys, Rob Manfred, the FBI, the ex-director of the Secret Service, gangsters, death threats and scared women, bribery, the media's involvement, and millions of dollars on the line.

Who's the protagonist?
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4637875)
Who's the protagonist?


Disembodied head of Bill James?
   12. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4637877)
Who's the protagonist?


Mike Trout, of course.
   13. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4637880)
The 12/1 article in New York magazine (which I think was previously linked here) reported that "Bobby's" name is really Gary Jones:

http://nymag.com/news/sports/alex-rodriguez-2013-12/index3.html


NY Mag also reported the Levine/A-Rod emails, including the one with Levine cracking the "joke" (pre-Bosch being made public) about Cano needing some of A-Rod's roids. Why that is getting so little play is an utter mystery, but the same can be said about much of 21st century media.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4637895)
I watched most of this report on 60 Minutes. I can't stand A-Rod - I've never been a fan of his, certainly since he left Seattle. However, the particulars of this report are so unlikable, including all the people in the story, that I actually found myself feeling a little sympathy for Rodriguez. Not a lot, but a little bit.

I remember some big comedian doing a joke 20-something years ago about Guns 'N' Roses, where a member of the band had been kicked out because of "behavior that damaged the reputation of Guns 'N' Roses." The comedian was like, how much of a #### do you have to be to have the members of Guns 'N' Roses being like, "Dude, you're making us look bad." What could you possibly do?

That's where we are at with Alex Rodriguez. ARod is a very difficult guy to like, which is so frustrating, given that he has been positioned to be one of the five best players in history since he was about 23 years old. But he is just impossible to root for.

And, yet, this story is so putrid, that it's actually making ARod a little more sympathetic a figure. How bad do you have to be to stand next to ARod, and make ARod seem like the good guy?
   15. TJ Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4637898)
The 60 Minutes report (Part I and Part II), in case you have not seen it yet, will make you dislike everyone more. Everyone. No matter how much you may dislike Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch, Bud Selig or Rob Manfred, it is guaranteed that by the end of this thing your opinions of them will have dropped substantially. You will like your dog less after seeing this thing.[/quote]

This is my favorite quote...I am so stealing this to use in everyday conversation.

That CBS report had all the makings of a movie. It could be American Hustle 2: Miami Boogaloo.


OK, fellow primates- cast this movie!

   16. AndrewJ Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4637909)
Professional proofreaders and editors exist for a reason.


I tell HR reps this all the time, but do they listen?
   17. The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4637923)
OK, fellow primates- cast this movie!
Bud Selig = James Cromwell, Anthony Bosch = Tony Shalhoub, A-Rod on days he doesn't take gummies = Rob Schneider, A-Rod on days he takes gummies = The Rock


TSN's Jesse Spector expands on the "rehab Selig's reputation" point.
The audience for "60 Minutes" famously tilts toward older viewers, so why go there? Could it be that older viewers might have more of an interest in baseball's drug issue?

Leading up to Wednesday's announcement of the Hall of Fame voting results, Baseball Think Factory collected 209 published ballots. The ballots from this exercise skew toward a younger generation of writers who post their votes for Cooperstown online. It's not universally young voters who have their ballots counted in this way, but some of the vote totals suggest a trend.

BTF's "Gizmo" projected Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas at 99.5, 95.7, and 89.0 percent of the vote, respectively. In the final tally, those numbers were 2.3, 3.8, and 5.3 percentage points too high. Now check out some players who have faced drug scrutiny — Mike Piazza (despite a lack of evidence), Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. BTF had them at 67.9, 42.1, and 40.7 percent, respectively. Their actual vote percentages were 5.7, 7.4, and 5.3 points lower. It's not an unreasonable theory that a reason for the difference is that a militant anti-drug stance is a position more likely to be held by someone who is older.

