MLBPA and MLB attack each other in light of "60 Minutes" piece on Anthony Bosch
The Major League Baseball Players Association on Sunday night criticized MLB for participating in a "60 Minutes" report that featured an interview with Alex Rodriguez's chief accuser, Anthony Bosch.
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, who was on the panel that heard A-Rod's appeal of his 211-game PED suspension, and commissioner Bud Selig also were interviewed on the show.
The MLBPA chided baseball in a statement for "not resist[ing] the temptation to publicly pile on against Alex Rodriguez" one day after A-Rod's suspension was reduced to 162 games by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The MLBPA statement said Manfred's appearance was "inconsistent with our arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement."
In the statement, released about two hours before the "60 Minutes" segment aired, the MLBPA said it was "considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB."
The major details of Bosch's appearance were released Saturday night. Bosch said he personally delivered banned substances, including testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1 and human growth hormone, to Rodriguez at least a dozen times and that A-Rod paid him $12,000 a month in cash. Bosch also said Rodriguez would take oral testosterone lozenges -- which Bosch called "gummies" -- about 10 or 15 minutes before game time to give him an extra boost.
Bosch said he personally injected Rodriguez with PEDs "at times" because "Alex is scared of needles." He said A-Rod's motivation was to hit 800 home runs and set the all-time home run record.
Bosch said Rodriguez asked him for the same PEDs he had given former client Manny Ramirez. MLB fired back at the union with its own statement about 30 minutes before the "60 Minutes" piece aired. In it, MLB said: "We have notified the Major League Baseball Players Association on numerous occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program. Those attacks continued yet again [Saturday] with Mr. Rodriguez's statement."
Rodriguez issued a statement after the decision was announced Saturday in which he blasted the process, saying "the deck has been stacked against me from Day One." A-Rod also vowed to fight his suspension in federal court and to report to spring training with the Yankees even though he has been banned for the regular season and postseason.
One of his lawyers, Joseph Tacopina, appeared on "60 Minutes" to deny an allegation by Bosch that associates of Rodriguez tried to bribe or threaten Bosch.
Manfred said Bosch's "principal concern from the very beginning was his personal safety" and that Bosch "told us there had been threats on his life."
Manfred was asked, "Are you saying Rodriguez and his associates were involved in threatening to kill Tony Bosch?" He replied: "The individual that was of greatest concern to Mr. Bosch was a known associate of Mr. Rodriguez."
Selig defended his original 211-game suspension, saying: "You put all the drug things on one side and then all the things that he did to impede our investigation and really do things that I had never seen any other player do, I think 211 games was a very fair penalty."
Tacopina released a statement Sunday night that said in part: "Tonight's further expansion of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred's quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension . . . [They] put forth an unparalleled display of hubris and vindictiveness -- complete with Manfred appearing in tandem with [Bosch], both in full makeup, celebrating the joint victory of Bosch's lies and Manfred's intimidation and payments for testimony . . .
"I am sure Selig and Manfred believe this traveling circus serves Manfred's hopes of being the next commissioner; the departing commissioner Selig's hopes of parlaying his success thus far in persecuting Alex into a recast chapter in the history books that would show him as a crusader, rather than the owner that colluded to corrupt the game, and commissioner that turned a blind eye to steroids for over 20 years while personally profiting from their prevalence to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars; and Tony Bosch's hopes to further capitalize upon his lies through a multi-million-dollar book deal that his MLB-provided media agent is seeking to procure for him . . .
"Perhaps the clearest message delivered by Selig and Manfred tonight is that their quest to rehabilitate Selig's irretrievable reputation, and to make Manfred appear tough on PEDs, surely will lead MLB to seek to abolish guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round and institute lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, all while further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety of defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review . . . ''