• The Cacique Has Fallen & He May Not Get Back Up

    Posted by on January 30th, 2013 · Comments (3)

    Via Tom Verducci

    Under section 7.G.2 of the Joint Drug Agreement, the commissioner can rule for disciplinary action against a player for “just cause” in the cases of violations not specifically referenced in the JDA. Prescriptions and records of PED use and purchase fall under the “just cause” umbrella.

    In 2009, for instance, Manny Ramirez entered an appeal of a test that showed an elevated level of testosterone. When an investigation of that appeal turned up a prescription from a doctor for a banned substance, Ramirez dropped his appeal and accepted the 50-game suspension. Ramirez was not banned because of the test, which technically was not entered as a positive, but because of the records of his prescription for hCG, a female fertility drug often used to kickstart testosterone production after steroid cycles.

    Ramirez’s doctor? Pedro Bosch, the father of Anthony Bosch.

    It was that same year, 2009, that Rodriguez was using Anthony Bosch’s cocktails of PEDS, according to the Miami New Times. Rodriguez, who turned 34 that year, returned surprisingly fast from hip surgery to bat .286 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs while helping to the lead the Yankees to the world championship. A notoriously poor postseason player for the Yankees, Rodriguez batted .365 that postseason. Rodriguez also had been treated post-surgery by Anthony Galea, a Canadian doctor who pleaded guilty in 2011 to bringing unapproved drugs, including HGH, into the U.S. to treat athletes.

    The Bosch notebooks contain information about Rodriguez’s doping regimen from 2009 through 2012, including the drugs, payments and schedules. The banned substances include HGH, IGF-1, and creams and “troches,” a type of drug lozenge, that contain testosterone.

    The notebooks refer to Rodriguez by name and also by the code name “Cacique,” a term originally referring to Caribbean tribal chiefs but has come to be used to describe local political or street bosses with excessive power — a corrupt leader.

    The union and MLB moved quickly toward the adoption of such tougher protocols as more major league and minor league players were getting caught for using synthetic testosterone. The investigations into the South Florida clinics ran on parallel tracks to those concerns.

    Likewise, the strange events surrounding Rodriguez’s second hip surgery will bring about questions about his involvement with Biogenesis. Rodriguez had no problems with his left hip before a complaint about his right hip, the one surgically repaired in 2009, eventually led to the diagnosis that he would need surgery on his left hip. That surgery was postponed for nearly two months for “pre-habilitation” in order to better prepare the area for the rigors of recuperation. Rodriguez was expected to miss half the season, though Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not rule out the possibility of Rodriguez missing the entire season.

    Indeed, Rodriguez’s career never has been in more doubt than it is today. His health and reputation are in tatters. He turns 38 in July. The incentives the Yankees included in his contract for “milestone” home runs now stand as even more awkward reminders that his achievements are fraudulent.

    What will become of him? The Yankees would wish he never puts on their uniform again, writing him and his contract off to the insurance companies or, if they have the stomach for it, to try to invalidate the agreement because of his use of PEDs, the way they once threatened to do with Jason Giambi. Rodriguez must give a full accounting of himself and this report to Selig and, quickly, to baseball fans. You can see Oprah, Katie Couric and Dr. Phil already lined up at his doorstep for the next sports confessional.

    In any case, the news is worse for Rodriguez than it is for anybody else in the report, if only because of his stature and that 2009 confessional production under the tent in the Yankees’ spring training complex. Until now, Rodriguez was careful to shield the Yankees from his taint, telling the story about how he stopped using PEDs before he became a Yankee — as if it made perfect sense that he used for a last-place Texas team but suddenly would have no more use for performance enhancers upon being put on the New York stage. The story seemed to fly for many people. But now, with this story, the franchise and its 2009 championship are smeared by Rodriguez’s connection to PEDs.

    Now Rodriguez must bring to bear all of his advisers and Hollywood image makers for some kind of severe recovery strategy — even bigger than the last. No matter the damage control Rodriguez brings, it is a terribly sad story. It is sad because the scouts who watched him play in high school will tell you they never saw a better, more complete player at that age. He needed no help. And now he stands as someone defined by his help, not by his talent. What is there left of him that is believable? Only this: the Cacique has fallen.

    What pisses me off, the most, about all this today? I had to explain it to my son this morning. I didn’t want him to go into school and hear it from someone else. He’s in the 3rd grade and not yet 9-years old. He’s a Yankees fan and I could tell that he was sad to hear about this news. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll get over it quickly. And, it may not even be lunchroom and/or recess time conversation in his school today. But, I did not want him to be hit with it from a schoolmate. And, I wanted to make sure that it was delivered in the proper way to him. So, I updated him on the situation this morning.

    I’m sure I am not the only father of a young child who is a major baseball fan in this spot today. And, I am also sure that just about everyone who has a hand in stuff like this doesn’t really care about fathers who have to explain this to their young kids.

    Great times, eh?

    Comments on The Cacique Has Fallen & He May Not Get Back Up

    1. PocketAces
      January 30th, 2013 | 9:07 am

      “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” – Friedrich Nietzsche

      This will not kill the Yankees……It will however be another lesson about Long Term contracts to stars which end in their early 40’s

      And perhaps a lesson to owners not to make contracts without thinking them thru……but I doubt that.

      MLB Player Union is too strong…..They won’t be able to void the contract.

    2. MJ Recanati
      January 30th, 2013 | 9:12 am

      PocketAces wrote:

      This will not kill the Yankees……It will however be another lesson about Long Term contracts to stars which end in their early 40′sAnd perhaps a lesson to owners not to make contracts without thinking them thru……but I doubt that.

      I doubt it too, mainly because most sports owners are bozos.

      PocketAces wrote:

      MLB Player Union is too strong…..They won’t be able to void the contract.

      Agree. There’s no precedent for voiding a contract. The Yankees can try to strong-arm Rodriguez into a buyout settlement but there’s a very big downside to that from the team perspective.

      Rodriguez is here to stay for as long as he’s willing to endure whatever will come of this story. For $114M, I imagine he’s willing to endure a lot.

    3. Raf
      January 30th, 2013 | 12:30 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Great times, eh?

      It has always been like that. Difference is that sportswriters are more likely to cover those topics than they were during the “golden days.” Look no further than the reaction to “Ball Four”

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