That, in itself, does not constitute evidence of a generation gap on the PED issue, but it meshes well with other themes, such as baseball's aging audience. And further to this issue, people who live farther than 20 miles away from a major league ballpark were more likely this year to name A-Rod as the face of baseball than those living near a ballpark. Casual fans — the reason you would go to CBS rather than ESPN if you were MLB — also were more likely to name A-Rod as the face of baseball than diehards.
He also makes these good points:
Bosch was painted incredibly sympathetically for an admitted drug dealer, interviewed in a bright room and with B-roll of him getting some sun on a boat with the Miami skyline in the background. Selig and Major League Baseball COO Rob Manfred were interviewed in comfortable rooms that suggested class. A-Rod's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, talked to Pelley on a set with no environment — just shrouded in black, possibly on the inside of a cave or in an auxiliary area of the Death Star.
If A-Rod was behind what Manfred called a "known associate" threatening Bosch's life, that's more than impeding a baseball investigation, that's worthy of a criminal investigation. But "60 Minutes" presented no evidence of that threat other than Bosch's and Manfred's words late in the report. If there was real evidence to tie it together, the "60 Minutes" story is leading with "Disgraced baseball player threatens to kill drug dealer,"
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4637927)
Bosch was painted incredibly sympathetically for an admitted drug dealer, interviewed in a bright room and with B-roll of him getting some sun on a boat with the Miami skyline in the background. Selig and Major League Baseball COO Rob Manfred were interviewed in comfortable rooms that suggested class. A-Rod's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, talked to Pelley on a set with no environment — just shrouded in black, possibly on the inside of a cave or in an auxiliary area of the Death Star.


I don't know if 60 Minutes has always done this, but I have noticed the past few years a lot of instances like this where its pretty clear the story is slanted towards an agenda. And its not necessarily a left/right agenda, but the show picks a good guy and a bad guy, and then leads the viewer by the hand to show them who the bad guy is. I grew up watching the show, as my parents watched it every Sunday, but now it seems like really shoddy journalism, especially in comparison to the aforementioned "Frontline" among others.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4637963)
I don't know if 60 Minutes has always done this, but I have noticed the past few years a lot of instances like this where its pretty clear the story is slanted towards an agenda. And its not necessarily a left/right agenda, but the show picks a good guy and a bad guy, and then leads the viewer by the hand to show them who the bad guy is. I grew up watching the show, as my parents watched it every Sunday, but now it seems like really shoddy journalism, especially in comparison to the aforementioned "Frontline" among others.

I've watched 60 Minutes intermittently for many years, and I've always thought that it was an overrated show. If their "agenda" happened to match up with a true villain who was dumb enough to let himself be set up, then sure, it could be worth watching. But other than those few times, it was mostly either browbeating or celebrity suckups, which if anything were even worse. About the only concrete advantage to 60 Minutes is that when the old blind squirrel stumbles upon its occasional acorn, the world learns about it instantly and the problem is much more likely to be addressed.
   20. slothinator Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4637966)
I remember some big comedian doing a joke 20-something years ago about Guns 'N' Roses, where a member of the band had been kicked out because of "behavior that damaged the reputation of Guns 'N' Roses." The comedian was like, how much of a #### do you have to be to have the members of Guns 'N' Roses being like, "Dude, you're making us look bad." What could you possibly do?


I believe the comedian was Dennis Miller, and he was talking about when Izzy Straddlin left the band. The line was something like "Hey Slash, you wanna take a break from shooting heroine into your ####, we gotta make a decision on Straddlin.".
   21. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4637968)
One can do investigative journalism, or one can run a popular television infotainment show. One can not do both at the same time.
   22. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4637974)
Al Capone's Vault wasn't investigative journalism?
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4637990)
One can do investigative journalism, or one can run a popular television infotainment show. One can not do both at the same time.

Correct. Defaulting to the shoddier, albeit more lucrative, choice used not to be so knee-jerk.(*) But that's 21st c. capitalism for you.

(*) It is, of course, possible that the audience for the two used to be far closer in size -- in which case the choice to feature that wasn't as costly.
   24. Ron J2 Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4637993)
#20 Correct

   25. Lassus Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4637998)
One can do investigative journalism, or one can run a popular television infotainment show. One can not do both at the same time.

