MLB All-Stars sound off on Biogenesis scandal
Alex Rodriguez is one of many high-profile MLB players connected to the Biogenesis lab that could be served a lengthy suspension after the All-Star break. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
NEW YORK -- There is a dark cloud hovering over the festivities of the All-Star Game.
It's one that some turn a blind eye toward -- "I think the stuff is funny," said Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips. "I just laugh at it." -- one that has others angry -- "I'm not going to write it down every time they make me pee," offered Baltimore's Chris Davis.
The newest PED Scandal, coming to you by way of the Biogenesis lab in South Florida, is linked to some of the biggest names in baseball, including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and A's All-Star Bartolo Colon, with suspensions of up to 100 games, as reported by ESPN.
"It's thorough, it's comprehensive and it's aggressive," commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday of the ongoing investigation at a luncheon with members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
The Midsummer Classic is supposed to be a celebration of the game. But with looming suspensions, many have a gallows humor outlook.
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Davis, who leads the major leagues with 37 home runs, said he has been tested numerous times, in the offseason as well as in spring training. He said the players joke that if someone hits two homers in a game, they "better be hydrated tomorrow" because the specimen collector is sure to be on his way.
The true single-season home run record, Davis said, is still the 61 hit by Roger Maris in 1961. Davis purposely left out Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998, 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001 and 63 in 1999), all of whom have been linked to steroids.
"If you're proud of it and you have nothing to hide, you should celebrate it," Davis said of his power-hitting accomplishments.
"You see the list, it comes out one week and then it's gone the next," said Los Angeles Angles outfielder Mike Trout. "Until MLB does something about it, I don't know."
Phillips took a more singular approach.
"I just know my name ain't on it, so I don't really care about it," he said of the Biogenesis list. "I was like, 'Dang, look at this. What's going to happen? When is it going to happen?"
According to Selig, there is no true timeframe. He just wants the investigation done and then appropriate measures will be taken shortly thereafter. And no, he's not worried about clubs having to plan for potentially losing a player in a playoff race. Even if he was "sensitive" to the plight.
"We have to complete this investigation," he said. "I have to see the results of this investigation then we're going to move forward. Those are the only concerns."
Michael Weiner, executive director of the MLB Players Association, said penalties coming from the Biogenisis investigation are not "mandated" by the MLB Drug Policy and could get five-game suspensions…or 500.
Still, he said, appeals could be made as soon as September, if suspensions are handed down soon, and could last until the offseason, keeping any suspended player who appealed on the field.
Weiner is battling brain cancer and expects a deputy to his position to be named soon. Until he can no longer run the Union, Weiner will fight for the players, he said. One point of contention: the Union does not want the players who will be suspended announced until after the appeals process has run its course. Selig and Co. disagree.
Though Selig insisted the leaks of the Biogenesis scandal are not coming from his office. In defending baseball's seeming focus on busting drug cheats, Selig referenced the "Cocaine Era of the '80s" and the lack of a drug program then.
He said there were 4,200 drug tests in the big leagues in the past year, 16,000 tests overall, counting minor league baseball, with seven positives in the bigs, less than 1/2 of one percent.
Colon, meanwhile, was asked if it was uncomfortable being an All-Star after serving a 50-game suspension for a failed test last season, and then being linked to the current scandal.
The 40-year-old smiled uncomfortable.
"I don't know how to answer that question," he said in Spanish. So he did not.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who managed Bonds in 2007 and Cabrera last year when he was lost to a failed test, said he supports the game's efforts.
"We all are 100 percent behind MLB in cleaning up this game and just kind of eliminate any kind of drugs these players get involved with," said Bochy, the National League skipper. "We're behind this and, hopefully when this investigation's over, we can move on, move forward, and it's a shame we're having to deal with this now.
"I'm behind MLB. Let's clean this up."