Considering how long 60 Minutes has been popular, do you mean to say it's never been investigative journalism?
   26. Srul Itza Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4637999)
60 Minutes has been around since 1968 -- 45 years.

When it started out, CBS was still very serious about the news business. It still saw itself as the network of Edward R. Murrow taking on McCarthy, and Walter Cronkite, the "most trusted man in America." I was in junior high school when it started, and for the remainder of my school years, a big topic in school on Monday morning was what had been broadcast on 60 Minutes the night before. Back then, the joke was that the most frightening words in business were: ‘Mike Wallace is here to see you’ It was investigative journalism and it was also entertaining.

The world changed. The networks changed. The business of news changed. CBS changed. And 60 Minutes changed.

What you see now on 60 Minute is the zombified remains, the dried up carcass, of 60 Minutes, still walking the earth. Somebody really needs to put it out of its misery.
   27. AROM Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4638003)
I believe the comedian was Dennis Miller, and he was talking about when Izzy Straddlin left the band. The line was something like "Hey Slash, you wanna take a break from shooting heroine into your ####, we gotta make a decision on Straddlin.".


In the last week on campus before my college graduation, a bunch of us put together a G'n'R death pool. You had to guess the month, year, and reason (O.D. and car crash were popular picks) for each band member. This was 1993. More than 20 years later and they are all still alive. The odds they would all last 20+ years was unthinkable, especially considering all the famous rock stars who died in the early 70's. They take much better care of rock stars these days.
   28. Bob Tufts Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4638016)
Northey - go read Dave Cameron's piece on the moral hazard issue. You will appreciate it.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-a-rod-suspension-and-the-new-moral-hazard/

   29. The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4638033)
Obviously the original G n' R lineup was never going to stay together, but, it's a shame. Steven Adler was a million times better drummer than Matt Sorum. I liked Izzy Stradlin's songs on Use Your Illusion, and even his solo stuff. I mean, it's totally just ripped-off Rolling Stones, but I'm fine with that. And Duff McKagan, well, seems like a super-nice guy (not to mention a huge sports fan.)

Anyway, I thought this was a brilliant piece by Poz. I also liked these parts.
Pelley for some reason thought Bosch should be feeling regret over what he did, as if he was talking to somebody who had dedicated his life to the honor and integrity of baseball. That was really strange. Pelley seemed on the surface to understand he was talking to a lying drunken drug dealer, but then he asks Bosch how he could do this to the game of baseball.
Then, after saying Bosch had no criminal record other than parking tickets and a citation for practicing without a license (with apparently no concern for the countless crimes he was copping to on the show)...
“They said ‘I think you should leave town, we’ll get you a plane ticket to Colombia, you stay there until this blows over,’” Bosch said. “They offered me, I forget the number $25,000, $20,000 a month, and said ‘I’ll give you another $150,000.”

Then, Scott Pelley added this rather unbelievable line:

“Bosch said he was suspicious and turned down the offer.”

Um … what? Suspicious of what? Suspicious of their motives? Suspicious that they wouldn’t pay the full amount? Suspicious of what kind of home he could get in Colombia? What? The obvious takeaway, I guess, is that he was suspicious that they would have him taken care of down in Colombia. Tony Bosch obviously thinks he’s living in the second half of “Goodfellas,” with danger lurking around every corner.

Is it true? Was Alex Rodriguez hanging out with Miami gangsters who would solve his problems by offing the guy he paid $12,000 a month to give him drugs that were not helping his performance? Or is Tony Bosch a delusional nutjob who somewhere along the way lost his grip of reality and started seeing threats in the words spelled out by his Alpha Bits cereal? Or both?
   30. TJ Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4638054)
I remember some big comedian doing a joke 20-something years ago about Guns 'N' Roses, where a member of the band had been kicked out because of "behavior that damaged the reputation of Guns 'N' Roses." The comedian was like, how much of a #### do you have to be to have the members of Guns 'N' Roses being like, "Dude, you're making us look bad." What could you possibly do?


This is like when Shane McGowen was kicked out of The Pogues for excessive drinking. The Pogues are an Irish punk/folk band- I didn't know an excessive level of drinking even existed for something like that...
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4638059)
Thanks Bob for the Cameron link. Worth a read.
   32. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4638061)
This is like when Shane McGowen was kicked out of The Pogues for excessive drinking. The Pogues are an Irish punk/folk band- I didn't know an excessive level of drinking even existed for something like that...

It is hard to believe, but if anyone could do it it would be Shane MacGowan.
   33. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4638066)
“Bosch said he was suspicious and turned down the offer.”

Um … what? Suspicious of what?


Suspicious of the fact that it was way less than MLB was willing to pay him.
   34. toratoratora Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4638067)
In the last week on campus before my college graduation, a bunch of us put together a G'n'R death pool. You had to guess the month, year, and reason (O.D. and car crash were popular picks) for each band member. This was 1993. More than 20 years later and they are all still alive. The odds they would all last 20+ years was unthinkable, especially considering all the famous rock stars who died in the early 70's. They take much better care of rock stars these days.

Not only are they all alive,but freaking Duff got an MBA and is a Financial Advisor. In a million years I wouldn't have guessed that.
   35. Publius Publicola Posted: January 13, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4638127)
If baseball leaders want kids to not use these drugs, why do they keep going on and on about HOW WELL THEY WORK?...


Because lying about it will make things even worse. They players already know they work. MLB denying it will have as much resonance as that old dried egg this is your brain on drugs commercial.
   36. AndrewJ Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4638153)
They take much better care of rock stars these days.

As Bill Hicks observed, Keith Richards outlived Jim Fixx.
   37. Swoboda is freedom Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:29 PM (#4638262)
This is like when Shane McGowen was kicked out of The Pogues for excessive drinking. The Pogues are an Irish punk/folk band- I didn't know an excessive level of drinking even existed for something like that...

Watch some video of Shane. He can't string together a coherent sentence. I saws them in concert once. He was falling down drunk. Literately falling down. He could barely sing.
   38. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4638267)
What you see now on 60 Minute is the zombified remains, the dried up carcass, of 60 Minutes, still walking the earth. Somebody really needs to put it out of its misery.


Rule #2 -- Double tap.
   39. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4638272)
Watch some video of Shane. He can't string together a coherent sentence. I saws them in concert once. He was falling down drunk. Literately falling down. He could barely sing.


Yeah, I saw Shane McGowan solo, and that's exactly what it was like. I couldn't make out anything he said or sang. And the acoustics were pretty bad, so the rest of the band sounded like a vaguely Irish muddle. So I just pretended he was singing all my favorite Pogues songs and had a great time.
   40. tshipman Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4638278)
Because lying about it will make things even worse. They players already know they work. MLB denying it will have as much resonance as that old dried egg this is your brain on drugs commercial.


In fact, the report doesn’t mention that since working with Bosch — based on Bosch’s own recollection — Rodriguez has hit .269/.356/.441 with 41 home runs in three seasons.


You know a player is on steroids because guys who weren't previous power hitters break home run records. And you know a guy is on steroids when a guy who was previously a power hitter no longer is able to break home run records.

See kids, steroids work.
   41. Lassus Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:35 PM (#4638288)
See how entertaining a professional drunk is to all of you amateur drinkers? Finally you can grasp how non-drinkers feel around you. :-)
   42. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:07 AM (#4638329)
He was falling down drunk. Literately falling down.


A true poet.
   43. bookbook Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:25 AM (#4638364)
Juan Uribe,
Mike Trout has never touched steroids, but his parents were doped to the gills on the stuff the day they conceived him...

As an a priori violation of rules to be instituted in 2050, Trout is subject to a ten-year ban according to Major League Baseball. The independent arbitrator will note that this is ridiculous and unfair, so will accordingly reduce it to nine years and 71 days--noting that Mr. Trout is additionally prohibited from playing against the poor betrodden Yankees for life, including spring training matches.

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